The Real Democracy Team:

Where did the Real Democracy party come from?

The Real Democracy Party was founded in 2014 by Rod Upward. It was informed by the notion that the government is responsible for protecting the rights and maximising the well-being of all Australians. Initially, the party was called the New Democracy Party, however, the name was changed to Real Democracy Party in 2018.

Back in 2015 the people that joined Rod Upward to build the party all believed that Australia needed a new political force after witnessing the appalling performance and behaviour of past and current politicians. None of the foundational members believed that politics should be to feed the egos of careerist politicians, but real and authentic representation of the people’s interests, by people, who truly are for the people – not just before they are elected – but whilst elected. 

Apart from questionable values, priorities and allegiances our politicians seem to be trapped in an ideologically blinkered rut when it comes to the economy and building the sustainable, inclusive and egalitarian society we should be becoming. They insist on perpetuating nonsense about the government needing to reduce its’ spending and balancing its budget even though the government can create money at any time. And, they do this just when the economy is suffering from a lack of spending as shown by stubborn levels of unemployment, underemployment, hidden unemployment, unacceptable poverty, inequality, low growth and an increasingly unfair society.

Regrettably, for decades now, when our political leaders’ policies inevitably fail, they then punish the victims of their policies. The Real Democracy Party believes all decent and fair minded Australians will support waging a war against poverty not the poor.

How are we different?

We aim to ensure that ethical and evidence based policy positions should inform public policy development and implementation. From such a starting position, the interests of all Australians – and our common wealth - must be put before the interests of corporations, whose only focus is ever increasing profits and growth irrespective of the human, social and environmental costs.

Currently, we are witnessing a very small section of Australian society becoming so powerful they are instrumental in determining the political agenda and exercising undemocratic and unfair influence over our representatives. It’s time that our representatives of our common wealth put the best interests of all Australians before corporate and vested interests. It is time for representatives to keep their promises to us the people they represent.

The Way we Roll is Real Democracy

Real Democracy empowers our members with the knowledge, information and digital ‘clicks & links’ infrastructure to engage with truly democratic but responsible policy research, planning and development. Our structures and processes guarantee that our members’ input into each policy is based on information they need to make informed suggestions. This is what we call, ‘informed but responsible and democratic policy development’. It is a new approach to engaging members of a political party in the policy development process that is informed by education, collaboration, communication, and distributed decision making where all evidence based perspectives are respected.

Fundamental to the policy decision making process is the supremacy of the democratic vote.

The Real Democracy Party aims to start a political revolution that at its very heart aims to help our society become truly open and democratic. We are what we want to become - for our party – our communities - and our country.

This is the way the Real Democracy Party rolls.

Real collaborative decision making at all levels of the organisation. It also reflects an authentic commitment to providing members of our party with the responsibility - and democratic right to vote on any policy issue - as long as they understand and can demonstrate the variables that inform policy issues.

Centralising Political Power in any one Individual – or an Unrepresentative Group –
is more likely to be a Corrosive Force and the Basis for Poor Decision Making.

Real Grassroots Democracy:

By providing our members with rights and responsibilities to vote on every policy issue we are supporting a vibrant, robust, open, informed and democratic discussion at local, state / territory and national levels of our party. This internal party policy and system is complimented by the Real Democracy Party truly being inclusive and welcoming Australians who represent positive conservatism, liberal democratic, democratic socialist and independent policy perspectives. The Real Democracy Party is more concerned that its members argue policy issues based on evidence and logic rather than dogma and ideological rhetoric. Our only expectation is that when all members arrive at the end of any policy debate there is a democratic vote and that decision is accepted by all.

We embrace and celebrate the expression of diverse, but inclusive ideological opinions - as long as they are communicated from an informed position - and debated and discussed in a respectful and tolerant manner – where all participants are ultimately willing - to accept the democratic outcome of the majority of voters - on all decisions. This is the way Real Democracy needs to evolve taking what is good from our old system and improving on that which is not good.

This new and inclusive political philosophy has important benefits for all of our open and democratic institutions right across our country. It is a model for the way politics must become if open and democratic societies are to have any future at all.

Real Democracy Means New Leadership Models:

There is no one within our party that is simply interested in power for power’s sake. We only want political power to make a positive change. It is that simple! No one person will ever control power by having centralised leadership in the Real Democracy Party. This is because for every role in our party we have multiple people – working as a team – to address the challenges of each role in the party.

We know that centralising political power in any one individual is more likely to be a corrosive force and the basis for poor decision making. So, we celebrate having multiple individuals share the responsibilities within each role. This also gives us the ability to provide every person – the opportunity to work from their strengths - that inspire and motivate their passion to do the work we have ahead of us – as well as delivering better results. 

For these reasons, we have constructed and continue to encourage new models of leadership across all levels of our party. We believe in distributed power and collaborative decision making because we know the truly big challenges facing us all need a fresh approach – predicated upon building a shared vision, understanding and better decision making.

