DPCA Representative, DA Australia

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.

  • What is missing from the discussion on the political polarisation?

    The Q+A Panel “US Election 2020” on Monday, 22 September was a challenging and needed discussion about the polarisation in the United States and the very real possibility that there could be mass unrest before, during and after this election.

    There was disagreement about the very scary sense of unease in the United States. Challenging issues were discussed such as the systematic issues of racism where organisations like Black Lives Matter are crying out for justice. 

    However, what was missing from the conversation was the issue of economic inequality.

    Read more

  • Endorsement of the Delegation supporting Medicare for All at the DNC

    As Co-Chairs of Democrats Abroad Australia, we support and endorse the “No” vote on the Democratic National Platform that does not include Medicare for All.

    Read more

  • Democrats Abroad 2020 Platform: the most progressive platform to date!

    At the 2020 Global Convention held on 6th-7th June 2020, Democrats Abroad (DA) voted to adopt its 2020 Platform that we will take to the Democratic National Convention later this year.

    During the Global Convention, this Platform was heralded as the most progressive platform ever put forward from our organisation.

    Read more

  • Democrats Abroad Australia Global Presidential Primary 2020!


    So much is at stake in the 2020 Election and we want EVERY US Citizen who lives in Australia to vote - this is why we are having five polling locations with additional cities holding information sessions.


    Times vary by location below:


    • ADELAIDE, SA (11:00am - 4:00pm) - Gilbert Street Hotel, 88 Gilbert Street, Adelaide, SA 5000
    • BRISBANE, QLD (4:00pm - 7:00pm) - Pig & Whistle Riverside, Riverside Centre, 123 Eagle St, Brisbane, QLD 4000
    • CANBERRA, ACT (9:00am - 2:00pm) - King O’Malley’s, 131 City Walk, Canberra, ACT 2601
    • MELBOURNE, VIC (9:00am - 3:00pm) - Community Hub at The Dock Multipurpose Room, Level 1, 912 Collins Street, Docklands, VIC 3008
    • SYDNEY, NSW (11:00am - 4:00pm) - Palace Hotel, 730 George Street, Haymarket NSW 2000


    In addition, there are Voting Information Centres* planned for the following cities, locations and times TBD:



    *Voting Information Centres will not officially collect ballots but will have ballots on hand that members can fill out and scan to return to the secure electronic ballot e-mail address.

    If you cannot make it to one of the locations on Saturday 7th March, absentee voting will be available from 18 February to 10 March 2020. Ballots can be returned to a secure e-mail address (preferred) OR a PO Box in Adelaide, SA. Details forthcoming.

    US Citizens must join Democrats Abroad to vote, same day registration is permitted. Join us today at www.democratsabroad.org/join!

    Democrats Abroad Australia also encourages all US Citizens to also register to vote in down-ballot races in your home state (if permitted). NOTE that you may only vote ONCE for the Presidential Candidate either in the Democrats Abroad Primary OR your home state - NOT BOTH!

    You can request your State primary ballot at www.VoteFromAbroad.org - follow the steps on the website

    Voting Information Guide forthcoming!


  • A sense of “big, future vision” in the rise of populism

    Response to 22 July 2019 QandA panel on Australian ABC television

    “Why are the symptoms of populism distracting us from the concerns of ordinary and working people?” was the last part of my question on QandA last Monday night.

    The 22 July QandA titled “Boris, Brexit and the Black Dog” was focused on populism and I asked why were we focusing on the symptoms of populism, being racism and xenophobia, rather than the cause of populism which is the deterioration of common and working people’s living conditions?

    I’m sure every QandA audience member wants to interject after every sentence of response to the question they just asked.

    There were some good responses, glimmers of sense, but as the conversation circled, only more questions came to mind. Here are but a few;

    • What are indeed the “real, legitimate grievances that these people have” that Alastair Campbell referred to in response to my question?

    • Why would Nick Cater say that he felt his free speech curtailed but at the same time legitimately choose not say something so inflammatory as Trump did?

    • What is the difference between an “elite” and an “expert” after Alistair Campbell explained the role of an expert? Is that the same thing as the populist anger towards elites?

    • But most of all: if all on the panel admitting that they knew that we were good at defining what the problem is, had nothing to offer, perhaps even an idea, in “finding a solution”?

    I found the last question the most troubling.

