Fred Nile

Fred Nile Starts New Party, Christian Democrats Deregistered After Court Battle

31 March 2022

2.2 MINS

Two days ago, Eternity News reported that Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party has officially ‘ceased to exist’. It comes after months of leadership speculation and turmoil, legal challenges, and factionalism wrought havoc in what was Australia’s only legislatively-represented Christian political party.

In a recent statement, Rev. Hon. Fred Nile, MLC, the 87-year-old leader of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), announced that the courts had ordered the winding up of his party due to ‘longstanding legal challenges and governance issues’.

The party has enjoyed representation in the New South Wales Parliament since Fred was first elected in 1988, with between one and three members sitting in the upper house during that time.

As Nile highlighted in his statement, the CDP has been involved in a number of legislative victories, including blocking euthanasia in 2017, the passage of the first modern slavery legislation in Australia (championed by Hon. Paul Green) and advocating Aboriginal land rights, among many others.

Lyle Shelton and the CDP Succession Crisis

After announcing his retirement in late 2021, Nile nominated former Australian Christian Lobby boss Lyle Shelton as his successor. Shelton moved to Sydney from Queensland with the expectation of replacing Nile in his New South Wales Legislative Council seat after the CDP’s sole parliamentarian retired.

With Shelton’s active involvement, the party gained substantial support, raising $120,000 and attracting thousands of supporters and hundreds of new financial members. Unfortunately, the planned succession never took place.

Then, in early September, just four months after the endorsement, came the news that Fred Nile had withdrawn his support for Shelton, due to what he called ‘irreconcilable differences’ — differences that Shelton says have still not been explained to him.


Shelton Continues to Support CDP Mission

Nevertheless, Shelton continued to endorse the Christian Democratic Party as ‘Australia’s only Christian party with parliamentary representation’, in a message to supporters:

“As many of you know, the CDP has for years been plagued by the most un-Christian infighting and factionalism. In fact, many people have reminded me that this is just the latest in a long series of fallings out that have occurred over decades in the CDP.

“This infighting has resulted in numerous court cases, and it’s meant the party has been focused on itself, rather than focusing on speaking up for Christian issues in the parliament.

“We all know that a house divided cannot stand. Many people sincerely hoped that generational change would put an end to the fighting.

“Let me be clear, the future of the CDP should not be about personalities or egos. This is about building a movement of Christians who want to graciously and powerfully speak into the life of our nation.”

New Parties Registered by both Fred Nile and Lyle Shelton

In the fallout from the recent deregistration of the CDP, Nile has announced that he will register a new political party, the “Christ in Government (Fred Nile Alliance)” party, although details are forthcoming.

In an interview with Dave Pellowe, from Pellowe Talk, Shelton also signalled his intent to start a new Christian political party to fill the gap the CDP has left in Christian political representation.

Unfortunately, as Shelton pointed out, due to the lengthy NSWEC process of verifying party membership, neither new party will be able to contest the 2023 NSW State Election.

It is crucial that Christians continue to pray for wise leadership in Christian organisations, parties and parliaments around the country.


Photo: Manning River Times.

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