The pious Zed Seselja

By October 4, 2021Australian Politics

It seems likely that a federal election will be held later this year, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison shouting “it’s time to give Australians their lives back”1.

One of the senators for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is Zed Seselja, a religious nutter from the Liberal Party. Prior to the last federal election, he stated that the sky would fall if the Labor Party were elected to government federally; that the boats would start again (he didn’t mention the planes); rents would go up; the price of houses would fall; and electricity prices would increase. The latter is quite funny given that he said “And if you think electricity bills are high, just wait…Labor’s new carbon taxes and 50% renewables target will mean you pay more for far less reliable electricity”2.

It seems that South Australia, which obtains 60% of its electricity from renewables has the cheapest power in the nation. In addition, it is the most reliable electricity supply, as it doesn’t break down nearly as often as the coal-fired power stations3. Seselja, of course, was simply lying again. Now, the federal government is being dragged kicking and screaming (mostly from the National Party) to accepting a 50% emissions reduction by 2050 at the frightening prospect (for climate change deniers) of being hammered at the Glasgow climate conference.

Despite voting for the same-sex marriage plebiscite4, Seselja was not happy when the result was overwhelmingly for legalising same-sex marriage (61.6%). Indeed, the ACT was the jurisdiction in which the result was strongest for legalisation, with 74.0% voting in favour5. Seselja initially pledged to back the result of the national plebiscite in parliament, but when it came to the vote, he absented himself from the chamber6.

Seselja voted ‘no’ in the same-sex marriage plebiscite because he believes that Christians and other religious people could be persecuted for their views on marriage and sexuality if the law is changed. Needless to say, he didn’t give any examples of this supposed persecution7. What he fears most is not persecution, but ridicule. It happens when you have ludicrously archaic views of human rights and sexuality, and an ingrained attitude that the religious have the right to tell everyone how to live their lives.

The Liberal Party have been out of power in the ACT since November 2001, and it is unlikely they will ever be elected to government again, because they seem to be a religious rump attempting to impose their regressive beliefs on the most progressive jurisdiction in Australia. The progressive nature of the ACT was not only demonstrated by the vote in the same-sex marriage plebiscite (see above), but has also been clear from the census results, with the most recent one for which results are available (2016) showing that in the ACT, the proportion of the population with ‘no religion’ was 36.6%8, while the Australian average was 30.1%9.

While that was 5 years ago, a more recent survey (in 2018; not a census) indicated that those with no religion are continuing to increase as a proportion of the population. At that time, it was likely about 40%10. It will be interesting to see if that decline is continuing when the results of the 2021 census are made public.

Zed Seselja has been very quiet during the pandemic only releasing media statements on support for businesses and the need for a plan to come out of Covid-19 lockdowns. Most were party political in their nature, and Seselja was simply acting as a mouthpiece for the federal government’s policies. There was one ‘interesting’ statement which indicates how he will lie till he is blue in the face, in support of his regressive religious beliefs. This statement was entitled ‘How much unchecked power should 13 people have’11.

There are so many lies in this piece it is difficult to make their rebuttal shorter than the original statement, so I’ll concentrate on a few. The 13 people to which he refers are Labor and Greens members of the ACT Legislative Assembly who were elected by the voters in the ACT11. We elected all the people in the Legislative Assembly to govern in the best interests of all the people of the ACT. Zed seems to think that they should only legislate what his church tells him is acceptable. Unfortunately for Zed, almost 90% of the voting population support assisted dying legislation12.

He says: “The question needs to be asked in the context of the debate over whether Territories should have the right to legislate on assisted suicide. Because make no mistake – those arguing for the ACT to be able to legislate on assisted suicide are arguing for unchecked power of 13 people to legislate on the taking of a life.”11

These ‘unchecked’ powers are the same powers that the state governments have used to legislate for assisted dying. The only state which has not legislated for assisted dying is New South Wales, although in some of the other states, the legislation has not yet come into operation13

The Northern Territory became the first place in the world to legislate voluntary euthanasia as it was then called, and it came into effect in 1996. In the nine months it was operational, four people availed themselves of it. In 1996, federal Liberal MP and religious nutter Kevin Andrews put forward a bill to outlaw it, which was passed by the Howard government in 199714. Like Seselja, Andrews lied when he said that it was all about regarding vulnerable people as expendable. If I had a terminal illness and happened to feel that my pain and suffering was intolerable, like those four people in the Northern Territory, I would consider voluntary assisted dying as a way of ending it. It would not be another person deciding to take my life; it would be me.

