|Merger of||Australia Party – New LM|
|Newspaper||Australian Democrats National Journal|
|Youth wing||Young Australian Democrats (YADs)|
|House of Representatives|
The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a socially liberal ideology. It was formed in 1977, by a merger of the Australia Party and the New LM, after having secured former Liberal minister Don Chipp as a high-profile leader. The party's 30-year representation in the Parliament of Australia ended on 30 June 2008, after the loss of its four remaining Senate seats; two of the senators had retired from politics and the other two were defeated at the 2007 election, in which the party polled only 1.29% of the national Senate vote.
The party is based on the principles of honesty, tolerance, compassion and direct democracy through postal ballots of all members, so that "there should be no hierarchical structure ... by which a carefully engineered elite could make decisions for the members.":p187 From the outset, members' participation was fiercely protected in national and divisional constitutions prescribing internal elections, regular meeting protocols, annual conferences—and monthly journals for open discussion and balloting. Dispute resolution procedures were established, with final recourse to a party ombudsman and membership ballot.
Policies determined by the unique participatory method promoted environmental awareness and sustainability, opposition to the primacy of economic rationalism (Australian neoliberalism), preventative approaches to human health and welfare, animal rights, rejection of nuclear technology and weapons.
The party's centrist role makes it subject to criticism from both the right and left of the political spectrum. In particular, Chipp's former conservative affiliation was frequently recalled by opponents on the left.[n 1] This problem was to torment later leaders and strategists who, by 1991, were proclaiming "the electoral objective" as a higher priority than the rigorous participatory democracy espoused by the party's founders.[n 2]
Over three decades, the Australian Democrats achieved representation in the legislatures of the ACT, South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania as well as Senate seats in all six states. However, at the 2004 and 2007 elections, all seven of its Senate seats were lost.
On the evening of 29 April 1977, Don Chipp addressed an overflowing Perth Town Hall meeting which unanimously passed a resolution to form a Centre-Line Party, which Chipp was invited to lead:p185—but he firmly declined to reverse his avowed decision to quit politics, having resigned from the Liberal Party and been offered a lucrative position as a radio public affairs commentator. The Centre-Line Party was the provisional title of the Australian Democrats party.:p 185 The occasion was a meeting at the Perth Town Hall to which Don Chipp had been invited in the hope that he would accept the position of leader of the new party, which would be an amalgamation of the Australia Party and the New Liberal Movement. On that occasion, Chipp declined to commit himself but did so at a corresponding public meeting in Melbourne on 9 May 1977. Chipp received a standing ovation from over 3,000 people, including former Prime Minister John Gorton, and decided to commit himself to leading the new party which was already being constructed by a national steering committee.:p186 The new party was eventually renamed the Australian Democrats by a ballot of its membership. "Fifty-six suggestions produced by members were listed on the ballot paper, including Uniting Australia Party, Australian Centre Line Party, Dinkum Democrats, Practical Idealists of Australia and People for Sanity Party!! After the ballot, the suggestion of the Steering Committee, 'Australian Democrats', was overwhelmingly accepted.":p188 The name "Australian Democrats" was already in informal currency before this decision.
The first Australian Democrats (AD) federal parliamentarian was Senator Janine Haines who filled Steele Hall's casual Senate vacancy for South Australia in 1977. Surprisingly, she was not a candidate when the party contested the 1977 federal elections after Don Chipp had agreed to be leader and figurehead. Members and candidates were not lacking in electoral experience, since the Australia Party had been contesting all federal elections since 1969 and the Liberal Movement, in 1974 and 1975. The party's broad aim was to achieve a balance of power in one or more parliaments and to exercise it responsibly in line with policies determined by membership.
The grassroot support attracted by Chipp's leadership was measurable at the party's first electoral test at the 1977 federal election on 10 December, when 9.38 per cent of the total Lower House vote was polled and 11.13 per cent of the Senate vote. At that time, with five Senate seats being contested in each state, the required quota was a daunting 16.66 per cent. However, the first 6-year-term seats were won by Don Chipp (Vic) and Colin Mason (NSW).
At a Melbourne media conference in 1980, Chipp described his party's aim as to "keep the bastards honest"—the "bastards" being the major parties and/or politicians in general. This became a long-lived slogan for the Democrats.
