Democrats Abroad Australia Chair

Civil Rights Activist Barbara Jordan said that "what the people want is simple - they want an America as good as its promise." This simple yet powerful quote guides my activism and involvement within Democrats Abroad. We can have an America of equity, fairness, accountability, transparency and democracy. To achieve this, we must create systems of fairness that create economic justice and structural equality. The Democratic party is our party. Through involvement overseas, we can help build that America that lives up to its aspirations. As an American living abroad, I feel privileged to be able to serve and contribute to fulfilling this vision.


  • Australia in attendance at Global AGM in Tokyo Japan, 25-27th May, 2018

    This year representatives of Australia attended the Democrats Abroad (Democratic Party Committee Abroad - DPCA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Tokyo, Japan. Representing the DA Australia ExCom were myself, Ritu Clementi (online, via WebEx) and Justin Underwood (DAA Canberra Chair and proxy for Ritu).

    This is a crucial year not only to take back Congress and the Senate, but one in which we are fighting for the soul of our country.

    I am very pleased that this year’s AGM went beyond just “resistance” to the Trump agenda. We pushed for the Democratic agenda to be bold and attract members back to the party. This was highlighted in speakers such as Will Hailer, Senior Advisor to Tom Perez and Ken Martin, President of the State Democratic Chairs. It was clear that in the age of Trump, we must do more than just “be” Democrats. We must go out and have challenging conversations and be bold to push ourselves and our party beyond our comfort zone.

    At an all DA dinner on Saturday night, Michael Blake, Vice Chair of the DNC, gave a very impassioned and energetic speech in a call to action. He stated that we should be less triggered by the awfulness of what Trump says on Twitter and instead find the key issues that bind us as Democrats and use these to vote in the people we want, a sentiment I deeply share.

    This is why in addition to representing Australia, I advocated for the newly formed Progressive Caucus (ProDA) specifically about the forthcoming Healthcare Stories pamphlet to be shared with Congressional staff in support of Medicare for All. By all expert accounts, Healthcare will be an organising rally for GOTV this year and you will soon see what DA Global will produce to affect this end. DA Australia and ProDA were and will be instrumental in this effort--watch this space.

    In addition to these rallying cries, the AGM was filled with training and positive reports on GOTV efforts, Study Abroad organisation, fundraising, Residency Based Taxation campaign, training on social media, event training, the forthcoming revamped Vote From Abroad website (hint: it includes a digital signature and automatic email sending!), and reports from all Caucuses. This AGM certainly kept everyone’s attention with training sessions and Caucus reports in between the politics of voting on Resolutions and Charter Amendments.

    On that note, the AGM voted on and passed several resolutions including the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), campaign for Residency Based Taxation and more. The AGM did not have enough time to complete the full slate of proposed Charter Amendments however those that were discussed were:

    • Providing for leadership diversity based on a more inclusive definition of “sex”: Passed. This allowed for intersex and other classifications of sex or gender that are non-binary. (I would like to add personally how proud I felt to be in this organisation as this was debated extensively between the basis of ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ and how thoroughly differing opinions stated their case in civility and respect to opposing views;
    • 1 Person 1 Vote: Passed. This was debated mainly on period of vote allocation (biennial vote allocation) and concern about vote allocation by Country Committees.

    It is worth noting that the Charter Amendments concerning Vote Allocation, ExCom Expansion, ExCom Diversity and Gender (Sex) Balance unfortunately did not have time to be debated and voted upon.

    Beyond this, I personally took every opportunity to network and meet with Country Committee ExComs and Caucuses to share stories and strategies about how we take our country back. Having personally organised the all-Caucus meet-up on Thursday night before the AGM, it was a great opportunity to meet with DA representatives all over the world.

    An overwhelming theme of the AGM was that it always seems to be that a handful of volunteers shoulder the most work--if you are reading and looking for a way to help, read on.

    One thing is clear, we need to GOTV and make phone calls. I have requested nearly 2 months ago that a phone campaign call list be created for our DAA members who have not yet used VFA to request a ballot. This means that you will, very soon, be able to call other DA Australia members and remind them to vote! Stay tuned, I will be letting members know via email as soon as this is delivered. You may always contact me if you are curious about this and I will be sure to follow up personally.

    Last but not least, the AGM in Japan went off without a hitch. DA Japan is an incredible team and they worked their donkey’s off to make this happen. This volunteer group is an amazing one and wish that our members could meet theirs, I think there would be lasting friendships - I certainly walked away with many.

