Liberal MP Kevin Andrews loses pre-selection for seat of Menzies

Federal MP Kevin Andrews has lost preselection for his federal seat of Menzies, effectively bringing end to his long political career. Andrews was defeated by Keith Wolahan, who was a commando before becoming a barrister.

Andrews was first elected to parliament in 1991, making him to longest continually serving member currently in the parliament. In the Howard government he served as Minister for Ageing and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. Later he became the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

When the coalition was returned to power at the 2013 election, Andrews served as Social Services Minister and then Minister of Defence in the Abbott government. While serving as Social Services Minister he launched ‘Stronger Relationships’, a program encouraging people to attend couples counselling. The scheme was a failure with most of the 100,000 vouchers available in the program not being claimed.

In 2015 when Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop announced she was switching allegiances from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull, Andrews voiced his support for the incumbent and unsuccessfully challenged Bishop for the deputy position. With Turnbull taking over as Prime Minister Andrews was moved to the back-bench.

A Catholic and staunchly conservative MP, through his political career Andrews was a vocal campaigner against marriage equality, and had close ties to conservatives family and religious groups. He has often given speeches at events for the Family Council of Victoria, a group that opposed to anti-homophobia programs and policies in schools and sex education.

Andrews was also an ambassador for the World Congress of Families, a conservative group that was later listed as a hate group by the US based Southern Poverty Law Centre.

During the lead up to the 2017 postal survey on same-sex marriage in Australia Andrews declared he would vote against the legislation regardless of what view his electorate expressed via the survey. Ultimately he abstained from voting.

During the debate over marriage equality Andrews argued that same-sex relationships were akin to close friendships, telling Sky News that he was very close with some of his cycling buddies but he didn’t need a law to define their relationship.

“That’s not the same. I have an affectionate relationship with my cycling mates, we go cycling on the weekends,” Andrews said.

After the survey showed the majority of Australians supported same-sex relationship, Andrews said one of the positives of the public debate was a new generation of young conservatives had become politically active.  Immediately after the YES result was announced in the marriage survey, Andrews called for legislation to allow people to discriminate on the basis on sexuality based on  religious belief.

Today as party member put their support behind an alternative candidate rather than the incumbent member, Andrews said it had been an honour to serve his Victorian electorate.

The greatest privilege an Australian can have is to serve in the Federal Parliament,” Andrews said.

“And to have done so for almost three decades is something which I wake up every morning, and shake myself that I have been able to do that.

“I wish my successor well. I wish that in the future the Liberal Party will remain united, stable, strong.”

OIP Staff

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