MEDIA RELEASE: 27th June, 2015: The world according to Tony: must we all have the same view?


Darren July 2010australian-democrats-logo-300

27th June, 2015

The world according to Tony: must we all have the same view?

In its desire to have a compliant Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia’s conservative government is beginning to resemble the Chinese communist party say the Australian Democrats.

The party’s national president, Darren Churchill, says that despite the ABC being deliberately set up in legislation to be independent and free from government interference, our Prime Minister wants to fashion it in his own image.

“This is just what totalitarian governments do, but surely Australians do not want to proceed down that path?

“When Tony Abbott says that heads in the ABC should roll it is clear that he would like to set himself up as judge, jury and executioner.

“Fortunately for Australian democracy, the ABC’s Charter requires it to present programs which reflect Australia’s cultural diversity which is what Q&A was doing on Monday night; the ABC is not required to act as a mouthpiece for the government of the day.

“Without truly independent media, how can governments be kept accountable, and without that accountability where is democracy?

“The ABC appears to be under sustained attack with the future of public broadcasting under threat. This must be resisted.

“The suggestion by members of the government that a rebroadcast of Q&A should have been censored is simply unacceptable in a society which values free speech.

“Only by listening to all points of view are we likely to come to informed decisions.

“Through comments in a speech made by its Managing Director, Mark Scott, ABC management has taken a strong stand against these attacks and the Australian Democrats commend him for this.

“Our ‘Aunty’ ABC is an independent entity, and long may she stay that way” said Mr Churchill.


National President, Australian Democrats

Tel: 0412 196 473

MEDIA RELEASE: 22 January, 2015: Drop the co-payments policy entirely Sussan Ley!


australian-democrats-logo-300Darren July 2010

Australian Democrats

22 January, 2015

Drop the co-payments policy entirely Sussan Ley!

Health Minister Sussan Ley is to be congratulated for her stated commitment that bulk billing will continue for vulnerable people and concession patients say the Australian Democrats. However, our congratulations stop there, says the National President of the Australian Democrats, Darren Churchill.

Ms Ley is consulting with the somewhat unrepresentative AMA (only about 40% of doctors are AMA members), but what about the many other deliverers of good health outcomes in Australia?

“Why isn’t Ms Ley consulting with nurses, midwives, physios, pharmacists etc all of whom have the capacity to provide a more cost-effective health system if their talents are properly utilised,” said Mr Churchill.

“Ms Ley says that broadly there is support for a co-payment, but the Democrats challenge her to provide the evidence for this claim.

“The Government’s initial justification for the co-payment was to slug patients more money in order to finance their proposed Medical Research Future Fund. Why is that needed when we already have the National Health and Medical Research Council and other hospital research foundations? The NH&MRC is an important body respected in part because it funds not just medical but *health research. But the body proposed by the Government will fund only medical research.”

Ms Ley claims that the principle of co-payment is sound, yet the World Health Organisation (WHO) has found differently. A WHO study found that, confronted with increased payments for pharmaceuticals, those on lower incomes reduced their use resulting in other problems further down the track.

“So in the longer term patients who have cut back on their health costs will re-present in a far worse state, often in a crisis, in hospital emergency departments. The health costs will actually increase as a consequence. But it won’t be the federal government meeting those costs – it will be the state and territory governments that run the hospitals. What this sneaky government is up to is cost-shifting to the states and territories.

“If the issue really is about the general funding of our health system the Australian Democrats propose, instead of a co-payment, a 0.5% increase in the Medicare levy. This would be a cost of approximately 50c per day for someone on $30,000 p.a. and $1.60 per day for someone on $100,000 p.a. Additionally there should be legislation to ensure that the levy is paid on gross and not net income.

“Increasing the Medicare levy is a much more socially just way than the divisive co-payment which hits hardest those who can least afford it.

“This whole impasse over the GP co-payment and bulk-billing could have been avoided if the government was not so bloody-minded, had consulted with health and medical professionals to find out where savings could be made and was being honest about what it is they want to achieve,” said Mr Churchill.

Further comment:
Darren Churchill
National President
0412 196 473

*Health research might encompass, for instance, research to find out whether there really is broad public support for a co-payment, as there really is no information about this.

MEDIA RELEASE: 21 January, 2014: Expunging sodomy convictions: the other parties start to catch up


Darren July 2010australian-democrats-logo-300

MEDIA RELEASE: 21 January, 2014:

Expunging sodomy convictions: the other parties start to catch up

More than 18 months after the Australian Democrats began calling for the expunging of sodomy convictions, other political parties are starting to catch up, say the Australian Democrats.

National President of the Australian Democrats, Darren Churchill, says it was always a no-brainer that justice was being denied to these men, some of whom are now quite elderly but who have continued to carry this unwarranted criminal record, but asks why it has taken so long for any action to occur.

“Both the Victorian Opposition and Government have promised to do something to make it happen, while the South Australian Government is ahead of them, having quietly passed legislation, albeit somewhat flawed, just last month.

“Although Victoria is behind SA, hopefully they will improve on what has been passed there.

