Leadership GroupCHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY (FRED NILE GROUP)
Rev Hon. Fred Nile MLC
Federal President of the Christian Democratic Party
Reverend Frederick John “Fred” Nile ED LTh MLC (born 15 September 1934) is an Australian politician and ordained Christian minister. Nile has been a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since 1981. Nile was re-elected at the March 2007 state election and is currently Assistant President of the Legislative Council. He is the longest-serving member of the New South Wales parliament and has announced his decision to accept the CDP nomination for the NSW Legislative Council at the next NSW State Election 28 March 2015. Read More
Rev Dr Ross Clifford AM
NSW State President of the Christian Democratic Party
Ross Richard Clifford AM (born 1951) is an Australian Baptist theologian, political commentator, radio personality and author. A former lawyer who later joined the ministry, Clifford became a campaigner on moral issues while a suburban Sydney pastor in the 1980s. He has since become a prominent figure in the broader Christian community, serving as head of several religious organisations and as an occasional media spokesperson. He unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the New South Wales Legislative Council in 2003. Until mid-2010 he had a successful radio program on Sydney station 2CH. Read more
Rev. Fred Nile
Reverend Frederick John “Fred” Nile ED LTh MLC (born 15 September 1934) is an Australian politician and ordained Christian minister. Nile has been a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since 1981. Nile was re-elected at the March 2007 state election and is currently Assistant President of the Legislative Council. He is the longest-serving member of the New South Wales parliament and has announced his decision to accept the CDP nomination for the NSW Legislative Council at the next NSW State Election 28 March 2015.
Nile was born in Kings Cross, New South Wales and was educated at Mascot Public and Cleveland Street High School (1940–1949). In 1952, during the Korean War, at age 17, Nile volunteered to join the National Service in 1952 and then transferred to the CMF / reserves and qualified for the rank of Major, before retiring in 1972. Nile cites that he attended the Congregational Theological College; the Melbourne College of Divinity; the United Faculty of Theology; the University of Sydney (Adult Matriculation) and the University of New England. He also attended lectures (MA Politics) at Macquarie University but did not complete his degree except for the Theological Tertiary Course (L.Th).
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In 1964 he was ordained as a Congregational minister. From 1964 to 1967, Nile was National Director of the Australian Christian Endeavour Movement, a Protestant youth leadership training organisation. In 1967-68 he was Assistant Director of the Billy Graham Crusade in Sydney before being employed as Director of the Congregational Board of Evangelism in New South Wales. In 1970-71, he was involved in social work as Director of the Methodist Mission to the People of New South Wales and, from 1971 to 1973, was Director of Outreach and Evangelism, Sydney City Wesley Central Methodist Mission.
In 1974, Nile was elected national co-ordinator and the New South Wales director of the Australian Federation of Festival of Light – Community Standards Organisation (FOL-CSO), an organisation which campaigned “for purity, love and family life”. In 1958 Nile married Elaine Crealy, who was a member of the Legislative Council for 14 years. They had three sons and a daughter. Elaine died in 2011 at age 75.
Nile was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council on 19 September 1981 with 9.1% of the vote as the founder of the Call to Australia (Fred Nile) Group, established in 1977. Following the election to the Legislative Council of Jim Cameron (in 1984) and Nile’s wife, Elaine (1988), the Call to Australia Group was officially recognised as a political party. Fred Nile was re-elected to the Council at the 1991 and 1999 state elections before resigning from the Council on 30 August 2004 in order to contest the 2004 Federal election, seeking a position in the Australian Senate on a platform of opposition of the recognition of gay marriages.
At the 2007 NSW general election, Nile was re-elected for a further eight-year term and was appointed by Labor to the newly created position of Assistant President of the NSW Legislative Council. In 2014, Nile announced that he will be contesting the next state election in 2015 with his deputy and successor, Dr. Ross Clifford.
Nile is National President of the Christian Democratic Party, a conservative party which focuses primarily on what it regards as important moral and social issues. Nile is noted for his controversial comments. He is known for his vocal opposition to drug use, violence against women and children and the “mistreatment of the Aboriginal community” by state and federal governments. He is most often quoted by the media on issues relating to pornography, abortion and homosexuality.
In 2003 Nile resigned from the Uniting Church in Australia when that church “officially decided to part with a literal interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible”. He is the president of the Fellowship of Congregational Churches, a group of Australian Congregationalists who declined to join the Uniting Church in 1977. In 2007 Nile retired as the New South Wales director of the Australian Federation of Festival of Light (after 34 years of service) Nile is patron of the Australian Christian Nation Association and Vice President of the Australian Christian Endeavour Union, an evangelical youth movement.
