How The Turnbull Government Lost Control Of The House

The absence of nine members of the Coalition caused the Turnbull government to lose control of the House of Representatives for nearly two hours last night.

House

When a procedural motion to adjourn the House was put at 5.00pm, the ALP surprisingly voted No and called for a division, which it won by 69 votes to 67. The ALP then took control of the proceedings of the House and initiated a debate on a Senate resolution calling for a royal commission into the banking system.

Over the next 45 minutes, the government lost two more divisions and did not regain control of the House until 6.50pm, after coalition MPs were brought back into the chamber.

It was the first time since 1962 that a majority government has lost votes in the House of Representatives. Like the Turnbull government, the then Menzies government also governed with a one-seat majority. [Read more…]


Giving Substance To The Words

There are thirty-two new members of the 43rd Parliament, elected on August 21st. Three of them are returning after a voluntary or enforced absence. As a group they constitute one-fifth of the House of Representatives, a significant turnover and renewal of the lower house. Many of them will be there for years to come.

Maiden SpeechesOver the past month, I have made a point of watching the maiden, or first, speeches of these members. On the whole, it is difficult not to be impressed by these fledgling parliamentarians.

There has been much comment on the moving speech from the Western Australian Liberal, Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous member of the House, but others also delivered considered and thoughtful speeches.

Take Andrew Leigh, the member for Fraser in the ACT. His reputation as an economist and thinker preceded his election. In his speech, he spoke of the importance of education for the nation’s future, of “optimistic experimentation” and of rebuilding “a sense of trust between citizens and politicians”. Leigh’s book, “Disconnected”, has just been published. [Read more…]


John Alexander (Lib-Bennelong) – Maiden Speech

This is the maiden speech of John Alexander, the Liberal member for Bennelong, in the House of Representatives.

The electorate of Bennelong is an inner metropolitan seat in northern Sydney. It includes the suburbs of Epping, Ryde, Macquarie Park, Meadowbank, Melrose Park and Gladesville.

Created in 1949, Bennelong was held by Sir John Cramer (1949-74) and former Prime Minister John Howard (1974-2007). Maxine McKew won the seat for the ALP in 2007 but Alexander secured a 4.52% swing to take the seat back with 53.12% of the two-party-preferred vote.

Alexander, 59, was a professional tennis player between 1968 and 1985. Since then, he has worked as corporate event manager and sports commentator. He has been the Chair of the Player Development Committee of Tennis Australia. [Read more…]