The Australian Democrats' first national conference, on 16–17 February 1980, was opened by the distinguished nuclear physicist and former governor of South Australia, Sir Mark Oliphant, who said:
I was privileged to be in the chair at the public meeting in Melbourne when [Don Chipp] announced formation of a new party, dedicated to preserve what freedoms we still retain, and to increase them. A party in which dictatorship from the top was replaced by consensus. A party not ordered about by big business and the rich, or by union bosses. A party where a man could retain freedom of conscience and not thereby be faced with expulsion. A party to which the intelligent individual could belong without having to subscribe to a dogmatic creed. In other words, a democratic party.
At the October 1980 election, the Democrats polled 9.25 per cent of the Senate vote, electing Janine Haines (SA) and two new senators Michael Macklin (Qld) and John Siddons (Vic), bringing the party's strength to five Senate seats from 1 July 1981 .
A South Australian by-election in the state seat of Mitcham (now Waite) in 1982 saw Heather Southcott retain the seat for the Democrats from Robin Millhouse since 1955 (Democrat since 1977), however it was lost later that year at the 1982 state election. Mitcham was the only single-member lower house seat anywhere in Australia to be won by the Democrats.
It had been expected that the Democrats would find it difficult to win seats at the next Senate election due in 1987. However, their task was assisted by the calling of a double dissolution election by Prime Minister, Bob Hawke. This reduced the quota necessary to win a seat to 7.7%. In NSW (Paul McLean), Victoria (Janet Powell) and South Australia (Janine Haines), 6 year terms were won. In South Australia, a second senator (John Coulter) was elected to 3 year term, and short terms were also won Michael Macklin in Queensland and Jean Jenkins in Western Australia.
- See 'Give a Damn: Vote Democrat 1' campaign commercial
1990 saw the voluntary departure from the Senate of Janine Haines (a step with which not all Democrats agreed) and the narrow failure of her strategic goal of winning the House of Representatives seat known as the Division of Kingston.
Her casual vacancy was filled by Meg Lees several months before the arrival of Cheryl Kernot, elected to replace the retiring deputy leader Michael Macklin. The ambitious Kernot immediately contested the Senate leadership. Being unemployed at the time, she requested and obtained party funds to pay for her travel to address members in all seven divisions. In the event, Victorian Janet Powell was elected as leader and John Coulter was chosen as deputy leader.
Despite the loss of Haines and the WA Senate seat (through an inconsistent national preference agreement with the ALP), the 1990 federal election heralded something of a rebirth for the party, with a dramatic rise in primary vote. This was at the same time as an economic recession was building, and events such as the Gulf War in Kuwait were beginning to shepherd issues of globalisation and transnational trade on to national government agendas.
Virtually alone on the Australian political landscape, Janet Powell consistently attacked both the government and opposition which had closed ranks in support of the Gulf War. Whereas the House of Representatives was thus able to avoid any debate about the war and Australia's participation,[n 3] the Democrats took full advantage of the opportunity to move for a debate in the Senate.
Possibly because of the party's opposition to the Gulf War, there was mass-media antipathy and negative publicity which some construed as poor media performance by Janet Powell, the party's standing having stalled at about 10%. Before 12 months of her leadership had passed, the South Australian and Queensland divisions were circulating the party's first-ever petition to criticise and oust the parliamentary leader. The explicit grounds related to Powell's alleged responsibility for poor AD ratings in Gallup and other media surveys of potential voting support. When this charge was deemed insufficient, interested party officers and senators reinforced it with negative media 'leaks' concerning her openly established relationship with Sid Spindler and exposure of administrative failings resulting in excessive overtime to a staff member. With National Executive blessing, the party room pre-empted the ballot by replacing the leader with deputy John Coulter. In the process, severe internal divisions were generated. One major collateral casualty was the party whip Paul McLean who resigned and quit the Senate in disgust at what he perceived as in-fighting between close friends. The casual NSW vacancy created by his resignation was filled by Karin Sowada. Powell duly left the party, along with many leading figures of the Victorian branch of the party, and unsuccessfully stood as an Independent candidate when her term expired. In later years, she campaigned for the Australian Greens.
