MEDIA RELEASE: 6th August, 2013: Democrats ready and willing to give new ideas for ‘new ways’ to either Labor or Liberal

16/08/2013

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MEDIA RELEASE: 6th August, 2013:

Democrats ready and willing to give new ideas for ‘new ways’ to either Labor or Liberal

With both Liberal and Labor having made it clear they will not be entering into any alliances with small parties and independents to form government, the Australian Democrats say this puts the spotlight on the Senate.

“Given that only half the Senate is up for re-election, there will be greater stability in that chamber, and it’s where a lot of the hard decisions will be made” says Jeanie Walker, the party’s joint National Campaign Leader and lead Senate candidate for the Democrats in SA.

“That’s where the Democrats come in. For thirty years we exercised a responsible balance of power role in territory, state and federal parliaments.

“For thirty years we delivered stability, negotiating to improve legislation in the process.

“With the knowledge that the real power after the election will reside in the Senate, we are calling on voters to ensure that they return the Democrats to the Senate.

“Kevin Rudd wants a new way: well the Democrats have the runs on the board in giving government new ideas for new ways, and we’re ready.

“We’ll be fighting this election to re-establish a beach-head in the Senate so that we can continue to provide those new ideas,” said Ms Walker.

 

Media contact: Jeanie Walker

Joint National Campaign Leader

Australian Democrats

Phone: 0427 076336

Ms Walker will be available by phone 0427 076336 after 6.30am

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

16/08/2013

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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: 30th May 2013: AEC Decision Resolves National Executive Dispute

11/06/2013

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MEDIA RELEASE: 30th May 2013

AEC Decision Resolves National Executive Dispute

The Australian Electoral Commission today resolved a 10-month dispute within the national governing body of the Australian Democrats, determining those currently entitled to occupy key electoral positions.

The AEC decision reaffirms the membership rights and executive positions of two key office holders who were claimed by rivals to have either resigned from the Party or to have been expelled.

The AEC found that the rival group did not have the rights or powers to declare that National President Darren Churchill or Acting National Secretary Roger Howe had either resigned or been expelled.

Since last year, the dispute has led to the situation of two groups each claiming to be National Executive, producing rival National Journals. The decision effectively means that the faction which tried to take control of the Party has no legal standing as a “National Executive”.

The AEC inquiry examined the constitution and standing orders of the party and its National Executive and took submissions from contestants. It determined in favour of those who were already and had for some time, been registered with them.

Former Federal Parliamentary Leader, Lyn Allison, said that, with the umpire having ruled, the dispute is now over.

“This is an important and very clear decision by the AEC,” Ms Allison said.

“With less than four months until the Federal election, the party can now be rejuvenated and move forward with confidence in nominating candidates and organising its election campaign without the distraction of internal wrangling and legal challenges.”

“I encourage all members to put aside past differences and unite. This dispute was not about policy or direction so our vision for Australia is intact.

“We have a great party history to live up to and a good deal of work to do in giving Australians the chance to again be represented in the Federal Parliament by the Australian Democrats”.

Further information:

Bruce Hogben 0419 199 666 bhogben@internode.on.net

Australian Democrats (SA Division) Inc. Vice-President (Administration)

 

Lyn Allison 0407 691 512 lynallison4@gmail.com

Australian Democrats Senator for Victoria 1996-2008 and former Parliamentary Leader

 

AEC decision:

http://www.australian-democrats.org.au/downloads/letters/Reg5000PDF-Statement-of-Reasons.pdf

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: 8 January 2013: Send Sodomy Convictions to Buggery!

27/02/2013
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Media Release: 8 January 2013:

Send Sodomy Convictions to Buggery!

The Australian Democrats reiterate their call for state governments to expunge the criminal records of men convicted of sodomy under previous, antiquated laws.

“This is a fundamental civil liberties issue,” Democrats National President Darren Churchill said today.

“Homosexual sexual acts are no longer illegal anywhere in Australia, yet a small cohort of men are burdened with criminal records that can be used to discriminate against them.

“Premiers! Set these men free from the past wrongs done to them!

“We called for these criminal records to be expunged when the UK government magnanimously did so in September last year, yet nothing appears to have been happening in Australia to redress these wrongs.(See:http://www.democrats.org.au/news/index.htm?press_id=6774&display=1)

“I said then: ‘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.’

“This issue remains alive today. It will cost nothing for the states to renounce narrow-mindedness and remedy this wrong,” Mr Churchill concluded.

Media Contact:

Darren Churchill

National President

darren.churchill@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

Post Election Thanks:

31/10/2012

Post Election Thanks:

Many thanks to the people of GINNINDERRA 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,  family and others.

It’s never easy to contest an election from the Ungrouped column, without a registered party name. However, we gave it a shot and kept the name out there.

 

My result was typically what you might expect from an Ungrouped candidate. The lack of a party column meant no  real party vote – and that makes it difficult from the outset.

Thanks again for your effort and support and the faith of those who voted for me.

Darren Churchill

(The ACT Electoral Commissioner,  Phil Green, officially declared the results of the 2012 ACT Election at 11.00am this morning, in the Reception Room at the Legislative Assembly.)

How to Vote for Darren CHURCHILL in Ginninderra

18/10/2012

How to Vote for

Darren CHURCHILL

(Australian Democrats endorsed) Independent candidate for Ginninderra