Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Media Release: 7th March 2013: Increased Electoral Deposit Fees To Decimate Minor Parties

11/04/2013

Darren July 2010

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Media Release: 7th March 2013:

Increased Electoral Deposit Fees To Decimate Minor Parties

New laws to double the deposits lodged by candidates contesting federal elections, realistically threaten to take small parties out of the electoral process and have highlighted the fact that the ballot paper is no longer a suitable means to record votes at a federal election, according to a coalition of Australia’s minor parties.

Sex Party president Fiona Patten, Australian Democrats president, Darren Churchill, Hemp Party secretary, Graham Askey and Stable Population Party president, William Bourke said the new fees were a form of economic censorship directed at small parties by the two major parties and the timing of the legislation, only 10 weeks out from the cut-off for lodgement of party registration forms for the next federal election, was a transparent attempt to knock out their competition. “Increasing candidate deposit fees to dissuade smaller parties from registering for an election, just to make a ballot paper more workable, is undemocratic. It represents a monstrous act of electoral fraud and deception”, they said.

The coalition of minor parties claimed that a better way to limit the size of the ballot papers would be to change the method of voting rather than the economic censorship of political parties and their ideas. “Voting on a ballot paper under the same old voting system with lead pencils, is now outdated if the outcome is a financial impost so high that small parties can no longer afford to register. If people can log on and do their tax returns online, why can’t they cast a secure vote online, at the ballot box, these days? Other voting systems like optional preferential voting for below-the-line voters in Senate elections could also achieve the desired effect of making voting easier and simpler rather than ‘taxing’ small parties off the ballot paper”.

The new legislation to increase the fees passed the Senate unamended, even though the Greens, and independents tried to amend it. “Any party who gets through the rigorous registration procedures administered by the AEC and wants to run above the line to maximise the registration of their party name, will now have to stump up an absolute minimum of $32,000 (8 x $4,000) to run a federal senate ticket”, they said. “The increases will not even be noticed by the major parties who spend millions of dollars during an election but for small parties this could now represent most of their election budget and leave them nothing for campaigning. The major parties and even the Greens are not going to be adversely affected by this at all because they all poll above 4% and have their costs paid for by the taxpayer.”

The coalition of minor parties said that the major parties had large funding bases through the union movement, big business and the environmental movement but minor parties were often funded in their early days through office bearers and volunteers mortgaging their homes and donating part of their wages to see a party through its first few elections.

“Small parties are an integral part of Australia’s political landscape and if they disappear it will shrink the gene pool of new political ideas and trends” they said.

While voting is compulsory in Australia, the group said it should be as accessible as possible and allow for the maximum electoral choice – not the minimum.

Fiona Patten: Sex Party, 0413 734 613

Darren Churchill: Australian Democrats, 0412 196 473

Graham Askey: Hemp Party, 02 6621 5058

William Bourke: President, Stable Population Party, 0448 620 525

Australian Democrats Media Contact:

Darren Churchill

National President

darren.churchill@australian-democrats.org.au

0412 196 473

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Media Release: 12th January 2013: Former Democrats Senator, Andrew Murray, Appointed to Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission

11/04/2013

Darren July 2010ad-logo-colour-www

Media Release: 12th January 2013:

Former Democrats Senator, Andrew Murray, Appointed to Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission

The appointment yesterday of former WA Democrats Senator, Andrew Murray, to serve as a member of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is a tribute to his calibre and experience and is welcomed by the party he represented in the Parliament from 1996-2008.

A child migrant from Britain to Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in 1951, Andrew Murray was responsible for the reference to, and served on, the Senate Committee which produced the powerful report Lost Innocents: Righting the Record about child migration to Australia and its consequences. Subsequently he served on the committee which produced follow-up reports, Forgotten Australians and Protecting Vulnerable Children.

“The many people who gave evidence and submissions to those inquiries hold Andrew Murray in enormous regard because of his compassion for and empathy with those who suffered so badly,” Australian Democrats National President, Darren Churchill, said today.

