Australian Democrats

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Australian Democrats
Founded1977 (1977)
Merger ofAustralia Party
New Liberal Movement
IdeologySocial liberalism
Political positionCentre

The Australian Democrats is an Australian political party in existence since 1977. It was Australia's largest minor party from its formation in 1977 through to 2004 and frequently held the balance of power in the Senate during that time. It was formally deregistered in 2016 for not having sufficient members.[1][2]

The party was formed as a merger of the Australia Party and the New Liberal Movement, both of which were descended from Liberal Party splinter groups. The party's inaugural leader was Don Chipp, a former Liberal cabinet minister, who famously promised to "keep the bastards honest". At the 1977 federal election, the Democrats polled 11.1 percent of the Senate vote and secured two seats. The party would retain a presence in the Senate for the next 30 years, at its peak (between 1999 and 2002) holding nine out of 76 seats, though never securing a seat in the lower house. Its share of the vote collapsed at the 2004 election and was further diminished in 2007; the party has not mounted a serious nationwide campaign since then, and its last senators left office in 2008. The current non-parliamentary party is factionally divided into small grouplets, some associated with one-time Democrat parliamentarians. From time to time, Democrats were also elected to the parliaments of four states and the Australian Capital Territory.

Due to the party's numbers in the Senate, both Liberal and Labor governments required the assistance of the Democrats to pass contentious legislation, most notably in the case of the Howard Government's goods and services tax (GST). Ideologically, the Democrats were usually regarded as centrists, occupying the political middle ground between the Liberal Party and the Labor Party.[3]


The party was founded on 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."[4]: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 Australian Democrats were the first representatives of green politics at the federal level in Australia. They played a key role in the cause célèbre of the Franklin River Dam.

The party's centrist role made 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 federal elections, all seven of its Senate seats were lost.[5] The last remaining State parliamentarian, David Winderlich, left the party and was defeated as an independent in 2010.



Don Chipp, Democrats federal leader 1977–1986

The Australian Democrats were formed in May 1977 from an amalgamation of the Australia Party and the New Liberal Movement.[6]

The two groups found a common basis for a new political movement in the widespread discontent with the two major parties. In the former Liberal Government Minister, Don Chipp, the two groups found their leader.[7]

The first Australian Democrat to sit in the federal parliamentarian was Senator Janine Haines who in 1977 was nominated by the South Australian Parliament to fill the casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Liberal Senator Steele Hall.[8]

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.

In 1977 the Australian Democrats secured two seats in the Senate with the election of Colin Mason (NSW) and Don Chipp (VIC). In 1980 this increased to five seats with the election of Michael Macklin (QLD) and John Siddons (VIC) and the re-election of Janine Haines (SA). Thereafter they frequently held enough seats to give them the balance of power in the upper chamber.[9]

At a Melbourne media conference on 19 September 1980, in the midst of the 1980 election campaign, 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.[10]

A by-election in the South Australian state seat of Mitcham (now Waite) saw Heather Southcott retain the seat for the Democrats in 1982. Since 1955 it had been held by conservative lawyer Robin Millhouse whose New Liberal Movement merged into the Democrats in 1977, and who was resigning to take up a senior judicial appointment. Southcott was defeated 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.


Janine Haines and Don Chipp, the first two leaders of the Australian Democrats

Don Chipp resigned from the Senate on 18 August 1986, being succeeded as party leader by Janine Haines and replaced as a senator for Victoria by Janet Powell.

At the 1987 election following a double dissolution, the reduced quota of 7.7% necessary to win a seat assisted the election of three new senators. 6-year terms were won by Paul McLean (NSW) and incumbents Janine Haines (South Australia) and Janet Powell (Victoria). In South Australia, a second senator, John Coulter, was elected for a 3-year term, as were incumbent Michael Macklin (Queensland) and Jean Jenkins (Western Australia).


1990 saw the voluntary departure from the Senate of Janine Haines (a step with which not all Democrats agreed) and the failure of her strategic goal of winning the House of Representatives seat of Kingston.

