Democrats Abroad Australia Secretary

  • NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN FOR DA AUSTRALIA LEADERSHIP ROLES!

    DA Australia AGM

    Democrats Abroad Australia (DAA) will hold its annual general meeting (AGM), including the election of national country committee officers, on Saturday, 6 April 2019 in Sydney. The AGM will be held at Oz Harvest HQ in Sydney from 10:00am - 12:00pm AEDT.

    All DAA members are welcome to attend either in person or by remote videoconference access through Webex. All DAA members are eligible to vote in the election, either in person, by proxy vote or remote ballot. The AGM must have the participation of at least 20 members to meet quorum. Further details about the AGM, how to RSVP and vote to be announced shortly.

    DA Australia Nominations now open for National Leadership Roles

    Nominations for DAA ExCom officers and voting representatives now open until Sunday, 10 March 2019. The following DAA ExCom positions are open: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Counsel, as well as Voting Representatives.

    Every position is for a two-year term. They must be members of Democrats Abroad Australia at the time of the election and for the duration of their two-year term. The Chair and Vice-Chair shall be of the opposite gender. ExCom Officers must meet at least quarterly each year (in person or remotely). Roles and responsibilities for each officer are listed below.

    Nominations Process

    Members may self-nominate for any of the roles. Candidate statements are due in writing by 11:59pm AEDT, Sunday 10 March to the Chair of the Nominations Committee, Karen Banes, at kfletchb@aol.com. The candidate statement should be 1 page maximum, highlighting the candidate’s background, relevant skills and experience, motivation and objectives in seeking office, noting any existing involvement with Democrats Abroad or the Democratic Party. It's helpful to know the amount of time you have to devote to DA Australia. The candidate statements will be shared with DAA members prior to the election. Candidates are also encouraged to submit a one-minute video of their candidacy in addition to a written statement.

    Those interested to run for office are highly encouraged to contact the Nominations Committee to have a complete understanding of the roles, responsibilities and time commitments. The Nominations Committee are as follows and none of them are seeking elected positions:

    · Karen Banes, Committee Chair, kfletchb@aol.com; 0481 708 580 (Canberra-based)

    · Ritu Clementi, DAA Vice-Chair and Teller of Elections, rgclementi@hotmail.com; 0499 954 157 (Canberra-based)

    · Heather Gustin, hagustin953@hotmail.com; 0466 726 218 (Perth-based)


    Executive Committee and Voting Representative Roles and Responsibilities

    Chair

    The Chair shall be the chief executive officer of the organization, shall call and preside at all meetings of members and of the ExCom, and shall have responsibility for all activities approved by the organization. The Chair shall sit ex-officio on all committees of the organization including any Standing Committees, with full voting privileges. The Chair shall be a member of the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) and attend meetings of the DPCA.

    The Chair must attend either in person or via Webex and vote in the biannual International AGM of Democrats Abroad. The next DA International AGM will be held in Washington DC 17-19 May 2019. (The Chair may delegate proxy vote if unable to participate).

    The Chair is expected to attend (in person or via Webex) and vote in the Asia-Pacific regional caucus and the DA Convention in the year of a US general election. (Proxy voting not allowed).

    The Chair is encouraged to attend the monthly DA Asia-Pacific regional phone meeting. The Chair often serves as spokesperson for DA Australia but these responsibilities can be shared or assigned to other members in Democrats Abroad.

    The Chair must not be of the same gender as the Vice-Chair.

    Vice-Chair

    In the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair shall call and preside at meetings of members and of the ExCom. The Vice-Chair shall have such other duties as the Chair shall define. The Vice-Chair shall become Country Chair in case of a vacancy in the office of Country Chair until the next AGM at which Officer Elections are held. The Vice-Chair shall be a member of the DPCA and attend meetings of the DPCA.

    The Vice-Chair must attend either in person or via Webex and vote in the biannual International AGM of Democrats Abroad. The next DA International AGM will be held in Washington DC 17-19 May 2019. (The Vice-Chair may delegate proxy votes if unable to participate).

    The Vice-Chair is expected to attend (in person or via Webex) and vote in the Asia-Pacific regional caucus and the DA Convention in the year of a US general election. (Proxy voting not allowed).

    The Vice-Chair is encouraged to share responsibility of participating in the monthly DA Asia-Pacific phone meeting.

    The Vice-Chair must not be of the same gender as the Chair.

    Secretary

    The Secretary shall maintain the member database, minutes of all meetings and all files and administrative records of the organization. The Chair may appoint member Database Manager(s) to fulfil the obligations imposed by the DPCA for the maintenance of the current list of members. The Secretary shall maintain an active correspondence with the Local Chapter contacts. At meetings requiring a quorum the Secretary shall confirm a quorum of members is in attendance in person or by proxy per the current member database. In the Secretary’s absence the Chair shall appoint an ExCom member to serve in the capacity of the Secretary.

