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Natasha fails her own test.

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Natasha Stott Despoja has failed.

Just five days ago, Senator Stott Despoja declared it was her "….personal challenge - to see Australian voters deciding where their preferences go." [Sunday Sunrise 21.10.01]

This reflected the long-held view of the Democrats through successive leaders from Don Chipp.

But that’s all changed under Natasha as a result of the preference deal with Labor which has highlighted the divisions between the Democrats parliamentary and administrative wings.

Only a few months ago Senator Stott Despoja was saying: "But clearly my personal preference, and this is something that again my party room backs, is for a split ticket. I want people to vote number one Australian Democrats and they can determine how they preference." [Meet the Press 8th July 2001]

Just a week later, the Senator was even warning of the dangers of preference deals: "…people will vote against you if they think you’re controlling their vote in a way they’re not happy with." [The Australian 16 July 2001]

Clearly the Democrats’ administrative wing wasn’t too interested in its Parliamentary Leaders’ view when it decided to preference Labor in a swag of marginal seats.

Senator Stott Despoja should be judged by voters on November 10 by the challenge she set for herself - and failed to meet.

Senator Stott Despoja can’t have it both ways. She can’t say for years she’s campaigned for split tickets that indicate voters should choose where their preferences go and then support a swag of preferential tickets that clearly indicate to the voter the Democrats’ choice for government.


26 October 2001