When I entered discussions the Australian Democrats to be part of my Minor Parties series, it shocked some people. Many voters, especially those that were paying attention to politics in the 90s and early 00’s, remember the Australian Democrats as a significant force. Operating with the stated aim of “keeping the bastards honest”, the Aus Dems held the balance of power under the Howard Government, and played a significant role in governance.
But the party received only 1% of the primary vote in the 2007 election, and has been in the wilderness ever since. The party is now back, and wants to re-take the center. I spoke with Hayden Ostrom Brown, the then Deputy national President (now National President) of the Australian Democrats, about the party’s history and their comeback: