Sandra Kanck on Australian Democrats growth-lobby backlash
Sandra Kanck gives her account of what preceded her 'expulsion' from the Australian Democrats over the matter of population policy. Sandra was an Australian Democrats member of the South Australian Legislative Council from 1993-2009 and the last Democrat member in elected government. When she retired she became the president of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) and still is. The conflict in the Australian Democrats is a reflection of the greater conflict in Australia between the growth lobby and democratic representation and environmental democracy. As such it is important to people far beyond the Democrats themselves. (Article written by Sandra Kanck).
The observations already made on “Can Do Better” about what has happened in relation to the internal machinations of the Democrats and my sacking from the party are extremely perceptive. That’s probably because those of us who have fought for population abatement have seen these things acted out before, sometimes on bigger stages and not necessarily in political parties.
Thirty-three years ago, in formulating the Democrats’s no.2 objective “To accept the challenges of the predicament of humanity on the planet with its exponentially increasing population, disappearing finite resources and accelerating deterioration of the environment”, the founding mothers and fathers of the party were profoundly aware of the future.
The treatment meted out to me began, I suspect, a year ago when a strongly-worded new draft population policy was circulated – and I was a member of that policy working group. The pressure mounted when it went out to ballot in May, and further increased when the ballot was supported by 80% of those members voting. As voting is voluntary, it was a clear victory because those who strongly opposed it would have ensured they cast their votes.
But around the time of the circulation of the draft policy, I was approached by South Australian-based political party, Stop Population Growth Now (SPGN), and asked if I would find out if a letter from them might be published in the Democrats’ National Journal – that letter suggested the amalgamation of SPGN with the Democrats to strengthen our common base and form a new political party. I took this to the party’s National Executive and it was voted down. But, combined with the policy ballot, it seems it was the beginning of the end for me.
I was obviously never privy to the background plotting that led to a vote by the party’s National Executive just five weeks ago to declare Sustainable Population Australia Inc., of which I am National President, to be a political party - and it came as a complete surprise to me. The losers in the policy ballot had set things up for a swift counter-offensive. Payback was in order for the strong policy ballot result it seems – and big time!
The spokesperson who advised the media on Tuesday that I had been expelled, John Davey, is also the factional leader and puppet-master of the group which has taken this action. The conflict of interest between his means of earning an income, that of a migration agent, and working to take me down because of my determination to give primacy to the environment ahead of economic self-interest, seems not to have been recognised by his supporters and never acknowledged by him.
As a Democrat member said to me “this debacle has revealed itself for what it is - a fight between the growth-at-any-cost group and those who care about the future of our country and the world”. It’s a fight that is writ large elsewhere, a fight that will ultimately be lost by the growthists when the planet itself hits back. As the saying goes “Nature bats last”.