Christian Democratic Party (Australia)

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Christian Democratic Party
NSW State PresidentRoss Clifford
NSW Deputy PresidentFred Nile
NSW State DirectorCraig Hall
Christian Youth PresidentSamraat Joshua Grewal
Headquarters1 Wentworth Street
Parramatta, NSW 2150
Social conservatism
Christian democracy
Christian right[1]
Political positionRight-wing
Colours     Orange (official)
     Purple (customary)
NSW Legislative Council
2 / 42

The Christian Democratic Party (CDP) is a socially conservative political party in Australia. It was founded by a group of concerned Christian ministers in the State of NSW, who had Fred Nile, a Congregational Church minister, run as their Upper House Candidate in the NSW State election. Fred Nile, commonly refers to himself as the party's founder, however the Party states that it was founded by concerned Australian ministers.[2]

The party was established in 1977 under the name Call to Australia, which it used until 1998. It is primarily active in New South Wales, and since the 1981 state election has had at least one member in the New South Wales Legislative Council, often holding or sharing the balance of power. The Christian Democrats have never elected anyone to federal parliament, although John Bradford briefly sat with the party in the House of Representatives after defecting from the Liberal Party prior to the 1998 election.


The Rev Hon Fred Nile, is the Federal President of the Christian Democratic Party (The Federal party currently lacks a constitution and a Board) and he is the NSW Deputy President. Ross Clifford is NSW State President of the Christian Democratic Party.[3] Craig Hall, is the NSW State Director; the organizational leader of the Party and by extension exercises authority over the Party activities in all states.[4] The youth wing of the CDP "Young CDP" is headed by Samraat Joshua Grewal as it's convener.[5]


Originally established as the "Call to Australia Party" in 1977, the Party was founded by a group of concerned Christian Ministers who had Fred Nile run as their candidate.[6] The Party name change to "Christian Democratic Party" was a suggestion from an executive of Hillsong Church. These groups had sought to mobilise conservative and evangelical Protestants as an electoral force. Nile was elected to the Legislative Council in 1981, and the party has managed to see a candidate elected at every subsequent New South Wales state election to date.[7]


The Christian Democrats exists to support Christian representation in every level of government – Federal, State and Local - and to promote "ethical values based on...Christian values".[8][9]

The party are supportive of family values (including traditional marriage), freedom of speech, protective of children and their rights including those of unborn children, and policies that are protective of established Australian values and systems, inclusive of a requirement that immigrants to Australia demonstrate a desire to learn English.[8][10][11] They are opposed to both abortion[12] and euthanasia[11] as well as pornography, drug decriminalisation and sharia law.[8][10][13][14]

Law & Order[edit]

The CDP supports rehabilitation of criminals when possible. They seek "a wisely governed penal system that seeks to restore convicted persons where possible to good contributors to society."[15]

Economy & Housing[edit]

CDP's policy on the economy is to ensure ""a healthy environment for business to start and grow". They support an adequately "remunerated job" to allow for "a balance between work and non-work times" and have an emphasis on "the financial well-being of each person in [the] community".[15]

In 2015 Nile supported the Liberal government's privatisation of electricity infrastructure, such as poles and wires.[16][17]

Education & Health[edit]

The Christian Democratic Party believe that parental input in a child's education plus writing, reading and arithmetic are the basis of a good education system. They also support Special Religious Education (SRE).

CDP believes that Health Care "should be available, accessible and affordable".[15]

Environment & Social Security[edit]

According to their 2018 policies, the CDP supports a balanced approach to both environment and social security. They seek a "good and sustainable use of the earth" and social security for "those who genuinely need it".[15]

Employment, Immigration & Infrastructure[edit]

The CDP is for local industry and local jobs and "proactively [work] to advocate for jobs growth".[15]

Their policy on immigration reads:

"Each nation needs to manage its immigration so that there is a balance of visitors and immigrants that will contribute positively to the nation. In the last several years we have seen a rise in immigration that has outpaced infrastructure and potentially affecting housing affordability, health affordability, and employment declines, and a strain on the social security system resulting in community disquiet towards some new immigrants. This has the potential to change the character of the Australian society. Immigration needs to be carefully managed, taken on the advice of demographic experts and not growth economics."[15]

The Christian Democrats also support strong infrastructure programs for roads, bridges, hospitals, airports, waterways and power supplies. They state that these should be "steady and affordable" and planned for "future generations", not simply as short-term goals.[15]