“We applaud his appointment to the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission. All can take comfort that a man of this standing is one of the Commissioners who will consider the evidence of both the abused and the accused institutions and individuals.

“Andrew Murray was a Rhodes Scholar (1971) and brings great compassion for the downtrodden as well as an understanding of governance and institutional responsibilities. He served the Australian parliament and people with great distinction and we know that he will continue this life-long public service in his new role.

“Andrew Murray has much to contribute to the Royal Commission. His appointment is well deserved,” Mr Churchill concluded.

Media Contact:

Darren Churchill

National President

darren.churchill@australian-democrats.org.au

0412 196 473

Media Release: 3rd January, 2013: Democrats Announce New National President

09/01/2013

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Media Release: 3rd January, 2013

Democrats Announce New National President

The Australian Democrats have concluded their ballot for a National President.

2011/12 National President, Darren Churchill, was re-elected to fill the vacancy created by the surprise resignation of Brian Greig shortly after his election. Mr Churchill, elected as Senior Deputy National President in July, had been the locum tenens in the absence of a President, following Greig’s resignation.

The new Senior Deputy National President (elected on a countback) is Roger Howe, who is also the Acting National Secretary.

The National President chairs the National Executive; sets the general agenda and direction of the organisation; is responsible for the overall supervision of the activities of the Party organisation; and is the party’s main spokesperson in the absence of a Parliamentary Leader, between election campaigns.

The National President is elected for a one-year term (coinciding with the financial year) by a national ballot of all members after members have had a chance to ask questions via the party’s official newsletter.

Acknowledging that the Democrats ground to a halt following factional infighting which arose as a result of Greig’s resignation, Mr Churchill says the party now has the task of consolidating and preparing for the forthcoming federal election.

“We have a big task ahead preparing for the federal election – fielding candidates, introducing them to the electorate and campaigning on our distinct policy agenda,” Mr Churchill said.

“I welcome the challenge. I’ve now got the endorsement of the membership, which is very important. I believe I have the right experience and the members have supported me because of this. I also know I have a good team of people working with me to get things back on track.” Mr Churchill concluded.

Media Contacts:

Darren Churchill

National President, Australian Democrats

0412 196 473

Roger Howe

Acting National Secretary, Australian Democrats

0431 527 845

Media Release: Tuesday, 11th December: Backyard cricket rules

02/01/2013

Darren July 2010ad-logo-colour-www1

Media Release: Tuesday, 11th December

Backyard cricket rules

If Don Chipp was alive, the current group which has taken control of the Australian Democrats would expel him if he got in their way, says the most senior member of the party, the Senior Deputy National President, Darren Churchill.

Mr Churchill was responding to a statement from that group that they have expelled retired South Australian Democrats MP, Sandra Kanck.

“This group of just seven people is removing anyone who stands up to them and this includes former National Secretaries and Presidents.

“Like kids playing backyard cricket, they make up the rules along the way, and ignore the rules that do exist as it suits them.

The group targeted Ms Kanck because she belongs to environmental lobby group, Sustainable Population Australia.

When former Senator, Brian Greig, resigned as Democrats’ National President in August (only three weeks after being elected) a faction claiming loyalty to him, led by solicitor and migration agent, John Davey, proclaimed itself to be running the party and set about passing a series of unconstitutional motions to expel or suspend anyone who didn’t fit into their agenda.

“There are processes to be followed and this business will ultimately be sorted out constitutionally and democratically, and not by who controls the numbers” said Mr Churchill.

“Davey is not a spokesperson for the party – he has not been approved by our proper procedures and processes. The only constitutionally authorised person to speak to the media on National Executive matters is the National President. As that position is currently being decided, the locum tenens (or place-holder) is the Senior Deputy National President, which position I hold.

