Many Australians of faith believe Labor does not care about them and the party must address the sentiment urgently, frontbencher Chris Bowen has said. Source: SBS News.
Mr Bowen has highlighted the perceptions of Labor among religious people while bowing out of the race for the party’s leadership, saying it had been part of his motivation for running.
“I have noticed as I have been around during the election campaign and even in the days since ... how often it has been raised with me that people of faith no longer feel that progressive politics cares about them,” he told reporters in Sydney.
“These are people with a social conscience, who want to be included in the progressive movement.
“We need to tackle this urgently. I think this is an issue from the federal election that we haven’t yet focused on.”
Religion cropped up during the campaign, with resigned Labor leader Bill Shorten denying he had politicised Scott Morrison’s faith by saying the Prime Minister should have made it clearer that he doesn’t think gay people go to hell.
“I do respect the right to religious freedom. I do respect freedom of speech,” Mr Shorten told ABC’s 7.30 soon after.
“But I also respect that just as religion is part of someone’s identity, so is their sexuality.”
Meanwhile, Fr Frank Brennan SJ told SkyNews that he believes Labor would have been less attractive to some religious people worried about religious freedom in the wake of the same-sex marriage plebiscite.
Fr Brennan, who was a member of the Ruddock panel on the issue, said the panel recommended tweaking some exemptions in the Sex Discrimination Act and the introduction of a Religious Discrimination Act.
“Labor’s leaders seemed to downplay the right of religious schools to teach their doctrine and to choose staff sympathetic to a school’s religious ethos,” he said. “Labor left some religious folk thinking that their freedom of religion was not being treated seriously enough.”
“Some religious voters thought Morrison a safer pair of hands for tweaking the exemptions and for steering a Religious Discrimination Act through the Parliament,” he said.
Labor urged to include people of faith (SBS News)
The miracle win (SkyNews)
'I'll burn for you': How our Pentecostal PM energised Christian voters (Sydney Morning Herald)