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…]


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…]


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…]


The New Senate: The Defeated, The Retired, The New And The Returning

There will be 14 new faces in the new Senate when it meets for the first time on August 30.

This represents 18.42% of the Senate’s 76 members. Each state has 12 senators, whilst the territories have 2 each, who serve terms concurrent with the House of Representatives. The double dissolution meant that all 76 positions were up for election on July 2.

The fourteen new senators include two (Louise Pratt and Don Farrell) who were Labor senators defeated in 2013.

Ten of the fourteen departed senators were defeated in the election, whilst four retired. [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…]


South Australian Senate Results Finalised; Xenophon Soars As Liberals, ALP And Greens Lose Ground; Bob Day Re-Elected

The Senate results for South Australia were finalised and announced today.

The Liberals, ALP and Greens all lost one seat each, whilst the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) picked up three seats and Family First’s Bob Day was re-elected. It is now clear that whilst results in NSW, Victoria and Queensland have not yet been declared, there will be at least as many crossbench senators in the 45th Parliament as there were in the 44th.

The Nick Xenophon Team was the big winner, polling 21.74% of the primary vote and recasting the electoral landscape in South Australia. Nick Xenophon, who was first elected to the Senate in 2007, will be joined by Stirling Griff and Skye Kakoschke-Moore.

The Liberal Party polled 32.58% of the primary vote and elected 4 senators, with Sean Edwards missing out. Edwards served one term after winning a seat at the 2010 election. He was an outspoken critic of the Abbott government over its attitude to submarine building in South Australia.

The ALP polled 27.32% and elected 3 senators, with Anne McEwen missing out. McEwen was first elected in 2004 and served two full terms. She was well-regarded by progressive elements in the ALP and received tributes today from the Greens. McEwen was displaced by Don Farrell, who was first elected in 2007 but lost his seat in 2013.

The Greens polled 5.87% and returned Sarah Hanson-Young, who was first elected in 2007. Robert Simms missed out, after serving 9 months in the casual vacancy created by Penny Wright’s resignation in 2015.

Family First’s Bob Day, who was first elected in 2013, was returned in the 12th position off a primary vote of 2.87%. One Nation polled 2.98% but missed out. Ironically, Day unsuccessfully challenged the Senate voting reforms in the High Court in May, on the basis that votes would exhaust and micro parties would be unable to win seats. Moreover, Day has cause to be amused by the Liberal Party’s loss of Mayo to NXT, since Day’s defeat in the Liberal Party preselection in Mayo in 2008 led to his joining Family First. [Read more…]


Turnbull Likely To Win Narrowly As Voters Punish Coalition; ALP Secures Nationwide Swing Of 3.18% But Falls Short

Hung Parliament Still Likely; Many Close Seats; Nationwide Swing Delivers ALP Gains; Xenophon Wins Lower House Seat; Pauline Hanson, Derryn Hinch And Jacqui Lambie Elected To Senate

TurnbullPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed Liberal supporters in Sydney last night

The Turnbull coalition government is clinging to office, following yesterday’s federal election, and may yet face a hung parliament controlled by crossbenchers not necessarily sympathetic to it. In a post-midnight speech, the Prime Minister insisted the coalition would be able to form a majority government.

A nationwide 3.18% swing towards the ALP sees the coalition leading the two-party-preferred vote with 50.01%. Every state and territory swung to the ALP, the Northern Territory leading the field with 7.37% and delivering Solomon to the ALP. The smallest swing was 0.68% in the Australian Capital Territory, where the ALP already held both seats and polled 61.73% of the two-party vote.

There was a 3.64% swing to the ALP in New South Wales. The ALP has won Banks, Barton, Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Lindsay, Macarthur, Macquarie and Paterson.

In Victoria, the swing was 2.13% but it appears that only one seat has changed hands. The ALP lost Chisholm, the eastern suburban Melbourne electorate held since 1998 by the former Speaker, Anna Burke. The Greens came close to winning Batman and counting may yet throw Melbourne Ports into doubt for the ALP.

In Queensland, a swing of 2.75% delivered Longman to the ALP and ended the two-term career of 26-year-old Wyatt Roy. The LNP electorates of Capricornia, Forde and Petrie are too close to call. Hinkler may also be in play.

In Western Australia, a 3.82% swing has delivered the new electorate of Burt to the ALP, giving it 4 of the 16 seats.

Tasmania swung decisively by 6.33% to the ALP and it picked up 3 seats lost in 2013: Bass, Braddon and Lyons.

In South Australia, a swing of 4.44% saw two seats change hands. The ALP’s Steve Georganas regained Hindmarsh, which he lost in 2013. The Liberal Party lost the seat of Mayo to the Nick Xenophon Team. NXT may yet have a chance of taking the large country electorate of Grey.

A range of commentators last night agreed that the coalition would likely be able to form a government with 76-78 seats. The large number of close results means that it will be up to ten days before the results are clear.

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Triumphant Shorten Says The ALP Is Back; Turnbull Delivers Late-Night Off-Key Speech To Supporters

The closeness of the count delayed the appearance of the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader. Shorten appeared first, after 11pm. He told supporters in Melbourne that the ALP was “back”. He reiterated his campaign themes and said that the ALP would save Medicare “in government or opposition”.

Malcolm Turnbull spoke to Liberal supporters at 12.30am, delivering a speech widely panned as off-key and inappropriate. Turnbull spoke at length about thuggery in the construction industry and defended his decision to call the double dissolution. He insisted that the coalition would be able to form a majority government.

  • Watch Shorten’s speech (11m)
  • Listen to Shorten (11m)
  • Watch Turnbull’s speech (16m)
  • Listen to Turnbull (16m)

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Windsor and Oakeshott Defeated; Existing Crossbenchers Re-Elected

Tony Windsor, the former member for New England, failed to defeat Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce. Windsor polled 29.73% but Joyce won the seat outright with a primary vote of 52.09%. [Read more…]