Talk:Australian Democrats

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Edits apparently based on recent reorientation of party[edit]

I note that a new IP user, (Talk) has made edits with the effect of removing some long-established content to bring the article into line with recent changes to the party's official website and in accord with a promotional media release dated 12 December 2009. It would, of course, be less than charitable to suggest that there may be a POV component in such edits in the absence of prior discussion on this page. However, I have suggested to the user that s/he consider discussing substantive changes. In the meantime, I think it's reasonable to undo or modify some of the edits pending such discussion. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 14:57, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

Further to the above, pending further invited discussion, I have:

  • Reverted 'political position' from centrist back to centre-left, on the basis that the ALP is classed as centre-left, and there may be doubt whether the AD is positioned to the right of the ALP
  • Reverted The party is based on five core beliefs of Freedom, Equality, Sustainability, Responsibility and Representation. The party maintains strong support for direct democracy. . .to the previously established version, cited to the party's foundation literature. Since the party is now repositioning itself with "new language of core beliefs", there is undoubtedly scope for inclusion of the new language, but its placement must not unduly disrupt the article. Perhaps there needs to be a new section (or subsection under 2009) to contain the new content which has little relevance to the bulk of the article, set in the past. We cannot accept the notion that the top of the Wikipedia article is up for radical amendment each time the Democrats' official website is changed.

I am of the opinion that the top section of the article has become cluttered with details more appropriate to following sections, and needs to be rewritten to be made more succinct and interesting to the general reader. (I will have a go at this and paste my version here first-up.) Cheers Bjenks (talk) 16:12, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with all of this. The central problem with the article as it stands is that the history section ends in 1991, skips the Coulter, Kernot and Lees eras entirely, and then descends into a right mess with the last few years. If that was cleaned up so there was a sensible section on the post-2007 Democrats, it'd be much easier to integrate any information on their rebuilding efforts. Rebecca (talk) 16:41, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Rebecca that there are substantial problems with the construction of the article, my deletions were largely to remove unfounded comments or irrelevant detail which did not contribute to the strength of the article. Changes were not that substantive to warrant extensive discussion, although admittedly what did begin as a general tidy did end up becoming more considerable than planned.

It is perfectly appropriate to revise the article to include its new language and reference to the rebuild - which is not related to 'Electoral Fortunes' - which is where the 2009 section falls. Have moved that back to the top section, with corrections: Rebuilding activity began well before Winderlich left (in April - see date of initial rebuilding press release on the Party's website) and the liberal welcoming material appeared in response to Liberal Party changes, not simultaneously with either the rebuild beginning or Winderlich departing. You also implied the orginal principles have been replaced by the beliefs - which isn't accurate either, the 3 principles, 5 core beliefs and 23 objectives all work together as a matrix to define what the party believes in and stands for. I felt the principles were being misrepresented and the beliefs were more relevant in that place, however have used some compromise language there.

Have reverted Centre-Left back to Centre as the party was founded as a centre party - if you are going to insist on foundation language then it should be consistent. Aside from a recent sway left the Australian Democrats have always been to the right of the ALP. Additionally if you look at the definition of social liberalism it says centre, not centre left, elsewhere in the article it refers to the party's centrist position.

It would appear that Bjenks is politically biased - particularly through the misquoting of Jaench, and other unsubstantiated content which reflects more poorly on the organisation than is justified or is simply wrong. Suggest if Bjenks is unable to contain said bias that s/he is prevented from editing the page. -- (talk) 05:36, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Further to the above, the following lines are not relevant to electoral success and need to be relocated or deleted:

2006: On 5 January 2006, the ABC reported that the Tasmanian Electoral Commission had de-registered that branch of the party for failing to provide a list containing the required number of members.[15]

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.[17][18][19]

On 28 August 2006, the founder of the Australuan 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[21]." (need to fix the typo in that line too)

2007: On 13 September 2007, the ACT Democrats (Australian Capital Territory Division of the party) was deregistered[26] by the ACT Electoral Commissioner, being unable to demonstrate a minimum membership of 100 electors. As as result the party was ineligible to contest the ACT election in October 2008.-- (talk) 06:23, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Reply: OK, I am accused of "political bias" on the basis of my interpretation of this Dean Jaensch quote:

there could be a shift towards Independents. Not necessarily Democrats, but if Democrats can get their act together, get their numbers, find some money, run campaigns, you never know, there might be a way back. Federally it's very difficult. Winning Senate seats is not easy and it's going to take more than just 1000 new Democrat members in South Australia to bring that achievement. So, I think it's harder for the Democrats to get back at the federal level.

