ACT Democrats senate preferences – Wrong and stupid

UPDATE 4 (02/08/2010 11.38AM) Darren Churchill has emailed me a correction/clarification to his original statement that the Greens broke a national deal in 2007. I have added his response as a comment to this post. I was only involved in national preference negotiations and state preference negotiations for Victoria for the Democrats in 2007, so I can’t definitively comment on what may have been agreed to between the ACT Democrats and the ACT Greens in 2007. Either way, any further debate on issues relating to this topic should go in the comments.

UPDATE 3 (02/08/2010 12.31AM) Darren Churchill made a demonstrably false claim in his email below that the Greens broke a preference deal with the Democrats negotiated at a national level to do a 2 for 2 preferences swap in the ACT in 2007. There was no national deal requiring a 2 for 2 swap in 2007, and you can see for yourself by looking at this media release from the Democrats own website. I also have an email copy of this media release in my archives from the 2007 campaign.

See the comments from Andrew Bartlett and me for more discussion of this at the end of the post.
UPDATE 2 (01/08/2010 7.42PM) Darren Churchill has agreed to me publishing his email denying a deal, so I have done so below, in the section where I wrote about the Greens beliefs on the preference deal).
UPDATE (01/08/2010 7.08PM) – I have received an email from Darren Churchill, ACT Democrats lead candidate and National Campaign Director denying the Democrats and Greens had a formal deal to preference each other ahead of both major parties. I’ve asked permission from him to publish the complete and exact text of his email to me on this post, and if he agrees I will add this to the relevant paragraph below.
Senate Group Voting tickets for the 2010 Federal Election have been published today. I plan to write some more detailed posts about the parties who have nominated for the senate, and what their senate Group Voting tickets could mean over the next week.

The first party and Senate Group Voting ticket (GVT) I am going to write about is the ACT Democrats, whose GVT can be downloaded here.

First a declaration. I am a former member of the Australian Democrats, and have held various positions at a state and branch level in the Victorian Democrats, as well as being a federal and state candidate in the 1998 Federal election, the 1999 Victorian state election, the 1999 Holt by-election, the 2001 Federal election and the 2002 state election. I have also done extensive election analysis for the party at both a state and national level.

I’m extremely disappointed by the ACT Democrats decision to preference the Liberals ahead of the Greens and the ALP in the ACT senate.

I think it is wrong as it goes against the Democrats’ principles, values and objectives. It is also monumentally stupid.

Historically, the Australian Democrats have had a directive for preference negotiators that applied across the whole party:
Preferences in the Senate had to be allocated to like-minded parties and independents first, followed by the Greens, and then split-tickets where preferences were allocated evenly between the major parties (the ALP and the Coalition).
The split-ticket was not to be deviated from unless there was a compelling reason to preference one major party over the other party. Finally, after the major parties, parties with values and polices that were against the Democrats core values and policies were put last. I know this is the case because I have done preference negotiations for the party at a state (2002 and 2006) and federal (2007) level, and operated under this directive. The party has been undergoing restructuring and change, so this directive may have been dropped, however it seems reasonable to expect the current Democrats to still value this principle when it comes to preference negotiations as being a sound starting place for basing their preferencing decisions.

On the face of it, the ACT Democrats decision to direct their preferences straight to the Liberals in the ACT goes against the principles that the Australian Democrats have historically espoused, such as the one I have outlined above, and is wrong according to their core values and beliefs. The ACT Greens candidate is Lin Hatfield-Dodds, a former ACT Australian of the Year Award winner, National Director of UnitingCare Australia and former President of the Australian Council of Social Services. Lin Hatfield-Dodds has an outstanding record as a humanitarian and a person standing up for human rights and social justice. Her record on these issues is exemplary, and in line with core Democrats beliefs and objectives. It’s difficult to think of a candidate from any other party whose values are as close to Democrats values. If you take values, policy and record as mattering when it comes to preference decisions, then surely the Democrats should have directed their preferences straight to Lin Hatfield-Dodds? Given the way the Coalition abused their senate majority from 2004-2007, and are currently opposing a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, as well as having regressive policies against refugees and asylum seekers – both key issues that the Democrats have previously strongly campaigned on – how can they possibly justify preferencing the Liberals in the senate, particularly against an outstanding candidate like Lin Hatfield-Dodds? It makes no policy sense and is clearly against the Democrats’ founding principles and objectives.

