On the afternoon of 16 January 2005 Western Australian Premier, Dr Geoff Gallop announced that he was resigning his position because he was suffering from severe depression. He said, “It is my difficult duty to inform you today that I am currently being treated for depression. … My doctors advised me that with treatment, time and rest this illness is very curable. However, I cannot be certain how long I will need. So in the interests of my health and my family I have decided to rethink my career.”
Kim Beazley, Labor Federal Opposition leader said that Dr Gallop was a brilliant and innovative leader, who left Western Australia in a better place than he found it. He claimed that Premier Gallop would be remembered for his decisions relating to education, the environment, changing electoral boundaries, and his pursuit of minerals development.
However, in spite of the Western Australian economy prospering under Premier Gallop’s leadership, many Christians were deeply troubled by several of his legislative changes that hurt traditional families and placed children at risk. While sympathising with his depression, and praying for his recovery, Christians recall with dismay that his radical social agenda did great harm to the social and moral fabric of Western Australia. Premier Gallop and his Labor government: granted homosexual and lesbian couples identical rights to married couples, including the right to adopt children; legalised highly-risky anal sex for boys as young as 16 years of age; liberalised drug laws by reducing penalties and granting people the right to grow cannabis in their own homes; attempted to legalise prostitution; and mooted but, after strong opposition, abandoned anti-religious vilification laws similar to those in Victoria.
Dr Gallop’s sudden resignation from politics triggered a state by-election in the district of Victoria Park, where he had served as the member for a period of 20 years.
The general consensus prior to the election was that Labor would not only retain Victoria Park, but win by a comfortable margin, and that consensus was proven right on 11 March 2006 with Labor’s Ben Wyatt receiving 49.38 per cent of the vote prior to the distribution of preferences, while the Liberal candidate Bruce Stevenson lagged some 18 points behind.
The Christian Democratic Party’s candidate Bill Heggers received the fourth largest primary vote (3.49 per cent), behind Labor (49.38 per cent), Liberal (30.99 per cent), and Greens (8.42 per cent), but ahead of One Nation (2.76 per cent), Family First (0.96 per cent), and other independents.
The result achieved by the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) at the Victoria Park by-election represents yet another consecutive increase in its primary vote indicating that the party is moving in the right direction and continuing to gain wider public acceptance. At the state election in 2005 CDP received 3.42 per cent of the primary vote in Victoria Park, but increased it at this election to 3.49 per cent.After the distribution of preferences CDP’s vote in Victoria Park lifted from 4.62 per cent in 2005 to 5.49 per cent in 2006, an increase of approximately 19 per cent over 2005.
But perhaps what is more interesting yet is the vote for CDP at the Wilson Community booth, one of the 14 booths in the Victoria Park district. There CDP received a primary vote of 7.56 per cent, less than 1 per cent below the Green’s average in the district.
What is it that accounts for this higher percentage? It is simply that a substantial number of people from churches in the area that have been supportive of the Christian Democratic Party voted CDP 1 before voting for their major party of choice.
What does this show us?It shows us that if Christians throughout Western Australia throw their support behind the CDP, then the CDP could not only rival the Greens in size and influence, but surpass them. Imagine for a moment having Christian representatives in our federal and state parliaments rather than representatives who are largely hostile to the Christian worldview. Imagine having Christians who would faithfully represent family values rather than radical anti-family and anti-life agendas. Imagine the Christian Democratic Party becoming the third largest party in Western Australia, displacing the Greens.
How can this come to pass? By encouraging Christians everywhere to do what many Christians in Wilson Community area of Victoria Park have already done, and that is vote CDP 1 before voting for a preferred major party (that way if the CDP candidate is not elected, the vote passes at full value to the major party).
Lest anyone think that lifting CDP from the fourth to the third position is out of reach, consider this: At the 2005 State election CDP received a whopping 20.74 per cent in the electorate of Merredin at the Mukinbudin Shire Chambers polling booth. What is the explanation for this? Simply that many Christians in Mukinbudin voted CDP 1. The vote there exceeded the vote for the Greens by 19.8 per cent!
Several other examples could be cited where CDP has achieved between 7-9 per cent of the vote at particular polling booths. What is the common explanation? Simply that Christians who attend churches in the area that have been supportive of CDP often vote for CDP.
In the light of all this, it is possible to imagine a thoroughly committed Christian party eclipsing the Greens and becoming the third largest political party in Western Australia, with a wholesome platform that supports and protects marriage, family, children and life. With God’s help, what we imagine today can become a reality tomorrow.