Views On homosexuality
Nile is opposed to homosexuality. While Nile has stated that he does not have a problem with homosexual people only their practices, he contends that homosexuality was a “lifestyle choice” that was “immoral, unnatural and abnormal”. Nile has also stated that he was “totally opposed to the bashing of homosexuals…totally opposed to any violence or attacks directed against homosexual men or lesbians … opposed to strong (malicious) verbal attacks.”
Nile has opposed the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which he described as a “public parade of immorality and blasphemy”.Nile objected to the supposed “indecency and obscenity in various parts of the Mardi Gras” and stated that it reinforced “the worst stereotypes”.
In 2005, Nile called for the repealing of New South Wales anti-vilification law, claiming that the law is discriminatory and should either cover all citizens or be abolished. Nile claimed that the Homosexual Vilification Act was being abused to gag free speech and prevent open non-malicious public discussion.
Following a 2011 announcement by Penny Wong, a Labor Party federal government minister, that her same-sex partner was pregnant, Nile publicly denounced Wong’s actions, saying “I’m totally against a baby being brought up by two mothers,” and “She needn’t have made it public. It just promotes their lesbian lifestyle and trying to make it natural where it’s unnatural.”
On the Australian Greens political party
Nile is a frequent critic of the Australian Greens, claiming that they have exploited genuine concern for the environment to garner political influence to “push their agenda of social engineering”. Nile has criticised the Greens party for what he calls “duplicite political expediency”, citing their push to legalise and fund “illicit drug habits for addicts” such as heroin and cannabis in what he claims is contravention of publicised Green Party policy. Nile has also labelled the Greens as being “anti-family”, “anti-Christian” and “pagan”, citing what he believes to be pro-pornography and pro-sex industry policies and their opposition to the current practice of opening parliament with daily prayers.
Nile once described the Green Party as the “watermelon party – green on the outside but red on the inside, with a bit of a pink tinge.”
Following the Moscow theatre hostage crisis in 2002 Nile asked whether the then state minister of police would consider banning full body coverings like those worn by the Chechen terrorists, from parliament and places of public gathering to prevent the carriage of weapons or explosive devices. On 23 June 2010 Nile introduced a bill into the Legislative Council to criminalise the public wearing of any face covering which prevents the identification of the wearer, including the burqa and niqab.
On 10 March 2007 Nile raised concern that Australian embassy officials posted in Islamic nations were favouring the immigration of Muslim over Christian refugees. Nile called for a moratorium on Muslim immigration to Australia: “Australians deserve a breathing space so the situation can be carefully assessed,” he told an audience in North Ryde.
Nile asked for the removal of the then Australian Muslim leader Sheik Taj El-Din Hilaly after the sheik placed the blame for sexual assault on the female victims.
Ethics classes were introduced by the Keneally Labor government as an alternative for children who did not want to attend traditional scripture classes. Prior to the 2011 state election, Barry O’Farrell made a pre-election pledge of not scrapping the ethics classes. Following the election, Nile, who was vehmently opposed to the ethics classes, introduced a private members bill proposing the abolition of the classes at the end of the 2011 calendar year. Debate on the bill was ajourned until 16 September; and eventually Nile was successful in pushing the government to establish a parliamentary inquiry to examine whether ethics classes in NSW schools should be abolished. Meanwhile, in introducing his bill into the Legislative Council, Nile gained headlines by arguing that the ethics course is based on a philosophy linked to Nazism and communism.
Nile served on the New South Wales’ Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Issues (1988–1995), facilitating legislative reforms on adoption laws, drug abuse among youth, rape rates and pornography, domestic violence, youth violence, youth rural suicides, compensation for medically acquired AIDS/HIV victims, juvenile justice, births, deaths and marriage records.
Nile has also served on the New South Wales’ Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice, the New South Wales’ Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform, the Parliamentary Select Committee into Firearms, the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee into the Management of Parliament, as Chairman of the Cross City Tunnel Inquiry and Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on the Royal North Shore Hospital.
Nile currently serves as:
Assistant President of the New South Wales’ Legislative Council
Chairman of the General Purpose Standing Committee No. 1
Chairman of the Select Committee on Electoral and Political Party Funding
Member of the Committee on the Independent Commission Against Corruption
Member of the Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission
Member of the Legislative Council Procedure Committee
Member of the Committee on Children and Young People
Member of the Standing Committee on State Development
Member of the Privileges Committee
Dr Ross Clifford
Clifford was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Sydney and had a private school education. His conversion to Christian faith occurred at the 1959 Billy Graham crusade in Sydney. Clifford initially studied law and obtained a Diploma of Law from the Solicitors Admission Board of NSW. He worked as a solicitor in the infamous inner Sydney suburb of Kings Cross and then served as a barrister specializing in family law in the Northern Territory and New South Wales.