The casual vacancy was filled by Meg Lees several months before the election of Cheryl Kernot in place of retired deputy leader Michael Macklin. The ambitious Kernot immediately contested the party's national parliamentary deputy leadership. Being unemployed at the time, she requested and obtained party funds to pay for her travel to address members in all seven divisions.[11] 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.

Election Results
Senate – National

The Australian Democrats had a long-standing policy to oppose war and so opposed Australia's support of, and participation in, the Gulf War. Whereas the House of Representatives was able to avoid any debate about the war and Australia's participation,[n 3][12] the Democrats took full advantage of the opportunity to move for a debate in the Senate.[13]

Because of the party's pacifist-based 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[14] 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.

Electoral fortunes[edit]

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja 1995–2008

Because of their numbers on the cross benches during the Hawke and Keating governments, the Democrats were sometimes regarded as exercising a balance of power—which attracted electoral support from a significant sector of the electorate which had been alienated by both Labor and Coalition policies and practices. The party's parliamentary influence was weakened in 1996 after the Howard Government was elected, and a Labor senator, Mal Colston, resigned from the Labor Party. Since the Democrats now shared the parliamentary balance of power with two Independent senators, the Coalition government was able on occasion to 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 party's integrity as a neutral third party suffered a serious blow from the resignation and defection of leader Cheryl Kernot in October 1997,[15] with revelations of her sexual relationship with Gareth Evans and her aspirations to a ministerial position in a Labor government.[16]

Senator Lyn Allison 1996–2008

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 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 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 nor 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".[17]

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[18] with exemptions from GST for most food and some medicines, as well as many environmental and social concessions.[19][20] Five Australian Democrats senators voted in favour.[21] However, two dissident senators on the party's left Natasha Stott Despoja and Andrew Bartlett voted against the GST.[22][23]

In 2001, a leadership spill saw Meg Lees replaced as leader[24] by Natasha Stott Despoja after a very public and bitter leadership battle.[25] 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.[26] 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.

The 2002 South Australian state election was the last time an Australian Democrat would be elected to an Australian parliament. Sandra Kanck was re-elected to a second eight-year term from an upper house primary vote of 7.3 percent.

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.[27] It led to a protracted leadership battle in 2002, which eventually led to the election of Senator Andrew Bartlett as leader. While the public fighting stopped, the public support for the party remained at record lows.

On 6 December 2003, Bartlett stepped aside temporarily as leader of the party, after an incident in which he swore at Liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris on the floor of Parliament while intoxicated.[28] 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 1 and 4 percent of the lower house vote; by comparison, they tallied between 7 and 31 per cent of the vote in 2001. 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 Allison as leader, with 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.[29]

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.

After the election, South Australian senator Natasha Stott Despoja denied rumours that she was considering quitting the party.[30]

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.[31][32][33]

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.[34] 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.[35] "

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.[36] 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%,[37] less than half of the party's result in 2002 (1.79 per cent).[38]


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[39] the Australian Democrats stood candidate Paul Kavanagh, who polled 5.75 per cent of the primary vote, despite a large number of candidates, and media attention focusing on the battle between Labor and Greens candidates. Psephologist Psephos remarked that ten years earlier the Democrats would have got at least ten percent of the vote.[40]

On 13 September 2007, the ACT Democrats (Australian Capital Territory Division of the party) was deregistered[41] 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'".[42] Psephos remarked in his 2007 election post-mortem that the Democrats were "wiped out and are clearly finished as a serious party".[40]


South Australian MLC Sandra Kanck 1993–2009, the last Democrat to be elected (2002) to an Australian parliament.
South Australian MLC David Winderlich 2009–10, the last Democrat to sit in an Australian parliament. Became an independent later in 2009.

The last of the party's state upper-house members, David Winderlich, resigned from the party in October 2009[43] 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.[44] The Commission later satisfied itself that the party had sufficient membership to continue its registration.