    This AGM was an overall incredible experience. This is not about the past, it is about the future. It was clear that all of must look forward and be bold, get uncomfortable and challenge ourselves if we indeed are going to get rid of Trump and get rid of the conditions which created him.

    I look forward to the rest of this year and welcome its challenges with hope and resolve.

    In Unity,

    Kent Getsinger
    Chair, DA Australia
    AP Regional Chair, Progressive Caucus of DA

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  • signed up on Hispanic Caucus Signup 2018-05-26 22:52:11 -0400

  • signed up on Youth Caucus 2018-05-26 22:51:51 -0400

    Youth Caucus Signup

    The Youth Caucus of Democrats Abroad is committed to generating awareness of the concerns of young Americans and the challenges they face for the purpose of informing party policy-making and improving party outreach and organizing. The Youth Caucus will provide a platform for young Democrats abroad - those who are and those who seek to become politically active - to engage in and lead on issues and campaigns important to them.

    STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

    The Youth Caucus will be “youth-led” but open to those of all ages who support these central aims.

    The Youth Caucus will/proposes to:

    • Build political engagement by young Americans Democrats abroad. Initiatives will make young Americans abroad aware of:  voter registration and voting from abroad; issue education, advocacy and activism, especially youth-led and youth-related;  candidates and campaigns, especially those of young Democrats;  US political and election organizing from abroad; and overseas and domestic youth networks, contacts and resources.
    • Sponsor issue-focused Working Groups: The Caucus will engage young Democrats abroad in issues advocacy by inviting them to join teams studying particular issues (eg Environmental Sustainability Working Group) and developing and coordinating youth-led advocacy activities and campaigns.
    • Establish web-based communication channels for on-going youth outreach: A Youth Caucus Blog on the Democrats Abroad Youth Caucus webpage will provide continuous access to the work of the Youth Caucus and facilitate participation by members globally.
    • Work online. Membership will not be constrained by physical location. All general meetings, campaigns, fundraisers etc. will be conducted online via Skype, Social Media, Email, and Online Markets.
    • Encourage caucus members to organize live local events and gatherings for political education and outreach, issues advocacy or socializing.
    • Be youth-led, with a leadership team made up of volunteers from around the world aged between 18 and 35.
    • Engage with US-based Young Democrats or College Democrats groups to share information, advice, intelligence and ideas, build networks and to cross-promote each other.
    Sign up

  • signed up on LGBT Signup 2018-05-26 22:49:42 -0400

    LGBT Caucus Signup

    Democrats Abroad is committed to a world where all persons have access to the same rights and benefits, regardless of sexual identity or gender expression.

    STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

    The Democrats Abroad LGBT Caucus is the constituency group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex members and any Democrat abroad who supports them.

    The goals of the LGBT Caucus reflect the mission of Democrats Abroad to:

    • engage and empower LGBTI Americans living abroad to vote in US elections;
    • provide a platform for Democrats Abroad members, country committees and chapters to advance issues at the heart of the LGBTI community;
    • support Democrats Abroad’s members in issues they face living abroad as LGBTI Americans, such as access to government services and benefits for same-sex spouses and family members, the legacy resulting from past discrimination and Defense of Marriage Act.

    The LGBT Caucus: 

    • supports Democrats Abroad’s country committees and local chapters in organizing activities of interest to the LGBTI community, such as participation in pride events and voter outreach; 
    • disseminates information to Democrats Abroad members and promotes action on issues that affect LGBTI Americans and their families;
    • ensures that the LGBTI perspective is effectively incorporated in all the work of Democrats Abroad, including issues advocacy, communication and GOTV strategy, planning and execution; ensures that issues and policies that impact LGBTI Americans are included in the Democrats Abroad and Democratic Party platforms;
    • takes leadership in Democrats Abroad’s issues advocacy initiatives, including “door knock” visits to elected officials in Washington DC, to ensure that issues that impact LGBTI Americans living abroad and their families are included and addressed by elected representatives;
    • encourages LGBTI members to run for elected leadership roles within Democrats Abroad and fulfill Democrats Abroad’s diversity and affirmative action goals;
    • supports community building among Democrats Abroad’s LGBTI members and allies;
    • promotes Democratic Party candidates who demonstrate commitment to policies that positively impact the lives of LGBTI Americans;
    • supports and engages with Democratic Party LGBTI caucuses build capacity and achieve common goals.
    Sign up

  • signed up on Women's Caucus 2018-05-26 22:49:19 -0400

  • signed up on bc_signup 2018-05-26 22:49:01 -0400

  • Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday, 23 June in Melbourne, 10:30am-12:30pm

    We know the next 6 months is a critical time for us. Let's take a moment to get together, reflect what we've accomplished in the past year with Democrats Abroad Australia and have an AGM which propels us into the rest of 2018!

