SA Liberals Crack Down on Hundreds of New Christian Members

In recent days, churches around the nation marked Religious Freedom Weekend with prayers for persecuted believers abroad and better protections for people of faith here in Australia.

Meanwhile, the South Australian Liberal Party moved to either cancel or challenge hundreds of new party membership applications due to suspected church connections. On Friday, InDaily reported that:

The SA Liberal Party has moved to crack down on hundreds of new members recruited from conservative Pentecostal Church communities, cancelling scores of memberships and effectively issuing ‘show cause’ notices to hundreds more.

This follows recent reports by the same outlet that Liberal frontbencher David Speirs, Senator Alex Antic, and several other senior Liberal MPs have been actively encouraging church-going Christians to be more involved in the political process.

According to InDaily, on Friday the Liberal Party’s state executive rejected over 100 new members over fears the party will be “taken over by the Right”. They also wrote to 400 others who have joined since the start of the year, demanding “they explain their commitment to the Liberal cause”.

Australia-wide, there has been a measurable uptick in the number of Christians joining various political parties, but this predates the advice of Speirs and Antic. The passage in recent years of radical abortion, euthanasia and ‘gay conversion’ laws in jurisdictions across the nation has left many people of faith feeling ignored by parties they have supported for decades.

The Canberra Declaration’s Kym Farnik is one of many South Australians to have recently joined the Liberal Party over right-to-life concerns. “We are not anti-Liberal Party,” he clarifies, “but we are wanting to prevent a ‘progressive’ leftist shift away from traditional Liberal Party values.”

Farnik explains that in his various Christian networks, he has been “discussing and praying about political involvement by Christians since last year”. He is aware of many of a similar mind who are joining parties interstate. A common concern Farnik is hearing is that their values are not being represented by the parties they usually vote for.

Joining a political party in order to shape its policy and candidate preselection is an obvious move for those who want a say in the political process, but whose concerns remain unheard. Membership in political parties is a basic freedom in representative democracies like Australia. Due to Christ’s teaching that believers should be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ (Matthew 5:13-16), many Christians feel that it is a personal responsibility to be politically active.

Regardless of the beliefs of prospective members, parties on either side of the aisle should not be surprised at a surge of interest in membership if the will of their voter base is not being represented in parliament. As Speirs himself has warned, SA’s Upper House in particular is known for taking a laissez-faire approach on issues like abortion and euthanasia. “They just wave legislation through. They’re not interested in undertaking deep analysis or challenging legislation that is presented to it,” he recently warned.

Farnik has highlighted the hypocrisy of the South Australian Liberal Party by pointing to their website’s About page, which states, “We believe in the basic freedoms of thought, worship, speech, association and choice.” The Party also affirms “giving all citizens equal rights under the law, responsibilities to maintain it, and the freedom to change it.”

Given the party’s recent purge of Christians, they may want to edit their statement of belief or consider living up to it.

[Photo: South Australian Premier Steven Marshall (AAP Image/David Mariuz)]

By |2021-06-24T13:37:01+10:00June 15th, 2021|Australia, Fairness & Justice, Faith, Freedom, Leadership|11 Comments

About the Author:

Kurt Mahlburg is Canberra Declaration's Features Editor. He also works as a primary school teacher and a freelance writer. He blogs at Cross + Culture and is a regular contributor at the Spectator Australia, MercatorNet, Caldron Pool and The Good Sauce, among other online publications.

Kurt has published a book, Cross and Culture: Can Jesus Save the West?, with rigorous analysis of the modern malaise in Western society.

He has a particular interest in speaking the truths of Jesus into the public square in a way that makes sense to a secular culture and that gives Christians courage to do the same.

Kurt has also studied architecture, has lived for two years on a remote island in Indonesia, is fluent in several Indonesian languages, and among his other interests are philosophy, history, surf, the outdoors, and travel.

11 Comments

  1. Gaylene June 15, 2021 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Very interesting and illuminating article.

  2. maargaret angenent June 15, 2021 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    I agree, very interesting and challenging article

  3. Judi Hinspeter June 18, 2021 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    “We believe in the basic freedoms of thought, worship, speech, association and choice.” The Party also affirms “giving all citizens equal rights under the law, responsibilities to maintain it, and the freedom to change it.”
    The above is taken from the SA Liberal website……….How hypcritical? As Kurt Mahlburg says, maybe this needs to changed.
    So called “progressiveness” is overtaking many in the political class..They seem more interested in maintaining their seats in Parliament rather than representing their constituents. Christians and those who value life from its inception to the final departure, need to stand up and let their views be known. Animals seem to have far more rights to live than humans these days.

  4. M James June 18, 2021 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Yes, I totally agree that as Faith believers we are questioning parties policies on these pertinent issues and how the political parties are addressing them. As believers we seek to align ourselves with The Truth, The Way & The Life of Jesus. Today’s political parties are no longer representing us or governing the people with moral principles. Identity politics have usurped the Truth for a lie. Thus the reason why Christians are looking at the ‘party faithful’ to proclaim truth.
    There is a change in the way we seek representation. A true move of God.
    As Ezekiel predicted: “ first to the ankles, then the knees, then the waist …” until we cross the waters and restore Governing Truth.

  5. Emily June 18, 2021 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    As a Christian, I’ve always voted Liberal. I know many others like me and I find it appalling that Christians are not being permitted to join the Party.

  6. Anna Soh June 18, 2021 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    I think this is good news for Lyle Shelton and the Christian Democratic Party if this is what the Liberal Party is doing. Not the best outcome for them if a strong party emerges that can hold the balance of power in either State or Federal Government that is not Labor or Liberal if there is no difference in the two parties.

    • Daphne Beattie June 23, 2021 at 11:48 am - Reply

      Agree

  7. Yvonne June 19, 2021 at 7:07 am - Reply

    I’m wondering why Scott Morrison who is the head of the liberal party and a Christian, isn’t standing up for and welcoming these christians into his party and standing up for the Godly principles that are in God’s Word.We so need the people whom God has called into these positions so that we can stand and be known as the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit again.I’ve been praying that the people that God has destined to be in our political arena would be obedient to His call and that God’s love,truth,justice,holiness and righteousness would reign in our nation,and that what is evil would be exposed and dealt with.

  8. Aileen Kenseley June 20, 2021 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    We sure need a new Political Party which will give reassurance of freedom of thought and expression, before we suffer not only from this subtle persecution but before it becomes compulsory?
    Thank God some are speaking up for Christian values.

  9. Philip D Brown June 21, 2021 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    I thought it was illegal to discriminate on the basis of religon (Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986) Do we need to amend this act to to make faith discrimination better defined?

  10. Anneke Herweynen June 26, 2021 at 8:05 am - Reply

    This is very disturbing news. We all need to find out what our local Liberal policies are and how our local politicians are listening to their members and their views. and voting and bringing these views into Parliament.
    Christians should be very welcome to join the Party of their choice and not be discriminated against.

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