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Democrats refocus on strengths.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/1057 THURSDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT SENATOR LYN ALLISON LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS DEPUTY LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS DEMOCRATS REFOCUS ON STRENGTHS The Australian Democrats leadership team, Senator Lyn Allison and Senator Andrew Bartlett, in Canberra today reaffirmed their determination to rebuild voter confidence in the party and to protect democratic processes and accountability mechanisms in a Coalition controlled Senate. Senator Lyn Allison has nominated for the position of Parliamentary Leader and Senator Andrew Bartlett for Deputy Parliamentary Leader. The leadership positions will be ratified by party members in a postal ballot with the process expected to be completed by 15 December 2004. Senator Lyn Allison said the message from voters in the Federal election was clear - change will be necessary in the way the Democrats do business. “We face a huge task in rebuilding the confidence of voters, but I believe it can be done,” Senator Allison said. “I pay tribute to Senator Bartlett’s courageous and tireless efforts over the last two years as Leader. It was not easy facing an election that resulted in three very worthy Senate colleagues losing their seats despite the Democrats' successful achievements in the parliament over the last few years.” Senator Andrew Bartlett said the Democrats faced serious decisions about the best role and focus for the Party in a Coalition controlled Senate. “There is also still a vital role for the Democrats as a voice for those people and issues that are ignored by the other parties,” Senator Bartlett said. Senator Allison outlined key proposals that were a starting point to guide the future of the party: - Ensuring the Democrats were a party of ideas and visions beyond the populism of the major parties; - Maintaining the parties’ record of standing up for the marginalised in society; - Reclaiming the Party's reputation for common sense and finding middle ground; and - The Democrats taking a leadership role in making the cross bench operate effectively. "After July 2005 there will be a number of new faces on the Senate cross bench, while the four Democrat senators will have over 35 years of parliamentary experience between them, so we want to work cooperatively with all parties to get the best outcomes possible in a Coalition controlled Senate," Senator Allison conclude. Media contact for Senator Bartlett - Daele Healy - 0419 867 649 Media contact for Senator Allison - Katrina McGrath - 0408 056 167