Modia Minotaur

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

Stott-Despoja to Quit

Democrats senator Natasha Stott-Despoja has announced she will not recontest the next election in order to spend more time with her family.

Stott-Despoja became one of Australia's most high profile politicians after entering Parliament at the young age of 26 - notoriously, shod in Doc Martens. She became the benchmark to which other young women entering parliament, such as Tanya Plibersek and Kate Ellis were subsequently compared. She was deputy leader of the party for several years, and briefly the leader, following Meg Lees' resignation, but was herself forced to resign after losing the confidence of the party, the start of a long period of shambolic leadership which continues to this day. It's fair to say that elevating Stott-Despoja to leader based on her high profile has universally been regarded as not only a mistake, but perhaps a fatal one. Nevertheless, she always seemed like an interested and passionate legislator to me, so her resignation is a shame. It was great to see someone demonstrate that a parliamentary career is an option for a young, socially aware woman.

All of that aside, this surely is the end for the Democrats, especially in their spiritual home of South Australia. It's unlikely that they will win back all four Federal Senate seats they currently hold; in fact, depending on the dynamics of other third-force parties, they may not win any. Senator Andrew Bartlett would be a particularly unfortunate loss to the Parliament. Their prospects don't look much better in the only two states in which they still hold seats, with both sitting members, the long-serving NSW MLC Arthur Chesterfield-Evans and the outspoken SA MLC Sandra Kanck, announcing their plans to retire before the next election.

This is the sad lot of a party formed to `keep the bastards honest' but who, fatally, didn't manage to hold Meg Lees to that credo.

8 Comments:

At 4:31 pm, Anonymous Andrew Bartlett said...

Thanks for your comments (well, some of them anyway). Just to correct one thing, I am fairly sure Arthur Chesterfield-Evans if reconstesting his Upper House seat at next year's NSW state election.

 
At 10:26 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 2:10 pm, Blogger Minotaur said...

I do beg your pardon - you're absolutely right, and I have called ACE's office to confirm this. I'll amend my post ASAP.

Apologies also to ACE himself - he does a good job and, like you Andrew, I really hope to see you both in parliament long into the future.

 
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