Christian Democratic Party (Australia)

Christian Democratic Party (Australia)
Christian Democratic Party
Leader The Reverend Fred Nile
Founded 1974
Headquarters 9 Exeter Road
Homebush West, NSW 2040
Ideology Christian Democracy,
National conservatism,
Social conservatism
Politics of Australia
Political parties

The Christian Democratic Party (CDP) is a right-wing political party in Australia. Its leader is Fred Nile, a Congregational Church minister and a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council.



Originally established as the “Call to Australia Party” in 1977, the party grew out of earlier organisations such as the Festival of Light, with which Nile has been associated for more than 30 years. These groups had sought to mobilise conservative and evangelical Protestants as an electoral force. Nile was elected to the Legislative Council in 1981, and the party has managed to see a candidate elected at every subsequent New South Wales state election to date.


The party exists to support Christian representation in every level of government – Federal, State and Local.[1]

The party claims to support policies that promote Christian values, are supportive of family values, protective of children and their rights including those of unborn children, and policies that are protective of established Australian values and systems, inclusive of a requirement that immigrants to Australia demonstrate a desire to learn English.[1][2]

The party opposes abortion, euthanasia, pornography, homosexuality, adultery, incest, and Islam, most notably sharia law.[1][2][3][4]


The party and a candidate, Peter Madden, came under intense opposition from their policies and political campaign actions by the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL).[5] Their campaign to have the Sydney Mardi Gras banned because of, as he puts it, "the lifestyle and perversion that it promotes" saw opposition from the RSL as one of their campaign Youtube videos, which featured Madden, labelled a "battle cry", calls upon "10,000 warriors" to rally against the event and shows Madden in front of the Anzac War Memorial in Hyde Park inviting viewers to become "lions" and join him.[5] The NSW RSL president, Don Rowe, said that returned servicemen and women and the public as a whole find it "totally offensive" that anyone would use the image of the War Memorial to make a political statement.[5] Don Rowe said to The Sydney Morning Herald, "I am neither a supporter nor a detractor of the Mardi Gras and the RSL has no official position on it, but we totally disapprove of the use of the War Memorial in a politicised way. It is a sacred site and symbolises those Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and for our freedoms … not for someone trying to make a political stand."

Peter Madden was also criticized by the gay and lesbian community when he called for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to be “moved off the streets”.’ [6] and stated in an interview with Glen Wheeler and Anthony Venn-Brown on the Sydney radio station 2GB[7] that one of the main objectives of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was “recruitment”. [8]

Electoral outcomes

The CDP has built a small but stable electoral base among conservative Catholics and Protestants in New South Wales, particularly in the "Bible Belt" suburbs of north-western Sydney and in some country areas,[citation needed] but the CDP has only achieved modest results in its attempts to expand its electoral base further. The party has comparable support in Western Australia, but has lacked similar representation in its state parliament because its seats have higher election quotas.[citation needed]

The Christian Democratic Party sees the policies of the major parties as an attack on their traditional views. Gordon Moyes (no longer a member of the party) explained, "Our Christian heritage is under attack from pagan and secularist forces, militant Islamic groups, a neo communism under a Green guise and a strident homosexual lobby that has successfully gained the support of the Labor Party, Australian Democrats and the Greens, and many from the left of the Liberal Party."[citation needed]

For the 1983 federal election, the CDP formed an alliance with the Victoria-based Democratic Labor Party. They did not win any seats and contested subsequent elections separately.[citation needed]

The Christian Democratic Party has generally had two (sometimes three) sitting Members in the Legislative Council (MLCs) at any one time. Usually, these two individuals have been Fred Nile and one other member. The 1984 NSW election saw Nile joined by former Liberal politician Jim Cameron. Cameron retired shortly after being elected, due to serious health problems, and was replaced by Marie Bignold. Nile’s wife, Elaine Nile, joined her husband and Bignold after achieving election to the Legislative Council at the 1988 NSW election. Bignold subsequently had a falling out with Fred and Elaine Nile over Bignold's opposition to the Liberal Party stance on industrial relations; a policy position supported by the Niles.[citation needed] The restructuring of the Legislative Council in 1991 meant that Bignold’s seat was abolished and she was forced to an early election; but she failed in her bid to seek re-election.

Retirement of Elaine Nile and election of Gordon Moyes

In August 2000, it was announced that Elaine Nile would retire due to ill health and be replaced with John Bradford, a former Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives from Queensland who had defected to the CDP before being defeated at the 1998 Federal election.[9] However, this fell through due to disagreements between the Fred and Elaine Nile and Bradford. Elaine Nile served until 2002, at which time she was replaced by Gordon Moyes of Sydney’s Wesley Central Mission. Moyes was elected in his own right at the 2003 NSW election.[10]

In 2004, Moyes suggested Nile make a bid for a Senate seat at the 2004 federal election. In that election, Nile achieved 2.6% of the primary vote, but narrowly missed attaining a seat. Another rival conservative party, Family First, won a seat in Victoria with 1.9% and a better preference deal. With Nile's return to the NSW Legislative Council, Moyes began to question the leadership of his former party leader.[verification needed]

During the New South Wales legislative election, 2007 the CDP called for a moratorium on Muslim immigration to Australia, seeking to replace them with "persecuted Christians from the Middle East." Nile said the moratorium should be in place to allow a study of the effects of Muslim migration. "There has been no serious study of the potential effects upon Australia of more than 300,000 Muslims who are already here," he said. "Australians deserve a breathing space so the situation can be carefully assessed before Islamic immigration can be allowed to resume. In the meantime, Australia should extend a welcoming hand to many thousands of persecuted Christians who are presently displaced or at risk in the Middle East."[11] Nile and another CDP candidate Allan Lotfizadeh reported receiving death threats on account of this announcement.[12]

Fred Nile was re-elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council on 24 March 2007, achieving a vote of 4.4%. This was the highest vote for the CDP since 1988.

