Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 - Australian Democrats

MEDIA RELEASE                9th  April 2019

AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS ARE BACK

The Australian Democrats party has been registered by the Australian Electoral Commission this week, just in time to contest the upcoming federal election.

The party has not had Parliamentary representation since 2008 and officially lost its registration status in 2015 due to declining numbers. However, increasing frustration with the direction of politics prompted remaining Democrats as well as new members to pull together and rebuild.

Party President Elisa Resce remembers that when she first joined, at her very first meeting there was a motion to wind up the Party. “Everyone considered this for a while, but then said the same thing - they can’t see any other group representing what the Australian Democrats stood for, that voice is missing, that voice is needed.

“That sentiment has only grown stronger in recent years when we’ve seen such incredible disillusionment with the major parties due to internal fighting, leadership challenges, obstructionist and dishonest game-playing, and more generally, a growing us vs. them culture in political conversation which is causing real damage,” says Ms Resce.

“That’s what has driven us, more and more - watching all this and thinking, look at what’s missing, we have to do something.”

Ms Resce says the Party is run entirely by volunteers - the new leadership team is made up of teachers, lawyers, farmers, and accountants, from both ‘left’ and ‘right’ of the political spectrum - but more and more people are jumping on board, because they want to see change. While Ms Resce is based in South Australia, the leadership team is made up of members from QLD, NSW and VIC, who work together using phone link-ups. Members in WA have recently connected and are forming an active branch, and the leadership team hopes to support members in NT, ACT and TAS to do the same.

“We come from different backgrounds and in some cases have different views,” says Ms Resce, “but what unites us is the common goal - we want to see respect, integrity, and ethics in Parliament. We want to see Parliamentarians looking at the evidence and finding the best solutions possible. We want Parliament to model that different perspectives can and must be talked through to be able to get to an outcome - we have to work together.”

The Party has undergone a complete restructure, including broadening its focus to purposefully bridge the urban / rural divide both in culture and in practice by merging with rural focus party CountryMinded in November 2018.

Learning lessons from the Democrats’ past, the overhaul has been driven by a commitment to the best possible internal governance and procedures to ensure it genuinely offers a better political alternative for the Australian people. “We have to walk the talk,” says Ms Resce.

Pete Mailler, Deputy President and former head of CountryMinded, echoed Ms Resce’s comments. “The Australian Democrats is a values-based party grounded in policy pragmatism and fairness.  Our commitment is to provide a stable and credible political alternative that is committed to pursuing the truth in the political discourse.”

“Whether we live in the bush or the heart of a capital city, we are all Australians and we all need better political service. To this end and to this end alone, the Australian Democrats are back and better than before.”

The Democrats have already undertaken a rigorous candidate recruitment process through a commercial HR firm and expect to announce a campaign team shortly. They have foreshadowed a strong campaign on energy, climate and political accountability.

 
Ends.
 

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Australian Democrats


 

COMMON GROUND,
NOT MIDDLE GROUND.

There's never been a more important time for a political force committed to finding common ground; a party that is willing to engage all sides of the political spectrum, to evaluate all ideas against the evidence, and to concepts of collaboration and cooperation so that this country can move forward - together.

If we can agree on the destination - an Australia that is economically responsible, environmentally sustainable and compassionate and community-focused - then let's talk to one another, and plot the course together.

Everyone who has knowledge to share is invited to contribute. Our leadership team also wants to hear from those who are not members, but who have important information to share - community groups, individuals and even other political parties. Each and every member is actively invited to have a say in shaping policies.

We actively look for evidence to guide decision-making, whether that be expert research or first hand lived experience. But most importantly, policies should always be guided by the people for whom the policy is going to affect the most.

A good idea is a good idea, regardless of which ‘party colours’ it is wearing (or not wearing). The Australian Democrats are committed to supporting good ideas, no matter where they come from.
 

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES

The world is complex. Decision-making is complicated and multilayered. 
No one party has a complete policy on every element of life; much of decision-making is reactive to challenges that emerge as the world changes, and some of these cannot be predicted.

The Australian Democrats are guided by principles that can be applied to any situation or draft legislation
These guide our decision-making and encapsulate who we are, our goals and values, and the type of community
we strive to be, and build.

These principles are:

1. To act honestly and ethically, being genuinely accountable and acting in the best interests of the public 

2. To determine positions and act according to evidence, merit and best practice, not partisan ideology nor vested interest 

3. To uphold principles of freedom, self-determination, personal responsibility, democracy, fairness and human rights 

4. To uphold principles of equal opportunity, equal access to work, education, health, housing and other services 

5. To foster a culture of stewardship, acting proactively for future generations, and leaving our country better than we found it 

6. To accept the scientific method as the best tool to understand the world around us, particularly in the preservation of our climate and environment 

7. To preserve Australia’s natural resources and agricultural capacity 

8. To recognise and support the contribution that rural and regional communities make to the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the nation 

9. To recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures and support their spiritual and physical connection to country 

10. To be inclusive and respect diversity of opinion, religion, culture, ethnicity, race, ability, age, sexuality and gender without discrimination or prejudice 

11. To expect and pursue excellence and efficiency in the delivery of government services at all levels 

12. To foster a sustainable economy, and to be open to the need for Government intervention where markets fail 

13. To observe the separation of powers, the independence of the parliament, the executive of government and the judiciary and to maintain clear separation of church and state

14. To value the insights and experience of members, and engage with them democratically in Party decision-making 

15. To adhere to honest, just, respectful and collaborative behaviour both within, and when representing, the Party
 

Julie Anderson
M: 0428 262 549
W: www.australian-democrats.org.au/

Elisa Resce

M: 0400 466 773
W: www.australian-democrats.org.au/

Keywords

for your release, federal election, political party resurrection,

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