Parties should be closed churches to extremism

THIS is probably not what John Howard had in mind when he said the Liberal Party was a "broad church".

And now Labor has been left red-faced and down a candidate.

In recent days, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has had to defend his party's acceptance of donations from controversial Christian sect the Exclusive Brethren.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd once labelled the group an "extremist cult", and it has drawn criticism for its anti-gay stance and allowing child sexual abuse to go unreported.

So something smelt fishy when the Independent Commission Against Corruption revealed 62 members of the separatist group made $67,000 in donations of more than $1500 during the December 2010 election. Particularly considering the enclave's members are not allowed to vote.

But if the Opposition planned to capitalise on the iffy donation trail, it well and truly missed its window of opportunity.

Labor candidate Christian Kunde has stepped down after his friendship to Uthman Badar, the Australian mouthpiece of radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir, was made public.

Mr Badar was banned from delivering a lecture titled Honour Killings are Morally Justified at the Opera House in 2014.

Mr Kunde told a lecture in 2013 that homosexual marriage was not permitted under Islam, although he is now coach of a gay women's AFL team.

Either way, maybe both parties could afford to be slightly more closed churches - at least until the election.

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