The party's original support base consisted of voters alienated by perceived unproductive adversarial conflict between the two mainstream parties and an emerging new constituency of people with a desire to participate more effectively in government and to promote concerns for environmental protection and social justice. The party aimed to combine liberal social policies with centrist, particularly neo-Keynesian economics and a progressive environmental platform.
The original agenda included interventionist economic policies, commitment to environmental causes, support for reconciliation with Australia's indigenous population through such mechanisms as formal treaties, pacifist approaches to international relations, open government, constitutional reform, progressive approaches to social issues such as sexuality and drugs, and strong support for human rights and civil liberties. Its membership largely comprised tertiary-educated and middle-class constituents. The party also appealed to voters opposed to untrammelled government power and wishing to have alternative views aired in parliaments and media.
The party has a platform of participatory democracy, with policies supporting proportional representation and citizen-initiated referenda. Many important internal issues (such as electoral preselection and leadership) are decided by direct postal ballot of the membership. Although policies are theoretically set in a similar fashion, Australian Democrats parliamentarians generally had extensive freedom in interpreting them.
However, by 1980, the Australian Democrats had employed the postal-ballot method at both national at state levels to develop an extensive body of written policy covering not only the political agendas of the day but also innovative and far-sighted policies for environmental and economic sustainability, water and energy conservation, e.g., through development of alternative energy sources, expanded public transport, etc. To the community's growing concerns about human rights, the Australian Democrats added finely detailed policies on animal welfare and species preservation. The material is available in election manifestos and copies of the party's journals, obtainable in major public libraries.
In 2009, as part of the Rebuild process, the party announced a comprehensive review of all policies.
Electoral fortunes 
||This section may contain original research. (November 2007)|
The Australian Democrats' electoral fortunes have fluctuated throughout their history.
During the Hawke and Keating Labor Governments (1983–96), the Australian Democrats held a theoretical balance of power in the Senate: the numbers were such that they could team with Labor to pass legislation, or team with the Coalition to block legislation on occasions when the Coalition decided to oppose a government bill.
Their power was weakened in 1996 after the Howard Government was elected, and a Labor senator, Mal Colston, resigned from the Labor party. This meant that the Australian Democrats now shared the parliamentary balance of power with two Independent senators. As a result, the Coalition government could often bypass the Australian Democrats, and pass legislation by negotiating with Colston and Brian Harradine. Following the 1998 election the Australian Democrats again held the balance of power, until the Coalition gained a Senate majority at the 2004 election.
The Hawke and Keating governments pursued economic policies that drew on economic rationalist and neo-liberal thought, and the Australian Democrats positioned themselves to the left of the ALP government, and thus at the left end of mainstream Australian politics. Their appeal (and focus on issues beyond the usual "economic" ones that monopolised major party attention) was always greatest amongst tertiary-educated voters. However, the party's progressive politics also remained attractive to a sizeable section of mainly middle class ("wet") Liberal supporters – often female, and often disparagingly described on the right of the Liberal Party as "Soccer Mums" or "Doctor's Wives" – who were turned off by the Liberal party's social conservatism and "Reagonomic/Thatcherite" economic policies. Many Liberals saw their support of the Australian Democrats in the Senate as having "an each way bet", ameliorating the effect of their support for the Liberals in the House of Representatives – an attitude positively fostered, not unsurprisingly, by Democrat politicians and campaigners.
Cheryl Kernot became leader in 1993. She had strong media appeal, which increased media and public awareness of herself and the party. She was known to have interests in industrial relations and was able to cultivate solid relationships with Labor government frontbenchers, which also added to her credibility in the press gallery.
Lack of clear direction other than, possibly, senators' common ambition to play a more productive role in government manifested itself in tensions over Cheryl Kernot's policy on industrial relations (see the Workplace Relations Act 1996). Under Kernot, after negotiations and some compromises from the government, the Australian Democrats voted for the Howard Government's right-leaning industrial relations legislation which decreased union power and allowed a larger role for individual employer-employee contracts.
Kernot, however, remained broadly opposed to the Liberal government. This, together with her personal ambition for a role and contribution to strategy in government, led her to defect to the ALP in 1997. Her replacement as leader was by long-serving deputy, Meg Lees.
Under Lees' leadership, in the 1998 federal election, the Democrats' candidate John Schumann came within 2 per cent of taking Liberal Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's seat of Mayo in the Adelaide Hills under Australia's preferential voting system. The party's Senate representation increased to nine Senators.
