The turkeys are stuffed and the Dems are sending each other merry Christmas greetings.

The Australian Democrats are looking over a successful year and sending each other Christmas greetings. We’ve thought it might be interesting to reproduce just two of the more detailed messages we’ve received.

At the moment, it looks as if the main thing left of the Dems is rhetoric, plus a handful of Senators. The membership has gone and a DD will take care of the latter – and then what?

That’s something to think about as you read the Democrats happy Christmas messages:

From: “Jason Langenauer”
Reply-To: [email protected]
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002 15:43:16 +1000
To: [email protected]
Subject: [alldems] Amazing!

Some highlights of the past year in Australia’s most democratic political party.

* National Secretary is moving as fast as valium-addled sloth to process NCC complaints against two “Democrat” senators.

* The same NCC is being used against a member who dared to expect that the party operate according to law (specifically relating to party registration), and took action to see that it did. Said member was described as “reprehensible” by the control freaks in their secret report.

* The NatEx, like the WA division executive, operates via secret email list – in contravention of NC4.6, while parading this as “democratic” decision making.

* This being insufficient to keep the rabble away from the “men of best quality” on NatEx, now certain members are actually _blocked_ from petitioning the NatEx by email.

* Legal drivel buried in the arcanum of the National Constitution is used to derail a legitimate ballot on the conduct of a senator. Using the letter of the law to defile the spirit, methinks.

* A National Journal filled with nostalgic clap-trap is always useful for keeping the members from confronting the real issues.

* A democratically elected leader ousted from her position by back-room treachery. The proper response to said treachery is a nod and a wink, BTW.

* The Queensland division drafts a new constitution – sans democratic protections – and has it ratified in a parody of a ballot.

* Long promised review of the taxation policy seems to be progressing awfully slowly.

* Long promised strategic review also seems to be progressing awfully slowly.

And sharper minds than mine are wondering where our vote has evaporated to!



From: Tracy Chaloner
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2002
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: [alldems] Amazing!

A few more for the record.

* WA Division Executive hounds WA President, Tracy Chaloner, out of ‘office’ after only 7 weeks.

* Newsletter column written by same WA President (while still president) censored by newsletter editor (did not get printed; no notice or explanation given at the time).

* WA President denied membership list by newly appointed membership officer (who is also the former WA President). Ratified by WA Division Executive.

* Meetings of the WA Division Executive predominantly held ‘in camera’ during the July-September period.

* WA AGM votes to strike a member’s comments regarding party registration (the WA Division is allegedly in breach of the WA Electoral Act) from the record.

* Newly elected WA President (Pat Olver) disallows any member motions to be moved from the floor of the 2002 AGM. Claims that 21 days notice needed to be given (without any documentation of this requirement to members). There are no standing orders, and upon asking the question of the orders that would be used, a week prior to the meeting, the response was that “best practice” would be used. No advice given that the ‘rules of meeting’ had changed from the previous year. Stacked meeting voted to support the ruling of the Chair.

* WA accounts for the past two years remained unaudited (and were not even completed until a few weeks prior) as at the 2002 AGM.

* Members were denied right to speak at WA AGM. President closed the meeting (without taking a vote) without recognising members from the floor that wished to speak.

* NE turns a blind eye to slanderous postings on their secret email list, sent by WA National reps about former WA President and other WA members. Now actively barring communcation from some members. Both these in contravention of National Constitution.

* WA Division seeks to act as judge, jury and executioner in a spurious complaint made by a member of the DE against the former WA President. Members of the WA DE and a Senator are named in the complaint as advisors to the complainant.

* Allegations of bias are raised against the investigator in the WA Inquiry. Subsequently withdrawn, but now renewed. Rumours suggest that the report has been carefully stagemanaged to exonerate the WA Division Executive of any wrongdoing.

* Andrew Murray’s actions in July/August, allegedly against the party’s best interest, remain free from scrutiny due to protection from majority of WA Division Executive, and possibly NE as well (see Jason’s previous email for details). Punitive action taken by WA DE against any who dissented.

There is more in the detail of the above statements, but I dare not post it to this public list for fear of serious reprisal (I am taking a significant risk just posting this much). There is no whistleblower protection in the Democrats, or for those who whilsteblow against political parties. In fact quite the opposite — at the same time that Senator Murray is championing whistleblower protection and greater accountability and transparency in political parties, some members of Executives, including one of his very own staffers (who has a very chequered past), are using tactics of stacking, framing, intimidation and punitive action (NCC and other threats) to cover up corruption at the very highest levels.

This is the sad, and extraordinary, state of affairs within a party that claims to be democratic, tolerant, honest and compassionate.

all the best


Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]