Meet the new National President of Australian Democrats

Adelaide high school teacher and out lesbian, Elisa Resce, has been elected National President of the Australian Democrats.

The 32-year-old joined the Democrats in 2013, following the party’s failed bid to return any members of parliament amid internal factional woes. The Democrats had been influential members of the Australian Senate from 1977 until losing their final four seats in 2007.

Resce replaces long-serving President Darren Churchill from the ACT, after a national ballot of members this month. Previously, Resce had served at the party’s National Communications Officer and President of the South Australian Division.

Despite the party’s recent absence from parliament, Ms Resce says she is drawn to the Democrats unique approach to policy-making with maximum member participation, and policies she found to be evidence-based and solutions focused.

“I come from a mixed political family background made up of rural farmers, Italian immigrants and conservative Christians,” Resce said.

“Contemporary politics always asks us to draw battle lines, pick a side, and approach ideas with an us-and-them mentality. The problem is that I can’t seem to pick a side without throwing part of my family, or part of my community, under the bus. So when I discovered the Australian Democrats, who are more interested in ideas than identities, it was a good fit for me.”

Ms Resce says she believes the Australian public is disenfranchised with the growing polarisation of views and demonising of political oppositions.

“We want to negotiate. We want to find common ground. We want to work with good ideas, no matter which political corner they come from. That is what is missing in Australian politics, and that is what we continue to offer.”

Ms Resce acknowledges the party has many challenges ahead, including re-registration as a political party and, of course, winning seats in state and federal elections.

“If you miss the Democrats, or if you are looking for a new approach to politics, we encourage you to get on board.”

OIP Staff

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