The Democrats did not nominate a single candidate in the 2014 South Australian election, in the party's state of origin.

On 16 April 2015, the Australian Electoral Commission deregistered the Australian Democrats as a political party for failure to demonstrate the requisite 500 members to maintain registration.[1]

The Australian Democrats have said they will appeal the AEC decision, which under the legislation is reviewable.[45][46][47] However the party does not appear on the AEC Current Register of Political Parties and could not contest the 2016 Federal Election.[2] Much of their support in the party's birthplace, South Australia, flowed to the Nick Xenophon Team,[citation needed] now the Centre Alliance, which also identifies as a centrist/"small-l liberal" party.[citation needed]

Electoral results[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
% of
overall vote
# of
seats won
# of
overall seats
+/– Notes
1977 823,550 11.13 (#3)
2 / 34
2 / 64
1980 711,805 9.25 (#3)
3 / 34
5 / 64
Increase 2 Shared balance of power
764,911 9.57 (#3)
5 / 64
5 / 64
Steady 0 Sole balance of power
1984 677,970 7.62 (#3)
5 / 46
7 / 76
Increase 2 Sole balance of power
794,107 8.47 (#3)
7 / 76
7 / 76
Steady 0 Sole balance of power
1990 1,253,807 12.63 (#3)
5 / 40
8 / 76
Increase 1 Sole balance of power
1993 566,944 5.31 (#3)
2 / 40
7 / 76
Decrease 1 Shared balance of power
1996 1,179,357 10.82 (#3)
5 / 40
7 / 76
Steady 0 Shared balance of power
1998 947,940 8.45 (#4)
4 / 40
9 / 76
Increase 2 Sole balance of power
2001 843,130 7.25 (#3)
4 / 40
8 / 76
Decrease 1 Shared balance of power
2004 250,373 2.09 (#4)
0 / 40
4 / 76
Decrease 4
2007 162,975 1.29 (#5)
0 / 40
0 / 76
Decrease 4
2010 80,645 0.63 (#10)
0 / 40
0 / 76
Steady 0
2013 33,907 0.25 (#23)
0 / 40
0 / 76
Steady 0


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 untrammeled 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 a 2009 "rebuild" process, the party announced creation of a new policy process, attempts to improve internal communication, and envisaged development of a new party constitution.[48]

Prior to the 2013 federal election, the party, though factionally divided into two separate organisations,[49] was able to publish a comprehensive package of member-balloted policies.[50]

Supporter base[edit]

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.[51]

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.[52] Later, in 2009, Jaensch suggested it was possible the Democrats could make a political comeback at the 2010 South Australian state election,[53] but this did not occur.

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".[54]

Federal parliamentary leaders[edit]