However, perhaps the current Australian Democrats have decided that principles and values are no longer the primary factor in how they make preferencing decisions. They may have decided that tactically and strategically they need to try to do preference deals that give their candidates the best chance of getting elected, even if it comes at the expense of their principles and objectives.

If so, their decision to preference the Liberals in the ACT is both tactically and strategically stupid. The Liberals will poll much higher on primary votes than the Democrats in the ACT election and the Democrats have no chance of winning a seat. As the ACT has only 2 senators, any candidate needs to achieve a quota of 33.3%+1 of the votes. The ALP will easily be elected to the first spot on primary votes, with the second spot that has previously been won by the Liberals under threat, as there is a risk for them that their primary vote could drop below the 33.3% threshold needed to guarantee them a spot. The ABC’s psephologist Antony Green has an excellent analysis on the ACT Senate contest, which goes through the contest in great detail. In summary, the only candidates with a chance of winning the senate spot are the Liberals or the Greens (who will benefit from the ALP’s excess quota if the Liberal’s primary vote is low enough to put them into contention for the second spot). The Australian Democrats polled a woeful 1.84% in the ACT senate in 2007, so although they may increase on this slightly because there are fewer groups running for the ACT senate in this election, and therefore they have less competition, they are extremely unlikely to have a high-enough primary vote to pull ahead of the Greens.

Also, although the Liberals are directing their preferences to the ACT Democrats, given that the only other parties that are running in the ACT are the ALP and the Greens, the Liberals would have followed their past practice and directed to the Democrats anyway. Not to mention that there is no way that the Democrats will exceed the Liberals’ primary vote in the ACT, so they will not be in a position to benefit from Liberal preferences.

Perhaps the Democrats thought that by helping the Liberals protect their senate spot in the ACT, the Liberals would reciprocate by going straight to the Democrats in the senate in other states, where there may be an extremely unlikely chance the Liberals will have an excess quota that could benefit the Democrats and help them in their Don Quixote-style tilt at winning a senate spot in other states? However, looking at the Liberal GVTs one can see that if this was the Democrats’ strategy, then it has failed miserably, as the Liberals have preferenced Family First ahead of the Democrats in all the states. This is exactly what the Liberals did in 2007, and although the Democrats are ahead of both the ALP and the Greens on the Liberal GVTs, the Liberals have historically done this in federal elections, and would have done this anyway, even if the Democrats had directed preferences to the Greens in the ACT. The Democrats have gotten no strategic or tactical benefit from this decision.

By preferencing the Liberals in the ACT senate, the Democrats have potentially stopped the Greens from being able to immediately wrest the balance of power away from Steve Fielding and Family First. State Senators have 6 year fixed terms (unless there is a double dissolution), and the senators currently up for re-election have terms that expire at the end of June 2011. However senators for the territories are elected for non-fixed terms aligned with the House of Representatives and take their spots immediately upon their election. If the Greens win an ACT senate spot, the balance of power in the Senate will change and Mr Fielding and Family First will no longer be able to obstruct the government of the day.

Finally, it seems that the ACT Democrats actually broke a preference deal* –< UPDATE – see the text of an email denying a deal from Darren Churchill, below (I confirmed with the Greens national campaign coordinator Ebony Bennett that the Greens and the Democrats had agreed to a deal, see the relevant tweet here ) they had undertaken with the Greens to preference each other ahead of the major parties. Breaking preference deals made with other parties is extremely unethical and backfires in the long-term as other parties realise that the party breaking a deal cannot be trusted to keep their word. Preference negotiators in parties have long memories, and if the Democrats continue to try to campaign in the future, this decision will haunt them as other parties will be reluctant to trust them in the future. They have not only ignored their principles and values and trashed their reputation, they have also potentially handed Steve Fielding and Family First the keys to the senate for almost an extra year.

