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Leaders tackle  tricky moral queries
Moral issues: Mark McGowan and Colin Barnett address the forum. Picture: Steve Ferrier/ The West Australian

Premier Colin Barnett and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan fielded questions last night from church leaders on same-sex marriage, abortion and prostitution but the closest thing the audience got to an election promise was a pledge to make Easter Sunday retail-free,

Mr McGowan made the vow in his opening address to the Australian Christian Lobby forum in Perth, saying "it should be a day of rest" like Anzac Day.

Mr Barnett used his address to spruik what he said was the Liberal Government's strong record on social justice.

He said Australia was a tolerant country that accepted people from around the world and their values and beliefs but it was also "predominantly a Christian nation and we should never feel ashamed or back away from that".

Both reiterated their position that issues such as euthanasia and same-sex marriage should be down to a conscience vote. Mr McGowan supports both while Mr Barnett opposes both.

The biggest round of applause came when Mr Barnett outlined his opposition to same-sex marriage, though he said he did support civil unions.

He said though abortion was something he "detests", as Premier he had to deal with reality.

Mr McGowan quoted former US president Bill Clinton saying his position was it should be "safe, legal and rare".