# Leader State Start End Time in office Election(s)
1 Don Chipp[i] VIC 9 May 1977 18 August 1986 9 years, 101 days 1977, 1980, 1983, 1984
2 Janine Haines[ii] SA 18 August 1986 24 March 1990 3 years, 218 days 1987, 1990
Michael Macklin[iii] QLD 24 March 1990 30 June 1990 0 years, 98 days none
3 Janet Powell[iv] VIC 1 July 1990 19 August 1991 1 year, 49 days none
4 John Coulter[v] SA 19 August 1991 29 April 1993 1 year, 209 days 1993
5 Cheryl Kernot[vi] QLD 29 April 1993 15 October 1997 4 years, 169 days 1996
6 Meg Lees[vii] SA 15 October 1997 6 April 2001 3 years, 173 days 1998
7 Natasha Stott Despoja[viii] SA 6 April 2001 21 August 2002 1 year, 137 days 2001
Brian Greig[ix] WA 23 August 2002 5 October 2002 0 years, 43 days none
8 Andrew Bartlett[x] QLD 5 October 2002 3 November 2004 2 years, 29 days 2004
9 Lyn Allison[xi] VIC 3 November 2004 30 June 2008 3 years, 240 days 2007
  1. ^ Assumed the leadership following the party's creation, subsequently confirmed as leader via a postal ballot of party members.[55]
  2. ^ Elected leader following the retirement of Don Chipp, defeating John Siddons in a postal ballot of party members.[56]
  3. ^ Interim leader (elected by caucus) following the resignation of Janine Haines.[57] Haines relinquished leadership when she resigned from the Senate on 1 March 1990 to (unsuccessfully) contest the lower-house seat of Kingston at the 1990 federal election.[56]
  4. ^ Elected leader via a postal ballot of party members, defeating John Coulter.[58]
  5. ^ Initially interim leader (elected by caucus) following the removal of Janet Powell. Confirmed as leader on 2 October 1991 via a postal ballot of party members.[59]
  6. ^ Elected leader via a postal ballot of party members, replacing John Coulter in a mandatory vote following the 1993 election.[60]
  7. ^ Initially interim leader (elected by caucus) following the resignation of Cheryl Kernot. Confirmed as leader on 5 December 1997 via a postal ballot of party members, defeating Lyn Allison.[61] Kernot had resigned in order to join the Labor Party, and was subsequently elected to the House of Representatives.[60]
  8. ^ Elected leader via a postal ballot of party members, defeating Meg Lees.[62]
  9. ^ Interim leader (elected by caucus) following the resignation of Natasha Stott Despoja.[63]
  10. ^ Elected leader via a postal ballot of members, defeating interim leader Brian Greig.[64]
  11. ^ Elected leader unopposed following the resignation of Andrew Bartlett.[65]



Senator State Term
Janine Haines South Australia 1977–1978; 1981–1990
Don Chipp Victoria 1978–1986
Colin Mason New South Wales 1978–1987
Michael Macklin Queensland 1981–1990
John Siddons Victoria 1981–1983; 1985–1986 (1987)[n 4]
Jack Evans Western Australia 1983–1985
David Vigor South Australia 1985–1987[n 4]
Norm Sanders Tasmania 1985–1990
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
Sid Spindler Victoria 1990–1996
Cheryl Kernot Queensland 1990–1997
Robert Bell Tasmania 1990–1996
Karin Sowada New South Wales 1991–1993
John Woodley Queensland 1993–2001
Meg Lees South Australia 1990–2002 (2005)[n 6]
Natasha Stott Despoja South Australia 1995–2008
Lyn Allison Victoria 1996–2008
Andrew Murray Western Australia 1996–2008
Andrew Bartlett Queensland 1997–2008
Aden Ridgeway New South Wales 1999–2005
Brian Greig Western Australia 1999–2005
John Cherry Queensland 2001–2005

State and territory members[edit]

Australian Capital Territory[edit]

New South Wales[edit]

South Australia[edit]


Western Australia[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Such as the then Socialist Workers' Party and early green-left parties such as the United Tasmania Group.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ The sole independent member in the House, Ted Mack, was unable to launch his critical motion for lack of a seconder.
  4. ^ a b Resigned from party in November 1986 and sat as an independent senator until defeat at the 1987 election as a Unite Australia Party candidate.
  5. ^ Resigned from party in July 1992 and sat as an independent senator until defeat at the 1993 election.
  6. ^ Resigned from party in July 2002 and sat as an independent senator until defeat at the 2004 election as an Australian Progressive Alliance candidate.
  7. ^ Resigned from party in 1996 and sat as an independent MLC until retirement at the 2003 election.
  8. ^ Resigned from party on 7 October 2009 and sat as an independent MLC until 2010 election when was not re-elected.