My précis of this was "it was doubtful whether the Democrats could make a political comeback in the federal arena". The IP editor prefers: "it was possible the Democrats could make a political comeback in the federal arena". Very well, let's be more literal and make it It's very difficult. . . etc. Then, I would challenge my puristic accuser, at (talk), being explicitly opposed to bias, to make here a plain statement that he/she has no connection with the Australian Democrats such as might influence attempts to manipulate the Wikipedia article in such a way as to serve the electoral interests of that party. For my own part, I unequivocally declare that I have no political party membership or allegiance which might affect my judgement. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 06:28, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Reply: Your interpretation is still incorrect. Jaench says it would be more difficult at a federal leval than a state level, but the thrust of the comments (and I heard the interview live) was that it is possible. My connection to the party is as a political science academic who has studied the Democrats at length, and thought given the substantial changes to the party in the last 9 months these changes should be reflected. The Jaench quote was not the only cause for my belief that you have some political bias, but your numerous inaccurate edits with an unwarranted negative tone. -- (talk) 06:59, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Answer I welcome the open discussion. It is a pity this did not eventuate when I first issued an invitation to another IP editor here. But there is no need to assume bad faith or use ad-hominem taunts in discussion. Please feel free to revise any of my edits, as per WP:IMPERFECT and WP:PRESERVE. However, if you are indeed "a political science academic", you will appreciate the desirability of providing properly cited replacement content, and not merely deleting contested matter without explanation, as you have been doing. Why not also register yourself as a user to further facilitate understanding? Cheers Bjenks (talk) 07:45, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I have no desire to register as I would never see the need to edit any page other than this one, and indeed did so only because the page seemed in a rather apparent state of neglect. However it would appear that this insane undo battle would be the cause of pages such as this staying in such an attrocious state. -- (talk) 10:37, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the declaration of interest, which tends to demonstrate that your interest is special and your viewpoint less than neutral. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 15:10, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
According to your Talk page, BJenks, you are married to an ex-Democrat Senator who was actually expelled from the party in 1994. How you expect anyone to believe you are of a Neutral POV astounds me. It is quite clear both from your tone and attitude, as well as your history, that you have a bias against this party and thus can not be expected or entrusted to maintain neutrality. ~Jaguar (talk) 21:36, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Halt to page edits?[edit]

Hello there, I'm with the Rebuild Team of the Australian Democrats. The IP user, who wishes to remain annonymous, contacted us to alert us to the debate here - we are happy to put together text for the missing history sections and the like - there is progressively more of our history being put up on the website plus some more recent publications such as the book published for the 30th anniversary of the party to reference. While we have a lot on, we should be able to do this in January. If it is agreeable with all, perhaps we leave the page as is until we are able to do that, and the new content will be proposed here prior to posting? The edits made would be in my view accurate and the deleted comments would appear to be appropriately deleted - except for the link to the party's website, that I will be reinstating as it has been there for pretty much ever and is entirely relevant and consistent with other organisational pages (ie. to thave the link to the official site in both the info box and at the bottom of the article).

