Andrew John Julian Bartlett
(born 4 August 1964) is an Australian
politician who was an Australian
Democrats member of the Australian
Senate from 1997 to 2008, representing the state of Queensland.
Andrew Bartlett at his re-election
campaign launch in July 2007
He was the leader of the Democrats from
2002 to 2004, and deputy leader from 2004 to 2008.
Early life and background
was born in Brisbane, where he has lived all his life.
married with one daughter. Andrew is of Irish, Swiss, English and
Greek origins, including a great-great-grandfather claimed to be
the first Greek settler in Australia, arriving in Adelaide in
was educated at the University of Queensland, where he graduated in arts and social work.
Before entering politics, Bartlett was a social worker with the
Department of Social Security, and worked with alternative radio
station, 4ZZZFM, in roles including announcer and finance
coordinator. A big modern music fan, he played in a number of local
, as a drummer
and keyboard player. On his personal blog, Bartlett has noted that
he is a fan of both Joy Division
. Bartlett is active on animal rights
issues, and considers himself an
In 1990, Bartlett joined the staff of Queensland senator Cheryl Kernot
. Three years later, he joined
the staff of Democrats senator John
as an adviser and researcher. He was the Democrats'
Queensland campaign director for the 1993 and 1996 elections and
federal campaign director in 1998. Bartlett was appointed in 1997
to the Senate casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Kernot,
and was elected for a six-year term at the 2001 federal
Service in the Australian Senate
consistent and vocal campaigner for refugees and asylum
seekers, Bartlett is the only Australian parliamentarian to
have visited every refugee detention centre in Australia, as well
as those on Christmas
Island and Nauru (detention centres
off the Australian mainland, see Australia's Pacific Solution) where he went four times
to meet with detainees.
Bartlett initiated the Senate Inquiry into Australia's refugee
determination system which produced the "Sanctuary Under Review"
report in 2000, and has participated in numerous other committee
inquiries into immigration matters.
Bartlett has spoken many times on behalf of those living in
poverty, as well as the physically and mentally disabled
. He also takes a close interest in the
environment and animal welfare. In 2003 he introduced a private
member's bill to overhaul the animal welfare system in Australia.
His petition to end the live sheep export trade has received well
over 100,000 signatures.
Bartlett was a strong opponent of Australia's involvement in the
2003 invasion of Iraq
introduced a private member's bill designed to ensure no Prime
Minister of Australia could again send the country to war without
the consent of both houses of parliament. When the bill was debated
in the Senate, speakers from both major parties indicated their
opposition to it, although there was no formal vote taken.
Bartlett has also campaigned strongly for gay
. In 2004, he cried in the Senate chamber over a proposed
law to define marriage as between a man and a woman, which he
called an "absolute disgrace".
Bartlett co-sponsored the Cluster Munitions Bill
, which was introduced into the Senate on 5 December 2006.
If enacted, it would prevent Australia from using, manufacturing or
Leader of the Australian Democrats
After the resignation of then party Senate leader Natasha Stott Despoja
on 21 August,
2002, Bartlett was elected to the Democrats Party leadership in
October, supplanting pro tem.
incumbent Brian Greig
To a degree, Bartlett stabilised the Democrats' troubled party room
and spoke strongly against the Government's maltreatment of
refugees and maladministration of the Department of Immigration. He
also oversaw the Democrat senators' use of their potential balance of power
influence increased funding for Medicare
, protection of the welfare
payments of sole parents, the unemployed and the disabled, and
entitlement of some homosexual couples to superannuation
entitlements equivalent to those enjoyed by heterosexual
In December, 2003, Bartlett took leave from his Senate leadership
after an incident involving Liberal
Senator Jeannie Ferris
when leaving the Senate
chamber after a vote. Bartlett, who
had been drinking at a Liberal Party function held just outside the
chamber, was accused of stealing five bottles of wine from the
function. Some time after Ferris had retrieved the wine, Bartlett
approached Ferris, and was alleged to have gripped her arm and
verbally abused her, both inside the chamber and along the way to
an outside courtyard. Parliamentary video of part of the incident
appeared to show that Bartlett was drunk in the chamber, although
did not show him grabbing Ferris's arm. Bartlett's subsequent
formal apology was accompanied by a bottle of wine, which Ferris
described as "quite inappropriate ... as an apology for drunken
behaviour involving abuse and a physical attack." By contrast,
Liberal Senator Brett Mason, who witnessed the incident, said
"Perhaps a little more was made of the incident than should have
been made. I think it was overplayed by the media, and by
everyone." Labor Senator Claire Moore was reported in The Bulletin
magazine as saying Bartlett had been "unfairly demonized."
Bartlett resumed the party's parliamentary leadership in January,
2004, giving an assurance that he would totally abstain from
alcohol, which he appears to have maintained. However, the party's
support levels remained at the same low level to which it had
fallen at the time of Stott Despoja's resignation. He was unable to
exercise a favourable influence in the 2004 election
in which the
Democrats were defending three Senate seats, and all three were
lost—one going to the Greens
two to Liberals
party polled what was at the time the lowest vote since inception
2004 Federal election to present
Following the 2004
, Bartlett did not re-contest the leadership, instead
taking on the deputy leadership under Lyn
Bartlett was defeated at the 2007 election
only 1.88% of the primary vote in Queensland. The Democrat vote was
even lower in other states, and the party lost all its remaining
Senate seats. He left the Senate at the expiration of his term in
June 2008. He has since returned as an announcer on
Brisbane's 4ZZZFM radio station, and he writes a blog for Crikey.
On 9 November 2009 the leader of the Greens, Bob Brown
, announced that Bartlett will contest
the lower house seat of Brisbane
at the Next Australian federal
- Subject's First Speech
- Online consulting on human rights
- Schubert, Misha: Democrat pleads for rethink on gay marriage
Age, 14 August 2004.
- Nicholson, Brendan; Debelle, Penelope: Disgraced leader steps aside, The Age, 7 December 2003.
- Barrowclough, Nikki: One False Move, Sydney
Morning Herald, 9 February 2004.
- Senator Andrew Bartlett - personal weblog, "Back on the
- Crikey (2008). Andrew Bartlett. Retrieved 8 January 2009.
- Former Democrat senator goes green - Sydney Morning