A factious bunch?

Raj Gupta

Normally at elections I have been left wondering if my vote would make any difference. Not this time. I now reside in the marginal seat of Greenway. I did not even know that it was marginal until election night.

I was struck that there were a list of 11 candidates on the House or Reps ballot paper (yes, I could have been struck quite literally by the senate paper). I found intriguing that at least three of the parties were appealing in some way to the Christian vote. Part of me was overjoyed that so many candidates would run in this way.

But as I sat glued to the television on election night, I couldn't help but think that maybe the 'Christian vote', in as much as there is one, was being split. The Greens party had no hesitation in talking up the fact that they had received 1 million votes. Regardless of what one may think about their agenda, it is hard to fault their argument that the Australian people want their agenda taken seriously.

By comparison, the conservative 'Christian vote' seemed to be split across a number of parties. The result is that the community (and whoever our Government ends up being) has every reason to think that Christians are a minor group who don't need to be taken seriously - or perhaps, more to the point, Christians are minor groups.

At the time of writing, in the Senate, the Australian Sex Party (194,000) and the Australian Shooters Party (160,000) each had received more counted primary votes than the CDP Christian Party (98,000). Yet Family First, another party appealing to the Christian vote, received 208,000 votes. The casual observer could be forgiven for thinking that Christians now fall into the category of minor groups that can be ignored.

The Greens certainly have their differences. However, they have been able to form a political alliance where they will now have a national platform for their agenda.

Perhaps it is just me. But it seems as though Christians would rather be defined by our differences, rather than the extraordinary range of things we have in common.

And I wonder: are their implications for unity closer to home?