Battle between Nile and Moyes

In 2007, the President of the Legislative Council, Meredith Anne Burgmann retired from public service[13] and the Council sought a replacement. Tensions flared when both Moyes and Nile applied for the position. Nile subsequently withdrew his application and nominated Moyes at Moyes' behest.[citation needed] Peter Primrose was confirmed President on 8 March 2007, Moyes having received only two votes, Nile's and his own.[14] After Nile was made Assistant Deputy President on 28 June 2007 and then Assistant President 28 November 2007, Moyes began to publicly attack Nile.[citation needed]

Moyes argued that Nile's anti-homosexual, anti-abortion and anti-Muslim focus should be altered and that greater emphasis be placed on environmental issues.[citation needed] In contrast to Nile, Moyes inferred that the burden of responsibility for Islamic terrorism lay at the feet of western civilisation, the "Crusades" and the "excesses of the 'war on terrors'.[15]

Moyes (then aged 70 years) claimed Nile (then aged 75 years) was too old and was too "committed to gaining money and status, and [...attacked...] any who disagree[d] with himself". According to Moyes, Nile was a pathetic figure who has never laughed, has no friends, is a workaholic, has no interests or hobbies, eats fast-food meals and when in Sydney attending Parliament, spends every night alone in a cheap motel in western Sydney.[16]

In February 2009, Nile wrote in his monthly newsletter that he regretted allowing Moyes to take his wife's place upon her retirement "because of his disloyalty and divisive actions and his frequent support of the Greens".[17] Moyes stated that the "Greens" were "far more Christian". [18][19]

Moyes also attacked the Christian Democratic Party itself, stating that the party was a cult,[20] a hypocritical, anti-Christian, anti-democratic dictatorship that adhered to the values of extremist fundamentalism.[21] Moyes claimed that the "end was nigh" for the party as there was a conspiracy to disband the party and form a new conservative Christian political party.[22] Moyes attempted to draw Nile's Parliamentary staff into the conflict by making claims that they had intimidated and bullied his own.[23]

Moyes ignored repeated warnings from the CDP management committee, claiming that they were dysfunctional.[21] a committee of the "sad, mad, senile and aggressively ambitious."[24] As a result, Moyes was expelled from the Christian Democratic Party in March 2009 by secret ballot of its members.[25][26] Moyes became an independent for several months before joining the Family First Party in 2009.

Moyes failed in his attempt to be re-elected at the 2011 state election.

Election of Paul Green

Paul Green was elected to the NSW Legislative Council at the 2011 state election. Aged 45 years at the time of his election, it is assumed that Green will success Nile as leader of the CDP on Nile's retirement, that he has announced will take effect from 2015.[27]

Members of Parliament


New South Wales

  • Fred Nile MLC (1981 – 2004; 2004 – present)
  • Jim Cameron MLC (1984)
  • Marie Bignold MLC (1984 – 1988)[1]
  • Elaine Nile MLC (1988 – 2002)
  • Gordon Moyes MLC (2002 – 2009)[2]
  • Paul Green MLC (2011 – present)
1 Bignold remained in Parliament without CDP endorsement until 1991
2 Moyes remained in Parliament without CDP endorsement as an independent

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Welcome to The Christian Democratic Party". The Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "What is CDP?". The Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  3. ^ "Pro-Life Issues". Federal Policies. The Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Islam". Federal Policies. The Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Pulpit choice gives offence". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Ad puts a face to gay marriage issue". The Sydney Morning Herald. 06 February 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  7. ^ =cite web|url=}}
  8. ^ "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 26 February 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  9. ^ John Bradford will replace Elaine Nile. . The Christian Democratic Party. 29 August 2000. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Clune, David (June 2001). "2000 Ad". Australian Journal of Politics and History (University of Queensland Press). Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Nile wants stop to Muslim migrants". The Australian. 12 March 2007.,20867,21364439-2702,00.html. 
  12. ^ "Christian Democrats receive death threats". The Australian. 13 March 2007.,20867,21375264-5006784,00.html. 
  13. ^ "Presidents of the Legislative Council, 1856 to date". Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "Presidents of the Legislative Council vote". Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "What of Muslim immigration and the existence of their schools". Gordon Moyes. 7 January 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  16. ^ Carly, Lisa (7 September 2008). "Christian Soldiers at War". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  17. ^ "God's MPs in row". The Daily Telegraph (Australia): p. 8. 3 February 2009. 
  18. ^ "'Anti-Muslim, anti-gay': Party in holy war of words". ABC News (Australia). 3 February 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  19. ^ Feneley, Rick (4 February 2009). "Nile calls on the power of prayer to remove a political thorn in his side". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  20. ^ "Expelled for trying to be more Christian". Gordon Moyes. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  21. ^ a b "Why Party expulsions are self defeating". Gordon Moyes. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  22. ^ "The End is Nigh". Gordon Moyes. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  23. ^ "David Blunt: Deputy Clerk of the NSW Parliament". Parliament of New South Wales. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  24. ^ "Do CDP members realise what is happening". Gordon Moyes. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  25. ^ Sheppard, Elwyn (18 March 2009). "Expulsion of Dr Moyes - Right of Appeal" (PDF). The Family World News. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  26. ^ Mitchell, Alex (20 April 2009). "Nile expells Flash but he won’t be silenced". Crikey. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  27. ^ Nicholls, Sean (12 November 2009). "Father of the house, Rev Fred, to retire". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 


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