Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ahh the idiot branch of the Democrat family

Down Adelaide way the last surviving Australian Democrat parliamentarian has made a bit of a stink.

He's challenged the Democrats to find 1000 members in four months or else he will resign. This is part of the delusion many of the last remaining Democrats went through that their own election chances were impeded by the "Democrats" brand rather than enhanced by it. It also reflects the incredibly unhappy relationship in the party betwen its parliamentarians and its party officials - a state that became very public through the Meg Lees meltdown. However it is also partly modelled on a very successful strategy used by Arthur Chesterfield-Evans in NSW to generate a large number of party memberships to retain party registration.

However the Dems should find solace in the fact that even the big boys of politics regularly go through this rough and tumble. But the one thing they should all learn is that slagging off at each other is the wrong way.

So - to President Julia Melland I say your better response to Mr Winderlich's "threat" was to embrace it. The response should have been "we are pleased to see that SA MLC DW has embraced the current campaign of party rebuilding being undertaken by the Democrats. As our most public face and influence in South Australia nobody has as much opportunity as David to advance the membership drive is SA. If we don't reach the target it will be a responsibility David will have to share with the party."

As to Natash Stott-Despoja trumpetting the line that the seat "belonged" to the partyu not the individual, this was a line she first tried out when Meg Lees lft the party. It wasn't very effective then.

But it was a line she conveniently forgot once she and Andrew Murray had decided to not contest the 2007 election. The sensible course was to resign and allow the party to replace her with the person who would be the candidate - providing the benefits of incumbency for campaigning and removing the distraction of conflicting voices. She did not - partly on the basis that Andrew Murray would not - but also partly on the claim that "she" had been elected not the party.

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