Christian Kerr writes:

It’s like Act V of Hamlet.
It goes on and on. The bodies keep piling up. And plenty gets said before the
poison finally works. The final scene for the Democrats might be
like the final scene of Hamlet – but for analysis of it all, we have to turn to
that Scottish play. “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

South Australian MLC Sandra Kanck has precipitated
her party’s final crisis with some ill-timed comments on ecstasy.
She says she feels safer with loved-up ravers than in a hotel bar. “These people using ecstasy and whatever
they’re using, they are not aggressive, they’re not shouting, they’re not
fighting, you don’t get people puking all over the place, it’s a far, far
better environment,” she says.

Pity her party looks like an old-time
wharfies’ pub at chucking out. Even its founder admits that things are messy.
When it’s all cleaned up, what will have
happened? The Democrats will be extinct – but nothing else will have changed.

Kanck and NSW’s Arthur Chesterfield-Evans
are the Democrats’ last two state MPs. He is unlikely to survive next March’s
poll.

Western Australian Senator Andrew Murray is
retiring at the 2007 poll. Party leader Lyn Allison and Andrew Bartlett face
almost certain defeat. Natasha Stott-Despoja could just survive – but the civil
war in her home division that Kanck’s comments have reignited makes it less likely
that she will stay and fight.

Who will take the Democrats’ Senate slots?
What will it mean? Well, the Greens are the likely winners.
The Greens or the ALP.

For years, the Democrats were the party
that kept the b-stards honest in the Senate. Now, their presence is likely to
vanish altogether – while the Government’s grip will remain.

Peter Fray

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