I'm sure you would realise that as an academic the user has a fairly high level of disdain for all things wikipedia, is not across the various pecurliarites of this environment and did not expect to have their edits replaced by inaccurate material, so please accept my apologies on their behalf for breaching any protocol. --Kathoc (talk) 11:17, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

You and collaborator(s} are on treacherous ground. Please read WP:OWNSITE. To avoid summary deletion, it is preferable that notability be established for contentious material through reliable third-party sources BEFORE citing self-published website material and other party material which cannot be deemed independent. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 15:10, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
You might also want to read the same page that you so proudly wish to reference with your undue threats of "summary deletion" and hyperbole of people being on treacherous ground, sir. If you read the page, it says "those in which the lone external link..." and again "An article that relies primarily on information from the subject itself should be deleted." As I read this article, I notice that there are more than enough third party references to ensure that the article is not relying primarily on information from the subject itself. There is no "treachery" or reason for "summary deletion" if an article refers back to its own site, provided that this not the only reference. ~Jaguar (talk) 21:21, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

Publication of Monthly Journal[edit]

It is a fact, verifiable by the minutes of the Australian Democrats' national executive meeting at Brisbane in July 1993, that monthly publication of the members' National Journal was ended at that time, to be replaced by less-frequent issues of publications which would more effectively serve the interests of the parliamentary party, ie, senators. An IP editor has attempted to delete this crucial information, saying that monthly journals are now being published. I have restored the content and asked that the IP editor consider adding the information that monthly publication was later resumed (on a date to be specified). A free-discussion monthly journal was (/is?) the means by which members' participation in policy, admin and other ballots could be guaranteed across Australia. It was therefore at the heart of the Democrats' early growth and success, and its withdrawal was arguably more in the interest of top-down leadership that bottom-up participatory democracy . Cheers Bjenks (talk) 06:59, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Where did you get a copy of the minutes from a national executive meeting in July 1993?--Kathoc (talk) 13:45, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
I don't know about recent or present practice but, in earlier days, meeting minutes were openly circulated to the membership as is, of course, totally appropriate in a party professing bottom-up participation. The resolved cessation of discussion via monthly publication is verifiable from series held in libraries. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 15:10, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, well minutes aren't public documents (I certainly don't know of any in libraries!), so aren't verifiable, so therefore can't be included in wikipedia articles. Additionally you have stated you are not connected to a political party (above) and therefore not biased - but if you are a former member (which the possession of minutes would indicate) then you should have disclosed that as it would indicate a negatively biased POV. Disclosing information If the content was originally introduced by someone other than yourself working off minutes (and breaching the National Constitution of the Party in doing so), the content is still not verifiable and the commentary as to the motive is still commentary. --Kathoc (talk) 20:41, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
My talk page includes a disclosure of interests. Where is yours? Reputable precedents exist for adducing purportedly privileged documents in the interests of objective history. Anyway, what do you say to "The resolved cessation of discussion via monthly publication is verifiable from series held in libraries"? Incidentally, I never said the journal ceased to be published, merely that monthly publication was ended. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 03:12, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
I only just restarted this account curtesy of your little edit war and being asked to. I actually really hate the lord of the wiki interaction crap, which is why I deleted my account previously, and while I used to have a full talk page I don't really have time right now to put it back together. But it is irrelevant: the text is unverifiable, catalogues held in libraries proves nothing other than materials held at a library, and certainly your commentary as to motive of any such decision, not that such a decision can be verified, is inappropriate and most certainly not objective history. I have sought advice from an independent editor who was also of the opinion that the material is unverifiable and therefore not permissable, and I urge you to drop the subject. --Kathoc (talk) 04:38, 21 December 2009 (UTC)

The journal was published at less frequest intervals, it did not cease publication, and was merged later on in to the national journal which is published approximately 6 times per year, the records of which are held in the National Library of Australia collection. All publications and indeed policy process becam less frequent during the party's greater periods of turmoil, but never ceased entirely. That the party altered procedures is not grounds for the commentary that members were being less involved in policy - indeed commentary generally is unnecessary and I thought not welcome in wikipedia land. The policy development process, as I understand it, now includes a member-only access wiki and forums where members can see and discuss the policy in any stage of development as well as publications in the journal, so your comments are also inaccurate. -- (talk) 10:33, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. I agree that emails, wikis, etc, can be a good substitute for journal discussion and could even justify replacement of a journal. But such alternatives, in my experience, were not generally accessible, or availed of, until the later 1990s. My comments above may well be "inaccurate" about matters outside my ken--they were made in defence of retaining a 1993 historical record which someone was deleting without explanation. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 15:10, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Centre-left or centre?[edit]