“Of course, we congratulate the South Australian Government for its initiative, but the Spent Convictions (Decriminalised Offences) Amendment Act 2013 falls short because
a) the expungement is not automatic and the person with the criminal record has to apply to the courts for it to be removed, and
b) where there were associated convictions, as for example loitering, the new laws do not envisage the removal of those records.

“Despite the flaws, it is still a positive move, but it is unclear why there has been so little fanfare from the South Australian Government about the passage of these new laws.

“The Victorian legislation should be able to improve on this and make it easier still for these men who essentially became victims of a system of entrenched bigotry.

“There’s talk of legislation in NSW and the ACT, but more than talking is needed.

“We now call on the other states and territories to get on with the job and catch up with the forward thinking of the Australian Democrats,” said Mr Churchill.

Further information:
Darren Churchill
National President
0412  196 473

MEDIA RELEASE: 16th December, 2013: Congratulations Natasha Stott Despoja!



MEDIA RELEASE: Australian Democrats: 16th December, 2013

Congratulations Natasha Stott Despoja!

The Australian Democrats are delighted with the news that their former leader, Natasha Stott Despoja, has been appointed to the position of Ambassador for Women and Children.

Party President, Darren Churchill, says that Ms Stott Despoja has a fine record on such issues which she built up in her time as a Democrats’ Senator.

“Her first statements about Nauru and not being afraid to advocate to the Minister about pregnant women being detained is a great start to the job.

“There are crucial issues to be tackled in this job, not least of all that being the provision of contraception in developing nations, and we look forward to hearing her advocacy on this issue.

“Her brief is wide, covering the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, so she will have her job cut out for her with other major issues such as gendercide, sexual assault and that of child brides.

“But we know that Natasha will be up to the job,” said Mr Churchill.

Further information:

Darren Churchill

National President

0412 196 473

Media Release: 2nd October, 2013: Democrats tribute to Janet Powell AM



MEDIA RELEASE: 2nd October, 2013

Democrats tribute to Janet Powell AM

The Australian Democrats have paid tribute to their former leader, Janet Powell, who died on Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Party President, Darren Churchill, said that Ms Powell filled very large shoes when she took over as the party’s leader, following Janine Haines’ unfortunate defeat in her 1990 House of Representatives bid.

“As Leader, Janet Powell stuck her neck out in the first gulf war, with the Democrats being the only parliamentary political party to oppose Australian involvement. It brought stinging attacks from some and a loss of votes in opinion polls, but she stood her ground. Her and our party’s position of non-involvement in Iraq has ultimately been vindicated.

“Janet was active in our party from its foundation. Despite living in Echuca she regularly and frequently made trips to Melbourne to be part of the organising and decision-making of a rising new party. She ultimately became the Victorian State President and a National Deputy President of the party.

“Although not personally ambitious, when Don Chipp resigned from the Senate in 1986, Janet found herself filling the casual vacancy created and she threw herself into that role with the same commitment she’d shown in the policy-making and administration of the party.

“Janet brought with her a passion to reform tobacco advertising, and in 1989 her ground-breaking bill to ban tobacco advertising in the print media passed through the parliament, the first time a private member’s bill from the Senate was carried in both houses.

“Our thoughts are with her family, and we are grateful to Janet Powell for the service she gave our party,” said Mr Churchill.

Media contact:

Darren Churchill 0412 196473

Post Election Thanks:


Post Election Thanks:

Many thanks to the people of FRASER who voted for me and to those who wished me well.

Many thanks also to my supporters and helpers, both members of the Australian Democrats and others.

Once again, we achieved around two per cent winning more than 2000 votes.  And that’s not easy when most of the focus was on the Senate election.

My result was the best House of Representatives vote for an Australian Democrats candidate, in this election.

We fought a good campaign on a relatively low budget.

I thank the Australian Democrats for once again allowing me the honour of representing them as a candidate.

And to everyone, thanks again for your effort and support and the faith of those who voted for me.

Darren Churchil

How to Vote for Darren CHURCHILL in Fraser


Fraser HTV

As the elected member for FRASER I will:


As the elected member for FRASER I will:

· balance economic policy with social and environmental considerations. Good economic management is about getting the balance right. It’s a “triple bottom line;”

· maintain the traditional Democrats principle of supporting legislation that is fair and equitable and seek to amend and make fairer that which is not;

· ensure that whichever party forms the government, they are held accountable for their actions;

· support industries that create jobs and are kind to the environment, and not those that will make problems for future generations. NO uranium mining and NO nuclear reactors;

· introduce legislation to create a Sustainable Population portfolio and population advisory panel to deal with real long term investment in social, environmental and economic infrastructure including ecologically sustainable urban and water planning, renewable energy, better public transport, health services and regional development.

· encourage investment in sustainable agricultural practices and sensible rural water management;

· work to end the “War on Drugs” approach and introduce legislation to treat drug and alcohol addiction as health issues;

· vote with my conscience on all issues;

· bring a “balance of reason” to the House of Representatives.

Media Release: 17th August, 2013: Top Bloke in Fraser for Australian Democrats


australian-democrats-logo-300ACT Democrats 2013

Media Release: 17th August, 2013:

Top Bloke in Fraser for Australian Democrats

The Australian Democrats in the ACT have announced their candidate for Fraser for the 2013 Federal election.

