Rating over 10 percent in the polls nationally, the Australian Democrats in Tasmania sprang to life at a public meeting in Hobart on 7 July 1977. Three years later in 1980, Democrats candidate Dr Norm Sanders won a lower house seat in the state electorate of Denison, moving on to represent Tasmania federally as a Democrats senator in 1984. Norm was succeeded by Senator Robert Bell who held the seat from 1990 until 1996. Although not currently represented at a parliamentary level, the Democrats continue to participate in the Tasmanian political landscape, contributing to public debate and running candidates at local, state and federal government elections. With a policy history stretching back to the key parliamentary role the Democrats played in saving the Franklin, the party's policy focus continues to be strongly based on social justice combined with a firm commitment to the environment.
Further reading: J Warhurst (ed), Keeping the bastards honest, Sydney, 1997.