I'm not a fan of the left-right-centre parlance, so will leave this issue to others. I recommend a revisit of the old Liberal Movement vs Australia Party dichotomy in quest of an explanation for current reinterpretations. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 07:27, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Centre is correct. Through the period 2001 - 2007 certain leaders used 'centre and centre-left' when describing the party's support base, but not, to my knowledge 'centre left' by itself, and the party has always formally described itself as centre. --Kathoc (talk) 11:27, 20 December 2009 (UTC)

Introductory Paragraph(s)[edit]

Suggested re-write of the introduction, to make it:

A) Easier to understand
B) Less convoluted
C) Neutral and to-the-point

The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party espousing a social liberal ideology. Formed in 1977 through the merger of the Australia Party and the New Liberal Movement under the leadership of Don Chipp, the party's initial formation was based on the principles of honest, tolerance, compassion and direct democracy through postal ballots of all members.

The party's 30 year representation in the Parliament of Australia ended on 30 June 2008 after losing its four held senate seats. The final state representation for the Australian Democrats was lost in October 2009 when David Winderlich resigned from the party's affiliation to stand as an independent in the South Australian Legislative Council.

Taking a centralist position in Australian politics, the party's original support base consisted of voters alienated by perceived unproductive adversarial conflict between the two mainstream parties. Over the next thirty years, the Australian Democrats held an influential position in the Australian Senate, often holding the balance of power if the major parties disagreed on a piece of legislation.

As of late 2009 the party began an extensive reconstruction program, including review of policies and internatal processes coupled with a drive to rebuild the membership base.

~Jaguar (talk) 08:17, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Edit - Obviously, the details that are currently in there are still important, but able to be placed into various positions (history, for example) in the main article. This way the opening reads nice and simply, and anyone who wants to continue for more information is able to keep reading. ~Jaguar (talk) 08:23, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

I like it, the first two paragraphs are good, but the 3rd and 4th pars could probably go under 'Foundation' perhaps? I think we want to keep the lead as lean as possible. I've been playing with something in my sandbox if you want to have a look at my initial thoughts here. Paul
Paul Roberton (talk) 14:14, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Major edit[edit]

The page was too dense and too long. Shifted information amongst the article, removed redundant text,and attempted some substanstive editing. Please note there is a new page for the electoral history/commentary.
Paul Roberton (talk) 03:01, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Timeshift, I didn't "JUST" do it. I proposed the changes almost two weeks ago, on this page with the work on display on my talkpage. Please see my comments above. Can you please discuss? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Proberton (talkcontribs) 03:04, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Reducing a page from 40,000 chars to 17,000 chars is rarely justified, and certainly not in this case. Timeshift (talk) 03:54, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Timeshift, I split the page because it was getting too long. The prose was also too dense. If you have an objection to the substance of the article let's discuss it. If your objection is to the size of the article I'd ask you to please compare the two versions and make an assessment of readability. Thanks. Paul Roberton (talk) 04:09, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

I'd ask you not to insist on making such massive changes without consensus. Thanks. Timeshift (talk) 04:15, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

I started making changes to this article two weeks ago and posted as such in the previous section, where changes to the lead were proposed. Its been two weeks, noone nay-sayed the proposal. Absent your objection to length, what do you think of the changes to the rest of the article? Paul Roberton (talk) 04:19, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Rubbish. They removed a ton of useful information, and notably didn't fix the actual problems with this article. Rebecca (talk) 16:25, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Per Rebecca. Timeshift (talk) 20:24, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm of the same opinion. Orderinchaos 00:38, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Okay there now seem to be some people who have opinions on the article, which is a good thing as there wasn't a lot of interest when I started playing with things in my sandbox. Anyways, I clearly have much to learn when it comes to the articles in the political parties project, and I'd be grateful for some assistance in improving the article. Quite obviously I have a priority in making the article leaner and more readable. Absent that, could people please suggest how the article can be improved and I'll set about getting started in my sandbox. I'd like to point that my edits were made in good faith, and that I've not engaged in any kind of edit war. I was attempting to be bold as we are all encouraged to do. A disclaimer at this point, I am a member of the Australian Democrats but have been a contributor on Wikipedia for long enough to keep POV a non issue. Thanks. Paul Roberton (talk) 07:49, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

