The Democrats are making history by running the first all-lesbian state ticket for the Senate.
Fiona Clancy and Jen Mitchell, the Democrats’ numbers one and two candidates for the Senate from NSW, are both out women and looking to put their party back on the map at the federal election.
Mitchell said their running together was a continuation of the Democrats’ history of commitment to equality.
“Fiona and I were discussing the other day how the Democrats were the first to have high profile women, the first to have a female leader of the party,” Mitchell said.
“Now our entire NSW Senate ticket is lesbian — that’s got to be another first.”
Clancy told Sydney Star Observer she thought the Australian public was being poorly served by the current crop of politicians.
“We’ve seen a further erosion of our democracy since the Australian Democrats have left Parliament,” Clancy said.
“I’d ask readers to think seriously about their vote and who they are actually voting for — what they stand for personally and what actions they’ve actually taken to bring about the policies they support.”
Both women agreed the Democrats would be pushing to distinguish themselves from the Greens this election.
“The major difference is that the Democrats have always been more than a one-issue party and in going away and reaffirming our core beliefs, we still stand for all the things we did stand for like fairness and equality and accountability,” Mitchell said.
“We’re looking at the bigger picture. Obviously we care about the environment and it’s an important thing but there are other things such as welfare, taxation, roads and water policy — things which are also core to the Democrats as well.”
Clancy said her party would be drawing on their years of balance of power experience if elected to Parliament.
“We’ve got the ability to sit down and work with other people.”
NSW Democrats vice president Jon Bastin, who is also the Democrats candidate for the seat of Heffron in the state election, said the Democrats were on their way back after a period of rebuilding.
“It’s a big achievement when you become a minor party with no parliamentary representation just to stand at all. We want to offer choice to the electorate — and we’re certainly doing that with our two candidates for the Senate in NSW.”
Bastin said that in standing against Premier Kristina Keneally in Heffron he wanted to give the area a local member who had time for local people. He nominated light rail in the area, and the removal of religious exemptions to state anti-discrimination laws as issues for his campaign.