Winding-up orders issued in the NSW Supreme Court this week leave Fred Nile, who has served as a member of the State’s Legislative Council since 1981 (with short breaks), with the prospect of having his party, the Christian Democratic Party (CDP), disappear.
A complicated series of Supreme Court hearings finished as an insolvency matter – with warring factions being given until March 29 to agree – or the party gets dissolved.
Rev Fred Nile, MLC, of the Christian Democratic Party
“I am comforted by the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ‘We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed’,” Nile writes in a statement to Eternity. “Paul was reminding us, as followers of Christ not to despair and take faith in our Lord.
“As we have been in a crisis with unjustifiable litigation, Paul reminds us that ‘we are not discouraged’. No, even if outwardly we are wearing out, inwardly we are being renewed each and every day. Further 2 Corinthians 4:15-17 ‘This light, temporary nature of our suffering is producing for us an everlasting weight of glory.’ I believe when we are under pressure, that it is when our faith grows and the Lord reveals Himself to us.
“I believe that when there is nothing more we can do, then we start trusting God to do the impossible.
“We believe the crisis we are experiencing is an opportunity to experience God’s grace and power in our life. This is God’s Party and Our Lord has continued to sustain me as a Member of the Legislative Council and the only Christian voice in Parliament. Whatever Judge Black determines – my position in Parliament is unchanged.
“I will continue to build on the 40 year CDP legacy committed to the preservation of Christian values in our Parliament as your MLC.”
“I am very saddened that the other parties in the proceedings were unwilling to reconcile and come together for the sake of the Party”
Nile still would like the party factions to work out a way to elect a new board – governance has been at the heart of the dispute. While sticking with the “Nile group’s” position in the litigation that there are 40 current party branches, a hotly contested point, he suggests there is still hope for negotiation to avoid the party ceasing to exist.
“I am very saddened that the other parties in the proceedings were unwilling to reconcile and come together for the sake of the Party,” Nile writes. “However, we reached out again to [Litigants] Mr Knox and Mr Collins with a reconciliation agreement sent February 25, 2022 prior to Judge Black’s judgement March 1, 2022.
“We pray they will respond to our reconciliation agreement and come to a mutual understanding before Judge Black’s last chance to reconcile by March 29, 2022 deadline.”
Lyle Shelton – CDP campaign director
Another key player, Lyle Shelton, an erstwhile successor to Nile but since dis-endorsed, has also responded to Justice Black’s orders.
“This is a needless tragedy,” he writes of the impending death of the CDP. “I have not been a party to the dispute between the two small warring factions, but the outcome of it, now decided, obviously affects my future. [Shelton has been working as the CDP campaign director.]
“I committed to do all I could to help secure a future for the CDP but it seems that possibility is now over. My wife Wendy and I are trusting the Lord for what lies ahead. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us during this phase of our journey.
“Thank you for your commitment to the cause of seeing strong Christian voices in our Parliaments. I’m sorry that you have been let down by the CDP at a time when our nation needs this more than ever. I remain committed to this vision despite this setback, and God-willing perhaps another avenue can be found. In the meantime, God bless.”
Greg Bondar – former member, candidate and director of the CDP
Former party insider and currently NSW & ACT State Director for FamilyVoice Australia, Greg Bondar, provides a party obituary to Eternity. “The decision by the Equity Division of the Supreme Court of NSW in Knox v Nile & Or handed down March 1, 2022 substantiates the adage ‘one week in politics is a long time.’ As a former member, candidate, NSW State Director and Federal Director of the Christian Democratic Party, I cannot believe that a ‘Christian’ political party has reached a stage of no return – the Rubicon has been crossed.
“Why does Matthew 12:22-28 come to mind where we read that a “house divided cannot stand”? How can the good and faithful servants who have supported the party be now asked to vote for the CDP?
“The Hon Justice Black stated, “for the reasons set out above, I propose to make the following orders, but allow the parties until 4 pm on March 7 to make submissions…” with a view to allowing the parties to save what has indeed become an unsalvageable sinking ship – Alea iacta est.”
For Eternity readers less learned in Latin than Bondar, here is a translation “The die is cast.”
This aphorism is attributed by the historian Suetonius to Julius Caesar as he led his troops across the River Rubicon, defying the Roman Senate and beginning a civil war. In the case of the CDP, perhaps an uncivil war is ending.