The first place you're going wrong is in trying to make the article "leaner". The article's length isn't the problem - it's either the ideal length or could do with a touch more expansion. The problem lies in the fact that a lot of what's there is mediocre and needs to be substantially reworked. The obvious place to start, here, would be merging the "history" and "electoral fortunes" sections into a coherent and comprehensive history section covering the whole gamut of the history of the party. Rebecca (talk) 08:00, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Alright thanks. Paul Roberton (talk) 08:16, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

I basically agree with Paul about the need for a major rewrite. At the moment the article does contain material which is opinion and not verifiable. I suspect that this will mean that the eventual article is much shorter. An edit war? I would suggest the way to avoid this is to make sure that the re-written article is highly referenced at every stage, which it should be in any case to conform with wikipedia policy. Jamessmithpage (talk) 04:34, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Wrong. The best way is to create a userspace page or a sub-article and draft it up there. Once those who contribute to it are happy, it can be discussed here as to if it should become the new AD page. This will avoid edit wars and allow people to go nuts thinking of and creating a better AD page. Timeshift (talk) 05:29, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
The userspace is up and running here and currently incorporates changes to the lead and some of the fundamentals. Please feel free to comment. Paul Roberton (talk) 12:16, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
You propose a two-sentence lead section. It's not going to fly. Rebecca (talk)`
Agree... it's going to need to be a lot better than that before there's any possibility of consensus... Timeshift (talk) 20:55, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
Dear Mr/Ms Timeshift: I note your comment about the desirability, if at all possible, for consensus with the AD article. I think your point is well made. However I'm not quite sure on your attitude to my suggestion about referencing. Do you agree that the article needs to be thoroughly referenced? Jamessmithpage (talk) 07:43, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I was only replying to the latter part of your original post. Timeshift (talk) 07:49, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Understood. However do you agree that the article needs to be thoroughly referenced? Sorry to press you on this, but I do want to see if we can arive at some consensus. Jamessmithpage (talk) 03:53, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not going to get in to point-proving discussions. If the draft is better than the original it will be implemented by way of consensus. Timeshift (talk) 04:00, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Dear Mr/Mrs Timeshift. Thanks for this, although I must say that I am disappointed. From my part, there was no hidden agenda or point-proving in my question. You've made the point that we should proceed, if at all possible, by consensus. I agreed with you on this. Now it would seem that you're refusing to enter into discussions. The question I asked you was a very simple one: do you agree that the article should be thoroughly referenced? I think it is quite legitimate for me to enquire of your attitude on this. If you're not prepared to enter into discussions, that is your perogative. However, as I indicate above, I'm disappointed. This seems to me to be part of the consensus building that wikipedia encourages (see I will respect your decision, but I must say that I think this makes consensus building much more difficult, if not impossible. If you change your mind on this, please let me know. Jamessmithpage (talk) 00:42, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree with all of wikipedia's policies including those on article referencing. Timeshift (talk) 00:59, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Comments noted. Kind regards, Jamessmithpage (talk) 02:08, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Okay, so a 2-sentence lead "isn't going to fly". I'll take that on board. After Rebecca's comment I read the WP page on writing leads. I freely admit I'd not read it before and I found it useful. I'll work on it. If people are interested in critiquing the changes please, read beyond the article's introduction and comment, particularly on WP:NOR, and WP:NPOV. I've restructured the article slightly so that History is divided in foundation and reception ( a new subsection which is directly footnoted from primary sources), shifted policy and structure nearer the lead, without drastically removing any of the information that was in the article prior ( I'm still searching through Google Timelines for good period references to bolster the history section. If any one is interested in contributing and offering constructive suggestions I am open to them. I'm still trying to come up with a way of covering the electoral, legislative and policy histories coherently. Incidently, I've had a look at some political party articles, but can anyone suggest a FA or GA that's a good example? In closing, in the interests of good faith and transparency, I'll reiterate- I'm a member of the Australian Democrats. Paul Roberton (talk) 00:49, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
WP:PRIMARY is another good read. Timeshift (talk) 00:55, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

