Australian MP provokes anger over pro-Orthodox voting guide

By Josh Jackman, August 28, 2013

An Australian MP’s attempt to curry favour with Orthodox Jews appears to have backfired.

Michael Danby, the Labour MP for Melbourne Ports in Victoria, has created two voting guides which provide examples of how to fill in ballots, the second of which relegates Australian Sex Party candidate Melissa Star from second voting preference to last.

Ms Star is replaced by Family First nominee Robert Keenan, who appears in bottom place on the original guide.

The Australian Sex Party’s policies include an intention to legalise same sex marriage, abortion and the use of marijuana, while according to their website, Family First is “a mainstream conservative party which believes in strong families [and] strong values”.

Mr Danby, who has held his seat since 1998, defended the move to Guardian Australia by stating that the second card was made “as we thought we would respect a minority group, the Orthodox Jewish supporters, who would not like to preference the Sex party at number two”.

However, he has been condemned by Jewish news site Galus Australis, whose editor, Alex Fein, described Mr Danby’s actions as “offensive”.

Ms Fein alleged that: “You’d have to work on the assumption that all Orthodox Jews are prejudiced and closed-minded if you think Family First would appeal to them.”

Galus Australis columnist Yaron Gottlieb also asked: “What does this say about Danby’s view of us?”, calling Family First “a homophobic, ultra-conservative party that doesn’t believe in human induced global warming.”

The Australian federal election will be held on September 7.

Last updated: 12:17pm, August 28 2013