The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a socially liberal ideology. It was formed in 1977, by a merger of the Australia Party and the New Liberal Movement, after having secured former Liberal minister Don Chipp as a high-profile leader. The party's 30-year representation in the Parliament of Australia ended on 30 June 2008, after the loss of its four remaining Senate seats; two of the senators had retired from politics and the other two were defeated at the 2007 election, in which the party polled only 1.29% of the national Senate vote.
The party is based on the principles of honesty, tolerance, compassion and direct democracy through postal ballots of all members, so that "there should be no hierarchical structure ... by which a carefully engineered elite could make decisions for the members." From the outset, members' participation was fiercely protected in national and divisional constitutions prescribing internal elections, regular meeting protocols, annual conferences—and monthly journals for open discussion and balloting. Dispute resolution procedures were established, with final recourse to a party ombudsman and membership ballot.
Policies determined by the unique participatory method promoted environmental awareness and sustainability, opposition to the primacy of economic rationalism (Australian neoliberalism), preventative approaches to human health and welfare, animal rights, rejection of nuclear technology and weapons.
The Australian Democrats were the first representatives of green politics at the federal level in Australia. They played a key role in the cause célèbre of the Franklin River Dam.
The party's centrist role makes it subject to criticism from both the right and left of the political spectrum. In particular, Chipp's former conservative affiliation was frequently recalled by opponents on the left. This problem was to torment later leaders and strategists who, by 1991, were proclaiming "the electoral objective" as a higher priority than the rigorous participatory democracy espoused by the party's founders.
Over three decades, the Australian Democrats achieved representation in the legislatures of the ACT, South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania as well as Senate seats in all six states. However, at the 2004 and 2007 elections, all seven of its Senate seats were lost.
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... Wood then moved to Victoria and joined the Australian Democrats in 1990 ... Internal disagreements within the Australian Democrats resulted in the departure of Victorian Senator Janet Powell from the party leadership in August ... Wood became the Democrats' lead candidate for the Victorian Senate in the 1993 federal election ...
... State Representative House Division Term AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY Gordon Walsh House of Assembly 1979–1985 Ivor Vivian House of Assembly 1979–1985 Roslyn Dundas Legislative Assembly ...
... Party Seats Liberal Party of Australia 51.8% 6 Australian Labor Party 27.4% 4 Australian Democrats 8.0% 1 SA Greens 1.7% Nationals SA 0.7% 1993-1997 Legislative Council ... This left the total upper house numbers at Liberals 11, Labor 9, Democrats 2 ...
... Kanck (born 20 April 1950) is a South Australian politician ... She was an Australian Democrats member of the South Australian Legislative Council 1993-2009, and at the time of the announcement of her resignation in ... her anti-nuclear activism, in 2009, she authored, on behalf of the Australian Democrats (SA Division Inc.) a substantial submission in response to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed ...
... an organiser and candidate for the Australia Party before joining the Australian Democrats and becoming senior adviser to Don Chipp and Janine Haines ... Spindler was Victorian state president of the Australian Democrats from 1985 to 1989 and a national vice-president from 1987 to 1990 ... range of shadow-ministerial portfolios, as was mandatory for all Democrat parliamentarians ...
Famous quotes containing the words democrats and/or australian:
“Do you know I believe that [William Jennings] Bryan will force his nomination on the Democrats again. I believe he will either do this by advocating Prohibition, or else he will run on a Prohibition platform independent of the Democrats. But you will see that the year before the election he will organize a mammoth lecture tour and will make Prohibition the leading note of every address.”
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“The Australian mind, I can state with authority, is easily boggled.”
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