Time for a separate new AD article?[edit]

I have elsewhere admitted that, as a former AD member and national officer from 1980 to 1993, I have likely biases which are unWikipedian. For that reason, when correctly challenged, I withdrew from editing the article after (possibly even more biased) new faces started trying to re-write history as part of an active reconstruction and re-promotion of the comprehensively failed party. My proposed solution is that we all look at the articles on the Democratic Labor Party and the Democratic Labor Party (historical). Today's West Australian (on page 2) announced the launch of Young Democrats WA by means of a messy spaghetti-wrestling contest between males and females ("equal opportunity"!) in an inner-city pub. Such notable content would clearly have no place in Australian Democrats (historical), which should therefore be created SAP by a suitably qualified Wikipedian. How about it, before you go away, Rebecca? Cheers Bjenks (talk) 03:37, 1 April 2010 (UTC)

I don't think that's necessary. We split the DLP articles because we had the problem of the new DLP having won seats while being unrelated to the old DLP; prior to that, it was a subsection of the article on the old party. I'm not terribly sure the Young Democrats would warrant an article - what's the odds of them getting any media besides an article on the launch? Rebecca (talk) 08:22, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, OK. And I guess it's a difficulty that the Democrats have not dissolved, meaning there is a natural continuity. So, however distasteful the discussion gets, there seems to be no option than to keep watching— and to step in and challenge the new order's revisionism until it finally dies down. Cheers Bjenks (talk) 10:29, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
I haven't noticed it spreading to this article too strongly, and it would be nice to have some proper coverage of where the party is at now - just belongs in the proper place. One day, one day. Rebecca (talk) 10:47, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, er, it was here that I noticed things might be going a little wrong. We've had an editor cutting loose with the (uncited) opinion that Don Chipp was never a senator! Does that qualify as revisionism? :) (That misinformation stood in Wikipedia for over three months until I corrected it yesterday.) Cheers Bjenks (talk) 08:06, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
And, while tracking down the miscreant editor, I discovered something even worse: A group of Australian Democrat activists seems to be using Wikipedia for promotional purposes and hence eliminating content it deems negative to their dubious electoral prospects. The evidence is here. How do we counter this type of blatant treachery? Cheers Bjenks (talk) 12:51, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
Fix the article? Rebecca (talk) 13:26, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
I have absolutely no idea how you think there is any evidence on my user page that I or the Australian Democrats are guilty of some kind of treachery. I clearly identified myself above as being with the Australian Democrats - notified you that I was seeking help from Democrats or supporters with wikipedia experience (in particular writing NPOV material for this place) to help work on a demonstrably very bad wikipedia article (not at all assisted by your bias sir) - and when Paul was recruited on to the Victorian PR team he withdrew from editing the wikipedia page. How more above board would you like? Kathoc (talk) 19:12, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

"Likened to UK Lib Dems"[edit]

A cited press report by Courtney Trenwith contains the paragraph

The Democrats, who were the first environmentally-focused political party in Australia, have traditionally been socially liberal but conservative on economic matters. They are likened to the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom.

This was, I think, unduly cited as a notable exploration and comparison with the UK Liberal Democrats by an IP editor. The source being far too flimsy, I have removed that contribution. In fact, of course, the Australian Democrats would have to be treated as the predecessors in any such comparison, having been formed more than a decade earlier than the UK LDs. Bjenks (talk) 05:31, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

I agree... Plus comparing anything in one country to that of something in another country doesn't seem to me to be good wikipedia writing. It would just exacerbate the Americo/Anglocentric nature of wikipedia. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 06:41, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Local government representation[edit]

I am removing the following false assertion from the section 'Support'. The Democrats were rarely active at the local council level. Only one endorsed candidate, Joe Cilmi, was ever elected to a local council. Cilmi, aged 21, was elected to the Sunshine City Council in western suburban Melbourne in August 1982. The second sentence is negated by the simple fact that a Democrat, Kevin Trent, was elected to the South Perth council in 1980 (and is still there as deputy mayor). He was a founder member of the party and stood as a parliamentary candidate several times, eg, in the 1983 federal election. Of course, many Democrats contested local government elections which did not attract the notability and media coverage of state and federal elections. I happen to know other former Democrats who were elected to local councils. I am presuming that the given citation might remain valid for the remainder of the paragraph, though I do not have access to the relevant publication. Cheers, Bjenks (talk) 00:51, 25 October 2012 (UTC)