Internal conflict and leadership tensions from 2000 to 2002, blamed on the party's support for the Government's Goods and Services Tax (GST), was damaging to the Democrats.
Opposed by the Labor Party, the Australian Greens and independent Senator Brian Harradine, the GST required Democrat support to pass. In an election fought on tax, the Democrats publicly stated that they liked neither the Liberal (GST) tax package or the Labor package, but pledged to work with whichever party was elected to make their tax package better. They campaigned with the slogan "No GST on food".
In 1999, after negotiations with Prime Minister Howard, Meg Lees, Andrew Murray and the party room Senators agreed to support the A New Tax System (ANTS) legislation with exemptions from GST for most food and some medicines, as well as many environmental and social concessions. Five Australian Democrats senators voted in favour. However, two dissident senators on the party's left Natasha Stott Despoja and Andrew Bartlett voted against the GST.
In 2001, a leadership spill saw Meg Lees replaced as leader by Natasha Stott Despoja after a very public and bitter leadership battle. Despite criticism of Stott Despoja's youth and lack of experience, the 2001 election saw the Democrats receive similar media coverage to the previous election. Despite the internal divisions, the Australian Democrats' election result in 2001 was quite good. However, it was not enough to prevent the loss of Vicki Bourne's Senate seat in NSW.
Resulting tensions between Stott Despoja and Lees led to Meg Lees leaving the party in 2002, becoming an independent and forming the Australian Progressive Alliance. Stott Despoja stood down from the leadership following a loss of confidence by her party room colleagues. It led to a protracted leadership battle in 2002, which eventually led to the election of Senator Andrew Bartlett as leader.
On 6 December 2003, Andrew Bartlett stepped aside temporarily as leader of the party, after an incident in which he assaulted Liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris on the floor of Parliament while intoxicated. The party issued a statement stating that Deputy Leader Lyn Allison would serve as the Acting Leader of the party. Bartlett apologised to the Democrats, Jeannie Ferris and the Australian public for his behaviour and assured all concerned that it would never happen again. On 29 January 2004, after seeking medical treatment, Bartlett returned to the Australian Democrats leadership, vowing to abstain from alcohol.
Support for the Australian Democrats fell significantly at the 2004 federal election in which they achieved only 2.4 per cent of the national vote. Nowhere was this more noticeable than in their key support base of suburban Adelaide in South Australia, where they received between 7 and 31 per cent of the Lower House vote in 2001, and between 1 and 4 per cent in 2004. Three incumbent senators were defeated—Aden Ridgeway (NSW), Brian Greig (WA) and John Cherry (Qld). Following the loss, the customary post-election leadership ballot installed Lyn Allison as leader and Andrew Bartlett as her deputy.
From 1 July 2005 the Australian Democrats lost official parliamentary party status, being represented by only four senators while the governing Liberal-National Coalition gained a majority and potential control of the Senate—the first time this advantage had been enjoyed by any government since 1980.
On 5 January 2006, the ABC reported that the Tasmanian Electoral Commission had de-registered that division of the party for failing to provide a list containing the required number of members to be registered for Tasmanian state and local elections.
On 18 March 2006, at the 2006 South Australian state election, the Australian Democrats were reduced to 1.7 per cent of the Legislative Council (upper house) vote. Their sole councillor up for re-election, Kate Reynolds, was defeated.
In early July, Richard Pascoe, national and South Australian party president, resigned, citing slumping opinion polls and the poor result in the 2006 South Australian election as well as South Australian parliamentary leader Sandra Kanck's comments regarding the drug MDMA which he saw as damaging to the party.
On 5 July 2006, Australian Democrats senator for Western Australia Andrew Murray announced his intention not to contest the 2007 federal election, citing frustration arising from the Howard Government's control of both houses and his unwillingness to serve another six-year term. His term ended on 30 June 2008.
On 28 August 2006, the founder of the Australian Democrats, Don Chipp, died. Former prime minister Bob Hawke said: "... there is a coincidental timing almost between the passing of Don Chipp and what I think is the death throes of the Democrats. "
On 22 October 2006, Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott Despoja announced her intention not to seek re-election at the 2007 federal election due to health concerns. Her term ended on 30 June 2008.