“Bullying is the only word to describe the deliberate targeting of one of our longest-serving MPs and her husband. Other party members who are also members of Sustainable Population Australia have not had this action taken against them.

“The actions of this small faction are as abhorrent to me as any right-minded person. Sandra Kanck remains a party member and has wide respect amongst the broader membership.

“A ballot is in process to choose a new President, and by the end of this month sanity will be on the way to being restored” Mr Churchill concluded.

 

Party objective no.2. To accept the challenges of the predicament of humanity on the planet with its exponentially increasing population, disappearing finite resources and accelerating deterioration of the environment

 

DARREN CHURCHILL

Senior Deputy National President

darren.churchill@democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

My Election Platform: Darren Churchill

13/10/2012

Election Platform 2012:

Darren Churchill for Ginninderra

(Australian Democrats endorsed) Independent Candidate for Ginninderra

“Ungrouped” column

Population

· The ACT Democrats believe the ACT region does not have the resources, such as water, to grow indefinitely. The argument that population growth can be sustained merely by having better urban planning is flawed.

· Canberra cannot continue to grow our population at the behest of the development lobby, which is the prime beneficiary of such growth. We must introduce sensible zoning laws that ensure new developments fit with the existing character of the neighbourhood and prevent ‘opportunistic profiteering!’

· Environmental and well-being problems become harder to solve as population grows. Whoever forms government must create a Sustainable Population portfolio. To assist the Minister, public and environmental expert input must be sought through a population advisory panel to determine the upper limit to Canberra’s population growth and how best to deal with it.

· This will involve 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. And as part of a regional approach we must also consider how we manage regional transport, food production and security, water and prepare for the impending problems of peak oil, peak phosphate and energy security.

· A growing population puts more pressure on us to find new ways of ‘keeping up’ with material demands that are one of the highest per capita in the world. And we must work at our local and regional level as part of an overall strategy to first stabilise then reduce Australia’s population to an ecologically sustainable level.

· If elected, I will introduce legislation to ensure that these matters are dealt with.

Drug Law Reform

· Oppose the “War on Drugs” approach;

· Drug and alcohol addiction to be treated as a health issue;

· The Needle and Syringe program for the Alexander Maconochie Centre must go ahead and as much of the Moore Report as is possible must be implemented;

· The ACT Corrections Management Act 2007 should be amended to facilitate the NSP;

· Oppose any expansion of Random Roadside Drug Testing.

 

Keeping the Bastards Honest

· Governments should be held to honour their election promises;

· a government has a mandate to govern and implement the platform it was elected to, but not to dictate or force through unfair legislation; it must be scrutinised and debated;

· we are the negotiators, the people who know how to make otherwise bad legislation into better, fairer legislation for all. We work for good outcomes.

· No government has a mandate on every issue and referenda should be used more often to register public opinion on major issues;

· if laws are to be honest and just, both Parliament (the Legislative Assembly) and the public must be given ample time to discuss all proposed legislation;

· Assembly members must act on behalf of their constituents whose needs they are best able to judge;

· The balance of power is really a “balance of responsibility.” It is balance of common sense and a balance of wisdom, a power that must be exercised responsibly and constructively;

· Democrat politicians have an obligation to vote according to their consciences, and not according to vested interest groups, political opportunism or the dictates of a party Whip.

Transport

An overarching transport plan that includes:

· a comprehensive bus service with late-night and weekend coverage to get you where you want, when you want;

· sensible, efficient, planning for new roads to reduce congestion and commuting times; and to provide for Canberra’s future;

· an improved bicycle network;

· better park-and-ride facilities;

· commencement of planning a light rail system

Light Rail

· The ACT Democrats believe that a light rail system should be a key element of Canberra’s public transport services.

· We believe it is more important to invest in light rail development as a viable transport option, rather than simply as a system designed for tourism.

· Canberra needs a light rail system for the current citizens of Canberra, the future development of Canberra and for visitors to Canberra.

