The Greens have reversed their decision to preference a conservative Christian Democrats candidate ahead of an openly gay, Indigenous Liberal candidate in the seat of Sydney.
After negative backlash following the decision on Tuesday -- and added pressure from their members and supporters -- local Greens met in Sydney on Thursday to re-order their how-to-vote card so that Christian Democrats candidate Ula Falanga would be placed last beneath Liberal candidate Geoffrey Winters.
The Christian Democrats in New South Wales are led by anti-same sex marriage advocate Reverend Fred Nile who has claimed homosexuality is a "mental disorder", according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sylvie Ellsmore, the Greens Candidate for the seat of Sydney, said: "People's reactions to politicians like Fred Nile, George Christensen and Cory Bernardi are very personal, and the Greens respect that.
"We have listened to the community and our members. We respect their feelings and their views, and our local groups this morning changed the decision we made five days ago."
Wait - what? The greens were going to give preferences to Nile? Who on earth thought that was a good idea ?? https://t.co/wez3MyRKGU— Bec Fjörd (@bec7ford) June 16, 2016
Pressure began to develop over the matter after South Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young broke ranks within the party, saying she would not have made the decision in her own state.
"I think those parties should be at the bottom of the ticket. Here in South Australia, the Christian Democrats will be at the bottom of our ticket," she said.
Ellsmore also claimed Nile's history of conservative views and policies were a motive for the change in preferences.
"The views of Fred Nile's CDP on gender diversity, sexual equality, human rights and many other issues have infected NSW politics for decades," she said, according to The Guardian Australia.
"The right wings of the Liberal and Labor parties have used Fred Nile as cover for failing to act on issues such as marriage equality and abortion law reform."
Falanga, Winters and Ellsmore are contesting the seat held by Labor deputy leader Tanya Plibersek, who has held Sydney since her election in 1998 and is expected to retain the position at the polls on July 2.