With the end of Gladys Berejiklian’s reign as Premier of NSW comes a new era, one that will centre on a man named Dominic Perrottet. Perrottet, who has to this point been the Treasurer of the State, has emerged as the strongest contender for the Premiership, a position that has long been held by the moderate faction. A member of the Party’s Conservative faction, he is the hope of many a New South Welshman for significant change from the seemingly endless restrictions and lockdowns enacted on this State by the Berejiklian government. But while this may be a win for Conservatives, those on the Left, and those in the mainstream media, have decided to begin a campaign of hatred and character assassination on the new Premier.

Why? Because they are terrified of the prospect of a Catholic Conservative Premier.

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Since it became apparent that Perrottet would be likely to assume the role, there has been a seemingly undying cesspool of anger and hatred from those with opposing views. Accompanying the hateful rhetoric spewed by those online, particularly on social media platforms, has been a tirade of hit pieces from mainstream media outlets, including the ABC, the Sydney Morning Herald, and The West Australian. For example, The West Australian published a piece entitled “Why NSW’s would-be premier has WA in his sights”, which they posted on Twitter in a tweet that read:

“If hard-right NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet – the Catholic with six children – ends up becoming the State’s 46th Premier, WA could be firmly in his sights.”

Likewise, the ABC ran a piece entitled “Meet Dom Perrottet – the conservative Catholic and father-of-six who will be NSW’s next Premier”, in which they picked apart his faith.

But of all these, it was the Sydney Morning Herald’s piece, “NSW must do better than Dominic Perrottet as Premier”, that was by far the worst of the bunch. The article, written by Stephanie Dowrick, an “interfaith minister” [sic] and social activist, pulled apart Christianity in a way that demonstrates a severe lack of understanding of the faith. And so it occurred to me that I should return the favour and deconstruct this piece to explain just why it is a complete and utter misrepresentation of what Christianity truly is.

Dowrick begins by stating:

“Reading the mind of God is a tricky business.”

Let it be known that no one here is trying to read the mind of God. Christians seek only to do what would be morally right, as Jesus Christ, God the Son, taught us. Often what is morally right is despised by those who lack the capacity to respect certain aspects of humanity. For example, one of the biggest concerns of those who vehemently oppose Perrottet, also noted in Dowrick’s article, is that because he is a Catholic who opposes abortion (which should be the position of all Catholics, given it is a fundamental teaching of the Catholic Church), he may try to instill some sort of restriction or ban on abortion in NSW.

With fetal personhood laws on the Parliamentary agenda, this may indeed come to fruition in some way. But at the core of this is Perrottet’s fundamental belief that abortion is wrong because it takes an innocent human life, demonstrating his inherent respect for human life that his opponents seem to be lacking.

Dowrick continues on to label Perrottet a:

“highly Conservative Catholic whose views represent the most extreme end of a rigidly male-dominated institutional church.”

What is important to note is that his views are not extreme in the slightest. They are only viewed that way by people who vehemently oppose them. Following this, Dowrick draws attention to Scott Morrison’s faith as a Pentecostal Christian, before stating that the views espoused by the Prime Minister and the new NSW Premier only represent 1% of the population. Now while we do not yet have the 2021 Census data, the 2016 data told us that 52.1% of Australians classified themselves as Christian. It would stand to reason that the number is still relatively high, at least significantly higher than a measly 1%.

The next three points are the most egregious. The first:

“Fundamentalist thinking is also highly divisive. The world consists of “us” – and the rest of you. High levels of conformity are demanded; to doubt, self-question, is unwelcome or forbidden.”

This is untrue. Christians, even so much as fundamentalist Christians, want everyone to be able to have a relationship with God. There is no us and them. God’s love is available to everyone. Dowrick’s point on conformity is also beyond absurd. Christians are not immune from doubt and self-questioning, and this is not at all discouraged, nor forbidden. I am sure many Christians would agree that they have experienced these things in their own faith journeys before. I can assure you, as a Catholic myself, I have at one point or another. But that doesn’t make us any less Christian. In fact, questioning one’s faith tends to allow them to grow in it and strengthen it.

