Categories: Australia

Liberal leader Matthew Guy ignored warnings about Renee Heath’s religious views – WhatsNew2Day

In her letter, Mollison outlined concerns about City Builders and allegations that it promotes gay conversion therapy, as well as the candidate’s “financial ties” to the church, of which “she is a financial beneficiary.” Heath is a shareholder and active member of the ultra-conservative church.

“The Nepean [branch] strongly urges the executive and administrative committee of the Liberal Party to take immediate action to mitigate any damage this…may have on the state campaign, as well as our local campaign,” Mollison wrote.

Liberal members warned Matthew Guy about Renee Heath weeks ago, but were ignored. Credit:composite image

Mollison made three formal requests: that Heath be advised against adopting his church’s beliefs, that he be ordered not to campaign in any constituency without notice, and that he give each candidate the right to issue a statement distancing themselves from Heath’s views and those of his church. .

heather was shortlisted for the secure upper house seat in July after a narrow victory against Catherine Burnett-Wake, reigniting debate over the party’s commitment to laws banning gay conversion therapy. The opposition leader described gay conversion therapy as “abhorrent” on Saturday, but on Wednesday, when Age he asked Guy if he had personally asked Heath about his views, he said he was too busy campaigning.

Heath and his church have not responded to questions about his views or the influence of the church, where his father Brian is pastor, on his political ambitions.

Charging

Four Liberal vice presidents – Holly Byrne, Anthony Mitchell, Amanda Millar and Tony Schneider – wrote a combined letter to the party’s leadership administrative wing weeks ago calling for an investigation, according to multiple sources. “They didn’t even get an answer,” said a source with knowledge of the matter.

In another letter obtained by the sunday eraHelen Reid, a longtime member of the Liberal Party and former secretary of the Bass and Pakenham branches, wrote to Mirabella and McQuestin on 7 November that Heath represented the “extreme views of a very well organized and orchestrated minority”.

Reid, who has been a party member for 24 years and held various positions in the branch, said he was considering canceling his party membership over Heath’s shortlisting.

“I am concerned about the direction the Liberal Party is taking and that it no longer represents my views and values ​​and many others like me… I think most Victorians abhor extreme ‘left’ or ‘right’ views and they sit somewhere in between. ”

Another Liberal Party member, Rob Sheehan, wrote to the Liberals’ state chairman, Robert Clark, to describe what he described as “diabolical” problems for the party in the region.

“If Pentecostal Christians in Gippsland want to take over Liberal Party branches, that’s fine by me, as long as they do it openly and state their agenda openly.”

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Sheehan said the “secret approach… undermines trust in our democratic system” and called for an “open, respectful and inclusive” debate on public policy.

“The state director, the president and Matthew Guy thought there were no concerns, and this is the bottom line we now have to deal with,” said a Liberal on the management committee. “This is the last straw, but it’s more of a log than a straw.”

The source said the party was bracing for electoral damage in inner-city seats such as Hawthorn and Brighton following federal elections, in which several moderates were ousted over perceptions the party had become moved too far to the right.

Charging

Liberal candidate John Pesutto, who is fighting a teal challenger in Hawthorn, appeared on queer radio station Joy Media on Saturday to say he would publicly denounce discrimination in the party and praise Guy for pulling Heath out of the nightclub. .

“No party can be aware of all the details, if a candidate does not reveal something,” Pesutto said. “What Matthew Guy announced this morning, in regards to Renee Heath, was an appropriate course.”

University of Sydney expert David Smith says religion is declining in Australia, and particularly in Victoria, which means the Liberals’ association with churches like City Builders will hurt the party’s brand.

“As Victoria is the most secular state in the country, there is a danger that the more they associate with religious groups, the more limited their electoral appeal will be,” he says. “Many non-religious Australians are very wary of the political influence of religion.”

Smith said fringe religious groups are unlikely to have a political impact because, unlike in the United States, where church and state are more intertwined, “ordinary Australians” worry that religious groups will limit the rights of voters.

Mirabella and Heath did not respond to requests for comment. McQuestin declined to comment.

See more about this story at 60 minutes at 8:40 p.m. on Sunday.

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