Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown hit out this morning at an on-going
campaign to undermine the Tasmanian Greens before the March 18 state
election, which appears to be funded by the shadowy Christian sect, the
Exclusive Brethren. The Exclusive Brethren are a breakaway sect of the
Plymouth Brethren, under the world leadership since 2002 of wealthy
Sydney businessman Bruce Hales. They have a rigid code of conduct,
which excludes reading newspapers or voting, but under Hales’s
have poured money into election campaigns, particularly in New Zealand
and the US.

Costly half-page ads in The Advocate on Friday and The Saturday Mercury
attacked Greens policies. They were authorised by Scottsdale farmer
Roger Unwin, who told Crikey yesterday he was a member of the Exclusive
Brethren. A pamphlet has since been distributed statewide which also
targets the Greens. On the front is a picture of Brown and inside,
readers are asked if they are aware “of the policies hidden behind the
environmental veneer”. It warns against many policies, including
equal access to adoption and fostering services for gay, lesbian and
bisexual people, and the right of people to choose their own gender
regardless of their sex at birth.

Today, half-page ads appeared in The Mercury, The Examiner and The Advocate (the latter in a lovely green colour), which reprint the text of the pamphlet.
Like the pamphlet, the ads are authorised by T Christian
of Scottsdale. Crikey rang Trevor Christian this morning to ask whether
he is an Exclusive Brethren (as we have been told he was), but couldn’t get hold of him.

Crikey rang Brown, who says the campaign is based on hate, and is exclusive
not inclusive, and that permission to use his picture in the pamphlet was
neither sought nor given: “This is a very highly cashed up campaign by
people whose bigotry is miserable and divisive of families.” Meanwhile,
Martine Delaney, a transgender person, has already lodged a complaint
with the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner to halt Roger Unwin’s
ad and a Liberal flyer that says full access to marriage laws for
same-sex couples is “a socially destructive change”, both of which she
says incite hatred against sexual and gender minorities.