Poll punishes Greens after senator mocks Catholics

The Australian reports today that Newspoll showed the Greens' support dropped to a seven-month low of 5% after Senator Kerry Nettle appeared in a t-shirt with wording that directs Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott to keep his "rosaries off my ovaries".

Prime Minister John Howard last week condemned the t-shirt.

"I think that was deeply offensive to many Australian Catholics," he told Southern Cross Broadcasting. "The Greens Party can practically sneer at Catholic devotional practice and think it's funny and to see some journalists standing around grinning as if the whole thing's a joke."

Today's Newspoll shows that primary support for the Greens dropped to a seven-month low of 5%, down from 7%. The Greens' primary vote at the 2004 election was 7.2%.

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Gerard Henderson also refers to the controversial t-shirt in his column today.

"The reference to the Catholic prayer, the rosary, was nothing but a sectarian attack on the Health Minister, Tony Abbott, a Catholic," he said. "But would Nettle wear a T-shirt bagging, say, the Koran? Not likely, despite that most believing Muslims are more socially conservative than Abbott."

Strewth: Oh so unimpressed (The Australian 14/2/06)
AWB scandal boosts Labor (The Australian/news.com.au 14/2/05)
Gerard Henderson: Media bend in the prevailing wind (Sydney Morning Herald 14/2/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Australian Greens | Women's Reproductive Rights

Catholic groups decry Senate vote (CathNews 10/2/06)
Catholic and Evangelical students join Muslims in RU-486 fight (CathNews 9/2/06)
Abbott says attacks are sectarian (CathNews 9/2/06)
Bishop Fisher says RU406 won't curb abortions (CathNews 7/2/06)
Catholic GPs ready to quit over RU-486 (CathNews 3/2/06)
Life Office criticises advertiser's gag on abortion debate (CathNews 1/2/06)
Churches lead RU406 protest (CathNews 30/1/06)
Day of action to fight abortion drug move (CathNes 27/1/06)
Melbourne Archbishop says maintain abortion drug ban (CathNews 25/1/06)
Pope says 'no' to gay marriage, abortion pill (CathNews 13/1/06)
Catholic Health to address abortion pill inquiry (CathNews 15/12/06)

I had an abortion: Democrats Leader (The Advertiser/news.com.au 9/2/06)
Ovaries T-shirt is 'offensive' (news.com.au/Australian Associated Press 10/2/06)
I'll wear ovaries T-shirt again: Nettle (Sydney Morning Herald 10/2/06)
Nettle apologises for abortion T-shirt (The Age/Australian Associated Press 10/2/06)
Abbott should stop pressure: Beazley (The Australian/Australian Associated Press 10/2/06)
John Fleming: Abortion drug's risks a turn-off (The Australian 14/2/06)
Hospital Scrutinized Amid Talk of Abortion Referrals (Zenit 12/2/06)

14 Feb 2006