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Leaving the Democrats

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A couple of months ago (December 2012), I resigned from the Australian Democrats.

People who met me and found out I was actively involved in the party, would always — and I mean always — open with the same question: why the Democrats? And the answer is not so much to do with the party as it is to do with me.

I don’t like being a whinger when it comes to politics. Okay, correction: I don’t like being just a whinger. I want to be doing something to fix the things I rant about. I don’t think that anyone, any voter, is simply entitled to have their political representation magically appear out of the ether, with all of the policies and platforms that they want to see enacted. If you want those policies to be enacted, or those politicians to exist, you have to work for it. You have to support them, and compromise for them, and carry heavy shit around for them. Not everyone has the privilege of being able to do that, but I certainly do, and I wouldn’t feel good about wasting the opportunities I have.

I thought the Democrats would be the ideal way for me to participate in Australian politics because I broadly agreed with their policies and principles, and I saw how I could contribute to the party. But I was wrong.

If you’re expecting to read some sordid, tell-all, self-serving tale of what happened over the last few months, you won’t find it here. There are still some viable, promising candidates in the party, and I don’t want to undermine either of them.

I will, however, continue to extend the offer I made to members before I resigned: you may ask me in good faith about anything I’ve said or done, or about anything said about me; I will answer, and I will provide evidence for everything I say. (Here’s a rough guide to what I mean by good faith: framing a question around a clearly absurd or defamatory claim that you’ve taken at face value does not qualify.)

The best thing about my time in the party was working with some of the most amazing, enthusiastic, productive and effective activists I have ever met. These people would come up with idea after idea, they would follow through on the best ones, and they would move on to the next plan before the echoes died away. I sincerely hope that I will get to work with those people again.