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Andrew Bartlett Elected Leader Of Australian Democrats

October 5, 2002

Senator Andrew Bartlett (Qld), Leader of the Australian Democrats Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has been elected leader of the Australian Democrats in a decision that displaces the interim leader, Senator Brian Greig, who was appointed in August following the resignation of Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.

It is reported that over 50% of Australian Democrats party members cast a vote and that Bartlett's victory over Greig was clear-cut. The Democrats is the only party that allows rank and file party members to elect the parliamentary leadership.

Victorian Senator Lyn Allison has been appointed by the party's National Executive as the interim Deputy Leader. An election for this position, vacant since Aden Ridgeway's resignation in August, will now take place.

Bartlett is 38 years old. A graduate of the University of Queensland, where he majored in English and Sociology, Bartlett worked first as a Department of Social Security social worker. He worked for Cheryl Kernot, following her election to the Senate in 1990, before moving to Senator John Woodley's staff in 1993. Following the defection of Kernot to the ALP in 1997, Bartlett was appointed to replace her as a Queensland Senator. The Australian Democrats website says Bartlett "has a strong interest in environmental, social justice, and animal welfare issues.

Bartlett becomes the eighth leader of the Australian Democrats as it marks its 25th year of operation. Four of those leaders (Lees, Kernot, Coulter and Powell) have since left the party. Bartlett becomes leader following a destructive year of infighting that has seen the resignation from the party of former leader, Meg Lees, and the resignations of Stott Despoja and her deputy, Aden Ridgeway. Talk of a further split in the party continues. Bartlett was one of Stott Despoja's strongest supporters in the upheavals earlier this year.

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