Seselja continued: “What is likely (based on the record of this Labor-Greens Government) is that we would have the most extreme assisted suicide legislation in the country, and could see the kind of results unfolding in parts of Europe and North America, where assisted suicide goes well beyond late stage terminal illness. In Belgium, it is available to children. In the Netherlands it’s available to children, new-born babies with serious disabilities and people with dementia and mental illness. Canada has also passed legislation to make assisted suicide available to those with mental illness.”11

Again, this is lying, and this time by omission. Seselja gives the impression that if a child in Belgium or the Netherlands ‘decided’ to end their life, they could do so. This is in fact only possible with the consent of at least one of their parents and the doctors concerned, and in the case of infants and very young children who are expected to have ‘no hope of a good quality of life’. Those with dementia are only allowed to avail themselves of voluntary assisted dying if they have an advance directive15-17.

The lust for power over people’s lives and deaths is what the religious are about. One of the funny things about Australian politics is that some of those aligned with the religious on the far right of the political spectrum are libertarians, who profess to be all about keeping governments or others out of people’s lives. It is also funny that Seselja will lie through his teeth to attempt to keep his church exerting control over people’s lives. It seems that the number of commandments to which the people like Seselja adhere has now been reduced to, at most, nine. We need to vote out these pious dinosaurs, who want to take us back to the 1950s when men wore hats, tugged their forelock to their priest, and women knew their place.




  • Arthur Baker says:

    I’m not surprised to hear that Seselja “absented himself from the chamber” during the marriage equality vote. Here in the electorate of Warringah, traditionally a safe Liberal seat which includes such harbour-view pockets of affluence as Mosman, Seaforth, Clontarf, Balgowlah Heights and the posh end of Fairlight, we voted 75% in favour of same-sex marriage, the tenth-largest percentage of all the 150 electorates, but our former “representative” (you know who aa’m tokkin’ ’bout, bro) couldn’t bring himself to vote according to the wishes of three-quarters of his constituents, and in characteristically cowardly fashion, slunk ignominiously out of the chamber.

    A little later, the same constituents, including many who had been rusted-on Liberal voters all their lives, gave him the bum’s rush, out of parliament altogether. It’s difficult to express the amount of satisfaction I take from writing the word “representative” in quotation marks (because the only opinions he ever represented were his own, believe me). But even that degree of satisfaction is eclipsed by my joy at including the word “former”, to describe his parliamentary status. I fully recommend voting religious nutters out as a positive contributor to mental health.

    • admin says:

      When Abbott lost his seat in the 2019 election, we cracked a bottle of bubbles in celebration. The average IQ of the parliament jumped up just a little with his absence. I agree we need to get rid of religious nutters from parliament, as they are not the least concerned about the health of our democracy. All they care about is power and money, and they will lie and cheat to get it.

  • Mark Dougall says:

    Of course telling lies is not actually prohibited by the ten commandments. You just can’t bear false witness against your neighbour. Neighbour can be as broadly, or narrowly, defined as you want, depending on what you want to do. As for telling other types of lies well as long as it helps your particular christian cause it’s no problems. Really as long as you go to church regularly everything is good. And church is a great networking opportunity. Like with everything else these smugly stupid people do look for loopholes, even when it comes to their professed faith. Christian morality is a movable feast as we see time and again.

    • admin says:

      An excellent piece by the Rev Stephanie Dowrick in the Sydney Morning Herald. She is one of those rare modern christians who seem to still adhere to the teachings of Jesus. So many don’t.

      • Arthur Baker says:

        And the SMH Letters column for the following day (Tue 5 October) includes six letters praising Dowrick’s article and none criticising it. In football of the spherical-ball variety, even a four-goal victory is traditionally referred to as a “rout”. I presume the 6-0 score means they received no letters of criticism at all, because usually if they do receive even one, they publish it in the interests of fairness, and the SMH does have a few regular correspondents who push the Christian point of view. This demonstration of public antipathy to extreme religion in politics is encouraging.

        • admin says:

          That is indeed encouraging. When I used to write letters to the editor, I noticed that there were a few regular correspondents who flogged their christian manifesto.

  • Glenn says:

    This is the problem with Australian politicians. They are out of touch with reality, and Australia is the laughing stock of the world thanks to these buffoons. The way they killed the NBN in 2013 and replaced it with “Abbott’s Internet” s a good example of this.

    • admin says:

      Indeed! These nutters are only in government to keep the status quo. Lots of money for the wealthy, and bugger all for the poor. As someone said, ‘poverty exists not because we cannot feed the poor, but because we cannot satisfy the rich’. It is the rich who donate to political parties, either personally or through their corporations. It has to stop.

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