    Treasurer

    The Treasurer shall manage the finances of the organization, maintain its financial reports to members and prepare such financial reports and submissions as may be required by law (including without limitation the laws and regulations of the United States and several States applicable to political parties and contributions to them). The Treasurer shall prepare and present to the AGM of DA Australia a Statement of Income and Expenses based on a fiscal year ending 31 March and a Balance Sheet as of 31 March. The Treasurer shall maintain a full understanding of the laws and regulations of Australia and ensure that financial reports, returns and other submissions required of the organization under the laws and regulations/regulatory bodies of Australia are tendered in full and on time. In association with the Counsel, the Treasurer shall maintain a robust understanding of the regulations of the Federal Election Commission and, to the best of his/her ability, ensure the organization and Local Chapters are operating in compliance with them. The Treasurer shall have signature power over all bank or other financial accounts held in the name of DA Australia. The Chair and Vice-Chair shall receive copies or updates of DA Australia financial accounts upon request.

    The Treasurer shall maintain an active correspondence with the Local Chapter contacts.

    Counsel

    The Counsel shall be available for consultation by the Committee or its officers on legal and procedural questions relating to DA Australia and its activities. In association with the Treasurer, the Counsel shall maintain a robust understanding of the regulations of the Federal Election Commission and ensure, to the best of his/her ability, ensure the organization and Local Chapters are operating in compliance with them, liaising with the International Counsel of Democrats Abroad as necessary. The Counsel shall act as parliamentarian at all meetings of DA Australia, unless absent or excused there from.

    Voting Representatives (4)

    Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) Voting Representatives shall represent the views of DA Australia at the international meetings of the DPCA. The number of voting members is based on country membership and is determined by the DPCA. The Country Chair and Vice-Chair are Voting Representatives by virtue of their offices, while additional Voting Representatives are to be elected by the DA Australia membership.

    Alternate Voting Representatives (2)

    In cases when elected Voting Representatives cannot attend international meetings of the DPCA, alternates shall stand in their place and represent the views of DA Australia.

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  • Democrats Abroad Australia asks all Australians to get an American to Vote!

    In honour of the 17 people senselessly gunned down at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the US’ most recent mass shooting, high school students all across America will be marching for their lives on 24 March 2018. Students across America have already walked out of schools in protest, calling on politicians for sensible gun reform legislation, taking a stand against the powerful gun lobby. The March for Our Lives movement is in full swing.

    Enough is enough!

    We, as Democrats living in Australia, can no longer continue to enjoy sensible gun laws and access to universal healthcare, while our fellow Americans back home are under constant fire.

    We must act to change what we cannot accept. We must exercise our right to vote and ensure our fellow citizens living abroad do so as well.

    We must ensure every American who is eligible to vote is informed, empowered and exercises their right to vote in this year’s federal elections. This year, America will elect 435 House of Representatives, 34 Senators, 36 Governors, and thousands of others to state and local positions. In many cases, votes from abroad will be the margin of victory, which means it's more important than ever to ensure overseas Americans vote.

    Campaign Launch

    On 24 March 2018, high school students back home will march in every major US city, while solidarity rallies and candle light vigils will be held in major cities across Australia. To coincide with this event, we will launch our 2018 GOTV campaign Tell An American to Vote!

    We will not only attend these rallies and vigils, but we will also reach out to Australians  in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney asking them to tell their American friends, workmates and acquaintances to vote in this year’s election by requesting their ballot at votefromabroad.org. While this service is provided by the Democratic Party, the ballot application request form is non-partisan. This service is available to all eligible American voters.

    What you can do

    · If you’re an American living in Australia or anywhere overseas, request your ballot at votefromabroad.org. Spread the word and tell all your American friends living abroad. You can also become a member at democratsabroad.org/join to connect with Democrats living in your state, city or region. You will be kept up to date with your state’s voter and registration deadlines. Membership is free.

    · If you’re an Australian, please tell your American friend, workmate or acquaintance to request their ballot at votefromabroad.org. Spread the word, tag them, and send them the link to our page.

    · If you want to be more involved, email us at info-australia@democratsabroad.org

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  • published NSW Chapter GOTV Committees Under Way! in News 2018-02-25 07:36:02 -0500

    NSW Chapter GOTV Committees Under Way!

    What a great turnout we had at our most recent chapter meet-up on 20 February! It was excellent to see many new faces and have great engagement from everyone. We paired up to share our plans on how we're going to vote this year and we helped those who haven't yet requested their absentee ballots by going to votefromabroad.org.

    Our main discussion centred on our GOTV efforts for the midterm elections. As a result, the following three committees were formed:

    1. GOTV Events and Information Committee​—the purpose of this committee is to identify events with a potentially high density of Americans and send a group of volunteers to recruit new DA members, provide GOTV information and printed material. Examples of events could centre around the Fourth of July, Obama’s visit and Clinton’s visit.