    Join us for "Organise and Act: Let's take back our home!” theme DA AGM on Saturday 23 June May, 10:30am-12:30pm

    We will recap what DA Australia has achieved in the past year, lay out our future plans, but focus on how we can train and empower you and all of our members. Our AGM will include some expert advice on confidence around activism and we’ll put this training to work in a phonebank right after! We’ll GOTV other DAA members and you will have a supportive coaching period to kick off our call tool to contact DAA members.

    Please bring a laptop, tablet and a phone headset!

    As this year has seen exhausting level of division and attacks, so let’s show how we stick together to build community around taking positive action and relying on our support network. This is our home away from home after all. We hope you can join us!

    Please Register below!

    If you plan to attend via WebEx (Teleconference), please register here also!

    WHEN
    June 23, 2018 at 10:30am
    WHERE
    Activities Room, Library at the Dock
    912 Collins St
    Docklands, VIC 3008
    Australia
    Google map and directions
    13 rsvps rsvp

  • Australia Chair to attend the Democrats Abroad Annual General Meeting, 25-27 May, Tokyo, Japan!

    I am pleased to say that I will be attending the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Democrats Abroad (Democratic Party Committee Abroad, DPCA) in Tokyo, Japan from Friday 25th May to Sunday, 27th May!

    It is rare that a country within the Asia-Pacific region gets to host the AGM and it is with great pleasure that I will attend and represent Australia in person.

    Here are some of the resolutions and charter amendments I plan to support;

    • the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) resolution promoting women’s rights and legal protection of equity under law,
    • the campaign for Residency-Based Taxation (RBT) as taxation is always an issue affecting the majority of our members,
    • The promotion of fair representation of unpledged (Super) Delegates that they cast their vote in proportional accordance to their State’s popular vote, and
    • Also revising the allocation of votes with DA (DPCA) so that more members can participate in voting at an international DA level

    I welcome any DA Australia member to join this conference via WebEx Teleconferencing, a donation is highly encouraged!

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  • March for Our Lives Australia and Launch of Ask an American to Vote campaign

    This past Saturday, 24 March, members from all over Australia took part in the “March for Our Lives” Solidarity rallies to say “Enough is Enough” and to ask Australians to help spread the word how important it is to tell Americans to vote this year.

    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 marched for their lives this past Saturday, 24 March 2018.

    The March for Our Lives drew sister and solidarity marches from all over the world, including here in Australia. 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.

    Hyde Park in Sydney’s CBD drew a crowd of nearly 400. At the US Embassy in Canberra and in Brisbane’s CBD, over 50 people attended each. Many gathered outside the US Consulate in Melbourne. In Adelaide, Perth and Hobart, we had conversations with very receptive Australian audiences.

    On Saturday, Democrats Abroad Australia launched it’s 2018 GOTV campaign to Ask an American to Vote - to spread the word about the www.votefromabroad.org website. On the back of this critical issue of gun reform, we asked all Australians to contact an American that they know about voting so that we can expand our visibility for GOTV and Democrats Abroad.

    In total, we handed out several hundred flyers that friends, workmates and acquaintances of Americans took. We will continue this campaign in 2018 to support all events in the State chapters as we push ahead with resolve and conviction knowing that we can take back Congress in 2018 with a Blue Tsunami!

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

    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 WELCOME TO DEMOCRATS ABROAD AUSTRALIA! in News 2018-03-24 21:20:13 -0400

    WELCOME TO DEMOCRATS ABROAD AUSTRALIA!

    Democrats Abroad Australia (DAA) is the official country committee for US Democrats living in Australia. Membership is available only to US citizens. Joining Democrats Abroad does not cancel your registration with your home state. Everyone still votes through their home state for the November election.

    We currently have active chapters in New South Wales (Sydney), Victoria (Melbourne), Australian Capital Territory (Canberra), South Australia (Adelaide), Queensland (Brisbane), Perth (Western Australia) and Hobart (Tasmania). Be sure to check out upcoming events in these cities!

    Find out about how to vote from abroad and how you can help Get Out the Vote! Once you have requested your ballot for 2018, we recommend that you share the www.votefromabroad.org website to other Americans or Australians who may know Americans! Everyone is welcome to like our Democrats Abroad Australia Facebook page.

