Indigenous Leader Pat Dodson To Become ALP Senator; Replaces Joe Bullock In Western Australia

The Indigenous leader Patrick Dodson is to become a Labor senator in Western Australia, replacing Joe Bullock.

Dodson

The announcement was made this morning by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, just 12 hours after Bullock announced his resignation in the Senate.

Dodson, aged 67 or 68, a Yaruwu man, is often described as the “father of reconciliation”. [Read more…]


Senator Joe Bullock Announces Resignation Over ALP Policy On Same-Sex Marriage

Senator Joe Bullock, the Western Australian Labor senator elected in 2013 after a controversial preselection, has announced that he will resign from the Senate in the next few weeks. He cited the party’s policy on same-sex marriage and the removal of a conscience vote for members as his reasons.

Bullock

Bullock, 60, said his conscience would not allow him to support the ALP’s policy on same-sex marriage, a policy carried by the ALP National Conference last year. He said he could have moved to the crossbenches as an independent but neither of two conditions which would justify this applied: he was not threatened with expulsion by the party and as an endorsed ALP Senate candidate he could not claim a personal vote in support of his stand.

Bullock said he would stay in the Senate until the end of the current session later this month, so as not to deny the ALP a vote in the Senate.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten wished Bullock well and described him as “a man of deeply held faith and convictions” who had been “a tenacious advocate for workers across Western Australia”.

Bullock’s preselection led to the defeat of former Senator Louise Pratt in 2013. A former head of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union in WA, Bullock was attacked for his conservative views and for a speech he gave to a Christian organisation.

The ALP has just six parliamentary representatives from Western Australia. All three of its House members (Melissa Parke, Alannah MacTiernan and Gary Gray) have announced their retirements. Bullock is one of three ALP senators. His resignation will give the party greater flexibility in preselecting replacements.

Hansard transcript of Senator Joe Bullock’s resignation speech.

Senator BULLOCK (Western Australia) (20:09): It was early in the spring of 1973 that I drew up my courage to the sticking point and rose to speak. It was not a speech that I felt would find favour in a room packed with serious, striving parents and the dignified pedagogues in whose charge I had all but completed serving a twelve-year sentence for youth. My chosen topic was ambition. I spoke against it. It had occurred to me some years earlier that the path to personal fulfilment lay through service to others and not in the pursuit of wealth or self-aggrandisement, which I suspected of being the defining motive of the majority of those in attendance. It was, therefore, with surprise verging on astonishment that I greeted the decision of the wizened panel of adjudicators to award me the Old Trinitarians Union public speaking prize. With that prize came the realisation that it was the fate of some to peak early and that the road for me henceforth lay, in all probability, downhill. [Read more…]


Sen. Joe Bullock (ALP-WA) – Maiden Speech

Senator Joe Bullock was elected at the re-run Senate election in Western Australia on April 5, 2014.

Bullock

The original Senate election of September 7, 2013 was declared void by the High Court after the Australian Electoral Commission lost around 1400 ballot papers during a recount.

Having replaced Senator Louise Pratt in the first position on the ALP ticket, Bullock was the only successful ALP candidate. The ALP also failed to win a second seat in South Australia.

Bullock, 58, an official of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, was a controversial choice for preselection, especially after the publication of a tape of an address he made to the Dawson Society. [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…]


Senator Louise Pratt (ALP-WA) – Valedictory Speech

Louise Pratt was an ALP senator from Western Australia, serving for one term from 2008.

Pratt

Pratt was successful in the first count of the W.A. Senate election held on September 7, 2013, but she was defeated in the second count. After the High Court voided the election in February 2014, Pratt was again defeated in the April 2014 re-run. [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…]


Liberals Clinging To Three Seats In WA Senate Election; Labor Thrashed As Greens Triumph And Palmer Surges

The Senate election re-run in Western Australia has resulted in swings against both major parties with the Liberals winning two seats and the ALP one. The Greens have significantly increased their vote and re-elected Scott Ludlam, whilst the Palmer United Party seems assured of winning a seat. The sixth position looks likely to be a contest between the Liberals and the ALP.

As counting continued late last night, the Liberal Party was assured of winning two of the six available seats on a primary vote of 33.71%, a fall of 5.49%. Senator David Johnston has been re-elected to a third term and Senator Michaelia Cash has been re-elected to a second term. [Read more…]