Coalition-Labor Deal On Rotation Of Members Confirmed By Senate

The Senate has voted to confirm the agreement between the Coalition and the ALP on the rotation of senators following the double dissolution election.

As has occurred on each of the previous six occasions when double dissolutions have been held (1914, 1951, 1974, 1975, 1983 and 1987), the first six senators elected in each state have received six-year terms, whilst the second group of six will serve for three years. The rotation is required under Section 13 of the Constitution.

The major parties rejected the recount method whereby the Senate votes are recounted as if it was a half-Senate election. This method would have meant that the Liberal and Labor Parties each lose one long-term senator (Scott Ryan and Deborah O’Neill) in favour of minor parties (Derryn Hinch and Lee Rhiannon). [Read more…]


Government And ALP Agree On Senate Terms; First Elected To Get 6 Years

It was reported today that the government and the ALP have agreed on the allocation of terms for the new Senate.

The reports say the Coalition and the ALP have agreed that the first six elected in each state will get 6-year terms, whilst the last six will get three-year terms. This is the procedure that has been adopted following previous double dissolutions.

The ALP and the Coalition easily have the numbers to impose this decision on the Senate. Its effect is to give six-year terms to a majority of senators from the Coalition (16 of 28), ALP (13 of 24) and Nick Xenophon Team (2 of 3).

Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie will also get six-year terms. Both polled a Senate quota in their own right.

Only three of the Greens’ nine senators will receive six-year terms. Each of them – Richard Di Natale (Vic), Scott Ludlam (WA) and Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas) – represents a state where the Greens won two places. The other six senators, one in each state, will all face the electorate before June 2019. This means it is all but impossible for the Greens to increase their overall numbers at the next election. Instead, they will face the danger of losing incumbents. [Read more…]


Getting Things Done In The New Senate

The Senate has 76 members. Unlike the House of Representatives, where the Speaker only votes in the event of a tie, all members vote on all matters. Therefore, the magic number to get anything done is 39.

A tied vote (38-38) is lost, so the government must have 39. Once it gets to 39 votes, everyone else has only 37.

On appearances, the new Senate is arithmetically more difficult for the Turnbull government than the one it had to deal with in the 44th Parliament. [Read more…]


One Nation Wins Another Seat In NSW; Coalition Loses One More, Leyonhjelm Returns; Crossbench Grows To 20

The Senate results for New South Wales were finalised and announced this morning.

The Coalition retained 5 of its 6 senators, the ALP 4, the Greens 1 and Liberal Democrats 1. The final place was taken by One Nation.

The final composition of the Senate is now:

  • Coalition 30 (-3)
  • ALP 26 (+1)
  • Greens 9 (-1)
  • One Nation 4 (+4)
  • Nick Xenophon Team 3 (+2)
  • Liberal Democrats 1 (-)
  • Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party 1 (+1)
  • Family First 1 (-)
  • Jacqui Lambie Network 1 (-)
  • TOTAL = 76

The Coalition polled 35.85% of the primary vote and secured the re-election of its 5 senators – Marise Payne, Arthur Sinodinos, Fiona Nash (Nats), Connie Fierravanti-Wells and John Williams (Nats).

The Coalition has failed to replace Bill Heffernan, who retired at the election. Hollie Hughes, who at one stage threatened the Fierravanti-Wells’ position, has not been elected.

The ALP polled 31.28%, enough to return its 4 incumbent senators: Sam Dastyari, Jenny McAllister, Deborah O’Neill and Doug Cameron.

The Greens polled 7.41%, re-electing Lee Rhiannon to a second term.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation polled 4.10% of the vote and elected Brian Burston. His election means that One Nation will have 4 senators in the new parliament.

The Liberal Democrats secured the re-election of David Leyonhjelm, off a primary vote of 3.09%. [Read more…]


High Court Unanimously Dismisses Challenge To Senate Voting Changes

The High Court has unanimously dismissed a challenge to the recently legislated Senate voting changes.

The seven Justices dismissed two applications, including one by South Australian Family First Senator Bob Day.

The changes abolished group voting tickets and introduced optional preferential voting above and below the line.

The court held that the term “method” in Section 9 of the Constitution “is to be considered broadly, allowing for more than one way of indicating choice within a single uniform electoral system”. [Read more…]


Turnbull Announces Senate Voting Reforms; Group Voting Tickets Abolished

Senate group voting tickets are to be abolished and optional preferential above the line voting is to be introduced, in electoral reforms announced today by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The reforms are the result of an agreement with the Australian Greens and independent Senator Nick Xenophon. The agreement guarantees 44 Senate votes to pass the legislation.

The key change is the abolition of Senate group voting tickets. This will mean that political parties will no longer control the direction of preferences cast by electors who vote above the line in the Senate. This eliminates the preference harvesting that has resulted in candidates with tiny first preference support being elected as the result of complex preference swaps. [Read more…]


Carbon Tax Repeal Bill Defeated In Senate As Palmer Squabbles With Government Over Amendments

The Senate has rejected an Abbott government bill to repeal the carbon tax.

Parry

A combination of ALP, Greens and Palmer United Party senators, supported by Motoring Enthusiast Senator Ricky Muir, voted 37-35 to defeat the bill that would have abolished the carbon tax.

The bill failed due to a breakdown in negotiations between the government and the Palmer United Party. Palmer wanted the legislation to mandate that power savings be passed on to consumers. In the end, the amendment moved by Palmer was judged to be a tax that the Senate had no power to introduce. [Read more…]