    Kent Getsinger, Chair

    0422 125 870; daauschair@gmail.com

    Democrats Abroad - Australia

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  • signed up on Progressive Caucus Signup 2018-01-29 01:55:17 -0500

  • tagged Kiran Gupta's I never have to worry alone #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-29 10:30:26 -0400

    I never have to worry alone #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I'm an American living in the UK. My story is simple. Whenever a health problem arises - or I start worrying about a strange ache, I don't have to worry. And we all know worrying makes your health worse. I go to the doctor and most of the time, I'm ok. Sometimes I need a blood test. It's all free. I pay for this through my national insurance - and so does everyone in this country. Because we don't pay and indebt ourselves, we go to the doctor at the right time and we prevent conditions from worsening. It makes sense and it's what right. 'Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' - but only if you're rich? America, time to grow up.


  • tagged Charles James' US citizen living in Canada since 1983... #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-24 23:22:17 -0400

    US citizen living in Canada since 1983... #DAresists #Medicare4all

    Health care is never free, someone pays for it. My experience in Canada is everyone pays a little more in taxes so that everyone has coverage. What do I mean by coverage...anyone who needs heart surgery, visits a family doctor, or is referred to a specialist, needs an MRI, or is diagnosed with cancer and needs chemo treatment, or have a stay in a hospital...these are just examples...what you do is present your CardCare that has a number to admissions, they record the necessary data...you have your appointment...that's it...no bill comes in the mail ever! Also, I have complete freedom to choose the doctor I want. This is what I know to be true!


  • tagged Jennie Rosenbaum's Living with a disability in Australia is not a death sentence #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-22 21:25:46 -0400

    Living with a disability in Australia is not a death sentence #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I was disabled after a car accident and I have to be very careful with money as I am now on a pension. But I never have to worry about my doctors fees, my doctor bulk bills my account so it has no cost to me, my prescriptions are supported by the government so they only cost about $6, and any scans I need, like for a breast lump I felt last year, are covered under Medicare so I don't need to choose between eating and getting treatment as needed. Luckily for me, my tests came back negative, but others are not so lucky and catching something early is the best way to fix it. Imagine being too scared of the costs to go in and treat something before it becomes a problem?


  • tagged Joan Dods' The Italian Health Care System Saves Lives #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-22 09:07:12 -0400

    The Italian Health Care System Saves Lives #DAresists #Medicare4all

    In December of 2000, two months before my due date, I had an emergency c-section to deliver my daughter because I had developed HELLP Syndrome. My daughter weighed less than 3 lbs. and required a respirator. We weren't able to bring her home from the hospital until her original due date, 2 months later. Both in the hospital and afterwards, my daughter and I both received excellent care. During follow-up visits it was discovered that my daughter is deaf. She has received speech therapy, hearing aids, and routine hearing tests for the past 17 years. My hospitalization, surgery and follow-up care entailed zero out-of-pocket costs, as did my daughter's care. We have contributed to the cost of more sophisticated hearing aids, but medical exams, speech therapy and tutors have been without charge. Another important aspect of this system is the emphasis on preventative medicine and early diagnostics. Two years ago during a routine exam my doctor found a suspicious mole on my back. It was removed, and turned out to be melanoma, caught in the early stages. Had I been unable to afford the original doctor's visit, or the follow-up surgery and treatment, it might have grown and spread, eventually resulting in much more expensive and invasive procedures, or even killing me. When I talk about the health care system here I don't say 'free' because we pay taxes and thus our money goes into the system that provided for these competely unexpected events, and for our other health needs, as well as those of everyone else in Italy, where we live. I am grateful every day to Italy and its National Health Service, and I only wish to see the friends and family I still have in America benefit from a similiar level of truly affordable, life-saving care.


  • Medicare for All: No Worries from Down Under #DAresists #Medicare4all

    After 6 and a half years in Australia, I cannot imagine going back to the US system of healthcare. Although there is optional private insurance Down Under, everyone is covered under the federal Medicare scheme where the burden of monthly healthcare costs are non-existent. I have only had a minor scare involving several x-rays and a CT scan, of which was completely levied in taxes - speaking of, that are no different to what I was paying in US on a comparable salary. When my daughter was born, the largest bill paid for the entire birth was a $ 36.00 per day for the underground parking. It is unthinkable now to imagine paying for what should be a fundamental human right, guaranteed and accessible to all citizens regardless of income, situation or pre-existing health condition. While it isn't perfect here, it is vastly better than the US system where the majority of people are placed under enormous stress to afford their health coverage. I urge the US to adopt a Medicare-for-All model similar to Australia.


