A Cautionary Tale: Senate Votes In The 2013 Federal Election

Aside from the Coalition, ALP and Greens, just five parties were able to poll above 1% nationally in the last Senate election.

The Palmer United Party, Liberal Democrats, Nick Xenophon Group, Sex Party and Family First each managed to reach 1% nationally in the 2013 federal election. They polled higher numbers in particular states and managed to win seats. Only the Sex Party failed to elect a senator.

A further 46 groups polled less than 1% each. Nineteen of these failed to make it to 0.5%. Twenty-five groups failed to poll more than 0.66% and will not contest this year’s election. Only Ricky Muir from this group of 46 managed to win election to the Senate and that was due to group voting ticket preference deals which have now been abolished. [Read more…]


Stott Despoja, Former Democrats Leader, Appointed Ambassador For Women And Girls

The Abbott government has appointed the former leader of the Australian Democrats, Natasha Stott Despoja, as the next Ambassador for Women and Girls.

Stott Despoja

In announcing the appointment, the Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said “gender empowerment is a priority for the Australian Government’s overseas development program”. She said it was the government’s wish “to be at the forefront of efforts to promote the empowerment of women and girls, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region”. [Read more…]


Current Federal Parliamentary Party Leaders

Each political party represented in the Federal Parliament elects leaders in each house.

Just as the government is decided in the House of Representatives, so the parties elect their leaders and deputy leaders from amongst their representatives in the House. If the party is not represented in the lower house, its leader will be chosen from amongst its members in the Senate.

House of Representatives
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Liberal Party John Howard
Member for Bennelong (NSW)
Peter Costello
Member for Higgins (Vic)
National Party Mark Vaile
Member for Lyne (NSW)
Warren Truss
Member for Wide Bay (Qld)
Australian Labor Party Kevin Rudd
Member for Griffith (Qld)
Julia Gillard
Member for Lalor (Vic)


The major parties also elect leaders and deputy leaders in the Senate. These people form part of the leadership group and act as the focal point for their parties in the upper house.

For example, the current Liberal Party leader in the Senate, Nick Minchin, is referred to as the Government Leader in the Senate. Senator Chris Evans is referred to as the Opposition Leader in the Senate.

Senate
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Liberal Party Senator Nick Minchin
(South Australia)
Senator Helen Coonan
(New South Wales)
National Party Senator Ron Boswell
(Queensland)
Senator Nigel Scullion
(Northern Territory)
Australian Labor Party Senator Chris Evans
(Western Australia)
Senator Stephen Conroy
(Victoria)
Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett
(Queensland)
Senator Lyn Allison
(Victoria)
Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown
(Tasmania)
Family First Senator Steve Fielding
(Victoria)


Footnote: Convention dictates that the official leader of the main parties will be a member of the House of Representatives. In 1968, following the death of its Prime Minister, Harold Holt, the Liberal Party chose its upper house leader, Senator John Gorton, as the new prime minister. Gorton immediately resigned his Senate seat and contested the by-election for Holt’s lower house electorate, Higgins. Thus, Australia had a prime minister for several weeks who was not a member of either house. This is allowed for in Section 64 of the Constitution.


Don Chipp, Founder Of Australian Democrats, Dies At 81

The former Liberal minister and founder of the Australian Democrats, Don Chipp, has died in Melbourne, aged 81.

Don Chipp, Australian Democrats founderChipp was born on August 21, 1925. He was elected as the Liberal Party member for the House of Representatives division of Higinbotham at a by-election on December 10, 1960. The division was renamed Hotham in 1969. Chipp held the seat until the 1977 elections.

Chipp was appointed Minister for the Navy by Prime Minister Harold Holt on December 14, 1966, a position he held until dropped by Prime Minister John Gorton on February 28, 1968. Gorton brought Chipp back to his government as Minister for Customs and Excise on November 12, 1969. Chipp held this portfolio until December 5, 1972, following the defeat of the William McMahon coalition government. [Read more…]


Democrats Attack Howard Amendments To Electoral Laws

In this speech, Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Murray lashed the Howard government over its changes to the electoral system.

Second Reading : Electoral & Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity & Other Measures) Bill 2006

Senator MURRAY (Western Australia) (9.21 a.m.) – In making my remarks on the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Electoral Integrity and Other Measures) Bill 2006, I would like to be on the record as stating that this bill represents yet another appalling outcome of coalition control of the Senate. It is a bill that in many respects blatantly seeks to advantage the coalition. From the words electoral integrity in the title of this bill, one would assume its provisions are motivated by an intention to improve our representative democracy, to improve the democratic and electoral rights of Australians. [Read more…]


Voluntary Student Unions Bill: Speech By Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja

This is the speech by Australian Democrats Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja on the voluntary student unions bill.

Speech by Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja on the voluntary student unions bill.

Senator STOTT DESPOJA (South Australia) (3.21pm)—As the only person from the Democrats who will get onto the speakers list today, I rise on behalf of the Australian Democrats to make it very clear that we strongly oppose this legislation and the process that we have observed today in this place. Today is Freaky Friday in the Senate. On Freaky Friday we have talked for an hour or so on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development involving Mongolia and spent 3½ hours on a non-controversial, bipartisan supported bill involving the establishment of Carnegie Mellon and a change to the ESOS Act. That is 3½ hours of valuable, taxpayer-funded Senate time. Earlier this week, 2½ hours was good enough for antiterrorism, which is arguably the most significant piece of legislation in this parliament’s history, let alone in the last almost decade of this coalition government. [Read more…]


Election Funding Payments: 2004 Federal Election

This table shows the election funding payments made to political parties and candidates following the 2004 federal election.

A candidate or Senate group needs four per cent of the primary vote to be eligible for election funding. The amount is calculated by multiplying the number of votes obtained by the current funding rate.

The funding rate for the 2004 election was 194.397 cents per House of Representatives and Senate vote.

Just under $42 million was distributed to parties and candidates. [Read more…]