People protesting the World Congress Of Families event. (News Corp Australia)

People protesting the World Congress Of Families event. (News Corp Australia)

Following up on this week’s news that tomorrow’s World Congress Of Families event in Australia had run into roadblocks after sustained public outcry over the hate group’s conference led to four venues cancelling on them, we now learn that Australian politicians scheduled to speak have also pulled out:

The Social Services Minister and Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark today cancelled their speeches on the eve of the Melbourne conference — run by pro-family religious body the World Congress of Families — because it’s now being hosted by the right-wing Christian group Catch the Fire Ministries.

The evangelical group is hosting the conference after three other venues refused to hold it, with critics attacking the World Congress of Families because of its stance against gay marriage and claims of links between breast cancer and abortion.

Mr Andrews has been under unprecedented and sustained pressure to pull out but attacked the “intolerance” of the “Greens and the left” for trying to shut the forum down as he confirmed he would not attend.

“The calls for me not to attend demonstrate the intolerance of the Greens and the left — instead of arguing their case in the public arena, they seek to shut down debate,” Mr Andrews said.

“Equally, I cannot support intolerance from other quarters. As I have been informed today that the event is now to be hosted by Catch the Fire, I have decided not to attend.”

Catch The Fire ministries is extremist even by right-wing extremist standards:

Catch the Fire’s Pastor Daniel Nalliah, who attracted controversy in 2009 when he said the deadly Victorian bushfires were the result of the state’s decriminalisation of abortion, attacked Mr Andrews for his decision.

“I am aware that Kevin Andrews has basically pulled out because the building is Catch The Fire Ministries’,” Mr Nalliah said.

“I think that is, frankly, an absolute cop out.”

We suppose, though, that for the World Congress Of Families, Catch The Fire’s extremism is just right.

As Joe Jervis points out, WCF’s next international conference is to be held in Salt Lake City next year, and “we need to make very sure that the exact same thing happens next year.”