Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

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

MEDIA RELEASE: 17th July, 2013: Australian Democrats release Murray Darling Basin policy



MEDIA RELEASE: 17th July, 2013:

Australian Democrats release Murray Darling Basin policy

The Australian Democrats have released their newly-balloted policy on the Murray-Darling Basin in preparation for the forthcoming Federal election.

Central to the policy is recognition that a viable river system requires an understanding of the impacts of climate change and population growth, says lead Senate candidate in South Australia, Ms Jeanie Walker.

“If we are to keep this precious river system flowing we must recognise that predicted temperature increases of between 2.5 and 6 degrees would result in a reduction of flow of between 16 and 48% by the turn of the century.

“This will have significant impact on the irrigation industry, with greater efficiencies being demanded, and we support more money being provided to deliver those efficiencies.

“It might also mean that more irrigators will need to exit the industry, and it is a significant aspect of our policy that we should assist those irrigators wishing to do so to exit from the industry with just compensation and dignity.

“Given that 3.5 million people either live in the basin or live nearby and are directly dependent on it, Australia’s fast-growing population will add further pressures to an increasingly stressed system.

“While a significant proportion of food produced in the Basin is exported, food production will most likely have to concentrate on producing food for Australians.

“At the same time we strongly support the environment having its own fair entitlement to water based on independent peer-reviewed science. If the environment misses out the rivers in the basin will progressively die.

“So many Australians are dependent on this river, for their lives and their livelihoods. We must treat it with the utmost care,” concluded Ms Walker.

[A full copy of the policy is available on request from Ms Walker]

Further comment:

Jeanie Walker

Lead Senate candidate for South Australia

Phone: 0427 076 336

Media Release: Sunday, 29th July, 2012: Australian Democrats challenge the big end of town with new population policy


Media Release: Sunday, 29th July, 2012

Australian Democrats challenge the big end of town with new population policy

Australia faces serious environmental degradation as a consequence of increasing human population and urgent action must be taken to curb this, say the Australian Democrats.

Announcing a new population policy endorsed by a membership ballot held this month, National Campaign Director, Darren Churchill, says the party will closely examine the population policies of other parties in determining preference flows in next year’s Federal election.

“Despite developers arguing for population increase and benefitting their own hip pockets as a consequence, taxpayers bear the cost of destruction of our unique natural environment, reduced housing supply and shortages of infrastructure.

“Our new policy argues for an increase in the nation’s humanitarian intake balanced by a scaling back of the immigration intake to environmentally sustainable levels.

“The baby bonus and family leave provisions should be scaled back with savings reallocated to education and family planning.  Because the Australian Democrats believe strongly in our national obligations to the developing world, some of this money should also be diverted to further increases in our foreign aid budget particularly for family planning and contraception.

“And rather than bringing in more migrants for labour programs, we want to see an expansion of retraining programs: Australia’s 1.5 million unemployed and underemployed must be the beneficiaries of any mining boom.

“We know the big end of town won’t like this policy, but the challenge of population is simply too important to ignore,” concluded Mr Churchill.


National Campaign Director

Tel: 0412 196 473

The complete policy can be found at

Please see our campaign Towards a Sustainable Population

MEDIA RELEASE: 23rd September, 2011: Other parties too afraid to take on controversial issues of limiting population growth and welcoming asylum seekers



National President

Tel: 0412 196 473

MEDIA RELEASE:   23rd September, 2011

Other parties too afraid to take on controversial issues of limiting population growth and welcoming asylum seekers

The Australian Democrats have launched a new campaign based on the need for limiting the growth of Australia’s population, while still meeting our international humanitarian obligations in regards to asylum seekers.

National President, Darren Churchill, in announcing the new campaign, called on other parties to stop ducking the issues when it comes to population limits.

“We know that some will accuse us of racism for recognising the environmental limits our continent imposes, but such detractors are wrong because we are simultaneously conducting a campaign in support of refugees. The two issues do not have to be in competition.

“To the contrary, we say that Australia can easily double its humanitarian intake if we are prepared to substantially cut back the numbers of business migrants entering the country. There are 1.5m unemployed or underemployed Australians, and they should instead be given the necessary training to allow them to fill job vacancies, for instance in the mining industry.

“With Labor and Liberal Parties playing variations on a theme of trying to avoid our asylum seekers obligations there is a great need for parliamentary representation from a party that wants to uphold those obligations but which recognises – unlike the Greens – that we can’t take all comers.

“However, as a nation we must also recognise that we cannot grow our population endlessly. Only 6% of Australian land is arable, and so much of that prime agricultural land is instead growing houses instead of crops or is being used to locate waste dumps, all as a consequence of population growth.

“The Australian Democrats is in the company of respected groups such as the Public Health Association and the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia in calling for limits to population” said Mr Churchill.

