On Saturday 18th April, at a meeting of the Christian Democratic Party State Council, my appeal against being expelled from the CDP was rejected. This was predictable based upon the numbers. A month earlier I read in the newspapers that the Leader For Life of the CDP Rev Fred Nile, had announced I had been expelled. He had never discussed this with me, before, then or since.
“I was expelled not because of any moral, sexual, financial or any other kind of unacceptable Christian behaviour but because I have some different views to the leader and believe the Management committee to be dysfunctional. Differing with our Leader is regarded as disloyalty and being critical of our Management Committee effectiveness is regarded as grounds for expulsion.”
Since 2002 I have sought to help the Party become more Christian in its attitudes to society and Australian citizens, and more democratic in the way it decides policy and direction. Those who have taken the Party in extremist and racist directions reject my approach entirely, and like many other ordinary members and paid staff in the last couple of years, I have been expelled.
My aim has always been to refresh, renew and reconnect the CDP with the Christian churches and faith. I have been deeply committed to seeing the CDP grow and thrive. I have stated publicly on many occasions that I will never accept any position of leadership within the party, even if offered, as I believe we need a new team of leaders at least twenty years younger than Fred. Fred has no need to feel threatened by my presence. I have offered to resign if Fred does also. He has refused to do so.
There were some funny things that happened prior to the start of the meeting and in the question time. I will mention these first. Fred had arranged for Elwyn Shepherd, who is older than Fred, to present the charges because that way none present would be able to question Fred on anything only Elwyn as the spokesperson for Fred.
The charges were two – I disagreed with Fred on some issues which is disloyalty and I had described the Management Committee for being dysfunctional which is a grounds for expulsion from the party. That is a ruling that has been used to get rid of many people including Ben Carpentier and John Phillips. I would affirm the accuracy of both charges.
Everybody was there at 2pm ready to start, but the Management Committee who was organising the afternoon had a few problems and asked us to wait. The people appointed to handle the security (checking everyone’s identity) had not completed their job, and the recording system (to make sure a full tape was obtained), and the people putting up the amplification equipment were either late or had forgotten.
So we waited for 40 minutes until the amplification man arrived and started to set up his equipment. The person who was to lead in fifteen minutes of prayer was apparently not prepared or else was overwhelmed by the occasion, and Elwyn was asked to read a Bible passage and pray. It was a dysfunctional start!
Elwyn surprised me with some additional charges which were added to later and also from Kiah, a volunteer who works in Fred’s office. She charged me with being a Freemason. When I announced I was not and had never been a freemason, Kiah said, “Well I don’t believe you, you are!”
I was charged with being a member of the Theosophical Society (because I broadcast for many years on 2GB Macquarie Broadcasting station. Later I was elected a Board member and later still Chairman of the station). In 1935 the Theosophical Society owned the licence. They sold the licence in about 1937 to the FAIRFAX media family, owners of the Sydney Morning Herald, and they subsequently sold shares to a number of companies in 1988 and later still to John Singleton Advertising, Wesley Mission and Harold Mitchell Advertising Agency. When I replied I did not know a single member of the Theosophical Society, I had never attended any meeting with such people or had ever been in their offices or even bookshop, I was not believed by some who felt I was there incognito!
Elwyn then charged me with divination, because when I returned from USA last year I had predicted Barrack Obama would win the Presidency! Fred was not charged with divination, because he had during my talk injected “I bet you anything you like that the next President of the United States will be John McCain”. Apparently if you are right you can be charged with divination, but if you fail to predict the winner you are not divining.
Then finally, Elwyn charged me with witchcraft. For the life of me I cannot think what that was for. Did I once quote Macbeth?
Elwyn then read quotes from my questions of CDP policies and press releases where I called for CDP to be more Christian and more democratic. He later said I had gone to the Clerk of Parliament to complain about my staff’s working areas and that when asked my staff both agreed there was nothing wrong and they had no problems. In fact it was my staff, who unknown to me went to the Clerk. But Elwyn was wrong on many facts.
Then it was my turn and please click here for the transcript of my address.
Then it was twenty minutes when some questions were asked, and some more along the lines above. Then the vote – 26 agreed I should be expelled (including the 14 Management Committee) and 8 said I should not and another 5 said the whole thing was stupid and refrained from voting in protest. I thanked those who spoke up in support, although three who spoke in favour of me were jeered. Some later resigned from the CDP. We all had a cup of tea and went home.
Beverley and I felt relieved it was over, visited our daughter and family, and went out to a dinner with a dozen or more Wesley friends. I will remain as an independent Christian Democrat in Parliament or until other approaches have been clarified.
There is a much deeper issue involved than just my personal situation. It has to do with how a religious political party can become a cult.
Alarm bells started ringing loudly when all CDP members were strongly urged to attend every Monday night, the Fred Nile School of Politics. They were to be instructed in holding the Fred Nile world view. This was not something that local churches do, and attending local church Bible studies and prayer meetings were not advocated. But CDP members needed to get involved in the Fred Nile School of Politics. This certainly smells like a cult.
Rev The Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes, A.C., M.L.C.