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Another day, another God-fearing Australian politician is accused of surfing hardcore adult websites.

Last week, it was New South Wales Minister Paul McLeay. Just one day later, it was the turn of fellow NSW MP and leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), the Rev Fred Nile to take the title of "one of the biggest viewers of internet pornography" in the state legislature, following an audit of NSW parliamentary computers.

According to sources reported in the Australian Daily Telegraph, "up to 200,000 suspect hits" had been recorded.

Nile hotly denied that this had anything to do with his own personal viewing of pornography, claiming instead that his staff had used his log-on “for research purposes".

One staffer for Nile, David Copeland, did confirm that he had viewed sites to research the activities of the Australian Sex Party and the proposed internet filter, but the reverend's office later claimed that 200,000 hits was impossible.

Whether Nile will eventually be exonerated of any impropriety, or will soon be joining the long list of Christian evangelicals whose spirit proved to be all too willing, remains to be seen.

However, on the day that Australia’s Labor leader, Julie Gillard, announces the knife-edge formation of a new coalition government for Australia, pundits are asking whether Labor’s continuing reliance on politicians with a highly moral agenda might prove a dangerous hostage to future fortune.

It would take just two by-election defeats to bring the new administration crashing down – and it seems unlikely that a government that has made so much running out of protecting the nation from internet smut could survive more than a couple of sex scandals of the sort that australian politicians seem so prone to.

Rev Nile’s CDP proudly describes itself as "the only national Christian political party in Australia". The reverend is known for his conservative views on issues such as abortion, homosexuality and pornography. He is an outspoken critic of both the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and topless bathing. ®

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