Christian sect members attack Tasmanian Greens

A reclusive Christian sect has entered the Tasmanian election campaign with an attack on the state’s Greens.

Members of the Exclusive Brethren have taken out newspaper advertisements without revealing that the group is behind the campaign.

Two half-page newspaper advertisements, one placed by Scottsdale pig-farmer Roger Unwin, the other by another Scottsdale man, Trevor Christian, attacked the Greens for their policies on such things as same-sex marriages and transgender rights.

A member of the group has confirmed the two men are Exclusive Brethren.

Neither could be contacted by the ABC.

In another development, the Liberal Party says it has received no funding from the group.

However the party has admitted meeting members of the group before the election campaign.

One of the Exclusive Brethren’s pamphlets described the Greens as “socially destructive”.

A Liberal Party pamphlet distributed in Tasmania uses the same description.

The Liberals’ state director, Damien Mantach, says it would be drawing a long bow to say there is anything untoward in that.

However he says he did meet the Exclusive Brethren before the election campaign.

He will not say when or what was discussed but says to the best of his knowledge the Liberals have not taken donations from the group.

But Mr Mantach says he does not ask what religion someone is when they make a donation.

The Exclusive Brethren have about 8,000 members around Australia and the worldwide head of the sect, known as the “Elect Vessel”, lives in Sydney.

The group shuns contact with non-believers, refusing to eat with them or use modern technology like computers, mobile phones, televisions or radios.

Exclusive Brethren also do not vote.

The Exclusive Brethren ran a similar campaign against the New Zealand Greens in that country’s election last year.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia
Mar. 15, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday March 15, 2006.
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