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Speech to the CDP Management Committee “Why party expulsions are self-defeating”

An appeal after expulsion of a member who was never informed of the expulsion being discussed, never invited to speak in his own defence, and who was never counselled concerning the event by his leader, does not negate the original denial of natural justice nor the way it was communicated to me. For Rev Fred Nile announced in a newspaper report I had been expelled from the party by the management Committee is an example of appalling manners and declining personal relationships.

My aim has always been to refresh, renew and reconnect the CDP with the Christian churches. 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.

The problems and solutions I have sought to be discussed privately in the spirit of Matthew 18, but to no avail. So I took the issue to the membership and Christian supporters as all other CDP avenues were closed to me. I was not allowed to have policy and procedural matters placed on the agenda for the Management Committee, the State Council, raised in the CDP email blog, or raised in the printed Family World News.

Fred will not personally discuss matters involving himself. He has never given a Biblical explanation for his policies despite many requests. Further, on twenty-one occasions this year Fred has defamed me in press releases, emails, and FWN magazine and not once have I answered him publicly until this week. This continued attack on me has diminished his standing in the sight of many.

I requested this opportunity to speak to the State Council planning to outline my concerns that had never been presented to you. I hereby outline here that Party expulsions are self defeating. In expelling me in such circumstances, the Party ultimately hurts itself and guarantees the end of Parliamentary representation of the CDP for ever. Here are the reasons:

1. Expelling a fellow Christian Parliamentarian will mean the CDP will be rejected by Christian Churches.

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.

Fred Nile already rejects the views of all Church Councils, denominational leaders of all major denominations if they do not fit in with his own extremist fundamentalism. This means our Party and leadership are not seen by many as Christian.

The public in general see us as moralists but not Christian. There are many criticisms, even by Christian Parliamentarians, that the CDP is not Christian and does not operate in our public statements as a party of God’s grace.

Church leaders of all denominations will not support the extremist faction the Fred Nile Group because they are perceived as being far from Christian in policies and attitudes. The CDP is not seen as promoting the whole Gospel of God, demonstrating a commitment to justice, to the poor the oppressed, the refugee, the migrant and those who are of different religions and cultures.

It is important that a Party which entitles itself as “Christian” is truly representative of Christian viewpoints, even if personally we may prefer other theological perspectives. We must be inclusive of Christian views and give a Biblical reason for any differing beliefs and actions which to this date has not been done.

2. Expelling a fellow Christian Parliamentarian because he wants to raise other viewpoints to is obviously a denial of our claim to be democratic.

I have argued that all significant policies should be discussed and agreed upon by members, branches, and state council to be representative of the CDP and not announced on the run by a leader in press releases. Every political Party in Australia agrees with me on that issue.

The CDP is not seen as being democratic. Our members know their views are not heard. They know it is useless for branches to make policy suggestions. Even when they are forced to be discussed, their ideas are shunted off to some ad hoc committee. They are then never discussed at State Council or even Management Committee.

I cannot remember once in the last six years Fred accepting any grass root suggestion. We are a dictatorship. As Fred said at the last Christmas Party “I make the policy.” Is this not supreme arrogance?

The first time our members or braches hear about new policies is when they read some journalists’ comments on some press release that has been issued by Fred. To expel anyone for disagreeing with that ultimately means our Party’s end. Normal people leave such an organisation.

3. Expelling a fellow Christian Parliamentarian because he dissents is to deny fundamental human rights.

People will judge this Christian Democratic Party as hypocritical and anti-Christian, with a leadership more akin to Mr Robert Mugabe than any other leader. At the heart of democracy is the belief that the views of citizens or members of the community will be heard. To silence all dissent is a total denial of being democratic. It is tyranny at its worst.

To expel a fellow member for no moral or legal wrong is to defame their character and opens the organisation to legal action, particularly if the State Council is not representative of branches as is required by our Constitution, and includes people who have no constitutional right to vote.

4. Expelling a fellow Christian Parliamentarian because he challenges the wisdom of the leader is to deny a fundamental aspect of leadership.

All leaders must be willing to be questioned and challenged over their leadership, and to have the effectiveness of their leadership reviewed. It is not acceptable in the twenty-first century for a leader to declare himself President for Life and to expel those who disagree as has happened recently with staff, members of the Management Committee and State Council. We do not believe in the infallibility of Fred.

That is why Fred has never been able to work with any Parliamentary colleague including Marie Bignold MLC, John Bradford and myself. Maybe Fred has an over-inflated opinion of his own self-importance and intellect.

Fred has a problem facing anyone who disagrees with him. I have noticed over the years that Fred cannot look any man in the eye whom he regards as a strong person. He attacks them by getting someone else to do it in an article or letter. It is the same with policy matters and Parliamentary decisions.

Fred talks about being leader more than any other politician I know yet he shows no leadership in Parliament, never suggests how we should vote, never discusses one item we should speak upon, and in the last six years has never approached me once on how I feel about an issue, or for advice on how we should vote. He cannot cope with criticism or being asked for an explanation for his decision. Any questioning is called “disloyalty” deserving of expulsion. Fear of disloyalty is a paranoia.

5. Expelling a fellow Christian Parliamentarian means the CDP loses half of its parliamentary seats because the leader cannot face being questioned.

Fred has never had regular appointments with myself on plans and issues, never discusses how he intendeds to vote or what he intends to say on any Bill, nor has he ever suggested we pray about issues facing us and has never called for a time of reading the scriptures and prayer. He carries his old Bible in meetings, but I have never seen him refer to it in our discussions, and I have never seen it used for preparing Bible studies and sermons at the office.

