Here’s a thread to discuss anything coming from the parties and the candidates during the penultimate week of the election campaign. A couple of topics we might kick off with — first, the Coalition’s campaign launch today. Here’s the transcript of Tony Abbott’s speech, although my favourite part was when Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Campbell Newman talked about the “socialist dictatorship” that Labor have been working towards.

Second, a doozy — Family First’s lead candidate for the Senate in Queensland, Wendy Francis, used Twitter to call for an end to the gay marriage debate in Australia. She then elaborated (screengrab courtesy of @tcn33 — used with permission):

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The tweet connecting the legalisation of gay marriage with legalising child abuse has since been deleted. But it’s worth noting that this isn’t the only time she has published a remark like that — this media release on her web site includes the statement that:

Homosexuals who are pushing for this don’t care about children; they care only about their selfish desires. Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse and legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse.

Meanwhile, on Twitter Wendy Francis kept arguing away. And while I have tended to feel a bit of sympathy for Dr Gordon Moyes, the Family First Member of the Legislative Council in NSW — who once replied to me on Twitter acknowledging that Senator Fielding’s “prisoners and prostitutes” remarks about the Labor government’s paid parental leave scheme were inappropriate — it seems to me that he is arguing along similar lines to Wendy Francis, but with the rough edges shaved off.

But in terms of the federal campaign, it’s worth noting that the Liberal-National Party’s Senate voting ticket in Queensland means that any preferences from the above-the-line votes for the LNP will flow immediately to Family First. I don’t know whether the parties made a deal to exchange preferences or whether the Coalition truly think that the best party to govern, aside from themselves, is the party that espouses those sorts of views. I cling to the hope that some kind soul in the media might ask Tony Abbott which of those two possibilities is true. Because while the views of Wendy Francis are repugnant and I think she should be held accountable for them, it’s also worth noting that one of the major parties have given a major boost to her prospects for election — just as the ALP did with Steve Fielding six years ago, to many people’s great regret.

Have at it.

UPDATE: Fairfax’s Ben Grubb reports that the media release I quoted from disappeared from Wendy Francis’s site not long after I had accessed it.

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