Flat White

Kevin Andrews deserved better

1 February 2021

6:53 PM

1 February 2021

6:53 PM

Kevin Andrews didn’t deserve the vilification he received after losing yesterday’s Menzies preselection, especially from journalists who appear to have forgotten the difference between reporting and editorialising or mistake Twitter for the vox populi.

While it’s great to see younger people coming through the ranks of political parties (and yesterday’s winner Keith Wolahan looks to be a stellar candidate), at just 65, Andrews desire to serve one more term was legitimate. 

Parties need a blend of wise heads and youth. 

Despite being a hate figure of “progressives” (I will come back to the terminology), Andrews is a formidable intellect and policy wonk. 

He served as immigration minister under John Howard and as social services and defence minister under Tony Abbott. 

As the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, almost 30 years, he has the honour of being “the Father of the House”. 

The left is dancing on his political grave today because he is a conservative. 

Even before cancel culture became a thing, Kevin Andrews was being demonised by the “progressive” left. 

In 1996 he courageously and thoughtfully led the campaign to overturn the Northern Territory’s radical euthanasia laws. 

This so-called Rights of the Terminally Ill Act had resulted in several killings of people who were not terminally ill. 

But evidence doesn’t matter to the “progressive” left, even when it harms people. 

Andrews never shirked his advocacy for the natural family as being the gold standard to which civil society should aspire. 

Without casting judgement on people for making other choices, he simply put forward the facts from social science and suggested public policy should incentivise what we know works best for children. 

His 2012 book Maybe ‘I Do’: Modern Marriage and the Pursuit of Happiness, was lampooned by “progressives” but no one ever said why the science he presented was wrong. 

Demonise, never debate is the “moderates’” way. Doesn’t sound very “moderate” or “progressive”. 

It was no surprise when Andrews became one of the leading parliamentary voices for the No campaign in the fight to preserve the definition of marriage in 2017. 

He spoke at many of our Coalition for Marriage rallies and for his trouble is today being derided by “progressives” as a “homophobe”. 

But that’s identity politics. If you have a policy disagreement with someone on the left, you must have an irrational and bigoted phobia. 

If only Australians had listened to the likes of Andrews. The degendering of marriage certainly hasn’t had “progressive” or “moderate” consequences. 

Freedom of speech and Christianity is about to be further criminalised in Victoria and Joe Biden has decreed the death of women’s sports in the name of LGBTIQA+ “equality”. 

The longer the rainbow political march, it’s Andrews who is looking like the true progressive. 

Perhaps now you can see one report on Sunday’s preselection use the phrase “hard right flank” to describe him and his supporters. 

It obscures the truth about what he actually stands for. 

The sooner this deceptive cancel culture word game is up, the better. 

As former deputy prime minister John Anderson keeps saying, you can’t get good public policy from bad debate. 

Kevin Andrews will be missed in the parliament, but I’m sure he’ll continue to be an asset to the conservative cause. 

No political party needs a “hard right flank”. It certainly doesn’t need a “hard left” one either. 

But a “conservative wing” that stands for free, respectful and evidence-based debate is essential. 

Lyle Shelton is a former Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby and Director of the Coalition for Marriage. He blogs at lyleshelton.com.au. 

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