Family First Party (2021)

The Family First Party (FFP) is an Australian political party based in South Australia, founded in 2021 by former state Labor ministers Jack Snelling and Tom Kenyon. As of March 2022, Lyle Shelton is the party's National Director.[1]

Family First Party
  • FF
  • FFP
LeaderLyle Shelton
ChairpersonTom Kenyon
Founded28 July 2021; 2 years ago (28 July 2021)
Split fromSouth Australian Labor
Preceded byFamily First (2002)
HeadquartersChatswood, Sydney, New South Wales
Political positionRight-wing
Colours  Blue



The Family First Party previously existed as a political party in Australia, founded in 2002 by Andrew Evans, who won a seat in the South Australian Legislative Council at the state election that year.[2] In 2017 it merged with the Australian Conservatives which dissolved in 2019.[2][3]

Jack Snelling (left) and Tom Kenyon (right) established the Family First Party on 28 July 2021.

On 28 July 2021, Jack Snelling and Tom Kenyon both left the Labor Party, forming the Family First Party.[2][4] Upon founding the party, Snelling has said that "we are very concerned about religious freedom and attempts to restrict that freedom", and that "I think that particularly in the last few years the political environment has shifted significantly in both the major parties where you simply cannot prosecute arguments about religious liberty".[4]

Both The Australian and ABC News noted that the Liberal Marshall government in South Australia was led by moderates who had supported reforms relating to abortion and euthanasia.[4][5] Snelling has cited "moves to restrict the rights of hospitals and clinicians to refuse to participate in abortions and euthanasia" as a concern.[2]

Snelling claimed that "we have the support of some of the founding members of Family First including Andrew Evans".[2] Evans told The Advertiser that "I don't mind them doing it. It puts a brake on the major parties", but added that he would not be involved in the new party as "I've done my bit".[6] The Australian reported that Snelling and Kenyon had acquired Family First's "data base of about 6000 supporters".[4] Former Family First senator and current leader of the Australian Family Party, Bob Day, however, said the new party was "not restarting Family First", noting that Snelling and Kenyon were "longstanding members of the Labor Party with a long tradition in the union movement".[7] Former Senator and leader of the Australian Conservatives, Cory Bernardi, said of Family First that he would "cheer them on", and that he had released intellectual property associated with the former Family First name to the new party.[5]

Snelling told a Sunday Mail journalist in July 2021 that he was the chairman of an incorporated association called "Family First Party" which was not yet registered as a political party.[6] The Advertiser reported that "former Family First insiders" believed that the new party was formed with the intent of taking marginal seats from the Liberal Party in northeastern Adelaide.[8] Snelling has said that "I have had no discussions with anybody in the ALP",[8] and that he had not discussed the decision to form Family First with either party leader Peter Malinauskas or Labor's state executive.[2]

The Advertiser also wrote on 30 July 2021 that a Liberal member had said that the "fuse had been lit" for a potential breakaway party from the Liberals to be formed after the Family First Party's formation, with "some Liberals" also worrying that the party could potentially cause the Liberals to lose seats in northeastern Adelaide.[9]

On 1 August 2021, it was reported that Deepa Mathew, who ran for the Liberal Party in the seat of Enfield at the 2018 South Australian state election, had joined the Family First Party.[10] Mathew claimed that the Liberal Party was "introducing legislation that is a serious threat to the very fabric of our society and families, especially around individual's and organisations' freedom to be able to conscientious object based on your beliefs".[10] Federal Liberal MP for Boothby, Nicolle Flint, called Mathew's defection a "big loss for the Liberal Party", and that she was "deeply saddened to learn that Deepa was leaving the Liberal Party – I firmly believe if you want to change things do it from within".[10] The Advertiser wrote that Mathew was expected to run as a candidate for Family First.[10]

The party was registered by the Electoral Commission of South Australia on 13 January 2022.[11]

On 27 May 2022, the party announced the appointment of former Australian Christian Lobby boss Lyle Shelton as their National Director.[1]

In May 2024, the party was registered in Queensland[12] and Australian Capital Territory.[13]

In 2023, Former state liberal MP Bernie Finn joined the party.[14]

Electoral performance


New South Wales




The party, unregistered in New South Wales, ran in the 2023 New South Wales state election for the Legislative Council as a group list with Lyle Shelton. The group list got 1.1% with 58,361 votes.





