The Australian Democrats were formed in mid-1977 under the leadership of ex-Liberal Minister Don Chipp. The party was formed primarily to provide a vehicle for the Victorian Senate Campaign of its Leader and to a lesser extent a power base in the Senate for the same man.
In this context the aim of the part was to win support in roughly equal proportions from both major political groupings by gaining (Senate) votes from the “middle-ground”. In the lower house the party furthered this strategy by contesting as many seats as possible, winning votes from weakly-aligned pro and anti-Labor groups, and then returning this support via a two-sided how to vote card.
Click to continue reading: Project 5: The Australian Democrats