  1. ^ a b "The Australian Democrats". Funding, Disclosure and Political Parties: Political Party Registration: Deregistered/renamed political parties. Australian Electoral Commission. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b "AEC Current Register of Political Parties". Australian Electoral Commission. 16 May 2016.
  3. ^ Rodney Smith; Ariadne Vromen; Ian Cook (2 February 2012). Contemporary Politics in Australia: Theories, Practices and Issues. Cambridge University Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-521-13753-9. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  4. ^ Chipp D and Larkin J The Third Man Rigby, Melbourne (1978) ISBN 0-7270-0827-7
  5. ^ "2007 Senate election: (National tally of) First Preferences by Group". 20 December 2007. Archived from the original on 5 May 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  6. ^ 7111;, corporateName=Commonwealth Parliament; address=Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600; contact=+61 2 6277. "Australian Democrats: the passing of an era". Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  7. ^ 7111;, corporateName=Commonwealth Parliament; address=Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600; contact=+61 2 6277. "Australian Democrats: the passing of an era". Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  8. ^ 7111;, corporateName=Commonwealth Parliament; address=Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, 2600; contact=+61 2 6277. "Australian Democrats: the passing of an era". Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  9. ^ "Australian Democrats | political party, Australia". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  10. ^ Cathy Madden, Research Paper, "Australian Democrats: the passing of an era", p. 2 and note 6, 27 March 2009; Retrieved 1 September 2013
  11. ^ AD National Journal June 1990, p.5
  12. ^ "Ted Mack's speech on Gulf War". Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Senate Hansard, 21 Jan 1991". Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  14. ^ Paas, Hans. A cautionary tale of hypocrisy and ambition. The Age, 5 July 2002. Accessed 22 December 2015
  15. ^ "Cheryl Kernot's Resignation Speech". 15 October 1997. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
  16. ^ Seccombe, Mike; Fray, Peter (2002-07-04). "Cheryl and Gareth – the consuming passion". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2010-07-31.
  17. ^ "(Day 21) Democrats Support GST, Want Food Exempt". 19 September 1998. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  18. ^ "Australian Treasury: Tax Reform: Not a New Tax, A New Tax System". 1 August 1998. Archived from the original on 15 March 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  19. ^ Australian Democrats: The GST and the New Tax System Election 2004 Issue Sheet
  20. ^ Senator Meg Lees's address to the Australian Democrats' National Conference, Brisbane, 20 January 2001 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2010.
  21. ^ Kirk, Alexandra (19 June 1999). "Democrats make good on GST compromise deal". ABC PM, Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  22. ^ ABC TV: 7.30 Report: 7/6/1999: ["GST deal sparks Democrat crisis"]
  23. ^ John Kehoe "Lees has no regrets Democrats gave their support" Australian Financial Review 30 June 2010.
  24. ^ Phillip Coorey "Democrats in Denial" in David Solomon (ed) Howard's Race – Winning the Unwinnable Election, Harper Collins, 2002, p42-44
  25. ^ Alison Rogers, The Natasha Factor, Lothian Books, 2004, pp29ff
  26. ^ Phillip Coorey "Democrats Opt for Leadership" in David Solomon (ed) Howard's Race – Winning the Unwinnable Election, Harper Collins, 2002, p180
  27. ^ Stott Despoja resigns as Democrats leader, ABC 7.30 Report, 21 August 2002
  28. ^ "Disgraced leader steps aside". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. 7 December 2003. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  29. ^ "Australian Democrats Deregistered in Tasmania". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 January 2006. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  30. ^ "Stott-Despoja denies rumours she is quitting". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 March 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  31. ^ "Political analyst predicts Democrats' demise". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 July 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  32. ^ "Former leader sees Democrats in 'tatters'". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 11 July 2006. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  33. ^ Kanck says rave party safer than the front bar, The Advertiser 5 July 2006 Article no longer available online.
  34. ^ Phillip Coorey (8 July 2006). "No life in Don's party". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  35. ^ "Hawke predicts end is near for Democrats". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 August 2006. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  36. ^ "Stott-Despoja to bow out of politics". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 October 2006. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  37. ^ "Victorian Electoral Commission: Results for Upper House, 2006". 1 January 1999. Archived from the original on 16 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  38. ^ "Victorian Electoral Commission: Results for Upper House, 2006". 1 January 1999. Archived from the original on 5 April 2010. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
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