UPDATE (01/08/2010 – 7.45PM), the Australian Democrats lead candidate in the ACT and National Campaign Director, Darren Churchill has denied there was a formal deal with the Greens to exchange preferences ahead of the majors in the ACT. He has given me permission to publish his denial here. Here is the exact text:
Hello Polly,

Please be careful spreading the following sort of information around:
“Finally, it seems that the ACT Democrats actually broke a preference deal (I confirmed with the Greens national campaign coordinator Ebony Bennett that the Greens and the Democrats had agreed to a deal) they had undertaken with the Greens to preference each other ahead of the major parties.”

It is totally false! There was no agreement with the Greens.

We had national discussions on two occasions but they had gone nowhere, although seeming initially promising. The Greens had a list of parties they wanted to be higher than and could offer us the same. But they refused to negotiate when we asked for certain other parties to be included. It was all about what the Greens wanted – a complete one-way street.

Of course, the Greens will lie and claim things were otherwise. Just like they lied their way out of a two-for-two swap in the ACT (as part of a national deal) in 2007.


Darren Churchill
Australian Democrats

Darren has also directed me to a post on his blog, which explains his reasons for the decision to preference the Liberals in the ACT.

I personally find this reasoning extemely unconvincing, as The Liberals have been pursuing more regressive polices, such as moving further to the right on climate change (the Howard Government actually went to the 2007 Election proposing an ETS of their own), and back to advocating their past extremely harsh policies towards asylum seekers, so I wonder how much of a modifying influence Senator Humphries really has with Tony Abbott. I still strongly disagree with this decision from the ACT democrats, and believe that it doesn’t fit with Democrats’ values and principles, and that it is also a big tactical and strategic mistake.

That said, I am no longer a member of the Democrats, and as I live in Victoria, I of course, can’t vote in the ACT, and it will now be up to potential ACT Democrats voters to decide whether they accept the ACT Democrats’ arguments for this decision or not.

30 thoughts on “ACT Democrats senate preferences – Wrong and stupid

  1. Colin J says:

    I think the ACT Democrats may have poisoned the well for their colleagues in other states with this – as this becomes common knowledge, the Dems might be viewed with suspicion everywhere.

    1. polly says:

      @Colin – I agree, this a real risk for them. Although I think the Dems don’t have a realistic chance of coming close to winning a senate seat in this election, I really feel for a few of my former colleagues, such as Roger Howe in Victoria, who may experience some nasty backslash while campaigning. Roger is a great guy, and deserves better than to have to deal with the stress of a decision he had no control over.

  2. Andrew Bartlett says:

    I’m sorry – that ‘justification’ from Darren is the most feeble bunch of dribble I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen plenty). You should feel very insulted that he could possibly think you would be stupid enough to accept such rubbish.

    It is a sad insult to the proud name and legacy of the Democrats that he could say the Greens had “a list of parties they wanted to be higher” when there are no other parties on the ACT Senate ticket! The only parties are Labor, Liberal, Greens and Democrats – to accuse the Greens of wanting a “one way street” on preference deals is worse than a joke.

    If the Greens were being unreasonable at a national level, why have the Greens put the Democrats ahead of Labor/Liberal everywhere? And why would the Democrats not have retaliated at a state level? Why was it only the ACT Democrats that directed their Senate preferences straight to Tony Abbott?

    The national deal between the Democrats and the Greens in 2007 occurred exactly as was negotiated – I know because I was part of it. Any suggestion otherwise is a falsehood.

