Family First’s Bob Day is on course to be a Senator for South Australia when the new Senate takes their seats in 2014. It’s third time lucky for Day who stood as a Liberal in a hard to win seat in 2007, for the Senate for Family First in 2010 (just missing out) and now successfully in 2013.
Eternity spoke to the soon-to-be Senator: Why do you think it is important for there to be Christian parties in the parliament?
I think it comes down to values. I am not sure who it was who once said that “I’d rather have a competent atheist than an incompetent Christian running the show.” Competency is obviously the most important feature. But it is even better if you have that coupled with strong values that inform the way that you do things.
Which issues raised in the last election would your faith make a difference on?
There’s no doubt about which ones. I have seen the devastating effect that homelessness and joblessness have on people. Those would be the two areas most affected by my Christian faith and my Christian values.
An area raised during the campaign was asylum seekers. What’s your view?
First of all we have to acknowledge that there are something like 30 million refugees around the world. All would like to seek asylum and go to somewhere better than where they are. Family First has long had a policy of setting aside one per cent of GNI towards our commitment to foreign aid. The key is that we should set aside the one per cent first. As a young Christian I was taught to tithe. I remember my first pay packet—I got $30 a week. Straightaway you took the first three dollars and set it aside. Family First also supports any policy which will discourage asylum seekers from getting on boats and trying to make it to Australia.
Do you think that Australia should take more refugees through an orderly process?
Yes, I do.
Looking across Australia after this election it strikes me that the Christian party vote actually fell in some states. What is your impression?
Yes, it was a bit fragmented. Most of them got about one per cent each. But they appeal to different groups in the electorate. I don’t think it matters a great deal—as long as they each preference each other before the majors. Then each one’s vote will stay alive until it gets to one of the other like-minded parties.
Family First calls itself a conservative party, will it be a good ally for the Coalition?
Yes there will be many areas we agree on, but not everything. For example we question the Parental Leave scheme.
Do you think same sex marriage will be passed by this new parliament?
There is a push within the Coalition, and Mr Rudd who will still be in the parliament has promised to move a motion within 100 days.
But I believe that it will be defeated overwhelmingly. We support same sex marriage being put to a referendum, and the Australian people will say they do not want it.More