National Executive Council Representative’s

Rod Upward - Convenor, Strategy & Planning Team

About Me

My public life has been interesting and diverse. It has included working in both public and private sector roles with a focus on advising leaders and managers - or doing so myself. My consulting background, has been predicated upon creativity, innovation, discipline, courage, and always aiming for positive - authentic outcomes.

Key themes of my public life have been educational leadership & teaching, commercial consulting & social entrepreneurship. Relevantly, I am a passionate life-long learner and have studied a range of tertiary studies for over forty years.

My business apprenticeship was served in the midst of the Asian economic tigers in the 80s. Since then, my public life has been equally measured, between education, entrepreneurial & community service.

Much of my public work has been about collaborating with others to build organisations underpinned by scaffolds for empowerment, mutuality of interests, respectful relationships, Meta communication & sustainable continuous improvement. For myself, community service has always meant contributing to progressive public & private policy - and partnering with & creating new pathways for people - with obstacles to success. These days, I do most of these types of activities online.

Why Am I a Real Democracy Activist?

I am a Real Democracy Party activist, because I am tired of our representatives of our common wealth government not being prudent and wise stewards of our common wealth. This perspective is informed by the knowledge that our sovereign currency issuing nation needs a common wealth government inhabited by passionate champions to transition our communities and our nation to a sustainable future.

As an Australian, I am disgusted and ashamed of how successive common wealth governments have waged a war on the poor and vulnerable instead of poverty and inequity.

Any real political change starts within a political organisation. Within the Real Democracy Party, I am passionate about leveraging technology to enable a people powered and democratic political alternative that is committed to improved social justice, civil liberties and human rights. A political party and movement committed to building a nation where our leaders willingly and courageously embrace integrity, transparency and accountability.

Melinda Losh - Convenor, Communications Team

About Me

Middle aged, but a young at heart advocate for this country I live in. I was born in New Zealand but have lived in Australia for most of my life. I have Australian citizenship by descent and that side of my history extends back to the First Fleet. I consider myself a successful public school student and I graduated from University with a Bachelor of Science degree, and since then have worked in a number of different fields; from travel, hospitality/retail, fruit picking, and most recently environmental management. I am currently working in my community for local government, in bushfire mitigation and management. I have been involved in a number of volunteer associations (currently Landcare, the RFS and most recently a member of the Port Macquarie-Hastings Sustainability Network), and most satisfying of all a mother (and now friend) to my adult son.

Why Am I a Real Democracy Activist?

I have had a hearing disability since the age of eight and know that the benefits provided by a socially progressive and compassionate society, supported by our common wealth government, (social security), allowed me to complete my education goals. Adequate funding and support from disability services while studying, and commonwealth rehabilitation services, without onerous job search requirements, has been part of the reason I have been able to achieve secure employment, and provide the stability to raise an educated, thoughtful son. I wish to see those same opportunities provided for all children, access to free education and health, which will allow the possibility of the full potential of Australians to contribute in local and global communities. These are the types of socially inclusive policies I am passionate about.

A sense of optimism led me to join the Real Democracy Party, as I believe there is a dire need for a change from the current government as usual, which is contributing very little to the opportunities of a fair go in our country. I no longer want to be an armchair activist, and want to contribute the skills and drive I have, to changing the way democracy and government works in Australia. I enjoy staying active and regularly practice Tae Kwon Do.

John Haly - Convenor, Media & Public Relations Team

About Me

John Haly, is currently a freelancer in journalism, multimedia, IT and film with a history of employment in the corporate IT environments in banking, mining, media, transport, technology, government, and education.

John is a 5th generation Australian born son of an English teacher and an Order of Australia awarded businessman; he has lived & worked overseas in places of political unrest, although mainly around Australia and lately in NSW.

University educated with a Bachelor of Business and Diplomas in Multimedia and Graphic Design, when not writing political and social dissertations for the media, John also manages a freelance business in Film, Photography, Multimedia, IT, and web design/development designated as "Halyucinations Studios" in Sydney. Beyond his studio, he is the secretary of the film collaborative, NAFA and unofficial “acting secretary” of Drug Reform Foundation committee as well as a founding member of the Australian Arts Party.

Why Am I a Real Democracy Activist?

As Australia's changing political landscape during John’s lifetime has moved from a more egalitarian to neoconservative administration, this has induced John to speak up via the fourth estate about his concerns for social justice and political issues.

The Real Democracy Party's emphasis on evidence-based policy aligns with the premises behind the articles John submits to media outlets. He hopes that his work in the Real Democracy Party will help to stop policies constrained by ideological, political bias and the influences of corporate donors and a lack of transparency. It is John’s hope that this, in turn, will shift Australia’s political elite away from these corrupting influences. Envisaging evidence-based policies that review the successes of other world government and avoiding their failures, John welcomed the arrival of the Real Democracy Party, because of its clear commitment in this regard. John sees the Real Democracy Party as aligned with his vision of our nation, which he hopes will bloom into a socially egalitarian and environmentally responsible society with respect for civil liberties and human rights. John is committed to working towards that future for the sake of his son and all who come after.

