Scott Morrison accuses Bill Shorten of taking a ‘cheap shot’ over gays going to hell

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“I cannot believe that the Prime Minister has not immediately said that gay people will not go to hell.

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When Mr Shorten was asked if he believed gay people would go to hell, he said: “No, I don’t believe gay people, because they’re gay, will go to hell. I don’t need a law to tell me that. I don’t believe it.”

The Opposition Leader then criticised Mr Morrison for not being able to give a direct answer to the same question the previous day.

“I think if you want to be prime minister of Australia you are going to be prime minister for all people. And I just don’t believe it. The nation’s got to stop eating itself in this sort of madness of division and toxicity.”

“This country needs to really lift itself and the political debate and coverage needs to lift itself in the next four days.”

Questions about personal belief and family upbringing have arisen on both sides of the election campaign, with Mr Shorten speaking about his mother and his Catholic family while Mr Morrison attended a church service where he was photographed worshipping.

Scott Morrison sings during an Easter Sunday service at his Horizon Church at Sutherland.

Scott Morrison sings during an Easter Sunday service at his Horizon Church at Sutherland.Credit:AAP

The Coalition campaign has been troubled by anti-gay comments from several candidates. The candidate for Wills, Peter Killin, suggested that gay people should be stopped from gaining elected office; the candidate for Greenway, Allan Green, criticised the “obscene homosexual Mardi Gras” in an old social media post; the candidate for Fraser, Peter Bain, has suggested a ban on gay couples adopting children.

When Mr Morrison was asked on Tuesday about Mr Bain’s comments, he said the issue would be dealt with by the party organisation. Asked how it would deal with it, he repeated the answer and said he wanted to focus on the election debate over the economy.

David Crowe is Chief Political Correspondent of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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