In November 2006, the Australian Democrats fared very poorly in the Victorian state election, receiving a Legislative Council vote tally of only 0.83%, less than half of the party's result in 2002 (1.79 per cent).
In the New South Wales state election of March 2007, the Australian Democrats lost their last remaining NSW Upper House representative, Arthur Chesterfield-Evans. The party fared poorly, gaining only 1.8 per cent of the Legislative Council vote. A higher vote was achieved in some of the Legislative Assembly seats selectively contested as compared to 2003. However, the statewide vote share fell because the party was unable to field as many candidates as in 2003.
In the Victorian state by-election in Albert Park District the Australian Democrats stood candidate Paul Kavanagh, who polled a respectable 5.75 per cent of the primary vote, despite a large number of candidates, and all media attention focusing on the battle between Labor and Greens candidates.
On 13 September 2007, the ACT Democrats (Australian Capital Territory Division of the party) was deregistered by the ACT Electoral Commissioner, being unable to demonstrate a minimum membership of 100 electors.
The Democrats had no success at the 2007 federal election. Two incumbent senators, Lyn Allison (Victoria) and Andrew Bartlett (Queensland), were defeated, their seats both reverting to major parties. Their two remaining colleagues, Andrew Murray (WA) and Natasha Stott Despoja (SA), did not run for new terms. All four senators' terms expired on 30 June 2008—leaving the Australian Democrats with no federal representation for the first time since its founding in 1977. An ABC report noted that "on the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website the party is now referred to just as 'other'".
The party achieved only 1.24% of the vote at the federal 2008 Mayo by-election in South Australia. At the Australian Capital Territory general election, 2008, the party's ungrouped candidates obtained 0.3% of the vote for Ginninderra (Darren Churchill) and 0.2% in Molonglo (Greg Tannahill).
In January 2009, South Australian MLC, Sandra Kanck retired after 15 years in Parliament. She was replaced by her media adviser, David Winderlich. In July 2009, David Winderlich, announced he would leave the party and sit as an independent unless the South Australian Democrats could recruit 1,000 new members by November 2009. When this clearly could not eventuate, he resigned from the party on 7 October 2009, continued to sit as an independent and was defeated at the 2010 election, in which the Democrats polled less than one percent of the Upper House vote in their registered home state.
During the year, the party attempted to reconstruct by reducing membership fees. In December, former staffer David Collyer contested the federal 2009 Higgins by-election and received 2.3 percent of the vote, a tally which was exceeded by those of the Greens (32.4%), the DLP (3.85%) and the newly founded Sex Party (3.21%).
The South Australian Democrats contested the state election on 20 March 2010. The lead Legislative Council candidate was animal rights activist and former independent, Jeanie Walker with supporting candidates Tom Salerno and Sandra Kanck They attracted 0.9% of the total primary vote. However, on preferences, Jeanie Walker survived until the 35th round of counting, losing to micro-party Dignity for Disability's Kelly Vincent who was elected in the 43rd round. Eight House of Assembly seats were also contested, averaging 2.24 per cent of the vote in those seats.
At the 2010 federal election, Democrat candidates again failed to secure a Senate seat. They polled very poorly, achieving only 0.63% of the national vote, their best divisional result being 1.77% in the ACT.
In March 2012, the Australian Electoral Commission queried a Democrats submission of 550 names of purported members and proposed deregistering the party for having fewer than 500 members, the threshold needed for registration. The party survived this inquiry, the Commission finding that the party had a sufficient membership number to continue registration. The party executive has committed to contesting the next Australian federal election. The Northern Territory was accorded a formal status as part of the division of Western Australia.
In July 2012, former WA senator Brian Greig was elected national president "to resurrect the Australian Democrats as they attempt to take advantage of present political unrest".  However, resigned from the party less than a month later, and the party's national secretary reported "severe friction" within the party.
In May, the Australian Democrats welcomed Queanbeyan City Councillor Toni McLennon to the party. Councillor McLennon became the party's Spokesperson for Local Government, and the first Democrat representative at a local government level anywhere in Australia for several years .