    Can we not muster some cogent idea, something workable even if wonky, to take us forward out of the division and “symptoms” of the problem my question alluded to?

    The sentiment was echoed in Nick McMahon’s recap of the QandA evening that highlighted the overarching pessimism with exception by ending quoting Alastair Campbell “there’s got to be that sense of a big future vision...”

    I couldn’t believe after referencing the US example, that there wasn’t a hint of such a “big future vision” occurring right before our eyes from across the pond.

    We, as Democrats Abroad Australia, watch in disbelief at the current US administration, yet we also see inspiring moments.

    Perhaps because of Trump’s presidency, people are realising what power they have in their own hands - and bringing US Americans together amid this chaos. The examples are numerous.

    The grassroots and political movement for Medicare for All, a measure which would eliminate financial and psychological ruin due to lack of un- and under-insursed people in the US.

    The Women’s March, organised by the ongoing and continuous and consistent attacks on women and women’s right in the United States, are mobilising for transformational social change.

    March for Our Lives, organised by the MSD Parkland Survivors, who have had enough of the inaction on the epidemic of gun violence and the failure of both political leaders and society to act for sensible gun reform.

    The Fight for $15, and a recent bill just passed the US House of Representatives, would ensure a direly needed wage increase for those facing class oppression in the US.

    Last but not least, the numerous global climate marches, mainly led by school children who realise the grave existential threat of climate apocalypse and that the former generations have let them down.

    Ironically, all of these movements and more have been the rallying cry of the four US Congresswomen that Trump singled out in reference to my QandA question with Congresswoman Pressley explicitly stating “our squad includes any person committed to creating a more equitable and just world.”

    All of these movements show that people are indeed organising around such a “big future vision” as Campbell yearned for.

    Yet, they rarely make it through the filter of global news media, if at all - and sadly only as a footnote to the intentional distractions caused by the US President.

    The constant ignoring of these and many more grassroots movements, led by ordinary people, erases what is so lacking from our public discourse: Hope.

    It is challenging for anyone to make such a point on national media and I add myself to a long, unmoving queue of many who have wished and wish to do so.

    The next day after reading Nick McMahon’s stocktake of Monday night that the penny dropped for me regarding the state of our political sphere and the real essence of what I was asking.

    An audience member told her loss of her brother to suicide and that she had to take actions in her own hands. This brave and tragic story made it abundantly clear the cognitive dissonance of what real issues lie in our social sphere.

    I note that this walks an uncomfortable line so as not to politicise the mental health issue, which Campbell rightly claimed to be empty words used by both “sides”, but this crisis does urgently require a political and collective response. Not only is it stigmatised, it is too individualised.

    As this issue is indeed one that affects us all, whether we experience it ourselves or have a close family or friend who does, it is one that cuts across all of us.

    It left me reeling that we do not, in her words, have a system that does “love, support and encourage the mentally ill” and that has led to this epidemic.

    Campbell stated that suicide is most prevelant amongt young men and anxiety and self-harm most prevelant among young women. Geoff Gallop added that “young people are the canaries” and that politicians “those of us in politics have a responsibility to recognise that factor and to build a better society.”

    I will only comment on the US side of this issue and yet it begs so many fundamental questions. Why. Why, has this not been the priority from day one?

    Why is it that care for each other, the nurturing of our relationships between each other, are not the fundamental essence of what we define our society should be? Why is this not reflected at every level of the world that we are creating?

    It seems indeed a “legitimate grievance”.

    I can’t refrain from adding that in the case of men’s suicide, a major root cause seems to be killing off the emotional parts of ourselves that we deny authentic connection with each other.

    This begs a larger question: why have we shunned this possibility for compassion between ourselves at every level and why is this not writ into the letter of political law?

    Why don’t we have organisations that are meant for caring for each other, on a physical, mental and emotional level? Why have we taken such a divided approach to focus on these single issues when they are all connected?

    Why is an economy not built on our collective wellbeing?

    Watching the US from afar, there is a yearning that points the finger at lack of supportive structural changes -e.g. safety net, living wages, public services- that would lead to better health, physically and mentally.

    Take for instance said US campaign for Medicare for All - where many not only deteriorate without public healthcare but face the emotional trauma of not being able to afford life-saving operations or medicine because of outrageous costs. The solution both guarantees medical and mental wellbeing, but is a plan far more economically sound, that is projected to save the US several trillion over a decade.

