Senator Andrew Bartlett of Queensland, from the Australian Democrats, launched his re-election campaign today with a speech at the Gardens Theatre at the Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point campus.
This is a video of part of Senator Bartlett’s speech:
Senator Bartlett also spoke about his pledge not to “misuse” his power to support any attempt to bring down a Government by blocking the Budget, as the Liberal/National party coalition did in 1975.
Retiring South Australian Senator, and former leader of the Australian Democrats, Natasha Stott-Despoja.
The crowd waits to go into the theatre.
Senator Bartlett had strong words about the mistreatment of indigenous Australians, saying:
No-one’s chest should swell with national pride as long as indigenous people die 17 years sooner than the rest of us. No-one should call Australia the land of the fair go as long as the Stolen Generation and victims of stolen wages go without fair recognition and compensation.
Senator Stott-Despoja and Murray Henman, candidate for the Queensland seat of Oxley, based on the city of Ipswich and the western suburbs of Brisbane.
Aunty Carol Currie of the Brisbane Council of Elders gives an indigenous welcome to Senator Bartlett and his supporters.
Senator Bartlett also said he welcomed:
[T]he Federal Government’s indication that they are making it a priority to deal with some of the abuse faced by some children in the Northern Territory. Now this has finally been made a political priority, it is imperative we make sure this action actually helps the children, not just creates headlines.
Former Queensland Senator John Cherry, who lost his seat in 2004, speaks.
Yasmin Abdul-Maji speaks about her support for Senator Bartlett.
Senator Bartlett faces a difficult job to win his seat again, as public support for the Democrats has never appeared to recover after the internal turmoil of earlier this decade. But he said he would use ‘powerful networks’ to try to win re-election. He faces challenges from the Greens candidate Larissa Waters, as the Greens have attracted many former Democrat voters from the environmentally and socially conscious wing of the party. On the other flank, there is also pressure from centre-right Liberal candidates who have benefited from centrist Democrat supporters who had second thoughts about supporting a divided party at the last Senate election in 2004.
This man, an Afghan refugee and former inmate of Australia’s detention centre for illegal immigrants in Nauru, spoke of how Senator Bartlett ‘listened and cared’ about the refugees there after former Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock ‘broke their hearts’.
This speaker introduced all the Democrat candidates to the audience.
To win, Senator Bartlett will need to convince social activists to support him based on his record, and also win the votes of moderate voters who think that the Government has gone too far with its WorkChoices reforms to industrial relations laws.
UPDATE: Nebuchadnezzar, the writer of the blog ‘Woolly Days’, was also at the launch – click here to read the article.
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