Support for the Democrats historically tended to fluctuate between about 5 and 10 per cent of the population and was geographically concentrated around the wealthy dense CBD and inner-suburban neighbourhoods of the capital cities (especially Adelaide). Therefore, they never managed to win a House of Representatives seat. During the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s they typically held one or two Senate seats in each state, as well as having some representatives in state parliaments.
Following the internal conflict over GST (1998–2001) and resultant leadership changes, a dramatic decline occurred in the Democrats' membership and voting support in all states. Simultaneously, an increase was recorded in support for the Australian Greens who, by 2004, were supplanting the Democrats as a substantial third party. The trend was noted that year by political scientists Dean Jaensch et al. Elsewhere, Jaensch later suggested it was possible the Democrats could make a political comeback in the federal arena.
Following Tony Abbott's displacement of Malcolm Turnbull as federal leader of the Liberal Party in 2009, the Democrats sought to attract the support of "those Liberals who no longer feel they can support their party".
Federal parliamentary leaders 
Of the party's nine elected federal parliamentary leaders, six were women. Aboriginal senator Aden Ridgeway was deputy leader under Natasha Stott Despoja.
|Don Chipp||Victoria||1977–1986||Formerly Liberal Party MP for Hotham, Victoria|
|Janine Haines||South Australia||1986–1990||Resigned leadership and Senate seat to contest the Lower House seat of Kingston|
|Michael Macklin||Queensland||1990–1990||Interim leader from 24 March election until 30 June 1990.|
|John Coulter||South Australia||1991–1993|
|Cheryl Kernot||Queensland||1993–1997||Resigned the leadership 15 October 1997.|
|Meg Lees||South Australia||1997–2001|
|Natasha Stott Despoja||South Australia||2001–2002||Resigned the leadership 21 August 2002.|
|Brian Greig||Western Australia||2002||Interim leader from 23 August until 5 October 2002|
Former senators 
|Janine Haines||South Australia||1977–1978; 1981–1990|
|Colin Mason||New South Wales||1978–1987|
|John Siddons||Victoria||1981–1983; 1985–1986 (1987)[n 4]|
|Jack Evans||Western Australia||1983–1985|
|David Vigor||South Australia||1985–1987[n 4]|
|Janet Powell||Victoria||1986–1992 (1993)[n 5]|
|John Coulter||South Australia||1987–1995|
|Paul McLean||New South Wales||1987–1991|
|Jean Jenkins||Western Australia||1987–1990|
|Vicki Bourne||New South Wales||1990–2002|
|Karin Sowada||New South Wales||1991–1993|
|Meg Lees||South Australia||1990–2002 (2005)[n 6]|
|Natasha Stott Despoja||South Australia||1995–2008|
|Andrew Murray||Western Australia||1996–2008|
|Aden Ridgeway||New South Wales||1999–2005|
|Brian Greig||Western Australia||1999–2005|
Former members in the states and territories 
|AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY||Gordon Walsh||House of Assembly||1979–1985|
|Ivor Vivian||House of Assembly||1979–1985|
|Roslyn Dundas||Legislative Assembly||Ginninderra||2001–2004|
|NEW SOUTH WALES||Elisabeth Kirkby||Legislative Council||1981–1998|
|Richard Jones||Legislative Council||1988–1996[n 7]|
|Arthur Chesterfield-Evans||Legislative Council||1998–2007|
|WESTERN AUSTRALIA||Norm Kelly||Legislative Council||East Metropolitan Region||1997–2001|
|Helen Hodgson||Legislative Council||North Metropolitan Region||1997–2001|
|SOUTH AUSTRALIA||Robin Millhouse||Legislative Assembly||Mitcham||1977–1982|
|Lance Milne||Legislative Council||1979–1985|
|Heather Southcott||Legislative Assembly||Mitcham||1982|
|Ian Gilfillan||Legislative Council||1982–1993, 1997–2006|
|Mike Elliott||Legislative Council||1985–2003|
|Sandra Kanck||Legislative Council||1993–2009|
|Kate Reynolds||Legislative Council||2003–2006|
|David Winderlich||Legislative Council||2009[n 8]|
|TASMANIA||Norm Sanders||Legislative Assembly||Denison||1980–1982|
- Such as the then Socialist Workers' Party and early green-left parties such as the United Tasmania Group.