    I can also say – this time from the Greens side of the fence – that Darren’s comment that the Greens “refused to negotiate when we asked for certain other parties to be included” in any preference deal is also a complete falsehood – and any cursory look at the Senate Group Voting Tickets across ALL of the states will show this.

    It is unfortunate that the ‘Democrats’ in the ACT have acted in a way to prolong the influence of Steven Fielding in the Senate, and to increase the chances of an Abbott-led (big L) Liberal block continuing for years to come.

    It is far, far worse – at least from my point of view as someone who is very committed to having the Australian Democrats record and legacy given the full respect it deserves – that it is now being besmirched in such an obviously dishonest way.

    (and for the record, Darren’s ‘blog’ still isn’t showing the comment I left there. It is an insult to the Democrats’ record of accountability and openness – I started up the Democrats first blog nearly 6 years ago and allowed (and responded to) comments from all quarters over all that time.)

    1. polly says:

      Andrew, thank you for this comment. As someone who was also involved with the 2007 preference negotiations, I also recall the deals at a national level in 2007 not requiring a 2 for 2 swap anywhere, but have been spending the evening digging through old email archives, just in case the ACT was special for some reason, and I had misremembered. I have just found a copy of the relevant press release from 2007 on the Democrats website: here
      Just in case it is removed, here is the text of the media release:

      Senator Lyn Allison
      Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Victoria

      Dated: 31 October 2007
      Portfolio: General


      Coalition dominance and abuse of the Senate is a step closer to coming to an end after the Democrats and Greens reached a preference agreement.

      “This preference agreement gives Australia the best chance of ridding the Senate of major party dominance and returning it to the house of review that it should be”, said Democrats Leader, Senator Lyn Allison.

      “We ask the electorate to think carefully about their vote, so that the Senate does not again become a rubber stamp for every whim of the government”, said Senator Allison

      The agreement will see the two biggest minor parties exchange preferences ahead of the two majors and all minor non-progressive parties.

      Greens Leader Bob Brown said that “This agreement follows historic swaps between the Democrats and the Greens parties, which will also direct preferences to each other before the fundamentalist Family First party and Pauline Hanson”, said Senator Brown .

      “No matter which party wins the keys to the Lodge, only a strong, independent Senate will hold the government to account,” Senator Brown said

      This makes it absolutely clear that there was no requirement for a 2 for 2 swap anywhere in 2007.
      In fact, the senate group voting tickets for the ACT are available here
      The ACT Greens preferenced What Women Want and the Climate Change Coalition ahead of the Democrats, which is consistent with the terms of the preference deal outlined in the media release above.

  3. polly says:

    Darren has just emailed me a correction to his claim that the Greens broke a national deal in the ACT in 2007. He has agreed to me publishing this as a right
    of reply. It sounds like any agreement could have been at a territory level. I have included his clarification below:

    Hi Polly,

    There was an agreement on a two-for-two swap in the ACT in 2007. The national deal as you point out on your blog is correct. But in the ACT there was a two-for-two deal. And there were ads with Lyn Allison, Bob Brown, and Kate Lundy saying whichever of the three you voted for to put the others next. In 2007 in the ACT, the Australian Democrats held to our local arrangement went straight to the Greens, despite some in our campaign team arguing to go to the other minor parties first. The Greens did not honour their local end of the agreement, going to What Women Want and the Climate Change Coalition. Whilst adding to the difficulties in being able to trust the Greens (and it was raised with them) it had no direct bearing on our decision in 2010.


  4. Sam Bauers says:

    Preferences in the Senate had to be allocated to like-minded parties and independents first…

    …the Democrats have potentially stopped the Greens from being able to immediately wrest the balance of power away from Steve Fielding and Family First.

    All the more egregious as The Democrats are partly responsible for Steve Fielding’s ascension in the first place. Putting Family First ahead of The Greens in Victoria in 2004. So I’m guessing this principled preferencing directive was absent then too. Their one chance to make amends for that error is now lost.

    This could be the nail in the coffin. Such a shame.