Planning

Sensible planning policies that

· retain green belts between town centres, promote transport efficiency and vibrant commercial centres;

· recognise the need and the choice for high density living;

· new developments only approved in accordance with sustainability principles, and should blend easily with the surrounding neighbourhoods;

· development to blend easily with the surrounding neighbourhoods; close to shops, schools and transport nodes;

· end the ad hoc approach that allows inappropriate development in suburban areas;

· good planning to give people confidence in the planning authorities.

Government and Electoral Reform

· The monitoring of power.is as important as who holds power;

· majority government doesn’t work; an effective and experienced cross-bench party is essential; the Democrats have 31 years of effective cross-bench experience;

· ability to work with whoever is in government to give better outcomes and fairer legislation;

· the ACT Electoral Act is severely flawed and undemocratic; we will reform the ACT Electoral Act to make it more democratic and fairer to small parties and independents.

Justice, Community Safety and Corrections

· support the ACT prison, as means prisoners have greater access to their families and support networks, reducing the likelihood of recidivism;

· ACT must adopt world’s best practice in promoting rehabilitation within its prison system;

· Support human rights principles in the running of the prison;

· want more emphasis to be put on preventing crime in the first place.

· will endeavour to remedy social iniquities and social problems that are the root causes of offending;

· Police resources need to be targeted to the areas that the community has identified as a priority;

· more police on the beat, better resourcing of Neighbourhood Watch schemes, and a more open, safer and well lit urban environment to help reduce crime;

· a team approach between police and community in assisting crime prevention.

Sport and Recreation

· increase overall activity to help reduce the incidence of obesity;

· make sport available to all, including sport for workers and mums;

· proper maintenance of support facilities;

· support and promote women’s sport;

· pathways to elite sport, including support for a Canberra A-League team;

· a multi-purpose Motor Sport facility, including a dragway;

Animal Welfare

· better maintenance of grass on roadsides and better signage in wildlife rich areas to prevent road deaths;

· support the requirement that body corporates (of residential complexes) should not unreasonably withhold consent to the keeping of pets;

· De-sexing of pets should be encouraged for all except licensed breeders;

· an education campaign so the whole community understands why pet-owning neighbours need to know if a fireworks display is planned.

· the RSPCA should be adequately funded to do their work to prevent cruelty to animals and to care for lost animals and wildlife carers should be assisted to care for juvenile or injured native animals prior to their return to the wild;

· we oppose cruel farming practices such as caging chickens for egg production or confining animals in feedlots for beef and pork production.

Health

Our health priorities include:

· Improve preventative health care, community nursing, and carers respite;

· address the shortage of medical professionals and the need to keep people in the medical professions;

· action to address the obesity problem;

· mental health to be taken seriously; action to reduce burnout in mental health professionals.

Mental Health

· more spending on community education about mental illness, to reduce the discrimination experienced by people with mental health issues;

· a greater range of treatment options, including more supported settings outside hospital, and better access to subsidised counselling to complement drug therapy;

· additional suicide prevention programmes to reduce the ACT suicide rate, which is still alarmingly high;

· more done to increase employment of people with mental illnesses;

· action to reduce burnout in mental health professionals.

Education

· A first-rate K-12 education system;

· A vision of Canberra as a national educational showcase;

· public education that is adequately resourced and appropriately supported;

· High-quality education options; real choice in education – for both public and private;

· ensure a quality teaching-learning environment;

· support and proper recognition for teachers as professionals;

· Support for local schools and school communities.

Business

· large government contracts should be broken into smaller pieces to give local businesses a fair go at competing for them;

· greater resources to ensure small business is informed of government and private sector financing opportunities;

· assistance with administrative duties;

· support and encourage businesses that provide long-term employment growth in the ACT.

Marriage Equality

· I support marriage equality and I will vote for it to become law if elected.

Rates and Taxes

· I will examine all legislation on it’s merits and move amendments to make it fair. We must ensure all Canberrans get value for money out of our rates, taxes and other charges.

