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Australian PM Scott Morrison says gay people don't go to hell after being accused of dodging question

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a Pentecostal Christian, has now told media he does not believe gay people go to hell - despite yesterday dodging a question on the topic in the wake of the Israel Folau saga.

Mr Morrison is of Pentecostal faith, and Pentecostal churches have traditionally condemned homosexuality as a sin - he was an opponent of legalising same-sex marriage in 2017.

Israel Folau is also Pentecostal, and was last week found guilty of a high level breach of Rugby Australia's inclusiveness commitment for an Instagram post in which he said gay people should repent or they would go to hell.

Mr Morrison was questioned by media yesterday at an event in Perth on whether his views on same-sex marriage have changed since it became legal in December of 2017.

He responded by saying "it's law and I'm glad that the change has now been made and people can get on with their lives, that's what I'm happy about - I always support the law of the country".

A reporter then directly asked him: "What's your belief? Do gay people go to hell?"

Mr Morrison responded: "I support the law of the country and I always don't mix my religion with my politics and my faith with politics.

"It's always been something that has informed how I live my life and how I seek to care for and support others."

Mr Morrison then turned the conversation to his mother, whose Christian values, he said, had informed his own thinking.

"I always saw in my Mum a woman of quiet, decent faith who translated that into action in her love and care for others - and that's the faith that I've been taught," he said.

Mr Morrison went on to say that "my faith is not about politics, it's about just who I am".

After same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia, Mr Morrison proposed an amendment to the new Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 which would allow parents to withdraw children from classes if they were taught about "non-traditional" marriage, but the amendment failed.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten this afternoon criticised Mr Morrison's answer, or lack thereof, telling media in Tasmania that "I cannot believe that the Prime Minister has not immediately said that gay people will not go to hell.

"I think if you want to be Prime Minister of Australia, you have to be Prime Minister for all people," Mr Shorten said.

Following that criticism, Mr Morrison told an Australian Financial Review reporter that "no, I do not believe that".

He then called the criticism "a desperate, cheap shot from Bill Shorten who is looking to distract attention from his housing tax that will undermine the value of people's homes."

The 2019 Australian Federal Election will take place this week on Saturday, May 18.