Fred Nile and Lyle Shelton in battle to become Christian Democratic Party president
Lyle Shelton and Fred Nile are now battling each other to be elected president of the Christian Democratic party, in a special meeting called an administrator appointed to save the party from bankruptcy.
Shelton has told Eternity that he is still running for party president despite Fred Nile announcing he will run for the same position.
Shelton, the former managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby, publicly announced that he wanted to be party president a week ago. He has moved to NSW at Nile’s invitation to succeed him and has been working as the party campaign director, recruiting hundreds of new members.
Nile, the 40-year veteran MP made his announcement last night.
The election of a new party executive follows a complicated series of clashes in the party, the ousting of board members, at least two court cases resulting in the appointment of an administrator and manager Schon G. Condon to avoid bankruptcy. Condon will convene an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of members to elect a new board. It will most likely be held in November, as a 30-day period is required after nominations close on October 12.
“I am delighted to announce that I will be running in the upcoming Christian Democratic Party (CDP) Emergency General Meeting (EGM) for the position of State President,” Nile says. “I will also be completing my term as a Member of the Legislative Council.
“I need to clarify to the many thousands of Members who have supported myself and the Christian Democratic Party over the last forty years on what this election means.
“The upcoming EGM is an internal CDP Board election unrelated to the Christian Democratic Party’s seat in the NSW Legislative Council.
“Our Lord Jesus has been with our Party from inception and has been guiding and ordering our steps. It is because of our Lord Jesus the CDP will continue to have a fruitful future.”
Shelton set out his reasons for running “… I am announcing that I have accepted nomination for the position of President of the Christian Democratic Party at the upcoming board elections.
‘The decision comes after much prayer and consultation with hundreds of party members over recent weeks.
‘This election is about the future of the Christian Democratic Party.
‘Who can secure a future for the Christian Democratic Party?
- A future that puts an end to factionalism and infighting
- A future where our party once again finds its bold voice and speaks out on issues of faith, life, and family
- A future where we grow our supporter and membership base
- A future that retains our seat in the NSW Parliament and builds on this foundation
- A future that sees our party expand our campaign ability into other states and territories
‘I have dedicated my life to serve in roles bringing Christian influence to politics.”
“I know what it takes to build a nationwide movement of Christian activists and mobilise them for political campaigns.”
Fred Nile has previously made an agreement, possibly more than one, to step down and hand over his parliamentary position but has found it difficult to carry this out. His announcement makes it clear that he would not make it easy for Shelton to succeed him – by not stepping down early to give any successor a chance to build their profile from his upper house seat.
Party members are faced with a tough call. Many will want to show respect to their long-time leader. But as Nile turned 87 a fortnight ago, there will be concern about the future.
The party has a new method of electing the board after the party receiver changed its rules. Every member, rather than only branch delegates, get a vote. This will mean that the new members recruited by Shelton will get a say. The incoming board including the president is likely to determine whether the party has a viable future.