    Here, thankfully, is an issue which makes it bluntly obvious a political change that is indeed about caring for people over profit. Indeed is an issue with the “real concerns of ordinary people” in mind.

    This QandA session sits too uncomfortably juxtaposed for me as working within a political organisation where I see this work as empowering grassroots movements for collective change.

    Yet too often, these issues are framed as “internal” and “external,” that mental health if even acknowledged is overly personalised. It seems to me to be all too similar to the “us” and “them” opposite camps we get into in political divides.

    I don’t resign to the pessimism of such recaps of this certain Monday evening. Too often are those with the best intentions left overwhelmed and inactive.

    It does however require an urgency of which we’re long overdue.

    This panel made it clear the connection of our mental wellbeing of that to the society that we want and deserve.

    We need to take part in a movement for positive change. The social connection of a cause greater than oneself gives purpose which distracting habits and gadgets will never provide.

    We do that in our organisation, we change what we cannot accept in the world.

    The world is made by those who show up - and keep showing up. It takes the ordinary person realising that you must be part of a collective change.

    Only then will a “big future vision” start to become a reality.


    Kent Getsinger is the National Chairperson of Democrats Abroad Australia

    If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 , Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or the Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.


  • Support a National campaign: Residency Based Taxation, Medicare for All & Equal Rights Amendment!

    Whether you experience the nuisance of being double taxed from overseas or want to help for social justice change of Medicare for All or the Equal Rights Amendment - here's your chance to get involved! Urgent deadlines below and there will be actions to do after this month.

    Medicare for All

    Medicare for All was endorsed by Democrats Abroad at the AGM 2019 and is by far the most comprehensive, compassionate, health-focused and economically sensible plan.

    Most importantly, if you have a Representative on the Ways and Means Committee who has not endorsed Medicare for All yet - that list here, we urge to contact them before Wednesday, 12 June - see image at left!

    We also encourage everyone to see if your Representative is a co-sponsor of the HR.1384 Medicare for All Bill and email them if they have not signed on yet.

    Residency Based Taxation (RBT)

    RBT is a remedy, requiring little effort by Congress, that addresses the vast majority of the tax problems faced by Americans abroad. You can read the report by the Taxation Task Force on these issues here.

    Join Democrats Abroad Call Storm for RBT on Thursday 13 June - Call Storm Instructions here! This coincides with the International Tax Filing day.

    Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

    It is hard to believe, but men and women are not equal under the Constitution! If you want to help change that, contact your Representative and/or Senator. If your state has not ratified the ERA, please also contact your local State legislators members to support it.

    All the info is on the Equal Rights Amendment website here!

    Stay tuned for more campaigns in this year as after the middle of June, the campaigns for Residency Based Taxation, Medicare for All and Equal Rights Amendment will continue!


  • DA Australia attends the DPCA International AGM 2019

    Once a year, the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA and what we all call Democrats Abroad) has an Annual General Meeting (AGM). Each odd year, this meeting occurs in Washington DC, a great locale so that we can remind all our Congresspersons post-AGM the important work we do - and votes we cast! - from all over the world in a doorknock on Congress.

    After the Australia AGM in April, we elected the full suite of Voting Representatives to attend this meeting - either in person or on via teleconference. As we are allocated votes based on population in DA International, we elected 4 new Voting Representatives.

    This call, for most of us, was a very late - commencing at about 11pm AEST and finishing around 6 or 7am. This is the commitment that so many give to this organisation in this volunteer role reminds us of our duty to democracy, even though times are often unforgiving for the Asia-Pacific region.

    Even at the late hour for most of us, this AGM was packed with presidential candidate visits, an election of the new International leadership, key Resolutions, Chatrer (ByLaw) Amendments and important information to lead us into this critical election year.

    Democrats Abroad invited all of the current presidential candidates to attend our AGM or make a recorded statement. Two candidates, Marianne Williamson and Kirsten Gillibrand attended and others sent in recorded statements. As officers of Democrats Abroad do not endorse one candidate over another, we encourage everyone to get familiar with the issues of each - we'll plan debate watch parties soon!

    The new International leadership saw a return of Julia Bryan as International Chair, Alex Montgomery as Vice-Chair, Jeffrey Cheng as Secretary and Lisette Wright as Treasurer. This team was tremendous in our 2018 GOTV effort and led us through a difficult transition for the country and party - which is indeed continuing. As the International Counsel did not stand for re-election, Joe Smallhoover ran and was elected.  Also, Kat Allikan returns as Asia-Pacific Regional Vice Chair!