Dear Bjenks,

Please ascertain with certainty before you make hastily generalised "false Conclusions" about someone's past. I have contacted the honourable Councillor Kevin Trent in Western Australia - I suggest you contact him as well - and he confirmed that he was never endorsed nor elected on the democrats' ticket. Yes, he was member of the Democrats but not an ENDORSED candidate. I wish Don Chipp were a live to put you straight!!!

I also wish I could attach Don Chipp's telegram dated 12 August 1982 in which he sent to me "Congratulations on your selection to the City of Sunshine. It is a SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD for the Australian Democrats"

The honourable Councillor Kevin Trent also confirmed that the WA Democrats did not have a policy to endorse candidates to local government elections.

Moreover, I too know of many democrat "members" elected to Councils, but none were endorsed nor elected on an Australian Democrats ticket. In the City of Williamstown Victoria there was Hans Pass and in the City of Port Melbourne Victoria there was the famous Lynn Alison, just to name a couple of Democrat members on council.

Senator John Siddon's also wrote a letter to me dated 9 August 1982 in which he states, inter alia, "...standing for the first time as an endorsed candidate. Please accept my congratulations."

Since you have not researched you information, I expect you to undo your incorrect edit and an apology would be in order!

I am deeply offended by your actions and all this could have been resolved if you had contacted me via my Wikipedia account, in which we have corresponded previously.JosephAC (talk) 03:56, 29 October 2012 (UTC)

I'm truly sorry you're "deeply offended" by what I must stand by as a reasonable edit. I fully agree that none of the Democrat councillors I know were formally endorsed, because there was no formal mechanism for this to be done. Looking at the original [edit], there can be no justification for the main assertion "The Democrats were rarely active at the local council level." You yourself have affirmed there were many instances of such activity, almost invariably without formal endorsement. The general absence of such endorsement simply demonstrates the lack of relevance of a Sunshine Council election to "Support" (that subsection's heading). The article has no other reference to council or other minor community elections. I don't accept that your own case, any more than those of Kevin Trent or Hans Paas (much as I respect them both) has sufficient notability to warrant a separate subsection on local government in this article. Bjenks (talk) 06:29, 29 October 2012 (UTC)


SUGGESTION: that we consider replacing an ever-growing list of non-noteworthy year-by-year trivial minutiae with a single subsection of more encyclopedic relevance along the lines of the following:


Since losing Senate representation, the Australian Democrats have continued to contest state and federal elections without any success. The last of the party's state upper-house members, David Winderlich, resigned from the party in October 2009[1] and was defeated as an independent at the 2010 election.

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.[2] The Commission later satisfied itself that the party had sufficient membership to continue its registration.

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". [3] However, he left the position two months later, and the party's national secretary reported "severe friction" within the party.[4]

In December 2012, former South Australian MLC Sandra Kanck was expelled from the party for attempting to close and/or merge the Australian Democrats with population abatement groups that she is affiliated with.[5]

Discussion is invited. Bjenks (talk) 16:03, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
There having been no objection for over 6 months, I will go ahead and apply this minor cleanup, with updates if necessary. Bjenks (talk) 06:18, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

2013 Confusion[edit]

This article has acknowledge the website with the address to be the official website of the party, for many years. A new conflicting website with the address has appeared online only in the last few weeks. Until there is evidence that this new website is more official than the previously recognized one, it does not make sense to mention it as such. ( (talk) 09:38, 4 May 2013 (UTC))

Right, and I note that references linked to the old site have become dead links, which will necessitate removal of trivial content supported by those citations. Moreover serious doubt has been cast on the status of purported officebearers and internal procedures by the strongest possible third-party authority, the Australian Electoral Commission. Bjenks (talk) 15:44, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