Clifford decided to enter the Christian ministry and studied for a Bachelor of Theology at Morling Baptist Theological College in Sydney. He initially served as pastor at South Windsor Baptist Church and first became involved in public life in the 1980s, when he became a campaigner for moral standards in advertising and publications while pastor of Gymea Baptist Church. He also contributed to church and public discourses concerning right-to-life issues and the proposed Australian Bill of Rights, which was debated and defeated during Bob Hawke’s term as Prime Minister of Australia.
In the early 1980s Clifford took a sabbatical from his preacher’s post to study apologetics at the Simon Greenleaf School of Law in Anaheim, California. Clifford’s writings place him within the school of thought known as evidentialist apologetics. His MA thesis examined the apologetics arguments of eight lawyers concerning the resurrection of Christ. The thesis, which was originally published in Russian in 1991 by Missionswerk Friedensstimme, was released in Australia under the title Leading Lawyers Look at the Resurrection (1991). It has been subsequently published in Arabic. On the strength of the Russian version of the book he was invited to speak in the Soviet Union where he met some of the personal staff of Mikhail Gorbachev, various members of the Soviet legal profession, and pastors of Baptist churches. He made a follow-up visit to some of the republics of the former Soviet Union, dialoguing about legal reforms and church issues, and spoke in a number of Soviet prisons.
Clifford served as Senior Pastor at Gymea Baptist Church from mid-1985 until late 1991. He also became involved with the Sports and Leisure ministry in Australia and eventually co-wrote two books recounting the spiritual conversions of Australian and International sports-stars such as Nick Farr-Jones, Wes Hall and Bernhard Langer. During 1991 he co-founded with Philip Johnson a para-church ministry known as The Community of Hope, which began developing exhibitor’s booths as a form of dialogue and witness in alternative spiritual festivals in Sydney. Their collaborative venture became the basis for the book Shooting for the Stars, which recreated encounters between the authors and new spirituality seekers in festivals. This dialogical and apologetic activity in New Age festivals spanned the years 1991–2003 and has been the subject of much discussion in most of his publications released between 2001–2004. He later undertook doctoral studies through the Australian College of Theology and was awarded a ThD for his dissertation on the legal apologetic of John Warwick Montgomery. In 1997 Clifford was appointed the Principal of Morling College.
Clifford served as President of the New South Wales Council of Churches throughout the late 1990s, during which time he oversaw an apology to the state’s indigenous population for harm caused by the activities of early missionaries, vocally supported gun control in the wake of the Port Arthur massacre and resisted a push from the hotel industry to put poker machines in hotels across the state. In early 1999 Clifford became a Sunday evening radio announcer, appointed to fill a talkback vacancy on Sydney easy listening station 2CH. He retired from the radio show in mid-2010.
In 2003, after several years of juggling his educational and radio commitments, Clifford attempted to make a move into politics, nominating as a Christian Democratic Party candidate for the New South Wales Legislative Council at the 2003 state election. He received the second position on the CDP ticket behind incumbent member Reverend Gordon Moyes, and took a significant role in the party’s campaign. At the time, the CDP was trying to rebuild itself after the 1999 election, when leader Fred Nile nearly lost his seat to the fledgling Registered Clubs Party. Though they had hopes of improving their vote enough to elect two members at the one election for the first time since the early 1990s, these proved unfounded and only Moyes was ultimately elected.
Clifford remains active in the Australian Christian community and served as the President of Australian Baptist Ministries, from 2005–2009. He continues as Principal of Morling College, was appointed in late 2004 as the Australian Chairman of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, and was a group coordinator at the 2004 Lausanne Forum in Pattaya, Thailand, dealing with alternative spiritualities and new religions. He is occasionally asked for comment by the media and spoke out against the industrial relations changes introduced by the Howard government in 2005. Clifford is interviewed once a week by the Western Australian radio station Sonshine-FM.
Clifford is married and is the parent of two adult children,Joel and Briony. In January 2001 the Australian Commonwealth Government bestowed on him the Centenary Medal in recognition of his ministry, and in June 2010 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia. On 7 February 2012, Clifford was re-elected as President of the NSW Council of Churches.