The Victorian Division of the Australian Democrats will celebrate the Party’s 40th Anniversary on Tuesday 9 May at 7.30pm Young and Jackson’s Hotel, Swanston Street, Melbourne, after a brief gathering in front of the Melbourne Town Hall – site of the Party’s formation.
Victorian President, Clive Jackson said ‘The Party has contested all Federal elections since 1977 and intends to contest future elections.’
Former Victorian Senator, Lyn Allison, former staff, past presidents and current members will address the gathering.
A public meeting called by the late Don Chipp MHR on 9 May 1977 at the Melbourne Town Hall led to the formation of the Australian Democrats. That meeting attracted over 2,000 people who heard him and other speakers including Lesley Vick, the late John Siddons, the late Robin Millhouse and the late Professor Charles Birch, chaired by the late Sir Mark Oliphant.
A draft Constitution was drawn up and presented at a public meeting the following week at the former Caulfield Town Hall.
It was then that Branches were formed, based on Federal electorates.
The Party had begun.
Following meetings in Melbourne, Don Chipp visited regional centres in Victoria, activating support in country areas.
In Bendigo, Don Semmens was one such person interested in Mr Chipp’s cause, and was a speaker at a meeting that was held at the Bendigo Town Hall.
Mr Semmens was amongst those elected to set up the new Party in Bendigo, and he continued in leadership roles within the established Bendigo Branch for many years.
The new ‘third-force’ in Australian politics was designed to be member-based, with a democratic structure, having principles of fairness and opportunity, with objectives supporting human rights, personal freedoms, environment protection, access for all in education and fair rules in business and employment.
Clive Jackson, mobile 0466 601 741
Don Semmens, phone 03 5441 5242