Religious communities across western Sydney have punished Labor, with the growing concerns around religious freedoms swinging votes towards the Liberal Party in the traditional ALP heartland. Source: The Australian.
While the statewide swing towards the Coalition in New South Wales was less than half a per cent, key seats in western Sydney recorded swings above 5 per cent towards the government, overlapping with areas of high religious observance, migrant population, and majority “no” votes during the same-sex marriage survey.
In McMahon, voters turned on senior Labor MP Chris Bowen, who had a 5.16 per cent swing against him but retained the seat.
The electorate has a larger than average religious population – 36 per cent of residents are Catholic, 12 per cent are Muslim – which returned a 64.9 per cent “no” vote for same-sex marriage.
McMahon also has fewer residents born in Australia than the rest of the nation – 51 per cent compared with the average of 66 per cent – mostly from Iraq, Lebanon and Vietnam.
In Banks, held by Liberal David Coleman by 1.4 per cent going into Saturday’s election, the Immigration Minister retained the seat with a 5.3 per cent swing.
Banks, with large Chinese, Nepalese and Vietnamese populations, where 24 per cent of residents say they are Catholic, voted 55.1 per cent “no” in the same-sex marriage survey.
Labor’s Tony Burke was also punished by voters, suffering a 3.2 per cent swing in Watson but retaining the seat.
The electorate returned a 69.6 per cent “no” vote for same-sex marriage, with 23 per cent of residents Catholic and 23 per cent Muslim.
Michael Kellahan, executive director of Christian think tank Freedom for Faith, said attacks on Scott Morrison’s religion, debate around discrimination in religious schools and the Israel Folau saga turned religious freedoms into an election issue for many voters.
“People of faith have had their concerns dismissed as self-bigotry and self-interest. That felt patronising and it galvanised people who are concerned about their kids, about schools and want some clear leadership on religious freedom,” Mr Kellahan said.
Righteous electorates take a swing at the Left (The Australian)