The party and a candidate, Peter Madden, came under intense opposition from their policies and political campaign actions by the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL).[18] Their campaign to have the Sydney Mardi Gras banned because of, as he puts it, "the lifestyle and perversion that it promotes" saw opposition from the RSL as one of their campaign YouTube videos, which featured Madden, labelled a "battle cry", calls upon "10,000 warriors" to rally against the event and shows Madden in front of the Anzac War Memorial in Hyde Park inviting viewers to become "lions" and join him.[18] The NSW RSL president, Don Rowe, said that returned servicemen and women and the public as a whole find it "totally offensive" that anyone would use the image of the War Memorial to make a political statement.[18] Don Rowe said to The Sydney Morning Herald, "I am neither a supporter nor a detractor of the Mardi Gras and the RSL has no official position on it, but we totally disapprove of the use of the War Memorial in a politicised way. It is a sacred site and symbolises those Australians who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country and for our freedoms … not for someone trying to make a political stand."

Peter Madden was also criticized by the LGBT community when he called for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to be "moved off the streets".’[19] and stated in an interview with Glenn Wheeler and Anthony Venn-Brown on the Sydney radio station 2GB[20] that one of the main objectives of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was "recruitment".[21]

Electoral outcomes[edit]

The CDP has built a small but stable electoral base among conservative Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox and Protestants in New South Wales, particularly in the "Bible Belt" suburbs of north-western Sydney and in some country areas,[citation needed] but the CDP has only achieved modest results in its attempts to expand its electoral base further. The party has comparable support in Western Australia (which broke away to form the Australian Christians party) but has lacked similar representation in its state parliament because its seats have higher election quotas.[citation needed]

The Christian Democratic Party sees the policies of the major parties as an attack on their traditional views. Gordon Moyes (no longer a member of the party) explained, "Our Christian heritage is under attack from pagan and secularist forces, militant Islamic groups, a neo communism under a Green guise and a strident homosexual lobby that has successfully gained the support of the Labor Party, Australian Democrats and the Greens, and many from the left of the Liberal Party."[citation needed]

For the 1983 federal election, the CDP formed an alliance with the Victoria-based Democratic Labor Party. They did not win any seats and contested subsequent elections separately.[citation needed]

The Christian Democratic Party has generally had two (sometimes three) sitting Members in the Legislative Council (MLCs) at any one time. Usually, these two individuals have been Fred Nile and one other member. The 1984 NSW election saw Nile joined by former Liberal politician Jim Cameron. Cameron retired shortly after being elected, due to serious health problems, and was replaced by Marie Bignold. Nile’s wife, Elaine Nile, joined her husband and Bignold after achieving election to the Legislative Council at the 1988 NSW election. Bignold subsequently had a falling out with Fred and Elaine Nile over Bignold's opposition to the Liberal Party stance on industrial relations; a policy position supported by the Niles.[citation needed] The restructuring of the Legislative Council in 1991 meant that Bignold’s seat was abolished and she was forced to an early election; but she failed in her bid for re-election.

The party has been involved in Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance.[22][23]

Retirement of Elaine Nile and election of Gordon Moyes[edit]

In August 2000, it was announced that Elaine Nile would retire due to ill health and be replaced with John Bradford, a former Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives from Queensland who had defected to the CDP before being defeated at the 1998 Federal election.[24] However, this fell through due to disagreements between the Fred and Elaine Nile and Bradford. Elaine Nile served until 2002, at which time she was replaced by Gordon Moyes of Sydney’s Wesley Central Mission. Moyes was elected in his own right at the 2003 NSW election.[25]

In 2004, Moyes suggested Nile make a bid for a Senate seat at the 2004 federal election. In that election, Nile achieved 2.6% of the primary vote, but narrowly missed attaining a seat. Another rival conservative party, Family First, won a seat in Victoria with 1.9% and a better preference deal. With Nile's return to the NSW Legislative Council, Moyes began to question the leadership of his former party leader.[verification needed]

During the New South Wales legislative election, 2007 the CDP called for a moratorium on Muslim immigration to Australia, seeking to replace them with "persecuted Christians from the Middle East." Nile said the moratorium should be in place to allow a study of the effects of Muslim migration. "There has been no serious study of the potential effects upon Australia of more than 300,000 Muslims who are already here," he said. "Australians deserve a breathing space so the situation can be carefully assessed before Islamic immigration can be allowed to resume. In the meantime, Australia should extend a welcoming hand to many thousands of persecuted Christians who are presently displaced or at risk in the Middle East."[26] Nile and another CDP candidate Allan Lotfizadeh reported receiving death threats on account of this announcement.[27]

Fred Nile was re-elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council on 24 March 2007, achieving a vote of 4.4%. This was the highest vote for the CDP since 1988.