    There were some key resolutions that were debated. Firstly, the International AGM voted near unanimously for the Endorsement of Medicare for All, this was moved by the Australia Chair, supported by the Vice-Chair, DNC Members, Caucus leaders, many Country Chairs and Voting Representatives. A resolution Addressing the Closure of United States Citizen and Immigration Services, moved by one of our Voting Representatives, was debated and will be further discussed at an upcoming meeting. Others such as opposing the attacks on Transgender service members and honouring of Arian Ardie were passed unanimously. Others were sent to a committee and some such as the Support for the Green New Deal and resolution urging action on Gun Violence will be heard in just over a month at a special meeting.

    There were Charter Amendments which you can find here. The Charter is our key governing and organisational document. Several amendments passed, others will be discussed at a future meeting. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, there is only so much 

    In all of these things, this AGM was packed with information and organising talks to lead us into 2020. This included all Caucus presentations (some were skipped to return to Resolutions), GOTV information, Study Abroad plan, more updates coming to VoteFromAbroad, Communications strategies and much more! We'll be getting this to our local chapters soon.

    This AGM was quite comprehensive with inspiring presidential candidate speeches, some great resolutions we hope will motivate issue-based interest in DA and most all a great community trying to create change in uncertain times!


  • published Chair Report 2019 AGM - Extended in News 2019-04-15 10:13:06 -0400

    Chair Report 2019 AGM - Extended

    Protest against Muslim Ban, Source: Getty Images

    It seems a vast understatement to say that we find ourselves in uncertain times.

    We made outstanding progress in 2018 with our Democrats Abroad Australia 2018 Get-Out-The-Vote. The National Leadership, Local Chapter Chairs, activists and our members not only gave Australia an outstanding result of a close 2nd in the Asia-Pacific region for Vote-From-Abroad engagement, but have worked together in possibly the biggest mobilisation since Obama in 2008.

    We, the National Leadership and Executive Committee, put our hands up to run 2 years ago - we knew what we were in for.

    We have made outstanding progress with the Blue Wave in 2018. We have a long way to go before equality and justice are realised and oppression is lifted in the United States. We cannot compromise on our ideals as we know we are situated in a challenging reality.

    Trump Protest in the UK. Source: Reuters

    This current administration continues politics of division and attacks everything that we stand for. We have known this far too well over the past 2 years being inundated into disbelief at the multitude of depths that they will plunge.

    Selected graphs from Inequality.org

    Yet when we ponder what has led to this trend, we can see it’s one that has not happened overnight. In fact, it’s history spans several decades in our country. The graphs shown depict the long trend of inequality with sobering statistics. Here shows stark income inequality by the richest amongst us, gendered inequality in positions of power, that black and Latino families are twice as likely to have zero wealth, that transgender poverty rate is twice the average, and finally that the top 1% income share has doubled while poverty level has stayed the same. Sadly, much more information can be found at inequality.org. Most of the research on this site goes back decades.

    Thatcher & Reagan, Dec 1984. Source: AP Images

    These oppressive trends were heavily aggravated by someone we know too well. They were exacerbated by the project of “neoliberalism” - put into practice by Thatcher in the UK and of course Reagan in the 1980s. Under neoliberalism, not only are individuals solely accountable and responsible for their actions, but this belief system asserts a complete rejection of any kind of welfare support or collectivism. This mindset breeds, or enforces, alienation and isolation. It is no surprise that a pillar of this project is vast deregulation - cutting of public services. Reagan summed it up in this ironic statement: “as government expands, liberty contracts”. Under this mindset, it is your “fault” if you cannot keep up. Combined with a brutal history of racism and sexism, makes for the situation we find ourselves in today.

    Only a couple of the legislative attacks on our equality and democracy. Left article linked here; right article linked here.

    It is not a far stretch to see how synonymous this mindset is with the politics of division. The belief itself divides us from each other; it asserts that we are isolated. This effect is felt and internalised as it is reinforced by punitive economic measures. This favours the privileged in this heartless and cowardly system.

