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


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


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…]


Senator Rodney Culleton Disqualified; Senate President Declares Vacancy In WA; High Court To Decide How To Fill It

Senator Rodney Culleton has been disqualified and has lost his position in the upper house because of the bankruptcy judgement delivered against him before Christmas.

CulletonThe Senate President, Stephen Parry, announced tonight that he had notified the Western Australian Governor that a vacancy exists in the state’s Senate representation.

Parry said the High Court would decide if the vacancy was a casual vacancy or whether Culleton was ineligible to be chosen at last year’s double dissolution election. In coming weeks, the High Court will rule on an application to declare Culleton ineligible on the basis of a conviction in NSW.

A vacancy caused by Culleton’s ineligibility under Section 44 would probably mean that a countback of the 2016 Senate votes would take place. This would result in Culleton’s brother-in-law taking the seat.

A casual vacancy under Section 15 of the Constitution would enable the Western Australian branch of One Nation to nominate a replacement. It is not clear whether Culleton’s supporters control the WA branch. The party’s federal leader, Senator Pauline Hanson, will clearly prefer to nominate someone other than a Culleton supporter.

Culleton released a letter he sent to Senator Parry, arguing that Parry acted precipitately before the bankruptcy proceedings had been completed.

Statement by President of the Senate, Stephen Parry.

Parry

Letter from Rodney Culleton to Senate President Stephen Parry.

Culleton


Final Two-Party Figures: Coalition Won 2016 Election With 50.36%; Swing To Labor Of 3.13%

Final figures published by the Australian Electoral Commission show that the Coalition won the 2016 federal election with 50.36% of the two-party-preferred vote.

The Liberal-Nationals coalition polled 50.36% of the national two-party-preferred vote. The ALP received 49.64%. There was a 3.13% swing to the ALP nationally, a near reversal of the 3.61% swing to the Coalition in the 2013 election.

Every state and territory recorded a swing against the Coalition. The largest swing was 7.41% in the Northern Territory. The smallest was 1.22% in the Australian Capital Territory. [Read more…]