- The first substantive reason given by rebellious senators for deposing leader Janet Powell in 1991 was her alleged failure to develop a media profile which would attract more electoral support. The first conclusive constitutional abandonment of founding principles was probably the July 1993, decision of the party's national executive to terminate monthly publication of the members' National Journal and to replace it with less frequent publication of glossy promotional material.
- The sole independent member in the House, Ted Mack, was unable to launch his critical motion for lack of a seconder.
- Resigned from party in November 1986 and sat as an independent senator until defeat at the 1987 election as a Unite Australia Party candidate.
- Resigned from party in July 1992 and sat as an independent senator until defeat at the 1993 election.
- Resigned from party in July 2002 and sat as an independent senator until defeat at the 2004 election as an Australian Progressive Alliance candidate.
- Resigned from party in 1996 and sat as an independent MLC until retirement at the 2003 election.
- Resigned from party on 7 October 2009 and sat as an independent MLC until 2010 election when was not re-elected.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Australian Democrats|
- Social liberalism
- Liberalism worldwide
- List of liberal parties
- Liberal democracy
- Timeline of (small-l) liberal parties in Australia
- "Australian Democrats Website".
- "Democrats History". at Australianpolitics.com. Archived from the original on 8 May 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "2007 Senate election: (National tally of) First Preferences by Group". Results.aec.gov.au. 20 December 2007. Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Chipp D and Larkin J The Third Man Rigby, Melbourne (1978) ISBN 0-7270-0827-7
- Hewat T & Wilson D Don Chipp (1978) p. 84: "[In mid-June 1977] the party ... was still without a formal name but operating as the Australian Democrats."
- 1980 Conference Proceedings, Beyond our Expectations
- AD National Journal June 1990, p.5
- "Ted Mack's speech on Gulf War". Parlinfoweb.aph.gov.au. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Senate Hansard, 21 Jan 1991". Parlinfoweb.aph.gov.au. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Australian Democrats : Policies Of The Australian Democrats". Democrats.org.au. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Cheryl Kernot's Resignation Speech". AustralianPolitics.com. 15 October 1997. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- "Australian Democrats Campaign Launch Speech 1998". Parlinfo.aph.gov.au. 20 September 1998. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
- "Democrats Support GST, Want Food Exempt". AustralianPolitics.com. 19 September 1998. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
- "Australian Treasury: Tax Reform: Not a New Tax, A New Tax System". Treasury.gov.au. 1 August 1998. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
- Australian Democrats: The GST and the New Tax System Election 2004 Issue Sheet
- Senator Meg Lees's address to the Australian Democrats' National Conference, Brisbane, 20 January 2001 
- Kirk, Alexandra (19 June 1999). "Democrats make good on GST compromise deal". ABC PM, Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
- ABC TV: 7.30 Report: 7/6/1999: ["GST deal sparks Democrat crisis" http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/stories/s28235.htm]
- John Kehoe "Lees has no regrets Democrats gave their support" Australian Financial Review 30 June 2010.
- Phillip Coorey "Democrats in Denial" in David Solomon (ed) "Howard's Race – Winning the Unwinnable Election, Harper Collins, 2002, p42-44
- Alison Rogers, "The Natasha Factor," Lothian Books, 2004, pp29ff
- Phillip Coorey "Democrats Opt for Leadership" in David Solomon (ed) "Howard's Race – Winning the Unwinnable Election, Harper Collins, 2002, p180
- Stott Despoja resigns as Democrats leader, ABC 7.30 Report, 21 October 2002
- "Disgraced leader steps aside". The Age (Melbourne). 7 December 2003. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
- "Australian Democrats Deregistered in Tasmania". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- "Stott-Despoja denies rumours she is quitting". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 March 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Political analyst predicts Democrats' demise". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- "Former leader sees Democrats in 'tatters'". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- Kanck says rave party safer than the front bar, The Advertiser 5 July 2006 Article no longer available online.