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The second of the three is the claim that “individual salvation is everything” and comes at the cost of:

“neglecting the poor, or those seeking refuge, homes, food security, or recognition as full and deserving human beings”.

First, individual salvation is important, but the salvation of others is also of great significance to Christians. Many of us do what we can to ensure we live by our values, and support those who are less fortunate than us. That does not mean we are perfect, far from it, but we do our best. There are of course some Christians who end up in politics that stray from their views (most notably of late Joe Biden’s public support for abortion), and power can indeed corrupt one’s morality, but that is not true of all politicians, and given Dominic Perrottet’s adherence to his faith values, it is unlikely he will be corrupted by his newfound power.

Finally, the most ludicrous point made in Dowrick’s piece is the following:

“The kind of Catholicism with which Perrottet is associated is different. There’s no adherence to a prosperity gospel, care for the suffering would be active. However, in its righteousness and self-righteousness around central questions of identity, sexuality, gender politics, minority rights and an unwavering conviction that this is the “one, true faith”, it is also far from mainstream 21st Century Christianity. And far from the progressive, vibrant Catholicism that flourishes in many parishes and among numerous laypeople active in social and environmental justice.”

Let’s break this down. It is true that there is no adherence to prosperity gospel in the Catholic Church. Prosperity gospel is not an accurate teaching of the Word of God. Catholics may indeed believe that theirs is the one true faith, however we do not discredit Christians of other denominations. We are all one in Christ, we all believe Jesus died for us on the Cross, and we all have similar values. We may differ in some beliefs as to our faith, but that does not mean we are denying that we are all Christian. As to this idea of “mainstream 21st Century Christianity” and “progressive, vibrant Catholicism”, these seem to be an ideal dreamed up by someone who has zero understanding of the faith and the Church.

I am not sure what churches Dowrick has been to, but the Leftist ideal of “progressivism”, which is truly just regression dressed up as something that sounds nice, has no place in the Catholic Church. It is true that there are some Catholic priests who have demonstrated that they are more progressive, and some of these have gone on to spout heresy. It is also true that the Pope holds some “progressive” views, including those on climate change, however these are his personal views and are in no way representative of the Catholic Church.

Dowrick’s article is a major misrepresentation of Christianity and the Catholic faith. Her views on Christianity are likely clouded by misunderstanding and personal bias, and quite possibly by what she has been taught at the “New Seminary” where she studied to become an “interfaith Minister” [sic]. But she is not the only one. Many others have and will continue to misrepresent the faith, even more so now that Dominic Perrottet is the Premier of NSW. It is likely this will occur as a result of bias, hatred, misunderstanding, or indeed concern about certain policy, in particular that surrounding abortion, euthanasia, LGBTQ+ issues, and religious freedoms.

But the Premier’s faith should not be up for debate. His faith is personal to him. If people wish to debate the issues, they should debate them on their merits. I highly doubt that the media and others who are avidly criticising him on his faith would do so if he were a Muslim.

Dowrick finishes her article by writing that “NSW needs to do better.” But what better than Dominic Perrottet, a family man with good values, a moral compass, and a spine? He brings to the job an insight on family that Gladys never had, understanding how issues affect children. His values and moral compass will guide him and NSW in a direction that is likely to be of great benefit to us all, one that is free of segregation and State-sanctioned discrimination. And he will most definitely need a spine with the opposition he is up against.

Dominic Perrottet is the man NSW needs, and he could just be the one who stands in the way of the collapse of this State.

Joel Agius is a young Catholic conservative writer currently studying journalism and creative writing with Griffith University. He writes on freedom, religion and the human condition, mainly focusing on the Australian and US social and political scenes. He also volunteers as a Special Religious Education teacher in State primary schools, and occasionally contributes to The Spectator. You can find him on Twitter or read his work over at his blog. If you would like to support his work, you can click here.

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