With an impending election, Christian Democrats discover they have a big problem

NEWS | Tess Holgate
Monday 7 March 2016 

With the best chance of gaining a senator in decades, owing to a double dissolution election, the Christian Democratic Party has received some bad news: 49 per cent of NSW Christians know little or nothing of the Party.

New data from McCrindle Research shows that 33 per cent of Generation Y (aged 35 and under) Christians, 22 per cent of Generation X Christians (aged roughly 35-55), and 11 per cent of Baby Boomer Christians have never heard of the CDP. In other Australian states, a similar party is known as “Australian Christians”.

Rev Hon Fred Nile MLC, leader of the CDP, speaking at a rally outside Parliament House Canberra last year .

Rev Hon Fred Nile MLC, leader of the CDP, speaking at a rally outside Parliament House Canberra last year .

The CDP have focused on the relatively small number of people who attend church weekly (approx. 8 per cent of the Australian population), who they believe are already “rusted on” to the party, and are extremely or very satisfied with the CDP, according to the McCrindle research.

But with a federal election to be called sometime this year, the CDP is taking this research on board, and plan to increase their reach in the next five years, particularly among younger Christians and the 49 per cent who don’t know them.

In a media release, Mark McCrindle, the author of the research, said, “NSW Christians are voting on practical issues not just religious ones. This research shows it is community needs, not just moral issues that sway their voting and they will direct their vote towards political parties that connect with their values and at the same time meet their needs.”

The CDP is looking towards how they can continue to meet community needs, and are involved with producing parliamentary reports on the stolen generation, elder abuse, TAFE, and local government forced amalgamations. Their policies prioritise education, health, infrastructure, family and religious freedom.

Fred Nile, long-serving member of the NSW Legislative Council and leader of the Christian Democratic Party told Eternity that he believes that a double dissolution election (where the entire Senate is dissolved, and all senator positions up for election) would favour the Christian Democratic Party, saying, “we normally come about seventh in the race, and in a double dissolution there’ll be 12 seats available.”

Senators are elected according to a quota, which dictates the percentage of the whole vote needed to appoint a member to the senate. In a normal election, this percentage is calculated by dividing the number of formal ballot papers by the number of senators to be elected (6 in a state, two in a territory).

In a double dissolution election, the full number of a state’s senate seats (12) are up for election, which means the election quota drops by half, giving minor parties like the Christian Democrats the opportunity to win a seat.

The Christian Democrats are hoping to decide on their senate candidates during March.

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