Pam Townsend - Convenor, Operations Team

About Me

I have recently relocated to Toowoomba Queensland from the Coffs Harbour area in NSW. My career involved diverse and extensive experiences working in a number of sectors including Aged Care, Domestic Violence, Child Protection and 17 years with the Australian Government - Indigenous Affairs. This includes having worked with remote communities in the Northern Territory.

I have been a passionate advocate for human rights throughout my working life and have developed a keen interest in social justice, domestic and family violence, and the environment.

Why Am I a Real Democracy Activist?

Having worked with the various Australian Governments, I became disillusioned with their policies, values and priorities. In particular, I observed much needed funding for Aboriginal communities and family violence being withdrawn leaving gaps in services and putting people at risk.

Frequently, I have found myself disgusted at the behaviour of our politicians, in particular, their ties to corporate donors, lack of transparency and lack of interest in what is happening for the most disadvantaged in Australia.

The Real Democracy Party offers evidence based policies that address the environment, are socially inclusive and work towards to building a better future for all Australians.

RDP policies make sense.

Roy Ramage - Convenor, Community Engagement Team

About Me

Roy Ramage is a resident of Tasmania and has strong connections and a passion for the environment and people of the apple island. His professional career has included six years in the RAAF, where he served in several states. Subsequent to leaving the Australian air force, Roy spent 12 years in the energy industry, primarily in Victoria. He was then headhunted into the computer industry and spent 18 years working across most Australian states – firstly for Apple Computer and finally for IBM. After a small stint with an emerging Internet company Roy was approached to join South Australia’s Department of Trade and Economic Development.

While working in the South Australia's Department of Trade and Economic Development in the technology and defence arenas a sea change took him to Victor Harbor where he was contracted as the council’s economic development officer. It was here that Roy implemented many of the developments that he strongly advocates for in our communities. Facilitating farmers markets, solar programs, energy fairs and medical centres were among some of his achievements.

Why Am I a Real Democracy Activist?

Roy returned to his state of origin (Tasmania) where he stood as the Renewable Energy Party’s candidate in the 2017 state election. Roy enjoyed this experience immensely and it provided him with practical campaigning skills that confirmed to him the way forward to make positive social change is through the political process. Roy then joined the Real Democracy Party, because he believed that the Real Democracy Party’s evidence based policies will return trusted government to Australians and provide us all with a sustainable future.

Through his work within the Real Democracy Party Roy is committed to rebuilding community unity across our nation - where every Aussie has a fair crack of the whip - and looks out for each other - and our Aussie battlers. To this end, Roy is passionately interested in contributing to the practical implementation of plans for community based clean energy solutions, and notions of liberty, social justice and human rights.

Avis Williamson - Convenor, Systems Team

About Me

I have led a lucky life, doing stimulating and interesting work ranging from nursing, and teaching, to writing and managing Safety, Quality and Environmental Business Operation Systems.

I have three grown children who have children of their own, and some of those children have children of their own - yes I am a great grandparent - and there is nothing quite like it.

I have been able to do a wide range of creative things in my own time, from working with voluntary organisations, to gardening, to playing and umpiring sport, to burying myself in books.

Why Am I a Real Democracy Activist?

I have been lucky! I want to help make opportunities for others to be equally as lucky, to have a wide range of experiences, to do work that is satisfying. Like all family orientated people, I want to enjoy my children grandchildren and great grandchildren. And, I want to see them thrive and become involved in their local community.

These are my reasons for joining the Real Democracy Party and being a real democracy activist. I want to work towards and contribute to creating opportunities for others to lead a satisfying and fulfilling life.

Denis Hay - Convenor, Social Campaigns Team

About Me

Denis Hay is retired now. He started his working life as an apprentice fitter in the Queensland Railways Ipswich workshop at the age of 15. Denis said about his career, “I loved my trade, and during my time as a tradesman, I worked in New Zealand at Manapouri on the construction of the hydroelectric power station. I then worked in Auckland as a diesel fitter for Cummins Diesels for a couple of years. In my time in Auckland, I married Patricia.

We returned to Australia and worked a couple of months in Perth and then up to Koolan Island working as a diesel fitter for 12 months. We then returned to Napier, New Zealand and again worked for Cummins Diesels as a mechanic and later as Forman and then Service Manager. Then changed jobs to Suvic Engineering as Service Manager for their engine reconditioning workshop.

After about nine years, we returned to Australia with our three sons and worked for Queensland Glass Manufacturing as a maintenance fitter for fifteen years. A job I did not find satisfying. After my marriage ended, I decided to resign from my trade and go to University where I gained a Bachelor of Social Science (Psych) and a Master of Counselling degree.

I then worked as a Counsellor until a couple of years ago when I retired at age 75.

Why Am I a Real Democracy Activist?

I have become more and more disillusioned about politics as I have got older and it seemed to me that it did not matter who was elected to power, nothing much changed. I concluded that the system was not working for the people of Australia and since about the 1970s and that the neoliberal approach to economics was a total failure.

I started to search for possible alternative political parties whose vision was to change the dysfunctional system to a system that was based on the interests of the people and whose vision was to make the economy work for the people instead of the people working for the economy.

After reading the vision and policies of the Real Democracy Party, I was convinced that this was the party I wanted to support.