Australian PM admits gay people don't go to hell

Labor leader Bill Shorten debating with Prime Minister Scott Morrison the Liberal leader last Wednesday. Both sides are campaigning through Chinese-language channels to win votes in closely fought seats

Labor leader Bill Shorten debating with Prime Minister Scott Morrison the Liberal leader last Wednesday. Both sides are campaigning through Chinese-language channels to win votes in closely fought seats

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is a Pentecostal, and opposition leader Bill Shorten was a Catholic before he converted to his wife's Anglican faith.

Nine prominent Christian church leaders in the country wrote to both political candidates this week asking for protections for religious beliefs and freedom of speech as pressure to endorse homosexuality increases in Australian society.

"It's always been something that has informed how I live my life and how I seek to care for and support others".

Opposition leader Bill Shorten told media in Tasmania after the conference: "I can not believe in this election that there is a discussion even underway that gay people will go to hell". I just don't believe it.

Of same-sex marriage, Morrison said: "It's law, and I'm glad that the change has now been made and people can get on with their lives, that's what I'm happy about". "I can not believe that the prime minister has not immediately said that gay people will not go to hell". I don't believe it. The meanest commentary I've seen in the election is actually the propositions that are being advanced that gay people are going to go to hell ...

Temporary prime minister Scott Morrison has issued a statement today to clarify that, no, he does not believe gay people go to hell exclusively as a product of being gay. "This country needs to really lift itself and the political debate and coverage needs to really lift itself in the next four days".

Opposition leader Bill Shorten this afternoon criticised Mr Morrison's answer, or lack thereof, telling media in Tasmania that "I can not believe that the Prime Minister has not immediately said that gay people will not go to hell". My faith is about ... That is what I've always believed. I thought that was very disappointing. I'm not running for Pope, I'm running for Prime Minister.

Australian political leaders' religious views are rarely raised in election campaigns, which have always been regarded as a strictly secular argument over who should govern.