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Do CDP members realise what is happening?

The Christian Democratic Party has changed for all time. Many long term members and supporters do not realise what has been happening. I have raised concerns over a period of time in these pages but some old time members could not believe the changes. Fred Nile has been making new emphases and since the last CDP Convention when the Management Committee was taken over by a group of extremist former Liberal party members, the CDP has become an extremist faction.

The delegates who attended the Annual Convention of the Christian Democratic Party were hit with an unexpected political sledge hammer wielded by an angry and frustrated Rev Fred Nile. As I wrote at the time: “Mr Nile has lost control over the political Party he founded 27 years ago”. He declared on the weekend that he was “President for Life” and that no voting or assessment of his position was allowed.

This has been a bad year for Rev Nile, who recently faced a revolt from the National Executive of another organisation he had founded, the “Festival of Light”. He was dumped as National President even though he had again declared himself as President for life. The new Executive declared no politician could be President, changed its name, the location of its Central Office to Adelaide and elected a new leader much to the chagrin of Mr Nile.

At the Annual Convention of the Christian Democratic Party, Mr Nile was determined such an event would not happen again. To ensure his desired outcomes, Mr Nile demonstrated political skull duggery never before seen at a Christian meeting of any kind. Mr Nile was guided by Mr Darby who viewed the CDP as a soft target for take-over as most present were elderly, good natured Christians, with little political savvy. They were easily ambushed by the extremists.

As journalist, Alex Mitchell, published the following week:

“In extraordinary developments inside the Christian Democratic Party, Rev Fred Nile has become President for Life and his critics have been purged. Nile’s political coup occurred at the CDP’s annual conference held at the Meroo Christian conference centre in the Blue Mountains on the weekend of August 22-24.2008. The biggest casualty in the executive elections was party vice-president Rev Gordon Moyes, the other CDP MP in the NSW upper house.

Although from the same party, Nile and Moyes are miles apart politically. Nile resigned from the Uniting Church in 2003 over the ordination of gays while Moyes has taken a leading role in advocating a more inclusive Christian agenda for gays and support for people with HIV/Aids. Nile has campaigned against Muslim immigration and for a ban on the chador (headscarf) worn by Muslim women while Moyes has supported inter-faith understanding, particularly between Christians and Muslims.

The conference also dumped party secretary Ken Gregory, a party stalwart of 15 years’ standing, and state treasurer Arie Baalbergen who served in the trenches of Christian politics for 20 years. Another casualty was executive member John Phillips who had supported three office workers who made complaints about workplace harassment inflicted by a senior party official (not Nile). In the bloodletting, the CDP has also lost state director Phil Lamb and office manager Ben Carpentier, both veterans of federal, state and local election campaigns.

Nile’s leading lieutenant, Michael Darby, the hard right-wing maverick who was expelled from the NSW Liberal Party last year. Prior to the March 2007 state election, Darby was defeated by Michael Baird for Liberal pre-selection for the seat of Manly. After the loss, Darby went off in a huff and spent the campaign supporting Nile whose main platform was imposing a 10-year ban on Muslim immigration to Australia. Darby is the son of the late Douglas Darby, Manly MP for 31 years (1947-78), and a former researcher for right-wing rabble rouser and radio ham Alan Jones.

Under the newly-formed Nile-Darby leadership the political trajectory of the CDP is clearly mapped out: more criticism of gay people and Muslims and full support for the entire US “moral majority” agenda. He has earned a special place in the affection of the Labor Government by voting in favor of its most controversial—and often unpopular measures—and chairing committees of inquiry to rescue the government from political embarrassment.

His CDP critics are seething. One of them (not Mr. Moyes) has suggested the party change its name. He told Crikey: “It is no longer Christian and it is no longer Democratic. It should be re-registered as the Fred Nile Party.”

The extremists, led by Michael Darby, included rejected Liberals Douglas Darby and Ian Crook from the Central Coast. They were supported by a group known as Darby’s “spear-throwers” including a number of ultra conservatives from the Central Coast that belong to a “conspiracy theory” group who believed the CDP is influenced in its policies by high ranking freemasons, members of the Theosophical Society, and Climate change advocates. This is absolute nonsense.