Darren Churchill is the party’s National President and has stood as a candidate for the ACT Legislative Assembly and for the Senate in 2010. Darren has lived most of his life in the Canberra region. He has worked as a secondary teacher, in the music industry as a casual relief teacher and occasional fitness instructor and as a consultant. Darren’s main policy interests are sustainability, drug law reform, food security, energy security and a sustainable population for the ACT and Australia, as well as policies that give ordinary people a “fair go.”

Darren was endorsed last year by an Australian Democrats members’ ballot for the Senate but made a strategic switch to Fraser in the last month.

“The Australian Democrats have 31 years of successful parliamentary experience to draw on. We are known for our ability to deliver stability for government, and to deliver positive results by negotiating to improve legislation.” Darren said. “If the people of Australia once again deliver a hung parliament, you the voter can ensure that I am there to guarantee better results using the Democrats ability to effectively use the crossbench for the greater good.”

I am contesting the election to fight for Sustainable Prosperity for Australia, which includes food and water security, energy security and a stable population size that gives us a sustainable and liveable Canberra and Australia. A vote to elect Churchill, will mean a greater of variety of views will represent Canberrans in the Federal parliament, providing a more representative outcome.” said Darren

Darren has drawn pole position on the ballot paper. “I’m at the top of the ballot paper, so people should think of me as a top bloke in Fraser and vote accordingly.” Darren concluded.

Darren Churchill

Tel: 0412 196 473


Darren July 2010

Darren Churchill

Candidate for Fraser (2013)

Darren Churchill, 48, has lived most of his life in the Canberra region. Originally from Goulburn, he now lives in Kaleen. Darren has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Newcastle and a Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Wollongong. He has taught in secondary schools in both NSW and the ACT.

Darren has also worked in the music industry doing sound and lighting, and in the early 1990s was a band manager. Currently, Darren works as a political and fitness consultant. As a Christian (Anglo-Catholic), he has strong views on human rights, equality, social justice and inclusiveness. In the long tradition of the Australian Democrats, he stands with the voiceless the marginalised and the oppressed in the fight for justice and equality.

Darren is greatly concerned about animal welfare and food labelling. He was active as a volunteer in the campaign to reinstate South Sydney Rabbitohs to the NRL, and was active in the Canberra Cosmos and Belconnen Blue Devils Supporters Groups. He supports the proposal for an A-League team for Canberra.

Darren has been outspoken on matters of privacy, civil liberties, drug law reform and sustainable population.

Darren stands for getting the balance right in legislative decisions. The result needs to be the right mix for the environment, the economy and social justice. He is a straight talker who represents the core Australian Democrats values of honesty, tolerance and compassion.

If elected, Darren will give: support for the construction of a Very Fast Train system to link Canberra to Sydney and Melbourne; support for low carbon energy sources to give us a clean reliable sustainable energy future, and support for increased investment in high tech export products from the ANU, the CSIRO and local manufacturers, to help give Australia an alternative to agriculture and mining exports. Darren will work to ensure Canberra and Australia’s population does not exceed the carrying capacity, recognising that strategies to manage population will require appropriate planning, proper consultation and a whole of government approach

Darren will bring the Australian Democrats’ 31 years of legislative experience to the House of Representatives, continue the same process of working for good legislative outcomes and offer practical, balanced solutions for Sustainable Prosperity.

Darren Churchill

Tel: 0412 196 473

MEDIA RELEASE: 13th August, 2013: Democrats campaign slogan: Sustainable Prosperity


Darren July 2010australian-democrats-logo-300

MEDIA RELEASE: 13th August, 2013:

Democrats campaign slogan: Sustainable Prosperity

The Australian Democrats have launched their campaign slogan for the September 7 federal election: Sustainable Prosperity.

Australian Democrats National President, Darren Churchill, says that Sustainable Prosperity must be the vision for Australia’s future.

“Some preach that economic growth is the holy grail, some small government and some environment over humanity. The Australian Democrats believe that Sustainable Prosperity encourages economic development, wealth creation, environment protection, humane justice and social advancement.

“With Australia’s economy linked to the world there are no simple solutions, and the challenge for government is in negotiating the Sustainable Prosperity path.

“Australia already welcomes investment in solar and wind power, but must more actively encourage it, and if this means coal-fired power stations will be little used or retired early, it will be a plus in dealing with climate change.

“Our manufacturing industries, tortured by the recent high dollar, can and must be revived to lead the world in innovation and excellence. We are also a trusted source of quality food exports.

“Prosperity will not however come as a result of increasing population. Every new person requires $200,000 worth of infrastructure and Infrastructure Australia estimates the nation already has an infrastructure backlog of up to $300 billion.

“Economic sustainability, properly managed and definitely shared to reduce the gap between rich and poor, promises to lift more people out of poverty – an objective we should all embrace.

“A vote for the Australian Democrats is a vote for Sustainable Prosperity for all Australians,” Mr Churchill said.

Media contact: Darren Churchill

National President

Australian Democrats

Phone 0412 196473