Recently, I attended the CDP Christmas Party. About fifty people were present, the lowest attendance I can remember. It was more like a wake. Our Leader for Life said, “The Christian Democratic Party will enter 2009 with a sound financial base, a strong leadership team and a powerful humanitarian focus.” This requires close examination to see if it is true. These statements are usually spin designed to comfort the unthinking.
1. A sound financial base.
I wrote at the beginning of the month, Ask questions before you donate money, “I predict you will start receiving urgent appeals for money soon. Before your money disappears into a black hole, get some answers to these depressing questions. A word of warning, every time anyone raises questions about the management of CDP they are told the issues are all lies. Then one month later it is reluctantly admitted that the questions were true. I have experienced this more than a dozen times. The questions above are facts, but be prepared, you will be told they are lies. But then they will be true!”
“And the next time you get a copy of Family World News, keep it as a memento. I predict it will soon close down for good. The old CDP is dead. I am deeply sorry, but I warned and urged change of direction. Obstinacy and selfishness refused to listen. Now it is all ending. There is nothing to show for thirty years of Christian concern in politics and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from faithful Christians.”
All that I predicted one month ago has come to pass. There have still been no audited accounts sent to financial members for last year. I indicated that very soon members would receive an urgent appeal for money…two weeks later it arrived, full of glowing reports that do not stand up under close examination.
The CDP ended November 2008, as predicted, with a deficit and December will see the CDP in debt and continuing to operate knowing it cannot meet its debts. A former staff member has a claim in for $20,000 owing and there is nothing in the bank to pay it and no provision for liabilities in the budget.
After warning donors of the bankrupt state of the CDP finances, the secretary of the Management Committee wrote to tell me they have no legal responsibility on debts. But what of moral responsibility? Does not every Christian organization have a moral obligation to pay all of its debts and to stop increasing debt until claims by former staff and the like are satisfied?
To save money, a move was made from the Pymble offices (for which we paid $770 a month last year) to West Homebush, to the hall behind the Inner West Baptist church. The CDP Offices now consist of three tables on the stage of the church hall. There are a couple of storerooms, as well, in the wings off the stage. These offices do not comply with Occupational Health and Safety regulations.
The CDP pays Peter Rahme of the Inner West Baptist church $1,430 per month rent for this facility. Peter also produces “Salt and Light”, an occasional email which he circulates among members for which he is paid $200 per month. As well there is to be a monthly payment of $1,700 to Fred Nile for the production of Fred’s paper “Family World News”.
I treat all statements about the CDP’s sound financial base the same way as I treat emails from Nigeria telling me to send my credit card details so they can give me a million dollars. Before you donate, request an audited financial statement.
2. A strong leadership team.
I have described the management Committee as a collection of the mad, the sad, the senile and the overtly ambitious. Looking at those gathered to celebrate Christmas; no one could be convinced this was a high-powered strong leadership team. The overtly ambitious were obvious. Michael Darby was greeting everybody with his oily flattery, and Peter Rahme was speaking and singing at the front for the first hour. Peter sees his involvement as acting State Director as a nice fill-up to his salary as part-time pastor of the Inner West Baptist Church. Such a stretching of a man’s talents usually means neither job grows.
Michael Darby has offered to take over running the party as he told me, “for only $20 an hour” which was one third less than Fred Nile directed he be paid during the election, against the decision of the Management Committee.
The decline of support for the CDP is seen in the fact that at the same time last year, the party had Phil Lamb as a full time State Director, Ben Carpentier (Office Manager – full-time), Peta Wilson (3 days per week admin), Nancy Piggot (1 day per week bookkeeping), Andrew Amos (IT on contract), Toby Anderson (Microsoft Access programmer) on contract, Jeanette Nolan (full-time) Young CDP, and Ken (assistant treasurer) to supervise Nancy, and Wayne (election employment contract). Today, none of those employees are left. Most left with bitterness and disillusionment toward the Leader and CDP.
3. A powerful humanitarian focus.
Try telling that to the sacked staff and those who are owed what they claim, as listed above.
Fred’s record of voting with the Government reveals that on every humanitarian issue, brought before Parliament by the Opposition or the Greens, Fred has voted against it. When the Management Committee discussed a major humanitarian appeal to send to Zimbabwe for the dying and starving people, Fred sent an email vetoing it and wanting a CDP appeal instead. Then it was agreed that an appeal be made for both Zimbabwe and CDP coffers. Most of the money went to the Zimbabwe part of the appeal, so a second “Christmas Appeal” was sent for CDP coffers, which arrived in letterboxes a few days before Christmas, as I predicted it would.
No humanitarian spirit there! A study of the Management Committee minutes reveals that Darby’s suggestion of bringing the Bishop of Harare to Australia was to promote Darby’s standing in the public rallies, and to counter the “influence of Dr Gordon Moyes” in seeking more humanitarian support from the party. Reference to “powerful humanitarian focus” is a concept never used by Fred, and only included as spin to convince members something is happening.
At the Christmas Party, both Fred and Elaine gave speeches praising the new organization “Australia a Christian Nation” but no such praise for the Christian Democratic Party. Strange, since it was a CDP Christmas party.
But as I have said before, we will soon see the CDP dumped, and Fred and Elaine will switch to the Australia a Christian Nation Party with its Anti-Islamic Immigration, Anti-schools for children of Australian Islamic citizens, and Anti-gay platform. Fred has trouble maintaining both membership and financial support in any organization to which they belong.
When numbers fail and money dries up, they start a new organization. The Festival of Light, Family Action Movement, Call to Australia Party, The Christian Democratic Party, and now, probably during this year, look for the Australia a Christian Nation Party. A few rusted on members have been through all the name changes. But most people fall away disillusioned.
So the end of the CDP as we know it is nigh. Who is responsible? People with insight and knowledge of the facts know that responsibility must always be accepted by the leader of an organization, no one else.
Rev The Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes, A.C., M.L.C.