They recruited a number of naïve CDP members to stand for election to replace the existing Executive of the Christian Democratic Party. They had previously voted against appointing Michael Darby and Wally Vanderpoll to any position within the CDP. However, Mr Nile, appointed both men to his new Executive. Fred Nile is now captive to the extremists who have announced their new targets: complete antagonism to Islamic Australians, and those, like homosexuals, do not fit into their narrow selection of suitable people to be Australians.

Nile declared the Party in future would emphasise an anti-Muslim stance and anti-homosexual plans as the new “macro-policies”. Mr Nile is now under the control of the extremists. When the annual elections came up on the Agenda, Mr Nile produced a list of people that he could work with, and removed every other name of anyone who had ever criticised him. This included all of his most competent and hardworking executive members, his Upper House colleague Dr Gordon Moyes, and several members of staff. This was not done in consultation with any so omitted. None of his hardest working staff or volunteers were thanked by him.

Among those omitted from the nomination sheet were:

Party Vice President, Rev Dr Gordon Moyes, A.C., who was removed for seeking to give more voice to young adults in the party and for promoting a more Christian agenda towards homosexuals, Muslims, and people with HIV Aids, and for advocating more active participation in Christian activities to end poverty and slavery in Africa and homelessness and victims of the drought among Australians. Mr Nile declared these to be all micro-issues, and that in future the macro issues would be anti gay and anti Muslim campaigns.

Next to be dumped was Party Secretary Ken Gregory. A 15 year veteran supporter, this business man was dumped because he had opposed Fred Nile’s decision to appoint Michael Darby as State Director in violation of the Party’s constitutional requirements. Ken Gregory had worked full time as a volunteer in the CDP office.

Next to be dumped was State Party treasurer, Arie Baalbergen. A twenty year veteran, Baalbergan was questioned by Michael Darby and some of what he calls his “spear throwers” for failure to produce income equal to the budget. Baalbergen explained that the loss of hundreds of members every month as reported to the State Executive resulted in a haemorrhage of membership dues. These results had been dismissed for the past six moths by Fred Nile who declared that the reported loss was computer error. Darby, and some of his spear-throwers, started a chant against Baalbergen of “Resign” “Resign”! Nile proposed Darby as the new Treasurer. The stacked meeting voted accordingly.

Next to go was long term Executive member, and full time unpaid worker in the CDP State Office, John Phillips. He was removed by Nile for disloyalty for standing up for three office staff who made harassment charges against Michael Darby. They had all indicated they would resign if Darby was given access to the Office. Nile dismissed the harassment charge and spoke to each staff member indicating they should drop the charge. All three have since left the employment of the CDP. Phillips was dropped because he supported a proper investigation of the harassment charges.

The CDP State Director, Phil Lamb and Office Manager Ben Carpentier who had managed a successful campaign in the last State Election to have Nile re-elected, had earlier resigned after Nile publicly attacked Lamb for not doing what Nile had ordered, and Carpentier after Nile had discovered he had once been a member of the Labor Party.

During the election Nile reduced the staff and 36 Young CDP members to tears by his tirade against their elected leaders. Within two months Wally Vanderpoll (the recent CDP State Manager) had left on stress leave and has not been seen since.

How did Fred Nile manage to rid himself of anyone who questioned his judgement? By surprising the delegates with a swift series of changes. Nile reaffirmed himself President for life with no person being able to stand against him, until he decides to retire. He then abolished the secret ballot for party positions, and instead instituted a green card that had to be held up high by everyone agreeing with him. Then he had Michael Darby and his son Douglas note anyone not voting with a green card in agreement.

Michael Darby has studied the methods of Robert Mugabe closely and they were all seen at work in the Blue Mountains Conference. Nile also ensured he had the numbers. He organised a crowd of his older supporters who would not have been present as voting delegates to be present on the pretext of giving them a certificate of loyalty and dedication, presumably for being loyal and dedicated to him. The meeting was stacked with sufficient old time supporters.

