Twirling towards freedom

Kevin Andrews, Natural Family Man of the Year
The best and worst of the Minister for Social Services

Kevin Andrews, minister for social services in Tony Abbott's Coalition government, was to be named Natural Family Man of the Year at this weekend's World Congress of Families annual conference in Melbourne before he withdrew this morning. What follows is a selection of his contributions to over two decades of public life.

“This caring and compassionate Labor government has thoughtfully furnished us with the bloody entrails with which we may read the portents of the future, like the ancient seers.” – Maiden speech, House of Representatives, 5 September 1991.

“Some groups don't seem to be settling and adjusting into the Australian way of life as quickly as we would hope.” – on Sudanese refugees, media interview, 1 October 2007.

“He has been denied entry into the United Kingdom because he was caught with others causing affray at Heathrow Airport. He doesn’t seem the sort of bloke we want in this country.” – on Snoop Dogg, Macquarie Radio (Sydney), 26 April 2007.

“I'm satisfied the cancellation is in the national interest. I have a responsibility and a duty as minister under the Act to turn my mind to the question of whether Haneef passes the character test.” – on cancelling Dr Muhamed Haneef's work visa, 16 July 2007. Dr Haneef was the first person to be arrested and detained under Australia's 2005 anti-terrorism legislation, charged with aiding terrorists on the basis of a series of unsubstantiated allegations relating to contact with his second cousins, who were involved in the 2007 Glasgow International Airport attack. He spent nearly a month in custody, some of that in solitary confinement conditions, before all charges against him were dropped. He was later awarded "substantial" compensation. 

“Marriage seems to protect from contracting cancer and offers a better chance of survival after diagnosis.” – Kevin Andrews, Maybe 'I Do': Modern Marriage and the Pursuit of Happiness (Connor Court Publishing, 2012).

“How we preserve marriage – against the cultural and economic pressures that threaten to overwhelm it – as the foundation of healthy family life, the protective institution for children, the crucible of the free market, and the essential condition for democracy, will determine the health and longevity of the critical institutions of the western liberal experiment. The future of individuals, families, communities and nations is tied to the outcome.” – Kevin Andrews, Maybe 'I Do': Modern Marriage and the Pursuit of Happiness (Connor Court Publishing, 2012).

“The Greens are Marxist in their philosophy, and display the same totalitarian tendencies of all previous forms of Marxism when applied as a political movement.  By totalitarian, I mean the subordination of the individual and the impulse to rid society of all elements that, in the eyes of the adherent, mar its perfection.” – Speech delivered to News Weekly annual dinner in Melbourne, 10 November 2010.

“It's not as if people have got no options.” – On the six month wait for Centrelink claimants, Fairfax media interview, 24 May 2014.

“The best way to get the job you want is to have a job in the first place.” – Advice for jobseekers, Fairfax media interview, May 24th 2014.

“What I did last time was to allow the single parents to wash out of the system.” – On changing the eligibility criteria for single parents, Australian Melbourne Institute Economic and Social Outlook conference, July 3rd 2014.

“I believe as more people hear about this program, more couples will take advantage of the offer.” – On the 98,600 marriage counselling vouchers that remain unclaimed, Fairfax media interview, 3 August 2014.

“Tolerance is a critical value in a western liberal democracy like Australia.” – On announcing his withdrawal from the World Congress of Families, 29 August 2014.

Michaela McGuire

Michaela McGuire is a journalist and the author of Last Bets: A True Story of Gambling, Morality and the Law and the Penguin Special A Story of Grief. Visit her blog, Twirling Towards Freedom.


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