Whether to wind up the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) is now the focus of court action. Justice Black of the NSW Supreme Court today ordered that the issue of the insolvency of the party be dealt with before any other issues in the long-running CDP court case are looked at.
The party has $544,572 in its state election account, barrister Michael Heath appearing for the party receiver Shon Condon told the court. However, the State Electoral Commission of NSW provided $486,307 of that amount as public funding.
“The receiver is nailing down the precise rules about the use of those funds, which is directly related to solvency,” Heath told the court. “Would it be a proper exercise of officer’s duties to apply those funds to the internal disputes within the party?” is how Justice Black posed the question.
The disputes within the party are now centred on how to run an election for a new board. After a series of court hearings, the issue of which branches should be able to vote to elect a new board remains the outstanding question.
If the State Electoral commissions funds cannot be applied to the continuing disputes over the party’s structure, then the receiver and lawyers’ costs incurred so far may mean the party is insolvent.
Justice Black said, “the receiver or someone else has to form a view as to whether the party is solvent, or if it is not solvent or you can’t tell which amounts to the same thing.” The reviewer is directed to provide his evidence of solvency by January 17, with the CDP matter back in court on February 10 and 11.
The Judge noted – and this gives the members of CDP some hope – “that if the parties were to reach an agreement that might take the pressure of solvency as to costs.”
That’s a “might”.