howard's friends, 'aussie taliban'

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    Nationals split over Family First deal
    Greg Roberts
    October 08, 2004
    THE Queensland Nationals have broken ranks with the Coalition over its preferences deal with the Family First Party, with Nationals Queensland Senate candidate Barnaby Joyce describing the Assemblies of God-affiliated party as "the lunatic Right".

    His comments came as police confirmed they were investigating an incident in which supporters of Family First allegedly hurled eggs at Greens party members after screaming obscenities at them and declaring that lesbians were "witches who should be burned at the stake".

    Mr Joyce said he was deeply disturbed by a leaflet published by a Family First Victorian Senate candidate, Danny Nalliah, of the Catch the Fire Ministries.

    "Spot Satan's strongholds in the areas you are living (brothels, gambling places, bottleshops, mosque, temples -- Freemasons/Buddhist/Hindu etc, witchcraft," the leaflet says.

    "If you are ready to pray against it, do so. If not, bring it to your church and ask your intercessors, through the pastor, to pull these strongholds down."

    Mr Joyce said he believed no party should be swapping preferences with Family First.

    "This is the lunatic Right, this is crazy, ill-informed stuff," he said.

    "They seem to be saying we should be tearing down mosques and tearing down bottleshops.

    "These are not the sort of people you do preference deals with."

    The Greens' candidate for the Queensland seat of Dickson, Howard Nielson, said a complaint to police by two party members alleges they were confronted by a Family First member on Monday while campaigning.

    "He told them lesbians were witches that should be burned at the stake," Mr Nielson said.

    He said that after an argument between the Greens and several Family First supporters, who had been campaigning nearby, the Family First people left.

    "They drove back a short while later and pelted eggs at our people as they shouted, f..k the Greens," Mr Nielson said.

    Police confirmed the claim was under investigation.

    Greens Queensland Senate candidate Drew Hutton said the "ugly" incident demonstrated why John Howard should not be swapping preferences with Family First.

    "These really are thuggish, intolerant people," Mr Hutton said.

    Family First's Queensland Senate candidate, John Lewis, declined to comment, saying only that he was "too busy to be bothered about this".

    The party's federal leader, Andrea Mason, declined to return calls.

    The Coalition is exchanging preferences with the party in more than 100 seats, but Family First is directing preferences against Liberal candidate Ingrid Tall in the seat of Brisbane because she is a lesbian, and against Liberal MP Warren Entsch in Leichhardt because he supports gay marriages.

    Meanwhile, a "Christian values" checklist used by morals campaigner Fred Nile in his Christian Democratic Party's federal election campaign has angered the author of the widely distributed list.

    The list compares major political parties' stances on 27 issues -- such as abortion, prayer to open parliament, and same-sex marriage -- and has been widely circulated with the party's campaign material.

    However, the checklist's co-author -- Peter Stokes, of Salt Shakers, a Melbourne-based Christian ethics group -- said he was unhappy with the use of the list for party propaganda purposes.

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