The full “Sustainable Population” statement can be read at:

The “Compassion for Refugees” statement can be read at:

Greens lies make them unworthy of voters trust



Australian Democrats Senate candidate

Media Release: 16th August, 2010

Greens lies make them unworthy of voters trust

The Australian Democrats have refuted the lies being spread by the ACT Greens about preferences and the willingness to be negotiators, accusing the Greens of being unworthy of voters’ trust.

Interjecting at a GetUp! Senate forum yesterday, at which he was deliberately excluded by the organisers, Australian Democrats Senate candidate for the ACT, Darren Churchill waved a list of environmental outcomes in the air, calling out to the Greens candidate: “Here’s a list of the things for the environment we negotiated with the previous government – all of which you opposed!”

And when the Greens accused Mr Churchill of reneging on a preference deal his response was “That’s a lie!”

Explaining his version of events, Mr Churchill said: “One thing we learned from Chipp was the importance of not allowing anything untrue or inaccurate said or published about oneself, on the public record, to go un-refuted.”

“There was no deal on preferences with the Greens. The Australian Democrats decide where our preferences go, not the Greens. And voters always have the option of voting below the line.”

“But it’s all about who is prepared to act in the interest of the ACT. Being prepared to cross the floor against your party line in the interest of your constituents is what ‘keeping the bastards honest’ is all about. Kate Lundy is bound by her party rules and would be expelled for crossing the floor. The Greens can’t be trusted. Over two decades we have found that the Greens have misrepresented the Democrats again and again.

“That leaves small ‘l’ Liberal Gary Humphries, who has crossed the floor for the ACT in the past. If I am unsuccessful in being elected, then Gary Humphries is the least worst alternative for Canberra.” continued Mr Churchill

“As for the claim that the Greens want immediate action on the environment there must have been some latter day conversion. But I doubt it – although the Rudd Government’s ETS was flawed, it would have been a start, it would have been better than nothing, but the Greens voted it down.

“By contrast a list provided to me by our former parliamentary leader shows where the Australian Democrats achieved environmental outcomes in negotiations with the previous government,” said Mr Churchill.

“It reads: ‘We also negotiated hundreds of amendments to the new (in 1999) Federal environment laws, strengthening them very substantially. Before that the Commonwealth had very few powers over development impacting on the environment. (We started this reform by initiating and chairing an inquiry reporting in 1997 on the need for Commonwealth environment law.)

Thanks to our negotiation, Australia had for the first time, standards governing fuel emissions and eventually matched Europe’s standards

We negotiated renewable energy for thousands of off-grid, remote communities that previously relied on diesel for power generation.

And two extensions of the rooftop PV grants.

We negotiated $400 million to leverage large scale energy efficiency in big industry.

The Greens opposed all the above.’

“This clearly shows where the Australian Democrats have negotiated good things for the environment, while the Greens have just huffed and puffed and talked and told lies.”

“If I am elected, I will continue the good work of the Australian Democrats. We need action, not just talk on the environment. I will deliver, because you deserve better!” Mr Churchill concluded.


Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats Senate candidate for the ACT

Tel: 0412 196 473

Climate change – Nuclear power still not a solution


MEDIA RELEASE: Election 2010: Saturday, 14th August 2010

Climate change – Nuclear power still not a solution

Nuclear power still costs the earth and is not a solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions say the Australian Democrats.

The Australian Democrats’ lead candidate in the ACT, Darren Churchill, who will be attending the Walk for Warming rally at Parliament House tomorrow, says that only genuine ecologically sustainable energy sources can make the difference.

“Those advocating nuclear power do not take all stages of the nuclear fuel cycle into account, such as the damage caused by uranium mining. The expansion of the Roxby Downs mine in South Australia on its own will account for a one percent increase in Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

“With less than a week to go before the Federal election, today will be an opportunity for candidates to pin their colours to the mast, and in my team there is 100% agreement that climate changes is human induced and that we need urgent action.

“Voters need assurance that they are electing candidates who base their views on science and not economic greed or religious faith.

“Tony Abbott’s latter day conversion to belief in climate change is electoral pragmatism, and comments last week by the Liberal member for Bradfield in NSW that potential for low-carbon technologies was rhetoric should give voters pause for thought.

“The Labor Party pandered too much to business in their ETS, and The Greens were useless by voting it down completely. Had the Democrats been in the parliament we would have negotiated with the Government to improve the package and get something through.

“With the Liberal Party wanting to slowly greenhouse gas us to death, the Labor Party wanting another talkfest and the Greens just blocking, Australians certainly deserve better than what they have offered. With the Democrats back in the parliament Australians can be sure that actions to deal with climate change will supported and always improved,” said Mr Churchill.