Battle between Nile and Moyes[edit]

In 2007, the President of the Legislative Council, Meredith Anne Burgmann retired from public service[28] and the Council sought a replacement. Tensions flared when both Moyes and Nile applied for the position. Nile subsequently withdrew his application and nominated Moyes at Moyes' behest.[citation needed] Peter Primrose was confirmed President on 8 March 2007, Moyes having received only two votes, Nile's and his own.[29] After Nile was made Assistant Deputy President on 28 June 2007 and then Assistant President 28 November 2007, Moyes began to publicly attack Nile.[citation needed]

Moyes argued that Nile's anti-homosexual, anti-abortion and anti-Muslim focus should be altered and that greater emphasis be placed on environmental issues.[citation needed] In contrast to Nile, Moyes inferred that the burden of responsibility for Islamic terrorism lay at the feet of western civilisation, the "Crusades" and the "excesses of the 'war on terrors'.[30]

Moyes (then aged 70 years) claimed Nile (then aged 75 years) was too old and was too "committed to gaining money and status, and [...attacked...] any who disagree[d] with himself". According to Moyes, Nile was a pathetic figure who has never laughed, has no friends, is a workaholic, has no interests or hobbies, eats fast-food meals and when in Sydney attending Parliament, spends every night alone in a cheap motel in western Sydney.[31]

In February 2009, Nile wrote in his monthly newsletter that he regretted allowing Moyes to take his wife's place upon her retirement "because of his disloyalty and divisive actions and his frequent support of the Greens".[32] Moyes stated that the Greens were "far more Christian".[33][34]

Moyes also attacked the Christian Democratic Party itself, stating that the party was a cult,[35] a hypocritical, anti-Christian, anti-democratic dictatorship that adhered to the values of extremist fundamentalism.[36] Moyes claimed that the "end was nigh" for the party as there was a conspiracy to disband the party and form a new conservative Christian political party.[37] Moyes attempted to draw Nile's Parliamentary staff into the conflict by making claims that they had intimidated and bullied his own.[38]

Moyes ignored repeated warnings from the CDP management committee, claiming that they were dysfunctional.[36] a committee of the "sad, mad, senile and aggressively ambitious."[39] As a result, Moyes was expelled from the Christian Democratic Party in March 2009 by secret ballot of its members.[40][41] Moyes became an independent for several months before joining the Family First Party in 2009.

Moyes failed in his attempt to be re-elected at the 2011 state election.

Election of Paul Green[edit]

Paul Green was elected to the NSW Legislative Council at the 2011 state election. Aged 45 years at the time of this election.[citation needed]

Members of Parliament[edit]


New South Wales[edit]

1 Bignold remained in Parliament without CDP endorsement until 1991
2 Moyes remained in Parliament without CDP endorsement as an independent

Electoral performance[edit]


Election Votes % Δ% Seats won Rank
1990 136,522 1.37 –0.09
0 / 76
Increase 5th
1993 108,938 1.02 –0.35
0 / 76
Steady 5th
1996 117,274 1.08 +0.06
0 / 76
Decrease 6th
1998 122,516 1.09 +0.01
0 / 76
Steady 6th
2001 129,966 1.12 +0.03
0 / 76
Steady 6th
2004 140,674 1.18 +0.06
0 / 76
Decrease 7th
2007 118,614 0.94 –0.24
0 / 76
Steady 7th
2010 127,894 1.01 +0.07
0 / 76
Decrease 9th
2013 72,544 0.54 –0.47
0 / 76
Decrease 15th
2016 162,155 1.17 +0.63
0 / 76
Increase 10th

NSW Legislative Council[edit]