  5. polly says:

    @Sam – thanks for the comment. I don’t want to go back down the 2004 path again, as what’s done is done, unfortunately.

    That said, those of us who were involved in the 2007 preferences negotiation at a national level wanted to try to maximise any chance of getting a democrat elected or re-elected, but not at the expense of our core values and beliefs. We were very aware that it was likely our preferences would get distributed, and we wanted to make sure there was no repeat of the 2004 mistake. I think Lyn Allison, Andrew Bartlett and Jack Evans (the National Campaign Director in 2007) were extremely ethical (and I was directly involved in that process) in how they conducted themselves regarding preferences in 2007.

  6. polly says:

    I have removed a couple of comments at the request of their author, as well as my replies to those comments, as they were made in the heat of the moment, and did not stick to the topic of the ACT Dems preferences or Democrats preferences in general.

  7. Brett says:

    Democrats the Only Independent Voice in Senate after Labor-Greens Preference Deal

    “The Labor-Green deal is designed to remove the Democrats as the independent voice in the Senate,” said Senator Andrew Bartlett, leader of the Australian Democrats.

    “Labor want a compliant Green Party on their left flank in the Senate to replace the Democrats independent approach when Labor and Liberal disagree. In the Senate the Greens side with Labor over Liberals, so it is no wonder Labor and the Greens have done a deal to try and get rid of the Democrats.”

    “The Democrats will work to improve legislation, whoever the Australian people elect to Government even if it is John Howard again. But Bob Brown has said he will not work with the Liberals in the Senate if they are elected. Thats just disrespect for democracy. I and many other Democrats say John Howard should not be re-elected. We have fought his stance on the Iraq war, on refugees and on dividing the community. But bread and butter issues like superannuation legislation should be decided on merit, not ideological divides.

    “Voters should fight this back room dealing and make their own decision about where their preferences go.

    “The Democrats take an independent approach to preferences to try and prevent either of the major parties controlling the Senate.

    “The Greens will also put Labor ahead of the Democrats in key House of Representatives seats, pretend this is about policy instead of political self-interest, and bare-facedly try to smear the Democrats at the same time.

    “On the same day the Greens and Labor do a deal to try and remove the only indigenous member of Federal Parliament in NSW, in South Australia they attack us for preferencing an Indigenous woman from a party that has done far more than the SA Green MP on issues like child abuse. The Greens hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    “Despite the Green Partys policies opposing the ALPs on many issues, the Greens are rewarding Labors frequent policy sell-outs with a preference sell out of their own, in order to try and remove the Democrats from the Senate. The Greens will reward Labor with a preference bonanza despite Labors sell outs on the Free Trade Agreement, the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme, and same sex relationships.

    “This Green Party power grab shows the Democrats are the only Senate choice that is independent of the major parties,” concluded Senator Bartlett.

  8. polly says:

    @Brett – Your comment is clearly referring to a previous election campaign, rather than the current one. I’m assuming this is from 2007? I’m not doubting its veracity, but could you provide a link, as it will give context to the media release, and allow readers to read the original release.

  9. polly says:

    Further to my comments above – the quotes in Brett’s post may actually be from 2004, because it refers to Andrew as being leader of the Australian Democrats.
    Just a note for any future commenters – the primary focus of this topic is the ACT Democrats preference decisions in this election. The 2007 preferences issue came up because Darren Churchill raised what happened with preferences in 2007 between the ACT Democrats and the ACT Greens as causing mistrust (although he also said that it wasn’t the primary reason behind the ACT Democrats decision to preference the Liberals in this election). I do not want this thread to be derailed into arguments about previous points of contention between Democrats and Greens from earlier elections – please just stick to the topic of this post.

  10. polly says:

    Brett, you know this is the case, and this has been debated by many people on many forums as well as in the mainstream media for the last 6 years. I have given you and Darren a good run on this thread. I have also asked people to keep their comments on the topic of this post, which is about the ACT Democrats decision to preference the Liberal party above the Greens and the ALP in the ACT 2010 election. Any future comments that are off-topic will be deleted. Please stick to the topic.

