Fred Nile, the leader of the Christian Democrat Party and an NSW upper house MP has dis-endorsed Lyle Shelton as his successor.
Lyle Shelton, the former National Director of the Australian Christian Lobby had been anointed as successor to Nile by Nile himself and appointed to a campaign position within the party.
Eternity has been told that Shelton is “disappointed” by the news. Shelton is not the only person whom Nile has promised that he would step down and allow them to take his place.
This is the latest turmoil to hit the Christian Democrat Party, still the subject of court cases brought by dissidents, and a receiver with the task of electing a new board.
UPDATE: Lyle Shelton has released a statement pledging to continue to build up the party:
“Today it was reported that The Reverend Honourable Fred Nile has chosen to withdraw his endorsement of my candidacy to succeed him in the New South Wales Parliament in November.
“Since moving to Sydney at Rev Nile’s invitation I have sought to build on his legacy and help build a thriving movement committed to the preservation of Christian values in our parliament.
“In just a few months, I encouraged more than 6,000 Christians to sign up to support the Christian Democratic Party. Over 700 people have donated $120,000 to see this vision fulfilled and hundreds of Christians have joined the party as financial members.
“This new lease of life was the direct result of Rev Nile’s vision to secure a future for the party.
“As the Christian Democratic Party emerges from receivership and its present legal troubles, it has an opportunity to move forward.
“It is clear that over recent years, the party has been riven with factions and divisions that should have no place in a Christian organisation.
“A truly Christian political movement ought to look very different and behave differently than the major parties. Yet sadly, the behaviour that has been on display in the party’s organisational wing in recent years has fallen well short of the standard expected of a Christian organisation.
“In the coming weeks and months, we have an opportunity to draw a line in the sand and put an end to disgraceful practices.
“To that end I pledge my ongoing service to party members and supporters as we build a political movement that truly reflects Christ’s character.”
UPDATE 2 Fred Nile has confirmed our story. “Due to irreconcilable differences Rev Fred Nile has dis-endorsed Mr Lyle Shelton as his successor.
“I do not agree nor have supported many of Mr Shelton’s opinions that he has shared on his Facebook Page and his E News. Lyle often acted without consultation with my team.”
“Consequently, I do not feel comfortable that he succeed me.”
“I had high hopes for Mr Shelton and am sorry it has come to this. As a result of this division, I have sought God’s guidance. Therefore, I will complete my democratically elected term as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) of NSW until the next State Election in 2023 “ said Nile.”
Eternity can report an apology by Fred Nile to dissidents as part of a settlement of one of the court cases.
On the party letterhead, Nile writes; “Dear Members,
“Rev Nile wishes to acknowledge that on 31 December, 2020 and on 7 Janruary, 2021, certain emails were sent concerning members of the Party, Mr Charles Knox, Mr Graeme Collins, Mr Milton Caine, Mr Milan Maksimovic and Mr Karl Schubert.
“Rev Nile wishes to unreservedly apologise for the content of the emails and says that he acknowledges that he may have caused offence and harm irrespective of what may have been intended.
“The views expressed in those emails are unreservedly withdrawn with an unreserved apology is hereby issued.”
The text of the apology was set out in a deed of settlement for a defamation action in the Federal Court. Nile had reflected on the character of the senior party members. Nile paid the complainants $40,000.
Another court action brought by Knox the former Party Treasurer about Nile not following party processes is still running.,
The court cases have precipitated the appointment of an administrator and manager Schon G. Condon to avoid bankruptcy. “In accordance with the Court Orders, I am required to convene an extraordinary general meeting of members to elect a new board which will take place in due course,” Condon wrote to members when he was appointed back in June.
The election for a new board has not been held.