The party contested the Victorian State Election.[15] Family First Victoria was registered as a political party with the Victorian Electoral Commission as of 6 October 2022.[16]

The party ran in all 88 seats of the Victorian House of Assembly and all seats in the Legislative Council. They failed to win any seats, obtaining 3.05% of the vote in the lower house, and 2.01% of the vote in the upper house.

After the state election, The party ran in the 2023 Narracan state by election getting 2.9%, the 2023 Warrandyte state by-election getting 2.8%, and the 2023 Mulgrave state by-election getting 3.1%.

South Australia




The party ran candidates in the 2022 South Australian state election.[2][4] Initially, Family First said it aimed to run in all 47 seats of the South Australian House of Assembly.[8] Snelling did not intend to run, but Kenyon was reported to be considering candidacy.[6] InDaily reported that Kenyon was "expected" to run as Family First's lead candidate in the Legislative Council.[7]

When candidate lists were finalised, Family First had candidates in 34 seats, and three candidates (Tom Kenyon, Deepa Mathew and Craig Bowyer) for the Legislative Council.[17][18] At the election, the party received 3.7% of the primary vote in the Lower House and 3.05% in the Upper House, and were not successful in getting any candidate elected.[19] Their highest vote was in the seat of Ramsay with 11.4% – a 6.9% swing to the party.[20]

Tom Kenyon, the party's Chairman, reflected on Family First's results after the election: “Our primary goal was to unseat bad members in the lower house, to get a better parliament, and show that we can move the Christian vote around.”[21]

“The life and freedom vote moved about five to ten per cent in a whole bunch of seats, and that counts,” he said. “I don’t think they can discount us now.”[21]


  1. ^ a b "Family First appoints Lyle Shelton National Director". The Daily Declaration. 27 May 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g MacLennan, Leah (28 July 2021). "Former SA Labor MPs Jack Snelling and Tom Kenyon revive Family First Party". ABC News. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  3. ^ Grattan, Michelle (20 June 2019). "Cory Bernardi to disband Australian Conservatives". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e Penberthy, David (28 July 2021). "Ex-Labor ministers resurrect Family First in South Australia". The Australian. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  5. ^ a b MacLennan, Leah (29 July 2021). "Cory Bernardi has given his blessing, but will this be a second coming for the Family First Party?". ABC News. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  6. ^ a b c Starick, Paul (27 July 2021). "Former ALP ministers Jack Snelling and Tom Kenyon reviving Family First party". The Advertiser. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  7. ^ a b Richardson, Tom (28 July 2021). "What we know today, Wednesday July 28". InDaily. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Starick, Paul (28 July 2021). "Former ALP ministers Tom Kenyon and Jack Snelling's ambitions to revive Family First political party". The Advertiser. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  9. ^ Starick, Paul (30 July 2021). "Conservative South Australian Liberals consider breakaway party". The Advertiser. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 September 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d Henson, Elizabeth (1 August 2021). "Revived Family First Party recruits Liberal Party candidate Deepa Mathew". The Advertiser. Archived from the original on 2 August 2021. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  11. ^ "Register of political parties". Electoral Commission of South Australia. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ [2]
  14. ^ [bare URL]
  15. ^ "Family First appoints Lyle Shelton National Director". Daily Declaration. 27 May 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  16. ^ "Currently registered parties". Victorian Electoral Commission. Archived from the original on 15 October 2022. Retrieved 15 October 2022.
  17. ^ "Legislative Council". Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  18. ^ "Candidates A-Z". Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Party Totals". Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  20. ^ "Ramsay - SA Electorate, Candidates, Results". Retrieved 7 June 2022.
  21. ^ a b Mahblurg, Kurt (22 March 2022). "SA Election: Voters Punish Pro-Abortion Liberals in Landslide Labor Win". The Daily Declaration. Retrieved 8 June 2022.