    2. GOTV Marketing and Media/ Social Media Committee—the purpose of this committee is to produce a coordinated marketing strategy for our GOTV campaign activities including, but not limited to slogans, graphics, print material, social media ads and press releases.

    3. GOTV Calling Campaign Committee​—the purpose of this committee is to organise volunteers to take part in a calling campaign in the months leading up to the mid-term elections around September and October using the DA-funded phone banking service through Call Hub.

    For more information or if you’d like to volunteer to be a part of any of these committees, please email our NSW Chapter State Secretary Rebecca Turnbow at rebturnbow@gmail.com.

    Mark your calendars for our next Chapter Meet-Up at 6:30pm, on Tuesday, 20 March at the Aurora Hotel in Sydney. 

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  • published Sue Barrell elected Queensland Chapter Chair in News 2017-06-28 18:28:45 -0400

    Sue Barrell elected Queensland Chapter Chair

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    Queensland Democrats elect Sue Barrell (centre) as Chapter Chair
    Queensland had its state chapter AGM on Sunday, June 25 at the Pig n Whistle in Brisbane.  While only five people attended in person, we had many more vote remotely, and Sue Barrell was elected Chair unanimously.  We spent a couple of hours discussing the parlous state of US governance, and how we can increase both membership and voter participation for the 2018 midterm elections.  Since Queensland, unlike perhaps other states, has significant membership outside the capital city, we also discussed the formation of satellite subchapters, perhaps on the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, and far North Queensland.  I'm sure Sue will have a lot more to say in the coming weeks and months.  
    Thanks to all who participated, and stay tuned -- we're energised and ready to go!
    Lisa Lombardi,
    DAA Legal Counsel & QLD Chapter Member

  • published New Leaders elected to NSW Chapter in News 2017-06-26 12:26:07 -0400

    New Leaders elected to NSW Chapter

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    Steve Knuth and Marla Minow (lower left corner), elected as new leaders by NSW chapter members

    Both hailing from Chicago, Marla Minow and Steve Knuth have been unanimously elected to lead the NSW Chapter of DA Australia as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively. Marla brings several years of experience to DA having served in leadership roles previously. She believes that Democrats have become complacent, "I recognise that when the Democratic Party was in power I was very inactive and that now that we have lost the White House, both houses of congress and governorships across the country that I want and need to be in action and a force for change." Balancing out the leadership team, Steve decided to run because he wanted to get more involved in reaching out to like-minded people who can work together to strengthen DAA NSW and attract more members. "If you've never been involved, there's never a good time like now to start."


  • published Thomas Lopez elected Victorian Chapter Chair in News 2017-06-26 11:54:42 -0400

    Thomas Lopez elected Victorian Chapter Chair

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    Thomas Lopez speaking to members as outgoing leader Ersie Burke listens

     

    At its annual general meeting, held on 25 June, the Victorian Chapter of Democrats Abroad Australia elected a new chair to continue the fight for everyday working-class Americans in the Trump era. Election officer Phil Kowalski declared a unanimous vote in favor of Thomas Lopez among all ballots cast.

     

    Originally from California, Thomas is a US Army veteran and has lived in Australia since 2015. Those not previously familiar with the new chair had ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss how to become more involved with DA as members remained at the venue for several hours post-election.

     

    “I look forward to working with each and every one of you to turn the tide against Trump’s terrible policies and his disastrous vision for America,” Thomas said. “With some hard work and dedication, we can take back the House in 2018.”

     

    With Trump’s continuing controversial statements, racist policies, and conflicts of interest, Thomas’ comments are in line with the DNC’s recently launched Resistance Summer organizing initiative. There was also meaningful discussion between chapter members on ideas for upcoming meetings, activities, and the need to continue reaching out to Americans living in Victoria and encouraging them to vote from abroad.

     

    The chapter’s meeting also marked a meaningful farewell to Ersie Burke and Chris Stueckle, the outgoing leaders from Melbourne who previously served DA both locally and as national officers. Despite having contributed countless hours of work on behalf of DA Australia, Ersie and Chris vowed to remain politically active and to support Thomas when they can.  

     

    Democrats in Victoria were re-energized with motivation. Ersie confirmed her eagerness in hoping to see a renewal of political activism within the membership. “I'm so happy and relieved that someone as wonderful and enthusiastic as Thomas is the new Chair. He’s smart and savvy, a breath of fresh air. I know he’ll be an outstanding Chair,” she stated.

     

    Thomas and the elected chairs from other Australian chapters will next join the national leadership as members of the executive committee. As Victoria’s sole representative to the executive committee, Thomas has stated that his priorities will include focusing efforts on getting members to exercise their right to vote in upcoming special elections, making preparations for the 2018 congressional mid-term elections, and working to make the Victorian chapter a place for all Democrats to come together and engage in sharing ideas.

     


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