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What can the Greens learn from the Australian Democrats' mistakes? - Online Forum with Andrew Bartlett and Rachael Jacobs

Join Andrew Bartlett, former senator and former leader of the Australian Democrats, and Rachael Jacobs, a former candidate for both the Democrats and the Greens, for an online discussion with Greens candidate for Mayor of Brisbane, Jonathan Sriranganathan, about whether the Australian Greens are at risk of making the same mistakes as the Democrats did...

Throughout history, the vast majority of progressive political parties that have sought to change unjust systems through running candidates in elections have tended, one way or another, to be co-opted or corrupted by those systems.

It’s naive to assume that the Greens aren’t susceptible to those same pressures, which makes it important to think deeply and strategise about how those co-opting forces operate and how we can help our elected representatives and paid staffers resist them.

Not so long ago, another somewhat-progressive political party, the Australian Democrats, was winning seats and applying more pressure on the two major parties, but a series of bad decisions by party leaders and (in some cases) the party’s volunteer membership, led to the party’s gradual disintegration.

The Greens are now in a coalition government with Labor in the ACT, have majority control of several local governments around the country, hold the balance of power in the Upper House of the federal parliament and several state legislatures, and are on track to hold the Lower House balance of power in multiple state parliaments after the next election cycle.

So what can the Greens learn from the demise of the Democrats?

As the Greens win more seats and gain more staffers and paid MPs, what steps must we take to ensure important decisions are still made democratically?

Is there anything fundamentally different about the structure or processes of the Greens that will help insulate us from the pressures that co-opted the Democrats?

And what kind of relationship should the Greens try to have with other governing parties?

This online discussion will run for about 100 minutes, kicking off at 6pm Queensland time (or 7pm for the more conservative southern states).

Please make sure you register via this page to get a link to the online call.

This forum will not be recorded. If you’d like to hear about other upcoming discussions organised by Jonathan Sriranganathan’s mayoral campaign, make sure you’re subscribed to email updates at

This discussion is taking place on Aboriginal land, with speakers based on Jagera, Turrbal, and Gadigal country. We acknowledge and pay respects to their elders past and present, and we acknowledge the tensions and contradictions of seeking to win more power within an unjust and illegitimate settler-colonial government system operating on stolen land. Sovereignty was never ceded.

December 17, 2023 at 6:00pm - 8pm
Online - link will be emailed to anyone who registers
Jonathan Sriranganathan ·

Will you come?