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Victoria crucial in Senate balance of power contest.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/897 SUNDAY 12 SEPTEMBER 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT SENATOR LYN ALLISON LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS DEPUTY LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS Victoria Crucial in Senate Balance of Power Contest The Australian Democrats today launched a dynamic Victorian Senate team, set to protect the independence of the balance of power in the Senate. Speaking at the launch, Democrats Leader Senator Andrew Bartlett said the Democrats strong Senate record alone justified a vote for the party to retain its power in the upper house. "The Australian Democrats have successfully amended around 40 laws in this Parliament alone. Last year we were successfully amended more laws than any other opposition Party, even more than Labor." "A strong Democrat presence will keep the Senate in safe hands," Senator Bartlett said. "The Democrats are Australia's only strong and independent Senate party. Regardless of who wins Government, the Democrats in the Senate will force the Government to act honestly, fairly and justly." Senator Lyn Allison, Deputy Leader of the Democrats said historically, many voters decide on the Democrats in the last week before the election, when they start thinking seriously about how they will vote in the Senate. "It is at that point that they decide who will be most responsible with the balance of power in the Upper House," Senator Allison said. "We have a strong team of Democrats candidates who will be a formidable force at the ballot box." Running on the Victorian Senate ticket are: Jess Healy, Greg Chipp, Tony Inglese and Jo McCubbin. Lead candidate, Ms Jess Healy is a committed social justice campaigner who at 19, is on the road to becoming the youngest person ever elected to Parliament (she would enter the Parliament at 20 years of age). The tenacious and mature Jess Healy who was a candidate in the Victorian state election has specific policy interests in education, unemployment, poverty, asylum-seekers, environment and political accountability. "There is not enough diversity in Government yet this is vital to address the diverse needs of Australians. I can bring fresh insights and ideas into a Parliament, still dominated by an older, mostly male representation," Ms Healy said. "I want to stop government policies which target the vulnerable in society and raise the bar for accountability on social justice issues." Media enquiries for Senator Allison contact Katrina McGrath on 0408 056 167