Arts, Culture and Tourism

· More live music venues.

· I am a strong supporter of arts and culture, especially the music scene; and our wonderful galleries and museums.

· I support environmentally friendly tourism;

· Canberra is the national capital and all Australians should visit and enjoy what it has to offer

Media Release: Wednesday, 26th September, 2012: Australian Democrats say: Expunge the criminal record of Sodomy

05/10/2012
DARREN CHURCHILL
National Campaign Director
darren.churchill@democrats.org.au
Tel: 0412 196 473

Media Release: Wednesday, 26th September, 2012:

Australian Democrats say: Expunge the criminal record of Sodomy

State governments must act to redress a long-standing wrong and expunge the criminal records of men convicted of sodomy under previous, antiquated laws, say the Australian Democrats.

“The stigma of a criminal conviction continues to hang over the lives of these citizens, many of whom are now quite elderly,” Democrats’ National Campaign Director said today. “We have unfinished business to complete here.”

Federal law decriminalised homosexual acts between consenting adults in the ACT in 1973 and South Australia was the first state to decriminalise sex between consenting men in 1975; Tasmania the last in 1997.

The United Kingdom is expunging historic convictions for consensual gay sex with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which received Royal Assent on 1st May.

UK hyperlink: http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/sep/02/home-office-gay-sex-convictions

“The Democrats’ position on this matter is driven by the essential principles of justice, equality and human rights.

“Australian states and territories have an obligation to further redeem the past wrongs imposed by bad laws and enforced by bigots by enacting new spent conviction legislation that erases the criminal record of gay men prior to the decriminalisation of homosexual conduct.

“We are all diminished by forcing many hundreds of gay men to carry this criminal record burden for activities that are now properly accepted as legal by society.” Mr Churchill concluded.

Media contacts:

Darren Churchill

Tel: 0412 196 473

 

David Collyer:

Tel: 0413 248 193

15th September, 2012 – Speech to Sustainable Population Australia – by Darren Churchill – (Australian Democrats endorsed) Independent Candidate for GINNINDERRA

25/09/2012

ACT ELECTION 2012 – SPEECH TO SUSTAINABLE POPULATION AUSTRALIA – by Darren Churchill – 15/09/2012 (Australian Democrats endorsed) Independent Candidate for Ginninderra

I am an independent candidate, in the sense that I am not part of an ACT registered group. But as was just stated when Christopher introduced me, I am a member and endorsed candidate of the Australian Democrats and I speak to you today both as an individual (the candidate) and as a member of that nationally registered organisation.

For 35 years the Australian Democrats have had enshrined in our constitution that “we accept the challenges of the predicament of humanity on the planet with its exponentially increasing population, disappearing finite resources and accelerating deterioration of the environment”.

I am great believer in our established position of the triple-bottom-line: responsible economic management, care for the environment and social justice.

Increasing numbers of Australians are recognising the importance of reining in population growth. The Public Health Association of Australia has adopted a population policy based on health, nutrition and environmental constraints, encouraging Federal and State governments to adopt policies that will lead to population numbers being held at sustainable levels.

In 2010, the Public Affairs Commission of the Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia issued a discussion paper which argued that “Unless we take account of the needs of future life on Earth, there is a case that we break the eighth commandment – ‘Thou shalt not steal’.” As a consequence, at their General Synod meeting in 2010, a “Caring for Creation: the need to acknowledge and respond to population issues” motion was carried.

And yet, despite the calls from these groups and other reputable studies, governments still ignore the warnings.

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

The ACT Democrats believe the ACT region does not have the resources, such as water, to grow indefinitely. The argument that population growth can be sustained merely by having better urban planning is flawed.

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.

Australia must consider the environmental limits – low rainfall, increasing temperatures due to climate change, and infertile soils – when determining the right number of people this land can support. And we in the ACT must play our part in managing that.

I believe Canberra’s planning should retain green belts between town centres, and promote transport efficiency and vibrant commercial centres. We need a planning authority that people have confidence in.

For Planning, I seek to involve communities in the planning process’ work towards development that leads to a sustainable Canberra; and make planning decisions independent and transparent.

I propose setting up a consultative body to collect scientific and community views so that future governments can plan to stay within our sustainable environmental limits.

Whilst there might be some argument for regional areas such as the ACT being used to take population pressure off the sprawling metropolises, with incentives to encourage immigrants and refugees to settle in regional areas (but not where there are no job prospects); it will not work in any lasting sense without a co-ordinated national population strategy to limit overall population growth. It makes no sense to simply move people around, if overall the population continues to increase unsustainably.

As a Democrat, I argue for an increase in the nation’s humanitarian intake balanced by a scaling back of the immigration intake to environmentally sustainable levels. Our party’s Immigration Policy argues for “a non-discriminatory immigration program, which gives priority to refugees and family reunion, the total number of which when included with overall population trends will not impede sustainability of the nation’s natural resources”.

Australia cannot solve the world’s refugee problems, but by reducing overall immigration numbers we would be in a much better position to meet our humanitarian obligations for what is really a small number of asylum seekers.

Canberra cannot continue to grow our population at the behest of the development lobby, which is the prime beneficiary of such growth. We must introduce sensible zoning laws that ensure new developments fit with the existing character of the neighbourhood and prevent ‘opportunistic profiteering!’

Environmental and well-being problems become harder to solve as population grows. Whoever forms government must create a Sustainable Population portfolio. To assist the Minister, public and environmental expert input must be sought through a population advisory panel to determine the upper limit to Canberra’s population growth and how best to deal with it.

This will involve 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. And as part of a regional approach we must also consider how we manage regional transport, food production and security, water and prepare for the impending problems of peak oil, peak phosphate and energy security.

If elected, I will introduce legislation to ensure that these matters are dealt with.

A growing population puts more pressure on us to find new ways of ‘keeping up’ with material demands that are one of the highest per capita in the world. And we must work at our local and regional level as part of an overall strategy to first stabilise then reduce Australia’s population to an ecologically sustainable level.

I have already mentioned the humanitarian/immigration balance. The ACT must also play our part in a national strategy to support families in making decisions about family size so that additional stresses are not placed on our unique environment, long-term agricultural productivity or infrastructure.

This involves expanding programmes that make all family planning options cheaper and more accessible to anyone who may choose them; and putting limits on baby bonus/family leave provisions and diverting resources to education, family planning and foreign aid.

Population growth does not necessarily create wealth, despite the claims of the development lobby, and it certainly does not improve national well-being.

How we manage population will require appropriate planning, proper consultation and a whole of government approach. We can no longer ignore the environmental implications of continued population growth. Nor can we allow the Assembly, and through it the Territory, to be captive to the development lobby.

I know the big end of town won’t like this approach, but the challenge of population is simply too important to ignore.

Darren Churchill: Candidate for Ginninderra: Biography

25/09/2012

Darren Churchill: Candidate for Ginninderra: Biography

Darren Churchill is a member of the Australian Democrats, who have endorsed him as an Independent candidate for the seat of Ginninderra.

Darren’s activism saw him campaigning for marijuana law reform in the 1980s and 1990s, protesting against the imposition of student fees in the late 80s; marching against the Gulf Wars in the 1991 and 2002/03; campaigning against the Australia Card in the 80s and the Access Card in 2007; and an active participant in the South Sydney Rabbitohs “Reclaim the Game!” battle against Rupert Murdoch & News Limited for the club’s re-instatement to the NRL

Darren has interests in Civil Liberties, Drug Law Reform, Sustainable Population, Privacy, Human Rights and sport. He is a vegetarian. And is active in the Anglican Church.