He has meetings on a secret basis with members of the Government. But I am not informed of deals on legislation that he has made with the Government. He puts out a dozen press releases every day, but I have never been informed of their nature nor given copies but they are statements in our name and I am often called to see if others agree with them. See my editorial: “How Fred Nile does deals”.

6. Expelling a fellow Christian Parliamentarian will lead to the end of the CDP as a Political Party.

Whatever the vote today, I will fulfill my term over of the next two years. I can continue in Parliament as a Christian Democrat associated with the CDP’s in twenty other countries but not with the extremist faction, “The Fred Nile Group”.

Or I may accept an Invitation from Family First, if it is extended, to be their man in the NSW Parliament for the next two years. I would then lead their ticket in the next election.

With those who know me supporting me, Family First votes (they have significant financial resources, and will contest every electorate next election) plus the negative image of Fred, there is no hope that CDP will win a seat regardless of whoever is on the ticket.

Ross Clifford whom Fred has announced should replace me, told me, that if I resign, he would accept my seat, but he would never contest an election! Ross has been named as our next candidate. Has Ross agreed to that? Has Ross agreed as the constitution requires that every candidate agrees on every policy with the CDP President. Do the Morling College staff, Morling College Board and the Baptist Union of Australia know that?

The Liberals have told me they will never be doubled crossed by Fred again, and they want me to stand and will give me the Liberal preferences. In the new parliament, probably the Liberals will be one short of an absolute majority. They will not ask a Green to support them, nor the two Shooters who have opposed them, nor Fred who sold out to Labor. So they want me to stand, to win, and then to join with them as the majority in the Legislative Council.

Family First, I have been told, have received large funding from one of the Liberal Party’s main donors. Currently they have one member in the West Australian Parliament, two members in the South Australian Parliament, and one Senator in the Federal Parliament. They could do with a presence of another member in the NSW Parliament. With five Parliamentarians already in place, they believe they can be a significant force in the future. I have been checking out Family First values and stances and I am impressed with their Christian standards.

But I have told them I will not speak officially to their Federal Executive, unless I am expelled from the CDP. I will never resign as I have done nothing that is wrong except disagree with some of the President for Life’s opinions and declare the Management Committee dysfunctional. I have seen too many members of the Party, and of the Management Committee bullied into resigning and quietly go away.

I will not resign, but if expelled I will feel free from any sense of obligation to the CDP. I could then be willing to be the Member for the Family First in the Legislative Council and then, if I get elected as a Family First candidate at the next election, I would stay only about two years, and then hand over to a younger FF candidate ensuring the seat will remain in the Family First Party.

I will never come back to the CDP. There is no requirement that any sitting member should hand back the seat to the original Party if that member decided to change parties. Fred has brought this upon himself. He may now be the only CDP member left in any Parliament in the few weeks. At the next election, the CDP cannot beat Family First and by the following election, I am sure Fred will see the writing on the wall and will not even stand.

With the falling CDP membership and a financial crisis in the CDP, with an uncontrollably ambitious Michael Darby wanting his seat, Fred has already launched a life-boat for himself called “Australia A Christian Nation Association” into which he will jump. Anyone else standing for CDP will not win.

So the days of the Party will be over. There have been too many sackings, too many people hurt and cast aside for me to feel sorry. One day, the public at large will read of Fred’s deals and treatment of supporters and staff in the daily press and that will be the end of his reputation, which in the eyes of many currently shares the same level as Marcus Einfeld. We simply await an investigative reporter to sense a big story waiting. You will not want to be known as a Fred Nile supporter on that day.

So it is back to 1981. In spite of hundreds of thousands of new Christians in this State and over a million dollars of advertising (over the course of 28 years), Fred’s performance in Parliament has been unable to increase the CDP numbers in Parliament, and his organisational skills has resulted in the Party being weaker now than at any other time in history.

The Christian Democratic Party was meant to fulfill our role in such a way to bring glory to God and continue to serve the work of Jesus Christ. By the actions of our Leader for Life, that role is today is damaged.

Through all of this I have not changed. I am present when Parliament is sitting, I give well researched and argued speeches on bills, ask ministers questions designed to help people get justice, record significant events in adjournment speeches, and take my place on Inquiries currently into the Governance of Universities and Bullying of Children and Young People. I lead the Prayer fellowship, and organise the State Prayer luncheon for all Parliamentarians and church leaders. I have fellowship with members of all parties, and I eat with colleagues from every party.

Every week I meet with lobby groups wanting the law changed, and have individuals in my office or I visit them in their homes who are suffering some injustice. I have fully participated in three elections, travelling over five thousand kilometres to country places throughout New South Wales, addressed hundreds of meetings and spoken face to face with over 3,500 people encouraging support to elect CDP local candidates, elect Rev Fred Nile to the Senate, elect Fred Nile to the Legislative Council, elect Superintendent Garry Raymond to the Upper House and Cr Paul Green to the Senate – all at my own expense.

I speak with groups of University and senior High School students on the role of a Christian in Parliament, I am constantly preaching in churches all over the State of all denominations and spend much time helping charities in fundraising by chairing functions, supporting their fundraisers and by selling tickets. Groups I have worked with this past twelve months have raised over $600,000. I do everything I have ever been asked to do as a Parliamentarian.

To expel me, 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, is to ensure that party expulsions will end with the party’s defeat.

Rev the Hon. Dr Gordon Moyes AC MLC

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