Xenophon Senators Will Oppose Same-Sex Marriage Plebiscite; Senate Now Seems Certain To Oppose Poll

The plebiscite on same-sex marriage now seems unlikely to be supported by the Senate, following an announcement today by the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT).

The Xenophon party issued a statement on the plebiscite that says: “We do not support it.”

NXT says the issue is a matter for Parliament, the plebiscite could be ignored by Parliament and the $160 million to conduct the vote could be better spent.

“Each of us supports marriage equality and we are ready to vote accordingly,” the statement says.

There are three NXT senators: Nick Xenophon, Stirling Griff and Skye Kakoschke-Moore. All are from South Australia. [Read more…]


Victorian Senate Results Finalised; Liberals Gain 1, Greens Keep 2, Hinch Elected

The Senate results for Victoria were finalised and announced today.

The Coalition picked up one seat to hold 5 (Liberal 4, Nationals 1), whilst the ALP retained its 4 seats. The Greens held their 2 senators and the remaining seat was taken by Derryn Hinch.

The Coalition polled 33.11% of the primary vote and secured the re-election of its 4 sitting senators – Mitch Fifield, Bridget McKenzie (Nats), Scott Ryan and James Paterson – plus a new member, Jane Hume.

The ALP polled 30.73%, enough to re-elect its 4 senators: Kim Carr, Stephen Conroy, Jacinta Collins and Gavin Marshall.

The Greens polled 10.87%, re-electing the party’s leader, Richard Di Natale and Janet Rice. Rice’s election means that the Greens have lost just one senator in the election, Robert Simms, in South Australia. With its 9 seats, the party will hold a vital balance of power position in the Senate, with the Coalition expected to finish with 30 seats.

Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party polled 6.05% and has secured the election of Derryn Hinch. The former broadcaster was elected on largely state issues related to sex offences and sentencing.

Two previous senators were defeated. Ricky Muir of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party managed just 0.91% of the vote. Muir was elected in 2013 off a primary vote of 0.51% and a complex series of preference deals permitted at the time through the system of group voting tickets. John Madigan, who was elected as a Democratic Labour Party candidate but subsequently sat as in independent before forming his own party, was also defeated. Madigan won just 0.15% of the primary vote. [Read more…]


Excluding Citizens Of “Unsound Mind” From Voting

The Estimates Committee of the Senate today discussed the issue of excluding people of “unsound mind” from voting.

Questioning of Australian Electoral Commission officials was led by Victorian Greens Senator Janet Rice.

Section 93.8 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act says that enrolment will be denied to “a person who by reason of being of unsound minds, is incapable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting“. [Read more…]


Sen. Janet Rice (Greens-Vic) – Maiden Speech

Janet Rice, the Australian Greens senator from Victoria, has delivered her first speech to the Senate.

Rice

Senator Rice was elected at last year’s election. Her term began on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2020. [Read more…]


Senators Sworn In; New Balance Of Power As 2013 Federal Election Finally Complete

Senators elected at last year’s federal election were sworn in this morning. The full effect of the 2013 Federal Election can now be seen in the balance of power in the upper house.

Thirty-six senators were chosen at the election on September 7, six from each State. They were sworn in during a 20-minute ceremony presided over by the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove.

  • Watch the swearing-in ceremony (20m)

One senator, Deborah O’Neill (ALP-NSW) was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Bob Carr. O’Neill had already filled the final months of Carr’s previous term, following her defeat as the member for Robertson in the House of Representatives. [Read more…]


Another Season Of Valedictory Speeches As Twelve Senators Depart

Twelve senators are about to leave the Federal Parliament as the July 1 changeover approaches.

The departing senators will give valedictory speeches in the Senate over the next two weeks. The first will be given tomorrow by the Nationals Senator Ron Boswell, who has been in the Senate since 1983.

The Senate has 76 members. Each of the six states has 12 senators, whilst the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory have 2 senators each. Senators serve fixed 6-year terms which commence on July 1. Except in the case of a double dissolution, Senate elections are staggered, with half the state-based senators facing the electorate at each House of Representatives election. Territory senators serve terms that are concurrent with the House.

On July 1, the State senators elected on September 7, 2013 will take their places. These 36 senators will serve terms that end on June 30, 2020.

Twenty-four senators were re-elected last year. Of the 12 who were replaced, 7 were defeated (6 ALP and 1 Liberal) and 5 retired (2 ALP, 2 Liberal and 1 Nationals).

The ALP lost one member in each state and will have only 25 senators from July 1. The party lost 3 members to the Palmer United Party (PUP), and one each to the Liberal Democrats (LDP), the Greens and Family First (FF). [Read more…]


Palmer Wins By 7 Votes, Triggering Recount; Final Senate Results Now On Way

Clive Palmer has won the Queensland electorate of Fairfax by 7 votes, triggering an automatic recount.

PalmerThe Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has completed a full distribution of preferences in Fairfax. Palmer has 42,337 votes and his Liberal National (LNP) opponent, Ted O’Brien, has 42,330. An automatic recount will now take place because the margin of victory is less than 100 votes.

Palmer’s victory comes off a primary vote of 26.49%. O’Brien polled 41.37% (down 8.08%), the ALP 18.21% (down 9.10%), the Greens 8.32% (down 9.68%) and Family First 1.67% (down 3.57%). Fairfax is a traditionally Coalition electorate. It was held since 1990 by Alex Somlyay, who retired at this election.

Fairfax is the only House of Representatives seat still undecided. However, counting in the safe Labor electorate of Wills, once held by Bob Hawke, has seen the Greens overtake the Liberals for second place after preferences. The AEC has yet to publish the preference distribution figures. Wills joins Batman and Melbourne as seats in which the Greens are Labor’s main competition. [Read more…]