Fred Nile to retire from politics

Fred Nile to retire from politics

Controversial NSW MLC Rev. Fred Nile has announced he will retire from politics later this year, naming Lyle Shelton as his successor.

The seat is the only one held by the Christian Democratic Party. The NSW state government has often relied on Rev. Nile’s vote when legislation was closely contested.

From 2013 to 2018, Mr Shelton was the managing director of the Australian Christian Lobby and one of the chief proponents of the unsuccessful ‘No’ campaign during the postal survey on same-gender marriages.

“The need for unashamedly Christian voices in public life has only increased in recent years and I can think of no one better than Mr Shelton to carry this forward,” Rev. Nile said. 

Mr Shelton said that his elevation to the position comes during a time when “There has never been a greater need for Christian ethics and principles in our parliaments.”

Rev. Nile’s retirement marks the end of a long career in politics, with the MLC becoming known for incendiary comments about LGBTI issues and abortion. He was also outspoken against drug use, pornography, and what he deemed to be “the mistreatment of the Aboriginal community” by state and federal governments. He was first elected to the NSW Upper House in 1981.

Rev. Nile is a former Uniting Church minister. He left the church after the 2003 Assembly agreed to Proposal 84, which allows congregations to decide for themselves as to whether they would have a minister who is in a same-gender relationship.

He was later ordained as a minister in the Fellowship of Congregational Churches, a union of originally forty Congregational Churches that declined to join the Uniting Church at union.

Rev. Nile will retire in November.

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