- Phillip Coorey (8 July 2006). "No life in Don's party". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Hawke predicts end is near for Democrats". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 August 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- "Stott-Despoja to bow out of politics". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 October 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- "Victorian Electoral Commission: Results for Upper House, 2006". Vec.vic.gov.au. 1 January 1999. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- "Victorian Electoral Commission: Results for Upper House, 2006". Vec.vic.gov.au. 1 January 1999. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- "VEC: Albert Park District By-Election 2007". Vec.vic.gov.au. 1 January 1999. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- "ACT legislation register – Electoral (Cancellation of the Registration of the Australian Democrats) Notice 2007 – main page". Legislation.act.gov.au. 13 September 2007. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- Caldwell A Democrats to lose parliamentary representation 26 November 2007
- Democrats candidates unveiled ABC News, 25 July 2008
- Results for Ginninderra Electorate[dead link] at Elections ACT
- Results for Molonglo Electorate[dead link] at Elections ACT
- Democrats MP divides party with 1,000-member ultimatum
- Emmerson, Russell (7 October 2009). "David Winderlich quits, Democrats are no more". News.com.au. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Registered parties at Australian Electoral Commission, 2010
- Australian Democrats Begin Rebuilding with More Affordable Membership Party media release, 22 April 2009. Retrieved January 2010.
- Virtual Tally Room, Higgins 2009 by election at Australian Electoral Commission, 23 December 2009
- Stateline interview ABC TV, 30 September 2005
- Former Democrats MP Sandra Kanck wants to return to SA State Parliament Adelaide Sunday Mail (AdelaideNow) 18 February 2010
- 2010 results for Legislative Council at Electoral Commission SA
- Legislative Council count at ABC News 2010 South Australian Election coverage
- First preferences by group at Australian Electoral Commission
- First preferences by group—ACT at Australian Electoral Commission
- Hockley, Catherine (7 March 2012). "Electoral Commission threatens Democrats with deregistration". Adelaide Advertiser. News Ltd. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- Hockley, Catherine (1 June 2012). "Democrats thrown a lifeline". Adelaide Advertiser. News Ltd. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- Call for Nominations for WA Executive and President Media release, 23 April 2012, on official party website
- Trenwith, Courtney Democrats' comeback inspired by 'inflexible' Greens Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 2012
- "Statement by Roger Howe", nominating for election as National President Australian Democrats National Journal, October 2012, p.2, at official website
- Green, Anthony 2012 Heffron by-election ABC News Australia, 26 August 2012
- Ainsley Symons (2012), "The Democrats and Local Government. Were they ever a threat to the ALP?" in Recorder (Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Melbourne Branch) No. 274, Page 7.
- "the Australian Democrats appear to be in decline, having performed very poorly at the 2004 federal election and look to be replaced by the Greens as the major 'minor' party". --Jaensch D et al. Australian Political Parties in the Spotlight pp 40–41. Australian National University, January 2005
- Dean Jaensch radio interview, http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2008/s2631202.htm. Retrieved 28 July 2009
- Media advice: New content on the Australian Democrats website 12 December 2009, on official party website
Further reading 
- Bennett D, Discord in the Democrats PWHCE article, Melbourne 2002
- Beyond Our Expectations—Proceedings of the Australian Democrats First National Conference, Canberra, 16–17 February 1980. [Papers by: Don Chipp, Sir Mark Oliphant, Prof. Stephen Boyden, Bob Whan, Julian Cribb, Colin Mason, John Siddons, A. McDonald]
- Chipp D (ed. Larkin J) Chipp, Methuen Haynes, North Ryde NSW, 1987 ISBN 0-454-01345-0
- Gauja A Evaluating the Success and Contribution of a Minor Party: the Case of the Australian Democrats Parliamentary Affairs (2010) 63(3): 486-503, 21 January 2010, at Oxford Journals. (Paid subscription, Athens or participating library membership required)
- Paul A and Miller L The Third Team July 2007 A historical essay in 30 Years—Australian Democrats Melbourne 2007. (A 72-page anthology of historical and biographical monographs about the state and federal parliamentary experiences of the Democrats, for the party's 30th anniversary.)
- Sugita H Challenging 'twopartism'—the contribution of the Australian Democrats to the Australian party system, PhD thesis, Flinders University of South Australia, July 1995
- Warhurst J (ed.) Keeping the bastards honest Allen & Unwin Sydney 1997 ISBN 1-86448-420-9
- Warhurst J, Don Chipp Was The Right Man In The Right Place At The Right Time Canberra Times 7 September 2006
- Australian Democrats Official site of the party
- Natasha Stott Despoja Archived unofficial site of former senator