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People And Parliament Still In The Dark On FTA: Democrats

The Australian Democrats have attacked the lack of detail of the proposed Free Trade Agreement with the United States announced earlier today.

The party’s leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, has lamented the Senate’s lack of power to force changed to the FTA. The Democrats have also called for more parliamentary involvement in the treaty-making process.

  • Listen to Bartlett (10m)

Text of media statement by the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Andrew Bartlett, and the party’s spokesperson for Trade and Overseas Development, Senator Aden Ridgeway.

US Trade Deal: Australian People and Parliament Still in the Dark

BartlettThe Australian Parliament and the Australian people still have little knowledge of the detail of the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, say the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ Trade spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway, said that as negotiations have been conducted in secret there is no real idea of the extent of the compromises made in the agreement and the inconsistent messages from each side are cause for concern. [Read more…]


Bartlett Apologises To Ferris, Public And Democrats

Senator Andrew Bartlett has made a media statement apologising to Senator Jeannie Ferris and the Australian Democrats over his behaviour in a late-night incident in the Senate chamber last week.

Bartlett, pictured holding his daughter, is bound to be criticised for using his child as a prop at the media conference. Her crying disrupted the delivery of the statement. [Read more…]


Andrew Bartlett ‘Stands Aside’ Over Drunken Incident In Senate Chamber

The Leader of the Australian Democrats, Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett, has ‘stood aside’ following publication of details of an incident in the Senate chamber last Thursday night (Dec 4).

BartlettIt is alleged that Bartlett abused and manhandled South Australian Liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris in a dispute over wine stolen from a Liberal Party Christmas party.

The incident is likely to further damage the hapless party which has been riven by internal dissension in recent years. Bartlett took over the leadership in 2002, following the resignation of Senator Natasha Stott Despoja. Stott Despoja had in turn defeated Senator Meg Lees in a leadership challenge in 2001. In 1997 the previous leader, Cheryl Kernot, defected from the party and joined the ALP. [Read more…]


Democrats Renew Call For Royal Commission On Child Abuse

The Australian Democrats have renewed their call for the establishment of a Royal Commission on Child Abuse..

The party’s leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, said the withdrawal of the rape case against the Governor-General is not the end of the matter. [Read more…]


Minor Parties Oppose US Free Trade Agreement

The Australian Democrats and the Australian Greens have each expressed opposition to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States.

The proposed agreement has been the subject of discussion between the Prime Minister, John Howard, and the US President, George W. Bush, over the weekend.

Bush has said he wants to reach agreement on a FTA this year and send it to Congress for approval next year. International treaties have to be approved by the United States Senate. No such constitutional requirement exists in Australia. An executive government decision here is sufficient for Australia to become a signatory to a free trade agreement. [Read more…]


Democrats Support Breast-Feeding In Senate

Following the controversy in the Victorian Parliament over Labor MP Kirstie Marshall breast-feeding her baby in the chamber, the Australian Democrats have proposed changes to the Standing Orders in the Senate.

This is the text of a media release by Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, Australian Democrats spokesperson for Work and Family.

Standing Orders may allow breastfeeding in the Senate

Senator Stott DespojaBreastfeeding will be allowed in the Australian Senate if a Procedure Committee recommendation, initiated by the Australian Democrats, is adopted by the Senate when it returns this month.

The Procedure Committee considered this change after Senator Natasha Stott Despoja gave notice of a motion to change the Standing Orders.

Senator Stott Despoja’s motion was lodged on March 19 and the proposal to change Standing Order 175 subsequently referred to the President on March 24. [Read more…]


Democrats Call On Hollingworth To Step Down

The Australian Democrats have called on Governor-General Peter Hollingworth to step down.

This is the text of a media release by the leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Andrew Bartlett.

Justice for Abused Children in Care

Senator Andrew BartlettThe Australian Democrats today said an investigation revealing the Anglican Church in Brisbane under Peter Hollingworth acted unfairly in dealing with complaints of sexual abuse confirmed serious concerns over Dr Hollingworth’s fitness to remain as Australian Governor-General.

Democrats’ Leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, today repeated his calls for Dr Hollingworth to step down as Governor-General in the wake of the report’s conclusions. [Read more…]


British Media Tougher On Responsibilities: Democrats

This is the text of a speech delivered in Parliament by Senator John Cherry of the Australian Democrats.

Senator John CherryI rise today to speak on the media.

A fortnight ago, Roy Greenslade, a columnist with the “Observer” in London, did a comprehensive analysis of all major newspapers owned by News Corporation around the world, all 175 major titles. And all 175 newspapers in their editorials were running a line that was pro-war in Iraq. Mr Greenslade described this as an “extraordinary unity of thought”, all the more extraordinary because it happens to coincide with Rupert Murdoch’s public views on the war, published last month in the “Bulletin” magazine.

Conrad Black is also on the public record supporting Tony Blair “courageous” stance on the war, a line echoed enthusiastically in his British newspapers. [Read more…]


The Case Against War: Bartlett Puts Australian Democrats View

As debate about Australia’s involvement in a war against Iraq gathers strength, the leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Andrew Bartlett, has delivered a speech setting out his party’s opposition to a war.

Bartlett spoke to a public meeting at the Melbourne Town Hall.

Text of speech by Senator Andrew Bartlett, leader of the Australian Democrats.

BartlettI acknowledge the traditional owners of the land.

Thank you Don Chipp and Senator Lyn Allison and the many other organisations and individuals who have contributed to holding this meeting.

I believe what we need to be doing tonight is not just looking at the immediate threat of the impending war with Iraq but what it will also mean for our future, as Australians and indeed the global community. [Read more…]


The Ten Motions That Sank Stott Despoja

According the website crikey.com.au, these are the 10 motions that were passed by the Australian Democrats party-room.

The motions were opposed by the leader of the party, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, who resigned the leadership shortly afterwards. [Read more…]