  11. Brett says:

    Polly that is completely incorrect and clearly highlights that you are unwilling to let the full argument be aired. Your blantant hypocracy will be noted.

  12. polly says:

    “My Blantant hyocracy will be noted.” Nice.

    Brett, I’ll repeat what I said to you earlier: “I have also asked people to keep their comments on the topic of this post, which is about the ACT Democrats decision to preference the Liberal party above the Greens and the ALP in the ACT 2010 election. Any future comments that are off-topic will be deleted. Please stick to the topic.”

    The topic of the post is clearly about the ACT Democrats decision to preference the Liberals ahead of the Greens in the ACT senate contest in 2010. Discussions of the decision of the Australian Democrats National Campaign Team decision to preference Family First ahead of the Greens in the senate in the 2004 campaign are off-topic.
    I’ve already let your cutting and pasting a press release from 2004 (without even sourcing it) about this stand, even though it’s clearly off-topic.
    Do you have any substantive point you want to actually make on whether the decision of the ACT Democrats to preference the Liberals ahead of the Greens in the 2010 election was right or not? If not, then don’t bother commenting any more.

  13. Maiy Azize says:

    Below is a copy of the justification that Darren Churchill and Anthony David sent to Democrats members in the ACT:

    >>Why the Democrats are backing the Liberals. Here’s a copy of an ACT Democrats e-mail about preference deals:

    Dear ACT Democrats Members and Associate Members,

    You will soon be hearing in the media (if you haven’t already) about a decision to give our Senate preferences in the ACT to the Liberal Party. No doubt this will upset some members, so let us explain why it has occurred.

    As horrible and undemocratic as they are, it is necessary to lodge a Group Voting Ticket (preference decision) with the Australian Electoral Commission for above-the-line voting. The decision to allocate our preferences to the Liberals was not taken lightly and not without considerable angst.

    We held discussions with the Greens, the Liberals and the independent. In the end discussions with the Greens indicated that giving our preferences to them would be a one-way affair, i.e. the Greens gain but the Australian Democrats get nothing.

    The Greens have not been a friend to the Australian Democrats. They have often taken our preferences and regarded them as a right. This has not helped the Australian Democrats. It has helped the Greens — and always at our expense, creating the impression that the Australian Democrats are not much more than a faction of the Greens.

    If there had been a moderate “centre” party, group or independent (or other like-minded party) they would have figured strongly in our deliberations.

    Gary Humphries is a moderate Liberal, Someone who a few years ago would have been referred to as a “wet” or a “small l Liberal.” People such as Don Chipp and Greg Barns would be regarded similarly.

    Should we find ourselves with an Abbott Liberal government after the election, Humphries could be a much-needed hand of restraint on Mr Abbott’s shoulder and voice of reason in their Party Room. He has demonstrated this in his preparedness to cross the floor in the interests of the ACT and his call for electoral reform to improve our democracy. Having the guts to dissent and cross the floor for the sake of your constituents is what “keeping the bastards honest” is all about.

    In some states the Australian Democrats have preferenced Labor, e.g. Victoria and SA (laced ticket — 1 Lab, 2 Lib, 3 Lab, 4 Lib, etc); in some we have held to the traditional split-ticket but Greens higher, eg, NSW, WA, Qld; and in others, ACT and Tas, we have preferenced the Liberals.

    In all cases, we have considered the interests and acted on the merits of the individual case, and the greater good of the Australian Democrats, both in this election and for the future.

    If you have an issue with this decision, we encourage you to take the Australian Democrats preferred option of voting “below-the-line” and direct your preferences where you want them to go.

    Please contact us if you would like more details. We are happy to discuss.

