The swing to the Liberals that resulted in a convincing win at the state election on 9 March 2013 was like a tidal wave. It came at the expense of the minor parties and independents.
At the final count the Liberals are up 8.7, the Nationals are up 1.2, while Labor is down 2.7, the Greens are down 3.5, and “Others” (including Australian Christians and Family First) are down 3.7.
Bearing that figure of -3.7 in mind, it is encouraging to note while Australian Christians’ vote in the Lower House did fall on average when compared against the 2008 state election, that fall was significantly less than might have been expected.
For example, Jamie Van Burgel, standing in Armadale, received a vote of 7.0%, only 0.3 below what he achieved in the previous election.In what is hoped will be the first of many future outcomes, Jamie achieved a higher vote in Armadale than the Greens candidate!
Madeleine Goiran, standing in Darling Range, received a vote of 5.0%, only 0.1 below the result in Darling Range in 2008.
Lois Host, standing in Mirrabooka, received a vote of 4.6%, +0.8 on a comparative result in 2008.Against a negative tide of -3.7, Lois achieved a higher result!
Australian Christians stood candidates in each of the six Upper House Regions in Western Australia.
I was Australian Christians’ lead candidate in the East Metropolitan Region. In the 2008 state election I was eliminated with 0.52 of a quota (1 quota is required to be elected).The sixth and last spot, which I had hoped to win in 2008 was won by Alison Xamon, a member of the Greens.In this election I was excluded at the 13thand final count.At this count Alison Xamon had 0.57 of a quota, the Labor candidate Amber Sanderson had 0.70 of a quota, and I had 0.73 of a quota. As the Greens were the lowest of the remaining three, their vote was surrendered to Labor, thus electing Labor’s Amber Sanderson and excluding me.
If there is a point to celebrate here, it is that the Green’s member Alision Xamon will not be serving a second term.In fact, the Greens have been reduced from four to two MPs in the Legislative Council, and none in the Legislative Assembly.The loss of Alison Xamon in the Upper House in East Metro, and the failure to elect Cameron Poustie in North Metro (where Ray Moran stood), directly resulted from Australian Christians fielding candidates in both of those regions! After the 2008 state elections the Greens clearly had ambitions of becoming the third major political force in the Western Australian Parliament.After the recent state elections, these hopes appear to have been dashed. As the Greens’ values, particularly on matters of sanctity of life, marriage and family are the antithesis of Christian values, this is a matter for thanksgiving.
Although Australian Christians did not elect any candidates to the Upper House at this election, their standing at this election did make a positive difference.
In the Lower House, it appears that the Liberal Party won the seat of Belmont with Australian Christians’ preferences flowing from AC candidate Steve Klomp.
The Liberal Party retained the seat of Eyre with Australian Christians’ preferences flowing from AC candidate Brett Hilton.Graham Jacobs, who has served in the Lower House for four years, is a committed Christian and is 100% pro life.
The Liberal Party won the seat of Forrestfield with Australian Christians’ preferences flowing from AC candidate Troy Eikelboom.The former Labor candidate favoured WA’s abortion laws and seemed undecided in relation to euthanasia.
The Hon Michelle Roberts (Labor, Midland), who has voted consistently pro-life since 1998 when abortion was legalised in WA, retained her seat with Australian Christians’ preferences flowing from AC candidate Isaac Moran.
In closing, I would like to make two observations.The first is that it appears to me that the name change from the Christian Democratic Party to Australian Christians did not harm the party, and may have benefited it already.Under the new name, for example,Australian Christians fell by 0.77, while Family First (with no name change) fell by 1.35. In addition, while Australian Christians overall vote was down somewhat, due in the main to the massive swing to the Liberals and against minor parties, when all things are considered, AC weathered the storm better than could have been hoped for. As the name Australian Christians becomes established in the minds of Western Australians over the next years it will become a genuine asset for the party.Many people have expressed their support for the new name and are pleased with the re-branding of the party.
The final point I want to make is that it is clear to me that unless Australian Christians can get more traction with Christian people the task of electing people to parliament will remain difficult.This is where supporters can be a huge help to us in the time leading up to the Federal elections later this year, and in the next four years leading up to the 2017 State election.Talk to your family, friends and members of your church about the importance of voting for a Christian party that will represent them. Warn them of the risks of apathy. Explain to them that whether we like it or not, we are caught in the midst of a mighty battle for the hearts and minds and souls of Australians. This battle is not only being fought out in the media and in our educational institutions, but also in politics. We cannot afford to remain removed from this great battle for the future of our great nation. With God’s help we can win this battle if we will simply engage and persevere.
Dwight Randall has served for several years as the President of the Christian Democratic Party and then Australian Christians (WA).