Scott Ludlam Resigns From The Senate; Victim Of Section 44 Dual Citizenship Rule

Scott Ludlam, an Australian Greens senator from Western Australia, resigned today, after announcing he had dual citizenship with New Zealand and was therefore in breach of Section 44(i) of the Constitution.

Ludlam

Section 44(i) of the Constitution says that a person is “incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator” if they are “under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject of a citizen or entitled to the rights and privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power”.

In a statement, Ludlam said he was born in New Zealand. His family left when he was three years old and settled in Australia when he was nine. “I was naturalised when I was in my mid-teens and assumed that was the end of the New Zealand citizenship.”

Media reports today say that the citizenship question has been previously raised with Ludlam.

Ludlam, 47, was first elected to the Senate in 2007. He took up his seat on July 1, 2008. He was re-elected in 2013 and in the 2014 re-run election. He was re-elected to a six-year term in the 2016 double dissolution election. The Greens polled 10.53% in WA.

Ludlam has been Joint Deputy Leader of the Greens, with Larissa Waters, since May 2015.

It now appears that the Senate will refer the matter to the High Court. Twice this year, the court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, has ordered countbacks following rulings that Rodney Culleton and Bob Day were not entitled to nominate at the election. Assuming this takes place again, the seat will go to the number three candidate on the Greens WA Senate ticket, 22-year-old disability advocate Jordon Steele-John.

Media reports today quote Steele-John as not committing himself to taking the seat. Were he to resign, a casual vacancy would be created and the Greens would nominate a replacement. It would be possible for Ludlam to be appointed in these circumstances, provided he rectifies the citizenship issue. However, Ludlam’s statement and press conference suggested he has chosen to move on to other things.

The practical political implication of today’s resignation by Ludlam is that the Greens will be without one of their number for some months in the Senate. This will not make a significant difference but until the vacancy is filled the Turnbull government will only need eight of the eleven crossbench votes to secure passage of legislation opposed by the ALP and Greens. It currently needs nine extra votes. A pairing arrangement to cover the absence could also be put in place.

Ludlam is the third senator to fall victim to Section 44 since the 2016 election, an unprecedented situation.

  • Watch Ludlam’s media conference in Perth (15m)
  • Listen to the media conference (15m)

Statement from Senator Scott Ludlam. Click to enlarge

Ludlam


Sen. Lucy Gichuhi (SA-Ind) – Maiden Speech

This is Senator Lucy Gichuhi’s first speech to the Senate.

Gichuhi

Gichuhi, 54, was declared elected as a South Australian senator on April 19, 2017. She replaced Senator Bob Day, who resigned in 2016 but whose election was also declared invalid under Section 44 of the Constitution. Gichuhi had been the number two candidate on the Family First ticket at the 2017 election. She was elected following a court-ordered countback of votes. She has chosen to sit as an independent.

  • Listen to Gichuhi’s speech (37m)
  • Watch Gichuhi (42m)

Hansard transcript of Senator Lucy Gichuhi’s maiden speech.

The PRESIDENT (17:15): Pursuant to order, I now call Senator Gichuhi to make her first speech and ask that honourable senators extend the usual courtesies for a first speech. Senator, can I apologise for the delay in commencement, but at least we have everyone in the chamber for you.

Senator GICHUHI (South Australia) (17:16): Today, I, Lucy Muringo Gichuhi, happily stand before you as the first black African-born senator in the history of Australia. I am deeply honoured to be given the privilege of serving the people of Australia as a senator. To all Australians, I say thank you. It is with this sentiment that I honour those who came before me, faithfully leading Australia to build the outstanding nation we see today. [Read more…]


Western Australian McGowan Labor Government: Full Cabinet List

This is the full list of Cabinet members and Parliamentary Secretaries in the Western Australian McGowan Labor government.

The ministers took office today at a swearing-in ceremony at Government House.

There are 17 members of the Cabinet: 12 men, 5 women.

There are 7 Parliamentary Secretaries: 4 men, 3 women

The ministers took office following the ALP’s victory in the election on March 11. The ALP won 41 seats to 18 for the Liberals and Nationals. The seat of Kalgoorlie remains in doubt, but will be won by either Liberal or National candidate. The Liberals are likely to finish with 13 seats and the Nationals with 5. [Read more…]


2017 W.A. State Election: Liberal Party Policy Documents

These are the policy documents released by the Liberal Party during the 2017 Western Australian state election.

All documents will open in a new window in PDF format.

Cabinet [Read more…]


2017 W.A. State Election: ALP Policy Documents

These are the policy documents released by the ALP during the 2017 Western Australian state election.

All documents will open in a new window in PDF format.

ALP


Victorian Speaker Telmo Languiller Resigns Over Expenses Scandal

Telmo Languiller, the Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly, has resigned, in the wake of a scandal over his parliamentary expenses claims.

Languiller

The resignation took place following revelations that Languiller, 59, claimed around $40,000 of expenses for a “second residence” in Queenscliff, an allowance normally only available to MPs who live 80 kilometres from the Melbourne Post Office.

Languiller lives in Footscray, just outside his Tarneit electorate. Tarneit is based around Laverton North, Tarneit and Williams Landing. It is 12 kilometres from Melbourne.

Languiller has represented Tarneit for the ALP since 2014, having previously represented Sunshine (1999-2002) and Derrimut (2002-2014).

In August 2015, Bronwyn Bishop, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, resigned over an expenses controversy involving the use of a helicopter to travel from Melbourne to Geelong.

Statement by Victorian Legislative Assembly Speaker Telmo Languiller.

Statement From The Member For Tarneit

During the last 48 hours I have had the opportunity to talk with family, colleagues and friends.

As I have already stated in the press and in the Parliament, I accept that my actions do not meet the very high standards that the community expects of its elected representatives.

No matter what difficult personal circumstances I may have been going through, I have to recognise it is an error of judgement and I accept that I should pay the price for that error of judgement.

I understand that offering to repay the allowance is not enough.

For this reason today I contacted the Premier to inform him that I would be resigning as the Speaker of the Parliament.

I regret that this issue, if not addressed, could damage the position of Speaker and the Labor Party that I love.

The Premier has provided me with much support over the last two years as I faced very difficult family challenges and I thank him for that.

I thank all of my colleagues for the support they have given me, and members from all sides of politics.

Once again I reiterate my regret at the actions I have taken and I hope that as a backbencher in the Andrews Labor Government I can rebuild trust by serving my electorate of Tarneit and my community.


Senate President’s Statement On Culleton Disqualification

The President of the Senate, Senator Stephen Parry, has made a statement about the disqualification of former Senator Rodney Culleton.

Parry outlined the process that resulted in Culleton’s disqualification as a result of bankruptcy proceedings that placed him in breach of Section 44 of the Constitution.

He also noted the decision of the High Court that Culleton had also not been eligible to nominate for election because of his breach of another part of Section 44.

A countback of votes will determine who replaces Culleton in the Senate.

Hansard transcript of statement by Senator Stephen Parry, President of the Senate.

The PRESIDENT (12:32): I wish to inform you that on the 7 November 2016 the Senate referred to the Court of Disputed Returns questions about the eligibility of Rodney Norman Culleton to sit as a senator. The court delivered its judgment in the matter on Friday, 3 February 2017. Today, I have tabled a copy of the order made by the Court and a copy of its reasons for judgment. To quote the judgment summary published by the Court: [Read more…]