Napthine defends Clark’s welcome to anti-abortion, anti-gay hardliners

Josh Gordon

Robert Clark’s welcome to Melbourne address to a conference organised by a hard-right, anti-gay, anti-abortion group is consistent with the state government’s tourism agenda to attract people to Melbourne, Premier Denis Napthine says.

The Attorney-General will late next month deliver an opening address to the World Congress of Families conference, a controversial group that strongly backs Russian president Vladimir Putin’s laws against “homosexual propaganda”.

The conference, with a speaker list including a who’s who of the conservative hard right, has fuelled fresh controversy for the Napthine government after a report in The Age outlining the group’s global agenda.

Dr Napthine on Wednesday [16 July] played down Mr Clark’s decision to address the event, saying it was “quite common” for the government to have a representative at a variety of events in Melbourne and [it] was partly about promoting the city as a destination for international conferences.