Australian Christian Lobby claims NSW residents reject Greenwich’s Equality Bill

Australian Christian Lobby claims NSW residents reject Greenwich’s Equality Bill
Image: Wendy Francis from the Australian Christian Lobby. Facebook/Star Observer

by MICHAEL JAMES

This story was originally published in the Star Observer.

 

Wendy Francis, National Director for Politics at the Australian Christian Lobby is celebrating what appears to be a strong response opposing the upcoming NSW LGBTIQA+ Equality Bill by Independent MP Alex Greenwich.

The news comes in response to the results of a parliamentary inquiry survey that appears to indicate 85% of NSW residents do not support the Bill.

While the news has the Australian Christian Lobby celebrating, things may not be as clear as they seem.

Australian Christian Lobby celebrates survey results

Earlier this year the NSW government released the survey seeking feedback on The Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill 2023 which proposed to amend around 20 laws in NSW that impact the state’s LGBTQI community.

NSW residents were invited to have their say on the survey, with anyone able to respond and provide opinions on the bill.

Overwhelmingly the results of the survey showed that 85.13% of respondents, approximately 13,000 people, did not support the bill.

However that number of respondents represents less that 0.5% of the NSW population, this didn’t stop Francis from celebrating.

“This is an unprecedented and unmistakable denunciation of Greenwich’s extreme agenda” said Wendy Francis in a statement.

“The people of NSW have sent an unequivocal message — this reckless bill must be stopped in its tracks.”

However things may not be as they appear.

Wendy Francis and the LGBTQIA+ Community

Wendy Francis and the Australian Christian Lobby have a long standing history of opposing many issues pertaining to the LGBTQIA+ community, so too is their history with online surveys and petitions.

Francis is quite familiar with online surveys and petitions, having been the driving force behind many of her own in the past.

It was 2011 that first saw her launch into the public eye when Wendy lead the charge against billboards promoting safe sex in Queensland.

However it was quickly discovered that Wendy and the Australian Christian Lobby had submitted multiple complaints via their networks that were largely copied and pasted and mostly identical in their claims.

Since then Wendy has been behind a number of contentious petitions that have raised questions about the validity of their results.

In 2016 she again became the face of anti-LGBT sentiment when she launched a petition calling on the Queensland government to cancel the Safe Schools program. In response a petition was launched to counter hers, supported by now Premier of Queensland, Steven Miles. At the time it was reported that Francis was again using her network with the ACL to continue to gather more names in support of her petition.

However in 2020 it was Drag Story time that drew Wendy Francis back into the spotlight.

Wendy again set her sights on the LGBT community, this time against Drag Queens, as she called for the cancellation of Drag Story Time events in Brisbane City Council libraries.

The results of this survey however spoke for themselves.

Over 7,700 people supported her efforts, however it was revealed that most of those supporters did not in fact reside in Brisbane.

Through her active campaigning Wendy had attracted the support of a great number of people who were not eligible to participate.

Given her colourful association with online surveys and petitions the results of the NSW survey, which skews heavily in her favour, raises many questions.

“Respondents were not a representative sample of the NSW population”

With Wendy Francis being such a seasoned campaigner against our community and with a network of 250,000 members in the Australian Christian Lobby, just how accurate are these results?

In fact the report released this week highlights some of the flaws in their own data collection methods that bring the results into question.

First and foremost the survey states that respondents to the survey were self selected and made the choice to participate.

In fact the report itself states “This means that respondents were not a representative sample of the NSW population, but rather interested members of the public who volunteered their time to have their say.”

It goes on to state that “some survey respondents reside outside of NSW.”

Of the 13,000 plus respondents it also notes that “723 duplicates were found in the data, where 641 individuals submitted 1,364 responses.”

However the report indicates that whilst some of these duplicates were removed, not all were.

“Duplicates were removed from a list of respondents’ email addresses as this was the only unique attribute for respondents within the survey data.”

“However, not all duplicates were removed, for example, respondents that used multiple email addresses with slight variations.”

This information also indicates that there is no data collected to uniquely identify respondents as specifically residing in NSW, the key audience it seeks to gather feedback from.

With such strong results skewing in favour of the Australian Christian Lobby, a lobby group with incredibly large numbers and a history of targeting the LGBTQIA+ community, are these results valid?

Or are they in fact a result of an orchestrated campaign by a lobby group boasting a network of 250,000 people around the country attempting to skew data in their favour?

By their own admission the Australian Christian Lobby are now using the results to encourage MP’s not to support the bill.

“On behalf of the silent majority, the Australian Christian Lobby implores every MP to respect the decisive will of the people and reject this extremist bill outright. The public have roared an emphatic ‘No’ — now it’s time for politicians to prove they’re listening” they said in a statement issued on Friday.

Despite the results of the survey the Bill is expected to pass without any amendments this year.

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