'Christian' parties fighting for Senate scraps

Australia’s “Christian Values” parties have been left scrabbling for the twelfth Senate spot in three states (SA, NSW and Qld), in the wake of an election that favoured smaller parties. But the protest and conservative voters went to One Nation and Nick Xenophon ahead of the small Christian parties, that include Christian Democrats, Australian Christians, Democratic Labour, Rise Up Australia and Family First.

“We have a very good chance of getting the twelfth spot in NSW,” Greg Bondar, NSW State Director of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) tells Eternity. “We polled over 3 per cent statewide, and we are closing in on the Greens.”

He rated the chances of their lead candidate Nella Hall being in the Senate as “evens”. She is battling Senator David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democrats for the last spot, with Labor also in that race.

“It’s not promising, but it is possible we could still win,” Vickie Janson, Victorian lead Senate candidate for the Australian Christian’s tells Eternity. Their vote was up, with 19,000 first preference votes, evenly matched by Family First on 21,000.

In the states outside NSW, the CDP ran candidates against the Australian Christians who believe it split the conservative Christian votes. In Victoria, CDP scored 5000 votes – and Bondar tells Eternity the two parties will meet up next week.

The Australian Christians did slightly better in WA, polling 1.85 per cent of the vote.

The general conservative vote did not go to the “Christian Values” parties in Victoria, according to Janson. They went straight to the Liberals or One Nation. “Nick Xenophon also did well”, she says.

Senator John Madigan, elected in 2010 as a Democratic Labour Party Senator for Victoria has not been returned – he stood as an Independent after splitting from the DLP

Senator Bob Day in SA is much more optimistic.

“It is too close to call”, the Family First Senator tells Eternity. “It depends on preferences. But if people followed their ‘How to Vote’ cards, I will be okay.” That is because Day has preferences from the Liberals, Shooters and Fishers, Liberal Democrats and the Christian Democrats.

“I am confident if they follow their parties stated preferences.”

Day’s primary vote went back to under half a quota.

“It is the Xenophon factor. It distorts everything in SA,” Day told Eternity. 

Day believes that Pauline Hansen had a big effect on the small “Christian Values” parties. “Xenophon was not the big surprise. But no one expected Pauline Hansen to have such a spectacular return to Federal politics.”

In Queensland, the Family First candidate has a chance of the twelfth spot, battling with One Nation and Katter. In WA and Tasmania, the Christian parties have lesser chances. WA’s split Nationals ticket and Xenophon have stronger votes, and in Tasmania the “Christian Values” vote is too low.

Adding up the quotas for the Christian values parties in the Senate shows they might have had a better chance as a united front.

In NSW for instance, together they scored .6734 of a quota which would have beaten One Nation into 11th spot. In Queensland, they would have scored .4563 making sure of the twelfth spot.