Election Votes % Δ% Seats won +/– Rank
1981 248,425 9.11 +9.11
1 / 15
+1 Increase 3rd
1984 175,068 6.09 –3.02
1 / 15
0 Steady 3rd
1988 174,553 5.74 –0.35
1 / 15
0 Steady 3rd
1991 114,648 3.58 –2.16
1 / 21
0 Decrease 4th
1995 101,556 3.01 –0.57
1 / 21
0 Decrease 5th
1999 112,699 3.17 +0.16
1 / 21
0 Steady 5th
2003 112,865 3.03 –0.14
1 / 21
0 Increase 4th
2007 168,545 4.42 +1.39
1 / 21
0 Steady 4th
2011 127,233 3.12 –1.30
2 / 21
0 Decrease 5th
2015 126,305 2.93 –0.19
2 / 21
0 Steady 5th

See also[edit]

DodgerBlue flag waving.svg Conservatism portal


  1. ^ "The Q Society". 2012. The group also has links to the Christian Right, particularly the Christian Democratic Party of Reverend Fred Nile
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Leadership Group ⋆ Christian Democratic Party". Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  4. ^ "You searched for craig hall ⋆ Christian Democratic Party". Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "About ⋆ Christian Democratic Party". Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 2018-06-15.
  7. ^ "About ⋆ Christian Democratic Party". Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
  8. ^ a b c "Welcome to The Christian Democratic Party". The Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  9. ^ "About ⋆ Christian Democratic Party". Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  10. ^ a b "What is CDP?". The Christian Democratic Party. Archived from the original on 18 February 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Principles of the CDP ⋆ Christian Democratic Party". Christian Democratic Party. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
  12. ^ James Elton-Pym (23 May 2013). "Warning that Australian Christians party is a 'rebranded' Christian Democratic Party for Federal Election".
  13. ^ "Pro-Life Issues". Federal Policies. The Christian Democratic Party. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Islam". Federal Policies. The Christian Democratic Party. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g "Policy ⋆ Christian Democratic Party". 2018-05-08. Archived from the original on 2018-05-08. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  16. ^ Kozaki, Danuta (2015-03-30). "NSW Election 2015: Public float considered for NSW poles and wires privatisation, Baird". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  17. ^ "NSW Premier Mike Baird's power sale passes Christian Democratic MP Fred Nile roadblock". 2015-06-03. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  18. ^ a b c "Pulpit choice gives offence". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 January 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  19. ^ "Ad puts a face to gay marriage issue". The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  20. ^ Archived 23 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ "Protecting children from homosexual recruitment". 26 February 2011. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
  22. ^ Bormann, Trevor (2013-09-05). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  23. ^ "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". Daily Telegraph. 2013-09-05. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  24. ^ "John Bradford will replace Elaine Nile". The Christian Democratic Party (Press release). 29 August 2000. Archived from the original on 27 March 2012. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  25. ^ Clune, David (June 2001). "2000 Ad". Australian Journal of Politics and History. University of Queensland Press. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
  26. ^ "Nile wants stop to Muslim migrants". The Australian. 12 March 2007.
  27. ^ "Christian Democrats receive death threats". The Australian. 13 March 2007. Archived from the original on 16 March 2007.
  28. ^ "Presidents of the Legislative Council, 1856 to date". Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 14 March 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  29. ^ "Presidents of the Legislative Council vote". Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  30. ^ "What of Muslim immigration and the existence of their schools". Gordon Moyes. 7 January 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  31. ^ Carly, Lisa (7 September 2008). "Christian Soldiers at War". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  32. ^ "God's MPs in row". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 3 February 2009. p. 8.
  33. ^ "'Anti-Muslim, anti-gay': Party in holy war of words". ABC News. Australia. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  34. ^ Feneley, Rick (4 February 2009). "Nile calls on the power of prayer to remove a political thorn in his side". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  35. ^ "Expelled for trying to be more Christian". Gordon Moyes. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  36. ^ a b "Why Party expulsions are self defeating". Gordon Moyes. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  37. ^ "The End is Nigh". Gordon Moyes. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  38. ^ "David Blunt: Deputy Clerk of the NSW Parliament". Parliament of New South Wales. 23 March 2009. Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  39. ^ "Do CDP members realise what is happening". Gordon Moyes. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  40. ^ Sheppard, Elwyn (18 March 2009). "Expulsion of Dr Moyes - Right of Appeal" (PDF). The Family World News. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2009.
  41. ^ Mitchell, Alex (20 April 2009). "Nile expells [sic] Flash but he won't be silenced". Crikey. Retrieved 31 October 2011.


External links[edit]