Senate Refers Nash And Xenophon To High Court; Hinch And Gallagher Safe; Hanson Audit Motion Defeated

The Senate today voted to refer Senators Fiona Nash and Nick Xenophon to the High Court. The court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, will rule on their eligibility to nominate at the 2016 election.

The government leader, Senator George Brandis, moved that Senator Nash be referred, in order to determine whether she was a British dual citizen in breach of Section 44(i) of the Constitution.

Senator Xenophon moved to refer himself to the High Court. He delivered a statement explaining that he was born in Australia to Greek and Cypriot parents. He said that “out of an abundance of caution” he had renounced any rights to Greek or Cypriot citizenship but had been advised that he might hold British “overseas citizenship” on account of his father having been a British subject before he migrated to Australia.

The Senate heard a statement from Senator Derryn Hinch (DHJP-Vic). Hinch explained the circumstances in which he was eligible to receive a United States government pension. The government and the ALP have agreed that Hinch’s circumstances do not warrant a referral to the High Court.

The Senate also heard a statement from Senator Katy Gallagher (ALP-ACT). She explained the circumstances which gave rise to the possibility of her holding Ecuadorian and British citizenship. No attempt was made to refer Gallagher to the court.

Senator Pauline Hanson (One Nation-Qld) moved to establish an audit of all members of parliament to clarify their eligibility. The government and the ALP both opposed the motion and it was defeated by 43 votes to 13.

The High Court will hear the dual citizenship cases next month. In addition to Nash and Xenophon, it will hear the cases concerning Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters, Matthew Canavan, Malcolm Roberts and Barnaby Joyce.

  • Watch the Senate proceedings (39m)
  • Listen to the Senate proceedings (39m)

Hansard transcript of Senate proceedings to refer members to the High Court.

Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (10:07): by leave—I move:

That pursuant to section 376 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Senate refers to the Court of Disputed Returns the following questions— [Read more…]


Current Federal Parliamentary 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.

These tables are correct as of the first day of the 2017 sittings of the 45th Parliament. Following the retirement of Senator Stephen Conroy on September 30, 2016, the ALP elected Senator Don Farrell as its deputy leader in the Senate. [Read more…]


Current Federal Parliamentary 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.

These tables are correct as of the first day of the 45th Parliament, August 30, 2016. The Liberal, Nationals and ALP positions are unchanged from those that applied immediately prior to the July 2 double dissolution election. Senate parties with more than one senator have been included for the first time. [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…]


Turnbull Reshuffles Ministry

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a major reshuffle of his ministry, in the aftermath of this week’s retirements and resignations.

The major casualty is NSW Nationals MP Luke Hartsuyker, who is the only minister to be dumped. His removal is partly a matter of geography, given the change in Nationals leadership.

There are three new faces in Cabinet: Senator Fiona Nash (NATS), Darren Chester (NATS), and Steve Ciobo (LNP). Nash becomes Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Regional Communications and Minister for Rural Health. Chester becomes Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Ciobo takes over Trade and Investment from Andrew Robb. [Read more…]


Current Federal Parliamentary 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.

These tables are correct as of February 11, 2016. They take account of the replacement of Warren Truss as leader of The Nationals with Barnaby Joyce. [Read more…]


Barnaby Joyce Elected Nationals Leader; Nash New Deputy

Barnaby Joyce has been elected unopposed as leader of The Nationals and will become Deputy Prime Minister in the next few days.

Joyce assumed the leadership at a partyroom meeting at 8pm tonight. It followed the announcement earlier today by Warren Truss that he was retiring.

NSW Senator Fiona Nash was elected deputy leader. There were 7 candidates for the position out of a partyroom of 21 members. No vote tallies were released and the ballot papers have been destroyed.

Joyce

Joyce and Nash will take office when Truss officially steps down. This is likely to be early next week, as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to announce a reshuffle over the weekend. [Read more…]