Darren is contesting the election to make sure whoever forms government is accountable; to make sure the promised needle and syringe program for the Alexander Maconachie Centre goes ahead; to fight for a stable population size that gives us a sustainable and liveable Canberra; and to work for electoral reform to enable a greater of variety of views to be represented in ACT elections.

Darren has been endorsed by an Australian Democrats members’ ballot. However, on the ballot paper he will appear in the “Ungrouped” column as an Independent.

Darren Churchill

(Australian Democrats endorsed) Independent Candidate for Ginninderra

darren.churchill@act.democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

Media Release: 14th September 2012: ACT Democrats announce 2012 candidate for Ginninderra

24/09/2012

ACT Democrats 2012

Media Release: 14th September 2012

ACT Democrats announce 2012 candidate for Ginninderra

The Australian Democrats (ACT Division) today announced they will stand a candidate in Ginninderra in next month’s ACT Election.

The federally registered party will contest the election in the Ungrouped column, as it is not registered in the ACT and 2008 changes to the ACT Electoral Act prevent like-minded candidates joining together as a group.

The candidate for Ginninderra is Darren Churchill. Darren is President of the ACT Democrats and stood as a candidate for the Senate in 2010 federal election; for Ginninderra in the 2008 ACT Legislative Assembly elections and for the seat of Fraser in the 2007 federal election. He 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. Darren’s main policy interests are better public transport, drug law reform, sustainable population, civil liberties, and policies that give ordinary Canberran a “fair go.”

Darren was endorsed earlier this year by an Australian Democrats members’ ballot. However, on the ballot paper he will appear in the Ungrouped column as an Independent.

The ACT Democrats first became active in Canberra politics in the ACT’s old House of Assembly, with Gordon Walsh and Ivor Vivian being strong advocates of ACT Self-Government from 1979 to 1985. The Democrats have contested every election since self-government, with Roslyn Dundas elected as member for Ginninderra from 2001 to 2004.

“The Democrats have 31 years of parliamentary experience to draw on. We are the natural party of the crossbenches, the negotiators. I am contesting the election to make sure whoever forms government is accountable; to make sure the promised needle and syringe program for the Alexander Maconachie Centre goes ahead; to fight for a stable population size that gives us a sustainable and liveable Canberra; and to work for electoral reform to enable a greater of variety of views to be represented in ACT elections.” said Darren

“Whilst being an Independent Democrat is somewhat more difficult than if the party was registered for local elections, I’m here to give the voters choice and I’ll be giving it my best shot to represent the people of Ginninderra and the wider ACT community.

Darren Churchill

(Australian Democrats endorsed) Independent Candidate for Ginninderra

darren.churchill@act.democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473

Media Release 25th August, 2012: Democrats say: We’re back!

24/09/2012

Media Release: 25th August, 2012

Democrats say: We’re back!

The Australian Democrats result in the NSW State by-election for the electorate of Heffron is an indication that voters are sick and tired of the politics currently on offer and are once again looking for a sensible alternative. The Democrats’ candidate Drew Simmons has polled a vastly improved result of over 12.6% of the vote in today’s election. This figure in a Senate election would see the Australian Democrats return to the Senate.

“The Australian Democrats result represents a desire for the value-based politics people expect, desire, deserve and are not getting,” said the Democrats National Campaign Director, Darren Churchill. “People want and deserve better than the ‘he said – she said battle’ in Canberra or the poor performance of both Government and opposition in NSW.”

“It is natural for people to turn to the triple-bottom-line values of the Australian Democrats (balancing responsible economic management, social justice and care for the environment) in a by election to send a strong message.” said Mr Churchill.

“There’s still more work to be done to deliver our message and win back the hearts and minds of more Australian voters. But, Drew Simmons and the NSW Democrats’ team have clearly provided to voters an attractive alternative to the ‘same old, same old’ of the other parties.” Mr Churchill concluded.

MEDIA CONTACT:

Darren Churchill

National Campaign Director

darren.churchill@democrats.org.au

Tel: 0412 196 473