Sales taxes are Kryptonite for centrists.
Founded as a centrist party in the late 1970s to "keep the bastards honest", the Aussie Democrats' last Parliamentary representative quit in October last year.
During the 1980s and 1990s they regularly held the balance of power, but their handling of one issue effectively killed them off: the Goods and Services Tax, an Aussie version of our old friend VAT.
Having campaigned against the introduction of a GST during the 1998 election, the Aussie Democrats then quickly swallowed their principles, worked with the rabidly right-wing John Howard to introduce it, and duly split.
Their decline mirrors the rise of our friends and colleagues in Australia, now up in the mid-teens in the polls and with a real prospect of winning seats under AV. Labo
ur's decision to throw out Kevin Rudd (who needs to change his Twitter handle) won't help us in the short term, but the trends are all in the right direction.
So, a centrist party, founded relatively recently by merger, seeking the balance of power, does an unpopular compromise over a regressive sales tax rise they had committed to oppose, and ends up in the wilderness, superceded by Greens. An inspiring story.