Kaushaliya Vaghela, an Indian-origin MP in Australia, announced the formation of a new political party on Thursday, October 6th. She notified that the ‘New Democrats’ (ND) have been officially registered with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).
She remarked that in just a few months, almost 2,000 people have joined this new party in response to her appeal for support. Ms Vaghela stated, “Just in a few months, around 2,000 members have responded to my call for support and joined this new party. I have been moved by the overwhelming support that I have received during the registration process of the party. I thank all the members for joining my party and also for assisting in the registration process.”
“The extraordinary support for the ‘New Democrats’ party indicates that the people of Victoria are looking for an alternative to represent their interests,” she added.
Kaushaliya Virjibhai Vaghela is the first Indian-born member of the Victorian Parliament. She has been a Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Council since 2018, representing Western Metropolitan Region. She served as a part-time advisor to Robin Scott, the state minister for multicultural affairs, before her preselection in 2018.
After making severe claims of bullying against the Australian Labor Party (ALP), Kaushaliya Vaghela resigned from the organisation back in March 2022. This was after Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) investigations into the behaviour of her staff members and that of her spouse led to her being dropped from the Labor ticket to run for office again in 2022.
Victorian Upper House member Kaushaliya Vaghela resigned from the Labor Party weeks after accusing the office of Premier Daniel Andrews of turning a blind eye to systemic bullying directed at her.
Ms Vaghela made these allegations just days after she crossed the floor to vote against her party, in a show of solidarity with disgraced MP and her former factional ally Adem Somyurek, to refer Labor’s 2018 “red shirts” rorts scandal to the ombudsman and Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission. Her vote prompted her party to move to expel her for breaking the party rules to vote against the caucus.
On 28 July, besides a few other fresh applications for party registration, the rogue former Labor MP registered the “New Democrats” as the secretary with the VEC for the upcoming state election. A party must meet a set of criteria, including having at least 500 members who are on the Victorian electoral roll and are not affiliated with another officially recognised political party.
Only Victoria, Australia, currently employs the group voting system, which enables voters to select just one party above the line on their ballot before having their preferences distributed in accordance with agreements made between the parties. Voting below the line is permitted, however, less than 9% of voters did so in the 2018 state election.
The group voting method, which enables voters to select just one party above the line on their ballot before having their choices directed in accordance with agreements between parties, is still in use in Victoria, the sole jurisdiction in Australia. Though it is possible to vote below the line, less than 9% of voters did so in the 2018 state election.
There will be a reasonably large field of micro-parties running in the November state election, including the Victorians party, which was created out of discontent over Covid lockdowns, the Freedom Party of Victoria, the Companions and Pets party, the Family Matters Australia party, the Family First Victoria, and United Australia Party.
Before Tuesday, November 1, when the writs for the 2022 State election are released, the Victorian Election Commission will finalise the decision on every application that is still being evaluated.