None of the Executive or Management Committee knew any of these arrangements. Nile cannot handle any criticism. He had in the past year ordered staff not to send Management Committee or executive minutes, notices of motion to any elected member who had raised concerns or annoyed him. He simply stated that he no longer recognised such people.

I will not comment further on Management abuses with the CDP. I supported the long-term, faithful workers and donors who were sacked by Fred when they needed my support when no-one else could stand up for them. When he just sacked his Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, volunteer office worker, and forced the resignations of his State Director, CDP Office manager and secretary we lost the people who had worked the hardest for his recent re-election. They were never thanked by him. His statement heard by many, “It doesn’t matter, we will just replace them” was most insensitive.

Now a group of former rejects from the Liberal Party have taken over the CDP Management Committee, together with some others to become a committee of the sad, mad, senile and aggressively ambitious. The old CDP, Christian Party is gone. A new group “Australia A Christian Nation” has been formed, and I suspect this will take over the registration and assets of the Christian Democratic Party hoping to pick up the red-neck, racist and anti-Muslim ethnic vote.

What part has Rev Fred Nile played in all of this? Fred says that nothing – not even a Press Release – goes out without his approval.

One member of the Management Committee wrote to all:

“Persons are still persisting with accusations of deception, lies and un-Christ like behavior. It is this type of inquisition that is underlying sectional divisions in the Management Committee. I ask that these persons be challenged for their divisional agenda at the Management Committee. If it wasn’t for the good nature of staff and volunteers at the office whom I believe have the future of the Party at heart, I and several others would resign. (All mentioned were subsequently sacked or forced to leave or expelled!)

Gordon’s attempt to evaluate the democratic voice of the supporters through his CVIP so he can represent them was stifled as not Party policy and overruled by Fred so that he (Fred) alone formulates CDP Policy. This position that Fred alone formulates CDP policy ought to be brought to the attention of all members so they can determine if they accept Fred as total authority or the democratic principles of Westminster. After speaking to several Members of CDP after the meeting, we believe Fred no longer represents a democratic voice for Christians but is merely a lobbyist for his voice based on the prevailing whims of the debate he hears and is not based on preformed views of the people as upheld by Westminster democratic principles. The Fred Nile Party is no longer democratic so we must remove that title from the Name and not deceive the voters who assume we are based in the principles of a Westminster Democratic Government.”

Needless to say that member of the Management Committee not long after received a letter from Fred Nile saying he had been expelled for expressing that view. Any questioning of the CDP Leader for Life is regarded as being disloyal. Any criticism of the dysfunctional CDP management Committee is grounds for expulsion.

I found out from the Press early this month that I had been expelled. Not for any moral, sexual, or financial misconduct, but for disagreeing with the President for Life which is regarded as disloyalty, and for criticising the Management Committee for being dysfunctional. Fred Nile did not speak to me about this, but to a journalist. Lack of training in good manners and proper protocols always shows.

The Management Committee apparently hurriedly realised that making this decision without giving me a right to speak or to defend my position left them open to legal action. I then received by registered mail an invitation to explain my position at a special State Council and Management Committee to be convened.

Of course I accepted this invitation, as this was the only chance members of our State Council could hear my side of the story. None of my previous concerns given in writing to the Management Committee have ever been discussed or presented to the State Council. So this Saturday April 18th, at 2pm at the CDP Office 9 Exeter Rd, Homebush West, I will reject my recent expulsion from the Party.

This is a State Council meeting open to all members of the Party but only a select few have been invited (to stack the meeting.) But come along, you may not be allowed to vote, but come and hear what has been happening behind closed doors of the Management Committee and Fred’s office.

Next week I will present a report on Saturday’s events, and I will provide an overview of what has been happening in our leadership. I will also outline my future plans in the light of Saturday’s decision to uphold the expulsion order or not. Make sure you look forward to this full presentation. It will be quoted when the final history of the CDP is printed. May God guide us as we seek to uphold His truth and standards.

Rev The Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes, A.C., M.L.C.

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