The party split in to two factions several months ago, as I have written about here and is supported this July 2013 journal - see presidential nomination statements. During the dispute, the Churchill led faction maintained control of the website - but the contact for the URL was in the other group. So a new website was created by party B, and the site was redirected to Churchill's group retaliated by putting the old website back up on the URL Any content from 2013 should not refer to an "official website" as there isn't one. Or there is two of them, depending on how you like to look at it. There are also two Presidents, two Secretaries... in effect two parties. I obviously don't have NPOV but thought it may help to explain the confusion, and someone neutral (aka not you Bjenks) can assess source material and write up.Kathoc (talk) 00:51, 19 July 2013 (UTC)

An interesting insider view, but for WP purposes we need verification by reliable sources, such as the AEC. Only one party can be/is registered for electoral purposes under the name 'Australian Democrats'. If the purported official (renamed) website is actually a partisan POV vehicle, as Kathoc seems to import, we should entirely disregard it as a source until such time as integrity is restored. As for the shot at my neutrality, I can only declare that I have no attachment to any political party, no knowledge of nor interest in any of these disputing protagonists, and my sole interest is in preserving WP's encyclopedic principles. Cheers, Bjenks (talk) 15:54, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Being completely ignorant of Aussie politics, I'm trying to inject a bit of NPOV. It's going to be slow and crude until I'm done, because I'm trying to retain as much as possible of the existing work and shore up everything I do with neutral references.--Wcoole (talk) 21:44, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
There are AEC and AAT sources available of the now very long and bitter dispute between the two halves of the party, and it you went to my blog you would see that I link to them.Kathoc (talk) 08:54, 8 June 2014 (UTC)


Centrism is a vague enough term not to arouse much controversy, and I won't now dispute Autospark's insistence on duplicating its appearance in the infobox. However, I removed it the interests of making this lede par more intelligible. Also, examination of refs 1,2,3 and 4 will show that they do very little to demonstrate anything other than the casual words of writers who are intent on soapboxing completely unrelated issues about One Nation, socialism and (in the case of No 4) immigration policy. Please give it some proper thought and agree with me that just one of these fluffy citations will suffice. By way of compromise, my own choice is No 3. I would keep this as the most relevant, and scrap the rest of them as a waste of readers' time in this context. Bjenks (talk) 13:09, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

No argument, eh? OK, let's do it, then. Bjenks (talk) 08:18, 19 August 2013 (UTC)
As an afterthought, I note that the centrism article does not include Australia among the countries having so-called "centrist" parties. If editors concerned to use the term in this AD article cannot be more thorough-going, Wikipedians should quickly reject my over-generous compromise. Maybe the devotees of centre-right, centre-left and other similar non-avian monstrosities would also care to have a learned say on which wing the present-day Democrats ride, or should be riding. :) Bjenks (talk) 04:27, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Suggest merger of electoral fortunes and history and rewrite[edit]

Hello, I'm going to suggest an edit to merge the history and electoral fortunes sections because they're a bit all over the place and there's a bit of both in each, and there's a whopping great big hole of the late 90s in the middle. I've been reading a lot of academic articles on the dems lately thus have the refs at hand and have some time in the first two weeks of July to do this if there is no objections by then. I've previously declared my work with the party, but haven't been a member since 2010, and everything will be referenced - removing a great deal of the unnecessary commentary that is in the current content. I also take no sides with either of the two versions of the current party.

Also going to suggest removal of years and framing of categories more thematically: - Foundation - Early years - Balance of Power - GST deal - Leadership issues - Decline - Party Split

ok? Kathoc (talk) 18:17, 8 June 2014 (UTC)

  1. ^ Emmerson, Russell (7 October 2009). "David Winderlich quits, Democrats are no more". Retrieved 25 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Hockley, Catherine (7 March 2012). "Electoral Commission threatens Democrats with deregistration". Adelaide Advertiser. News Ltd. Retrieved 7 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Trenwith, Courtney Democrats' comeback inspired by 'inflexible' Greens Sydney Morning Herald, 21 July 2012
  4. ^ Statement by Roger Howe", nominating for election as National President Australian Democrats National Journal, October 2012, p.2, at official website
  5. ^ [