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UPDATE: Business as usual says CDP after disturbance at council meeting

Update 2pm

It’s business as usual, says the Christian Democrats. The board is still in place and Fred Nile remains under the banner of CDP.

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In a media conference this afternoon at NSW Parliament House, NSW CDP State President Ross Clifford said a regular CDP council meeting was disrupted on Saturday (June 1) by individuals shouting and disputing the meeting.

“We were left with no other option but to adjourn the meeting”, said Clifford.

Clifford said a disgruntled staff member moved a motion of dissent after a motion of no confidence was ruled out of order. The staff member has resigned.

But after Nile and the board left the room a motion was carried by those remaining in the room to re-open the meeting and motions were passed, including the sacking of the board.

The new board is organising a meeting to tonight to review Fred Niles’ membership.

Clifford holds that once the meeting was adjourned, any further meeting by a group of persons “had no legal status”.

“As State President I am entitled to adjourn a meeting,” he said. “I can’t be responsible for what happened after I left.”

Fred Nile told the media conference that there are “no threats to my leadership”.

“We don’t regard this other group or the motions they put,” said Fred Nile. “They have no legal effect.”

Answering a question on whether it was nepotism to have Silvana Nero Nile, Fred Nile’s wife, as a candidate, Clifford said that Nero Nile had won her preselection. “We have honest pre-selections,” he said.

The alleged overspend on Nero Nile’s campaign has been guaranteed by Fred Nile, “and this has been actioned”, Clifford added.

“We are still a robust and effective party,” said Craig Hall, CDP state manager for NSW.

 

11am Explosion in the Christian Democratic Party as board is sacked

Fred Nile, father of the NSW parliament, may be left without a functioning political party after a state council meeting of the Christian Democrats voted to sack the party board – including Nile himself.

A key issue raised at the state council is the Senate campaign by Silvana Nero Nile, Fred Nile’s wife. Her selection as candidate was controversial within the party, and was finalised just a few weeks before election day. One alleged version of events – raised by an “anti-Fred” faction – is that Nero Nile overspent the budget. It is further alleged that Fred Nile had offered to cover the overspend but pulled back, leaving party supporters and donors to cover the extra.

Another alleged version, raised by a “pro-Fred” faction, is that the party had refused to pay for Silvana Nero Niles’ Senate campaign, that Fred Nile had covered the cost in the meantime and was now seeking that the party pay for the campaign in the normal manner.

A key former party official told Eternity of allegations that the CDP board was in breach of the Electoral Act 2017 (NSW), having been caught moving money from state accounts to federal accounts.

There are other skeletons in the cupboard including a deal that Ross Clifford, principal of Morling College (Sydney’s Baptist Seminary), would take over from Fred Nile. This CDP version of the ALP’s Hawke-Keating “Kirribilli deal” was meant to happen in 2017.

An emerging possibility is that Fred Nile may simply declare himself to be an independent. This would give him freedom of action to appoint a successor into his long-held Legislative Council seat. Possible choices include Paul Green (who sat with Nile in the Legislative Council but lost his seat in March 2019), Silvana Nero Nile or Ross Clifford.

Several senior insiders have told Eternity that the party board had been unmanageable for some time.

“The party is unviable under the present structure with no chance of winning a seat in three years’ time if it does not change,” one insider said. 

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