    We now must experience the visible outbursts of misogyny, sexism, racism, xenophobia, transphobia and all other sorts of vitriolic rhetoric that does nothing but divide. At the same time, this administration pushes out policies which remove protections for the most vulnerable, most of all the working middle Americans and every marginalised group.

    This historic trend over the past few decades puts our current situation in perspective. If gives us context for the extremism we are dealing with.

    These attacks are visible every single day and are mirrored by the less apparent, but equally harmful, continual legislative attacks on our rights. Both create an overwhelming challenge and overwhelming rage.

    Left: Nathan Phillips intervening at Pro-Life Trump rally, source: ABC News; Right: Christine Blasey Ford takes the oath, source: Time

    So, how do we deal with this atrocity at every level? When I have asked that question, I think of two recent examples. They are Nathan Phillips, a Native American and Veteran who challenged a group of disturbed young men, and Christine Blasey Ford, who boldly challenged the weight of rape culture in an enormous catalyst for the #MeToo movement.

    Both of these individuals faced this insurmountable rage directly. They stared it in the face. They met this challenge with moral courage and in doing so, inspired millions.

    This indeed is how we truly can and should confront Trump-ism. For we will not rid ourselves of that which we loathe by becoming it, nor by fighting the symptom and not the cause. This is how we can challenge it and not become what we detest in the process.

    Nor can we turn away. Both Phillips and Ford offer heroic inspiration - by finding bravery through vulnerability and resolve. It is this most noble example that should always aim to practice.

    There is so much rage at what is coming out of this administration. There is a huge risk to either be overwhelmed by spite or for it to be normalised. Both causes end in the same outcome, desperation and inaction.

    When we realise our agency, our power, our ability, to resist what seems insurmountable odds, we know we have a choice.

    Our choice was to act. It is the choice we made for the past two years.

    Instead of bitter inaction, we here in Democrats Abroad Australia chose to make a difference. Instead of bemoaning the current state of affairs, overwhelming though it is, we acted. Our National leadership, our Chapter Chairs, Activists, Organisers, Volunteers, and Members across Australia decided to make a difference.

    Left to right, top to bottom: DA Healthcare Stories website, Women’s March Sydney 2019, source: SBS; March for Our Lives Rally in Sydney; ERA Campaign - Democrats Abroad.

    Instead of division, we organise, we create community. We fundamentally know that it is not one person who will make the change, it is all of us. We have acted through the past 2 years to create nearly 400 Healthcare Stories, a project initiated by DA Australia and DA Japan. Our members joined thousands in the Women’s March here in Australia to resist gendered oppression. We organised in solidarity for the March for our Lives for direly needed sensible gun reform. We joined many other global campaigns to have solidarity with our fellow Americans back home.

    Left to right: Medicare for All rally 2019, source: National Nurses United; People’s Climate March; source: People’s Climate Movement; Families Belong Together, source: Public News Grid.

    We did this as we know it will take a movement. Not one person, not one Representative, Senator, Governor, not even a President. This will take our continual involvement not working against one another, but for one another.

    This must be reflected in the ways in which we govern. The individualistic method that demeans, that boasts ego before cause, does not serve us any longer. We must create systems and structures of equity, policies which remove oppression, policies of shared mutual accountability - and above all, those based on compassion and nurture. This is truly as aspect of solidarity - that which affects another, affects me.

    We don’t do this in isolation, self-serving causes are not working any longer with the numerous global threats we face. Of course, we will still act of our individual will, but do so in a new method of interdependence.

    Politics and a Pint, Melbourne Victoria, 2018.

    But this is indeed not foreign to us in Democrats Abroad Australia. Even from our local meetups, our social connection builds that community from which we act. Here, we invite and we are inclusive. It is by small acts such as these that do indeed challenge and stop this division. Sometimes the simplest act of kindness can make a world of difference.

    This is how we will win and ensure a politics of inclusion. This must be our path forward, by however we define ourselves as Americans living overseas.

    We cannot turn away from this threat before us. Neither can we lose ourselves in doing so. We must both rid ourselves of the atrocity of this current administration and the divisive, hurtful policies which have for too long impeded liberation. That means not just getting rid of Trump, but getting rid of the conditions which allowed him to be even vaguely competitive.

    This is the charge that we carry forward for the next two years. We do this in unity, striving always to be better, challenging ourselves to go further - and supporting one another, together.