  • tagged Mickey Farrance's It took care of me, but it's not just about me #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-22 08:40:32 -0400

    It took care of me, but it's not just about me #DAresists #Medicare4all

    After a motorcycle fall and a subsequent biking accident, my right ACL ligament just snapped. Of course to confirm that this was in fact the reason I could no longer climb stairs, lift my leg high enough to get into the shower, or get into and out of a car, I needed several doctor's appointments and an MRI - after the emergency room visit. Which provided crutches and a support bandage. After the diagnosis, surgery. After the surgery, stitch removal and physical therapy. Now I have two fully functioning knees and am only about $200 poorer. I pay reasonable income taxes in France every year and I have absolutely no problem with our securité sociale (healthcare system) taking care of everyone who needs it. How can we have a healthy society without healthy people?


  • tagged I Owe My Life to Socialized Medicine #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-22 08:43:22 -0400

    I Owe My Life to Socialized Medicine #DAresists #Medicare4all

    In 2011, I moved to Rome, Italy, to finish my Bachelor's degree. I have since remained in the country with my Italian partner. Over the past six years, I’ve had the opportunity to experience what it’s like to live in a country that considers health care to be a fundamental right to all its citizens and legal residents. Thanks to Italy’s National Healthcare System, visits to my general practitioner and the emergency room cost nothing, trips to the pharmacy don’t require insurance coverage and never empty my wallet or bank account, and going to specialists and getting lab tests are either free or cost a small fraction of what they do in the US. But my gratitude goes far beyond these standard health care services. In fact, I owe my life to socialized medicine. In 2012, I was diagnosed with HIV. Living with this disease has been a struggle and has undoubtedly changed my life, but never at any point have I had to worry about how to pay for expensive antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. My life-saving medication and periodic check-ups at the hospital are guaranteed to me as a human right! Being a full-time student at the time of diagnosis, I don't know what I would have done if this had happened to me while living in the United States. Perhaps I would have been obliged to abandon my studies and find a job to pay for treatment. One of my greatest hesitations about moving back to the United States is my fear of not being able to afford ARV treatment or the periodic blood analyses I receive here in Italy. Common arguments against public health care systems like that of Italy are that they increase taxes unnecessarily or that the quality of such health care is poor, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is not true. Yes, there are issues, such as long waiting periods for specialists or occasional frustrations with bureaucracy, but the benefits far outweigh these costs. What’s more, I can always opt for a private hospital or doctor if I so choose. It's time for the United States join the vast majority of high-income countries in the world by providing truly universal healthcare through a single-payer system. (Note: Posted by Moderator, Anonymous Author)


  • tagged Julie Hansen's Universal health care in Sweden saved my son’s life #DAresists #Medicare4all with approved 2017-09-22 06:58:44 -0400

    Universal health care in Sweden saved my son’s life #DAresists #Medicare4all

    I moved to Sweden for family reasons years ago, and both my children were born there. I’m grateful to the Swedish health care system for giving them the best possible start in life, including prenatal care and obstetrics, regular pediatric check-ups and occasional visits to the emergency room. No health care system is perfect, and doctors’ waiting rooms in Sweden are not as luxurious as in some in the US, but we’ve always received excellent medical care. This is especially apparent in the extensive medical treatment necessary for one of my children, who due to a congenital deformity suffered from life-threatening kidney infections early in life. Many of us hope that we can avoid sickness and injury by leading a healthy and responsible life, but sometimes bad things happen anyway. It was terrifying for us as parents to find ourselves in the neonatal intensive care unit with a three-week-old baby in critical condition. But through our fear and grief, we could see that no resources were being spared for our son. In fact, costs and insurance were never an issue (there wasn’t any paperwork to fill out) because in Sweden medical care is free of cost for all children up to the age of 18. After several more hospital stays and surgeries, our son recovered. Throughout this experience, I was constantly impressed by the fact that not only my son, but every single child in Sweden receives the same high level of care, regardless of their parents’ circumstances. Swedes recognize that children are society’s future, and that children deserve society’s support. As a result of treatment by medical specialists in Sweden, my son, now a young teenager, is in full health and thriving. The doctors call him in for regular check-ups, and tell us that, though they do not expect him to have more problems, they will continue to monitor him throughout his life, just to be on the safe side. One day my son may want to move to his other home country – the United States – and if so, I hope he will not be denied insurance because of this pre-existing condition. Most of all, I hope that American society will do better by all its children and provide them and their parents universal health care. It’s the only compassionate thing to do.