Further comment:

Darren Churchill

Australian Democrats Senate candidate for the ACT

Tel: 0412 196 473

Media Release: 02 December: Canberrans Let Down as Humphries Toes Party Line, say Democrats



ACT Democrats President

Media Release: 02 December:

Canberrans Let Down as Humphries Toes Party Line, say Democrats

ACT Democrats President, Darren Churchill says “Canberrans have been let down by Gary Humphries toeing the Liberal Party line and opposing the CPRS legislation.”

News programmes tonight reported that Senator Humphries had voted against the CPRS legislation in the Senate today, despite having stated previously that he would cross the floor and support it.

“Here was a chance for Gary to show some guts and support an Emissions Trading Scheme. But instead he has joined with those who are opposed to Australia showing some leadership on Climate Change.”

“In a style so typical of the Liberal Party today, the Opposition has mindlessly and deliberately opposed legislation just because the other side is proposing it. This was an opportunity to get some Climate Change legislation in place and work towards improving it later. But no! Gary toed the Liberal Party line and went for political point-scoring instead.”

“The reports say Tony Abbott is not opposed to nuclear power. We certainly don’t need that sort of madness. But Gary has voted for the Liberals consideration of nuclear power by his actions today.”

“The Liberals also are complaining about the cost of the CPRS. However, respected economists such as Stern and Garnaut, as well as the UN IPCC and CSIRO have all shown that not acting will cost far more than acting now” stated Mr Churchill.

“This is why Australia so desperately needs the Australian Democrats. We know the legislation could be a lot better. But as our national president said last week: “baby steps are better than no steps at all”.”

“The Democrats have always worked to hold governments to their election promises and negotiated amendments for better outcomes for legislation. (1) The obstructionist tactics of the Liberals and the Greens are disgusting. They hint at consideration of dangerous nuclear options and don’t give a damn about the environment and climate change!” declared Mr Churchill

“If I was in their position I’d have voted for it and then worked to fine tune it once it is in place. With their approach they lose the ETS, or any substantial “green” policy for a considerable period of time as well as the obvious risk of a double dissolution with less varied representation after the election. It is a very disappointing result” Mr Churchill stated.

“The ACT Democrats have long supported establishing concrete targets for the ACT to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. But we really need national legislation on emissions trading. The Australian Democrats will continue to work toward this result and our candidates will fight for effective climate change action whenever the election is called” Mr Churchill concluded.

Darren Churchill

President, Australian Democrats (ACT Division)

Tel: 0412 196 473

(1) The Australian Democrats have made a solid reputation for being the negotiators in parliament. Between 1977 and 2008, more legislation has been amended and improved in the Senate by the Australian Democrats than by any other minor political party in Australia’s history.

Media release: 29 June 2008: Save our Green Spaces say Democrats – Legislative Assembly must clean up its ACT


Darren Churchill – ACT Democrats

Save our Green Spaces say Democrats – Legislative Assembly must clean up its ACT

The Stanhope government is neglecting community sporting facilities says ACT Democrats President, Darren Churchill.

“The poor and deteriorating condition of sports grounds across the ACT is painfully obvious to users of these public spaces.” said Mr Churchill. “The Government waves away such concerns as simply a result of drought. Yet they are not doing nearly enough to manage these grounds in the best way possible.”

“Parents with families involved in junior sport will know – and many parents also play recreational sport themselves in – Canberra fields are now verging on dangerous. The Government must allocate more resources to field maintenance. Priorities include filling in holes, seasonal restoration of bare areas of dirt, and fixing of faulty sprinkler heads and water pipes.”

Mr Churchill inspected local playing fields and spoke with some locals over the weekend.

“The situation in Kaleen and Giralang is appalling. But other parts of Belconnen and Gungahlin are no better.” declared Mr Churchill. “People have told me of sporting fixtures being moved to the grounds of private schools. If the private schools can maintain their fields, why can’t the government maintain community fields?

“Rangers need to patrol more frequently in order to alert us to damage to grounds caused by vehicles, litter, and vandalism of sports pavilions. The community is also at risk of falling prey to discarded and dangerous objects such as sharps and broken glass.”

“Community owned facilities must be maintained at quality levels, regardless of the sporting level of the hirer. But they have been let go and now some serious restoration work is needed. Surely greywater and captured runoff could be used for watering and some basic maintenance undertaken?” queried Mr Churchill

“These problems go beyond designated sports fields. Public open space and green corridors are also crucial to our lifestyle and the vitality of our city. It is distressing to see open space and parkland – including those with children’s playgrounds – succumbing to litter, broken glass and weed growth. And it’s so unnecessary” stated Mr Churchill

“Many such areas are an eyesore where they adjoin cycle paths and walkways. Much open public space is no longer ‘green’ – not only because of drought but because such areas no longer provide a clean and safe environment for walking in and around our suburbs.”

It is time for the Government and the Assembly to clean up its act – clean up the ACT!” Mr Churchill emphatically concluded.

Darren Churchill
ACT Democrats President
Tel: 0412 196 473