    Kent Getsinger, National Chair
    Extended version of the Chair Report submitted to 2019 Democrats Abroad Australia AGM, 6 April 2019, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

    Democrats Abroad Australia (Democratic Party Caucus Abroad, DPCA) is the official overseas wing of the Democratic Party for American citizens living outside the US and its territories.


  • Democrats Abroad Australia gets out the absentee vote from Down Under!

    As the Midterm elections draw near in the United States, so much rests on whether the Democrats can take control of the House of Representatives. By claiming Congress, the atrocious policies of the current Republican administration can be stopped in their tracks.

    Though this looks favourable, Democrats Abroad Australia is leaving nothing to chance and doing everything we can to Get Out the Vote from Down Under.

    Absentee ballots from overseas have been critical in determining close, contested races in the past. The last presidential election was decided by just thousands of votes. Seventeen congressional seats were decided by margins of 5% or less. Close races indeed hinge on absentee overseas ballots.

    National Chair Kent Getsinger states: “We are at a critical time both for our country and the Democratic Party. Not only have we seen immense resistance to Trump and his administration but have seen movements that are truly transforming our country for the better. Women’s March, March For Our Lives, statewide campaigns for medicare for all and economic justice. There are people who are bringing hope to the US and making a difference for the better and we are making a difference from overseas with our votes.

    Throughout 2018, Democrats Abroad Australia has mobilised voters to ensure that all absentee ballots are sent in.

    Volunteers in major capital cities have spent many hours handing out voting information in popular, public places and tourist locales. DA Australia members have committed to ensuring that US Citizens and Australians who may know US Citizens have all the information that they need to vote.

    The NSW Chapter of DAA has been working hard to GOTV for the 2018 midterm elections. From calling voters via the CallHub tool and engaging possible voters at public spaces like train stations, the Chapter is blessed with engaged and committed members to GOTV. We know that wishing and hoping are not strategies so we are in action. Vote. It Matters.” states Marla Minow, Chair of NSW Chapter.

    Democrats Abroad Australia also holds public events including other voter registration events and invites the public to comes discuss issues facing America. Event’s like QLD’s Beer and a Barbeque and VIC’s Politics and a Pint are some of many examples where members and volunteers gather publically to help voters get registered and raise awareness of issues in the US.

    “Members are outraged at what is going on” writes Volunteer Coordinator Layne Mostyn of QLD Chapter. “We just had a huge turnout on in Brisbane for our voter registration event and although people were clearly angry about the recent Kavanaugh confirmation, the event was overwhelmingly positive and full of community spirit. My biggest takeaway from the event is that we can build our communities to be strong again, but we all need to show up and engage.”

    Thomas Lopez, Chair of VIC Chapter states: “Here in Victoria, we are passionate and dedicated to changing our home, the United States, for the better. We have come together and held many meetings to coordinate our efforts and help get out the vote. Our Politics and a Pint series was designed to get out our message to other like-minded Americans living in Australia. We are keeping up our efforts to push through to Election day and ride this Blue Wave into November.

    Each new academic year brings new study abroad and exchange students from the US who may be voting for the first time. Volunteers have visited campuses all across Australia to educate and empower students about how to vote! DA Australia had attended orientation events and held social gatherings nearby campuses for new students.

    An immense challenge for the United States is making sure as many people vote as possible. As the United States does not have mandatory voting attendance and the Democratic effort is largely to Get Out The Vote (GOTV). Volunteers have been contacting DA Australia’s entire membership to make sure that they have all the info to vote. All our membership has been contacted through a phone call or SMS to make sure that they know about the absentee ballot request form VoteFromAbroad!

    I am convinced that the single most useful thing I can do for the 2018 elections is to help get out the expat vote” says John Driggers, DA Australia Volunteer from SA Chapter

    Democrats Abroad Australia also has an objective to reach the nearly 100,000 US Citizens living Down Under so that they know about their right to vote from overseas. We have used social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat - sharing the information about how any US citizen can use the VoteFromAbroad website to request their ballot.

    National Social Media Coordinator Shanna Nurkin writes: "Paid media allows us to reach this audience (including US expats over 18) and ensure that we get in touch with the people online. We’ll always reach out using print, face-to-face and phonebanking but digital media allows us a cost-efficient solution to Get Out The Vote!

