A Christian candidate with old-fashioned values

Much too old-fashioned for some -- but she has a chance of getting the last Queensland Senate seat to be allocated. Such seats in the Australian system often go to minor parties

She believes a prime minister in a de facto relationship isn't role-model material, says the burqa stops women from showing who they really are and has likened gay marriage to child abuse and she's running for the Australian Senate.

At 49, Mitchelton grandmother Wendy Francis is in the race of her life. The top Senate candidate for Family First in Queensland found her views in the eye of a social media storm yesterday after she was forced to delete a Twitter post quickly dubbed offensive.

It read: "Children in homosexual relationships are subject to emotional abuse. Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse".

In an interview with The Courier-Mail yesterday, Ms Francis said she hadn't meant offence and was just desperate to preserve both "Australian values" and the Australian "way of life".

The former administration manager said a vote for the Greens was a vote for a "dangerous" and "radical" party and that political correctness was out of control.

Ms Francis moved quickly to deny she was homophobic, instead arguing she was looking out for children. "If we're doing this social experiment, can we really expect there won't be emotional suffering?" she asked.

Ms Francis also said the leaders of major political parties were "too scared" of offending Muslims. She said she believed there was a minority influence that "would want to make Australia a Muslim country". "I have Muslim friends ... but we're not a Muslim country and we don't want to become a Muslim country, so let's talk about it so we're aware of any potential and what we can do about it," she said.

Ms Francis said she wasn't against people "working within their own traditions", but noted that the burqa stopped women from showing who they were. "This is not an Australian value," she said.

The Senate candidate also took aim at Prime Minister Julia Gillard, questioning whether she was the best role model for the nation. "Everyone is entitled to be in a de facto relationship ... but people are also entitled to do other things that I don't think are a good role model," she said.

"It is perfectly OK to get drunk, but I don't think the Prime Minister would because it wouldn't be a good example."

Ms Francis believed it was a tight race between herself and the Greens candidate for the Senate, Larissa Waters. Family First is running a candidate in every seat and three candidates for the Senate in Queensland.


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