Kernot affair the start of the Democrats' rot (letter)by John C. MassamNews Weekly
, April 1, 2006
The decline of the Australian Democrats began when its leader Cheryl Kernot was a secret Labor Party supporter and was having a discreet love affair with a Labor Party minister. At the same time, Meg Lees was deputy leader.
The Democrats' national executive, with the Kernot and Lees families having a number of votes, decided it had the power to override the members' referenda, and then expelled 13 members (10 loyalists and three anarchists) from the Western Australian division. The WA membership dropped from about 200 to about 50 after that.
Kernot's alliance with Labor became public later. Later still, Lees and the other Democrat senators again defied the membership by voting for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
In recent years, the rump managed to have a quarrel with the effective WA Democrat Senator Andrew Murray, who has been doing such good work on inquiries into the abuse of children in orphanages.
It has amazed me that the Australian Democrat vote has held up as long as it has, until last week's pasting in the South Australian election.
My sympathies to all former Democrat supporters who once believed that their party would honour its members' own referendum decision, but instead let them down.John C. Massam,