    National Chair Kent Getsinger concludes: “People are motivated, we are motivated. Not just in opposition to the current administration, we are all waking up to the real issues that perpetuate politics of division. Embedded sexism and racism, lack of a living wage, staggering healthcare costs, insecure work and many more difficulties have faced Americans for some time. Despite the awful news we are barraged with from the US, there is indeed a new, revived direction of politics and a real, hopeful vision for the future of the United States. It is an honour for all of us to contribute to that from overseas.

    Democrats Abroad Australia (Democratic Party Caucus Abroad, DPCA) is the official overseas wing of the Democratic Party for American citizens living outside the US and its territories.


  • Democrats Abroad Australia Unites to Get-Out-The-Vote!

    Ever since officially launching the Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) effort at our Annual General Meeting, Democrats Abroad Australia members have declared that enough is enough from the current Republican administration.

    Democrats Abroad Australia is an organisation that is built on a network of supporting US Citizens who call Australia home. As we support each other socially, we build this community of Americans who live overseas and still believe in making a difference.

    We mobilise because we know every vote matters in this election.

    Democrats Abroad Australia volunteers across the country have been calling other members to ensure that we have all requested our ballot using the VoteFromAbroad absentee ballot request.

    Volunteers from many State Chapters have jumped online to make calls, whether this be together at social meetups for a phonebank or from the comfort of one’s own home.

    John Driggers, Democrats Abroad volunteer from South Australia says of the importance of phone banking:

    "The last presidential election was decided by just thousands of votes. Seventeen congressional seats were decided by margins of 5% or less. Republican Darrell Issa in California was re-elected by a margin of .05%. Democrat Rick Nolan in Minnesota took his seat with a margin of .06%. I am convinced that the single most useful thing I can do for the 2018 elections is to help get out the expat vote.

    We have contacted hundreds of members and will contact everyone to be sure that everyone is set to receive their ballot for the midterm election!

    The start of winter has welcomed the start of the new academic year and many students from the US have landed to study at academic institutions across Australia as part of their Study Abroad or Exchange.

    We have been out to greet them, canvassed at numerous campuses with voter registration booths, provided hundreds of flyers and advice on how they can make sure that their vote counts.

    A leader in our effort has been the incredible team of the NSW Chapter. Already a core team of volunteers have taken the initiative to stage voter registration awareness events at University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and University of New South Wales with some encouraging results and several future events planned.

    Layne Mostyn, Democrats Abroad Queensland volunteer coordinator writes:
    We all know how critical this midterm election will be to the fate of our first country, and every vote counts! There are thousands of young US citizens studying in Australia - many of them first-time voters trying to navigate a confusing process - who care deeply about the issues we all face but may need support or a nudge in the right direction.”

    We continue to reach out to University staff, student clubs, and campus communication channels, asking them to help us get the word out.

    A staple of Democrats Abroad Australia is how we support each other. As we resist Trumpism, we resist the politics of division - and this means that we support one another through meetups and social events as part of our organisation.

    Our State Chapters have regular meetings and meetups where members come together and discuss what is most important about being a US citizen abroad.

    This of course includes at the moment our ambitious GOTV effort, movie watch parties, social hour at the pub, information on taxation abroad and much more.

    “I have found that regularly scheduled meet ups are a great opportunity for members to be engaged. I think people generally want to feel connected and regular meet-ups are like

    low hanging fruit. The NSW Chapter meet-ups see anywhere from 15-25 members showing up every month. We chat about GOTV efforts and have some friendly banter. Meet-ups are like the glue that holds the chapter together states Democrats Abroad NSW Chapter Chair Marla Minow.

    All members from all over Australia are welcome and encouraged to attend our meetings and any US citizen can join Democrats Abroad on the spot!

    We know that there are nearly 100,000 US Citizens living Down Under and Democrats Abroad Australia is making a coordinated effort online to attempt to reach this audience!

    Online and in social media, Democrats Abroad Australia is seeking to reach the nearly 100,000 US Citizens living Down Under.

    Using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, we are sharing information about how any US citizen can use the VoteFromAbroad website to request their ballot.

    Democrats Abroad Australia Social Media Coordinator Shanna Nurkin writes:
    "Paid media allows us to message specific audiences (including US expats over 18) and ensure that we get in touch with the people online. We’ll always reach out using print, face-to-face and phonebanking but digital media allows us a cost-efficient solution to Get Out The Vote!

    Democrats Abroad Australia is committed to taking back the House and the Senate for the crucial midterm elections of 2018.

