Lyle Shelton joins Family First as National Director

Lyle Shelton

Lyle Shelton, the former Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby, is joining political party Family First as their National Director.

The appointment was announced by the party’s National Chairman Tom Kenyon.

“Australians need a party that will take a bold and unequivocable stand for families,” Kenyon said.

“That’s why we are building a movement that will stand for families and it is why I am delighted to have someone of Lyle’s calibre to help build on the momentum Family First achieved at the recent South Australian election.”

Shelton is served as the Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby from 2013 until 2018. He also headed the national campaign against marriage equality during the 2017 postal survey.

After leaving the Australian Christian Lobby Shelton became the Communications Director for Cory Bernardi’s short-lived Australian Conservatives party. Shelton was the party’s lead senate candidate at the 2019 election but failed to gain enough votes to be elected. Shortly after the election the party folded.

Lyle Shelton them became a political staffer working for a Queensland MP, but there was opposition to him becoming a member of the Liberal party.

Shelton’s next political alliance was with Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party. Nile announced Shelton was joining the party as their Communications Director and would replace Nile as the party’s leader when Nile retired from the New South Wales parliament.

His time as heir-apparent was short lived though, with Nile later reportedly retracting the endorsement.  Earlier this year the party was deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission, and a Supreme Court action saw the party dissolved. Fred Nile then joined the Senior’s United Party of Australia, becoming their first sitting member.

Since leaving the Australian Christian Lobby Shelton has not been a regular face on television, instead opting for a regular video blog and newsletter to stay in touch with his followers. He also published a memoir about his time in the political lobbying arena.

Tom Kenyon said Shelton’s background is working in grassroots organistions would help raise the profile of Family First.

“Lyle’s experience in campaigning, advocacy and in raising national grassroots organisations makes him well-qualified to build the movement needed to place strong voices for families and freedom into our nation’s Parliaments,” Kenyon said.

The party hopes to make an impact at the Victorian state election later this year.

“First cab off the rank will be the Victorian election where Lyle will assist our State team in a bid to have Family First Party MPs elected to the Upper House in November.

“Family First looks forward to providing voters with candidates willing to fight for our values and freedoms.” Kenyon said.

In an email to his supporters Lyle Shelton said Family First was a party that would stand up for faith, life, and family.

“Australia needs a political party that will stand unashamedly for the family, for the unborn, for the truth about gender, for freedom and for the Judeo-Christian virtues that have built Australia and the West.” Shelton said.

History of the Family First Party

Family First was first formed in 2002, with it’s origins in South Australia, the party had several elected representatives in the federal upper house, as well as winning upper house seats in South Australia and New South Wales.

The party is generally considered to be conservative and part of the Christian right and has campaigned for family values and a moral agenda.

Steve Fielding was a federal senator for the party representing South Australia from 2005 until 2011. Bob Day held a senate seat from 2014 until 2016 when he resigned following the liquidation of the Home Australia Group.

It was later found that Day had been ineligible to sit in parliament, and a count-back identified the party’s second candidate Lucy Gichuhi and the rightful winner of the poll.

However by the time Gichuhi arrived in parliament the party had announced it was merging with Cory Bernadi’s Australian Conservatives. Gichuhi chose not to participate in the merger, and instead joined the parliament as an independent, she later became a member of the Liberals.

Following the dissolution of the Australian Conservatives, Family First was re-registered as a political party in South Australia and contested the 2022 state election. They failed to gain any seats.

Graeme Watson

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