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Was Morrison's ballot-box rejection due to his faith?

Was Morrison's ballot-box rejection due to his faith?

I was asked by Christianity Today to what extent I thought Morrison’s faith was tied to the outcome of this election? I do not think his faith was the issue or the big story from this election last Saturday. From my analysis, what was more a factor was women turning on Scott Morrison in safe conservative seats and electing women Independents, as well as women across the nation voting against Morrison even beyond conservative seats.

I think this change began when there was a March4Justice Women’s Rally on March 4 2021, outside parliament over the lack of response by Morrison’s Government to findings of terrible gender harassment in parliament’s toxic environment. He refused to address the rally and, in parliamentary Question Time, said, ‘Aren’t they fortunate they can protest freely as in other countries they could have guns turned on them.

Australian women were to be thankful that they weren’t shot??? Though Morrison later scrambled to redress this misspeak, his tin ear to gender equality proved to be baked in. And the response to that was seen in the election. We have much higher female representation in Parliament after Saturday – dramatically jumping to 38 per cent in the House and 57 per cent in the Senate.

Morrison’s handling of the truth – with some MPs on his own side calling him toxic and a liar – was a factor many Christians found galling.

I do not believe Morrison’s faith won or lost him the election. However, it may well be that his behaviour was interpreted as an expression of his faith which caused even Christians to wonder.

Morrison’s handling of the truth – with some MPs on his own side calling him toxic and a liar – was a factor many Christians found galling. In addition to his attitude toward women, there were issues with his dealing with refugees, Australian Aid, and climate change (creation care) that did not resonate with the understanding of the Christian faith many share.

In his maiden speech to parliament in 2008, Scott Morrison spoke effusively about his personal faith in Jesus and said it was not a political agenda. He spoke of his debt to Pastor Brian Houston (now resigned from Hillsong in sad circumstances). He spoke of his Christian heroes like Bono, Tutu and Wilberforce. He said he wanted to make poverty history and lift Australian Aid.

And then he took a leading role in a government overseeing the deepest cuts to Australian Aid, leaving it at its lowest level in our history and ranked 23rd out of 28 OECD nations in generosity. It was confusing.

Nonetheless, most Christians, including me, were proud of Morrison when his party selected him as leader (and therefore Prime Minister) in 2018. Faith in Australia was typically regarded as a private matter and had not been explicitly spoken of by politicians except Kevin Rudd, a Labor PM elected in 2007. PM Morrison’s open Christianity bonded us with him.

Morrison brought a Pentecostal version largely unknown and unseen out in public. Many…

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