    We will have no regrets in our efforts to Get Out The Vote.

    There are numerous attacks on our democracy back home with voter suppression being rampant. Absentee ballots have won close elections in the past and every vote counts.

    These efforts and more will continue until election day on 6th November 2018.

    We welcome all members in Democrats Abroad Australia to be involved!

    Current members can get in touch with us via this form to register your interest and any US Citizens living in Australia can join Democrats Abroad!

    Kent Getsinger

    National Chair, Democrats Abroad Australia

    Democrats Abroad Australia (Democratic Party Caucus Abroad, DPCA) is the official overseas wing of the Democratic Party for American citizens living outside the US and its territories.


  • published What is the America we want? in News 2018-08-18 01:58:00 -0400

    What is the America we want?

    It’s a question well worth asking.

    Especially now, we must be bold enough to ask this in the face of the current administration.

    Whether we have been in Australia for decades or just months, we look at the United States in disbelief at the depths to which the current administration continually takes our country.

    It isn’t just one man, but a segment of our national character that has brought out the worst.

    If we dare to contemplate it, this is indeed not just the actions of one individual. Not only does the current administration need to change, but does something much more within our culture.

    When we contemplate this, we realise: we are not just resisting Trump, but resisting Trumpism.

    When we resist Trumpism, something changes. The conversation, the dynamic, the focus the subject matter of what are we are truly up against. This forces us to have a look at the long ascendancy of attacks on equality and justice throughout the United States.

    We wake up to the unfortunate fact that there is a history of division in our country, one which we continually strive to change.

    Thus to truly resist Trump, we must focus on the factors which allow the politics of division to flourish.

    We know that we are inclusive in our organisation, we firmly hold that no one should be disadvantaged in any way because of their sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion. However, the problems facing America now cut across the definitions of identity politics.

    So when we talk of the politics of division, we must also focus on the structural issues facing America.

    This in fact evolves our definition of what it means to be political. Politics is everywhere, touches every aspect of our lives, every action is a political one. This is not to reduce life’s complexity to the level of partisanship, no, absolutely not.

    This means that we need a sense of community and belonging that have not been part of our narrative. We need to inject this awareness and practice into the political sphere.

    We need a new political discourse that does not divide on the level of identity politics and does not cower behind ideology.

    What is needed is a real empathetic space where political issues can be debated, where leaning in is the default when seeing disagreement. It is holding the politics of division and allowing an accountable discourse to occur where the result is inclusion rather than exclusion.

    We will have disagreements, from within our own party at times, but we cannot avoid or nullify our difference through avoiding debate on real issues facing us. What we need to learn is the tools of compassion to hold disagreement while still ardently seeking reform and unity.

    It is only in this space that Trumpism will be defeated. Simultaneously, we must face difficult decisions of how our structural politics has not benefited those most vulnerable and in need. Our middle class has all but disappeared, the “working poor” is a reality and many Americans suffer the effects of staggering inequality.

    The stories are countless: single mothers working two full time jobs to make ends meet, a generation of tradespeople seeing their careers evaporate or exported overseas without a system of job-retraining, students facing insecure working environment with escalating student debt and many many Americans are suffering financially due to exorbitant healthcare costs.

    When the “economy” is discussed on the news, when do we hear about the effects on normal Americans? What is their life like? Where are their stories?

    As Martin Luther King Jr said: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and although some of us may be in relative positions of privilege, that does not mean we avoid the threat facing America and so many of its residents.

    We cannot snap our fingers and to make all of this end. We must be aware that this trend has continued for some time and is getting worse.

    We will not be able to achieve equality immediately, that is real.

    However, that does not mean we should limit our aspirations, settle for mediocrity, nor defer our ambitions.

    We of course need to be realistic but we cannot accept anything less than the intention to make our home the best it can be and truly hold up to the “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” principle we hold as sacrosanct.

    This midterm election year will be crucial in our efforts to this end.

    As we assertively continue with our Get-Out-The-Vote efforts in Democrats Abroad Australia, we also find unity in our local meetings that bring people together for a sense of community.

    As we call Australia home, we desire what is best for our friends and family back home.

    Through our intention and our actions, is how we will create the America we want.

    In Unity,

    Kent Getsinger
    Democrats Abroad Australia, National Chair


  • 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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  • 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!


  • 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 [email protected]


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