Catholic politician defends political party branch-stacking
NSW Liberal MLC David Clarke, an Opus Dei Catholic, has said it is the responsibility of Christians to involve themselves in politics, and it's natural that political party branch officials will seek new members among their friends.
Mr Clark, who spoke with the ABC's Religion Report yesterday, was described as the "convenor of a rapidly-expanding new Christian conservative wing of the New South Wales Liberal party".
The ABC linked Mr Clark's involvement with an Opus Dei "stacking" of the Randwick-Coogee branch of the Young Liberals, which has 21 of its 88 members giving their address as Opus Dei's Warrane College.
"When you have a Development Vice President of the Young Liberal branch seeking new members, he's going to go out to those areas where his friends are," he said. "So if he comes from a particular school and he's got friends there, it's natural that he'll go there."
Mr Clarke admitted his central involvement in what ABC presenter Stephen Crittenden called a "highly co-ordinated campaign to bring ... religious conservatives into the New South Wales Liberal party."
He said: "I do believe it is the responsibility of Christians to involve themselves in public affairs, and the political process, and that's something that I encourage... I believe that Christian values are at the foundation of our nation and I encourage Christians of all denominations to join the political party of their choice."
Who puts the "R" in Catholic? Who puts the "C" in Liberal-Arts? "WE DO!" (ABC Radio Religion Report)
Hon David Clarke MLC
The Hon. David John CLARKE, MLC (NSW Parliament)
13 May 2004