    Kind regards,

    Darren Churchill and Anthony David<<

    I am a member of the Greens, and although I wasn't involved in the negotiations, I don't think this is true:
    "In the end discussions with the Greens indicated that giving our preferences to them would be a one-way affair, i.e. the Greens gain but the Australian Democrats get nothing."

    If that is true, why did the ACT Greens preference the Democrats? Their preference distributions can be downloaded here:

  14. polly says:

    Thanks for the comment Maiy.
    This following claim is particularly dubious:
    “The Greens have not been a friend to the Australian Democrats. They have often taken our preferences and regarded them as a right. This has not helped the Australian Democrats. It has helped the Greens — and always at our expense, creating the impression that the Australian Democrats are not much more than a faction of the Greens.”
    as Democrats’ senators have needed Greens preferences to get elected in the past. To claim that preference swaps between the two parties has always been at the expense of the Australian Democrats shows a stunning ignorance of electoral history.

  15. polly says:

    “In some states the Australian Democrats have preferenced Labor, e.g. Victoria and SA (laced ticket — 1 Lab, 2 Lib, 3 Lab, 4 Lib, etc);”

    And of course, they have also not accurately described what the Victorian Democrats and South Australian Democrats have done with their preferences. You can see for yourselves what they have actually done here:

    The VicDems have gone ->Carers Alliance -> Secular Party -> Sex Party -> Greens -> ALP (the whole ALP ticket – not a “laced” ALP/Liberal ticket) -> Senator Online -> Stephen Mayne group -> Socialist Alliance and then the Coalition ticket

    So the VicDems have preferenced the Greens, and not Labor – and they have not run a split or “laced” ticket at all.

    The SADems have gone -> Senator online -> ungrouped independent -> Secular Party -> non party group -> Sex Party -> Dana Wortley the 3rd ALP candidate -> Carers Alliance -> Greens -> Mary Jo Fisher (3rd Liberal candidate) -> then other ALP Candidates -> then other Liberal Candidates->

    The SADems have gone straight to the 3rd ALP Candidate, and have preferenced the ALP -> but then go to the Greens before preferencing the 3rd Liberal candidate. This is also not a split or “laced” ticket.
    Honestly, why keep on making claims that can be so easily refuted?

  16. Maiy Azize says:

    Thanks for the above links Polly!

    I find this whole chapter of the campaign quite sad. Almost every Green I know appreciates and respects the contribution the Democrats have made to politics, and most of us have always preferred to work together. The impression I’ve gotten from this episode is that most Democrats feel the same way!

  17. polly says:

    Darren emailed me the following response to the more recent comments on this post, so I’m adding it as a comment here (with his permission)

    Hi Polly,

    I want to point out some of the inaccuracies in your postings, and correct where I may have advised you inaccurately. As a general rule I don’t post to blogs, except Facebook (which I enjoy).

    I did not say that Vic Dems had done a laced ticket, I said SA had. I had been told Vic Dems were going to Labor, I was not told that it was after the Greens.

    I was also told that Tas had gone to the Libs. They actually did a lace-up, with Labor slightly higher. SA also did a lace-up although, I agree it wasn’t a “pure” lace-up. I did know that the 3rd Labor candidate was placed higher there. So, Labor higher, as I said.

    Preference negotiations were largely done by the state Divisions. Except, we had attempted to talk to the Greens nationally. When the Greens wouldn’t negotiate, we left it to the Divisions.

    The information is correct as I understood it as of Friday afternoon.

    I did co-ordinate with WA and NSW to guide them with their preferences but only over the telephone and a few emails.

    It is not the role of the Australian Democrats to help the Greens get elected. It is our role “To seek the election to Parliament of members committed to the objectives of the Party.”



  18. Bob says:

    Hi Polly

    Interesting debate you have going, keep up the good work.

    I thought that you might want to see some of the other motivations behind the ACT Democrats. Here is a very interesting post from Norvan Vogt, Darren’s predecessor and the man in charge last election, when the “love was lost” between the two parties

    I think that you are your readers will find it interesting.

    All the best


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