October 19th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Bush changes US strategic doctrine

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: ALP Conference: triumph of 'spin' over substance

CANBERRA OBSERVED: PM's loopy housing scheme evades rebuke

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: Social 'reforms': Rann's devious politics

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Yes - it is about oil, and arms, and ... doublethink

SUGAR: Behind the sugar crisis

OBITUARY: Ted Serong: a great Australian

FINANCE: A $50 billion war chest for the ALP?

LETTERS: Superannuation and the ALP (letter)

LETTERS: Democrats (letter)

LETTERS: Life matters (letter)

WATER: Wimmera-Mallee major water conservation project underway

CHINA: China will remain the major challenge to America

COMMENT: Share collapse: we've seen it all before

BUSINESS: Just how 'ethical' can business be?

COMMENT: Dysfunctional Victoria

BOOKS: Wilful murder: the Sinking of the Lusitania, by Diana Preston

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Democrats (letter)

by Colin Teese

News Weekly, October 19, 2002

Your correspondent Gerard Fitzgerald (NW, October 5) believes that I attach no significance to the "moral issues" and "general philosophy" of the dispute within the Democrats.

As to the "moral issues", surely it is worth considering that - whatever may be Senator Scott Depoja's attitude to the issues raised by Mr Fitzgerald - they would hardly be much different to those of the leadership of the major parties - or, for that matter, those of Senator Murray?

And it's also the case that Senators Scott Despoja and Murray, as Democrats, are not in a position to legislate on anything.

Matters philosophical, on the other hand, were the main thrust of my piece.

The "gang of four" - along with Senator Lees - agreed in writing, as a condition of pre-selection, to vote against the sale of Telstra. Recently, they announced their intention to renounce that obligation. The effect of that announcement destabilised, and may yet destroy the Democrats.

I'm not a member of the Democrats (or any other party), but I think they are important, as the only political force standing between us and the untrammeled power of the major parties.

The gang of four - and Senator Lees - seemed to want to abandon this attitude, and move closer to the Coalition. I simply can't believe that is a good thing for our democracy.

Colin Teese,
Brighton, Vic

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