Sen. Rex Patrick (NXT-SA) – Maiden Speech

Senator Rex Patrick has delivered his maiden speech to the Senate.

Patrick

Patrick, 50, was appointed to the Senate on …. to fill a casual vacancy left by the resignation of his party’s leader, Nick Xenophon.

  • Listen to Patrick’s speech (22m)
  • Watch Patrick’s speech (24m)

Hansard transcript of Senator Rex Patrick’s maiden speech.

The PRESIDENT (17:04): Pursuant to order, I now call Senator Patrick to make his first speech, and I ask honourable senators that the usual courtesies be extended to him.

Senator PATRICK (South Australia) (17:04): Over a quarter of a century ago, on 4 November 1992, an honourable member in the House of Representatives described the Senate as unrepresentative swill. I note with a touch of irony that the honourable member, someone who I admire greatly for his positive contributions to our nation, was at that time part owner in a piggery. His comments about the Senate nonetheless displayed a broader and cursory misconception in the community about the crucial role of the Senate in our parliamentary system and, while widely and repeatedly reported, the ‘swill’ comments have seldom been challenged. In this, my first speech, I hope I can counter those misconceptions, make some observations on what I think the Senate does well and what the Senate could do better, and, above all, why this matters in a practical sense for all Australians. [Read more…]


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…]


2016 House Of Representatives Primary Votes: State-By-State Breakdown

Despite a declining vote, the Coalition and the ALP maintained their dominance of the House of Representatives in the July 2 double dissolution.

The Coalition (Liberal, Liberal National, Nationals, Country Liberals) and ALP polled 76.77% of the nationwide primary vote, down 2.16% from 78.93% in 2013. They secured 145 (96.7%) of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.

The Big Two + Greens

The Greens polled 10.23% of the primary vote, up 1.58% from their 2013 tally of 8.65%. Adam Bandt consolidated his hold on Melbourne but the party failed to win any more lower house seats.

The Coalition, ALP and Greens combined polled 87% of first preference (primary) votes nationally, marginally down from 87.58% in 2013. They won 146 (97.3%) of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives.

The Greens maintained their influence with the lion’s share of preferences. These preferences were vital to the ALP holding 8 of its seats and winning another 7 from the Liberal Party.

A Big Field of Micro Parties With Micro Votes

There were 42 parties that contested at least one seat each. They polled a total of 10.17%. Only the Nick Xenophon Team (Mayo) and Katter’s Australian Party (Kennedy) won seats.

The majority of micro parties (32 of 42) contested 10 or fewer seats. Twenty-four of these contested 5 or fewer seats. Whilst 10 parties ran more than 10 candidates each, they all nominated candidates for fewer than half the seats in the House. Family First ran in 65 seats, the Christian Democratic Party in 55 and the Animal Justice Party in 41.

The votes for micro parties were derisory, with 38 of the 42 failing to make it to 1% nationally. Moreover, 27 polled less than 0.1% nationally. The other 11 polled no higher than 0.7%. [Read more…]


2016 Senate Votes: A Higher But Fragmented Vote For Minor And Micro Parties

Aside from the Coalition, ALP and Greens, 47 parties contested the Senate at July’s double dissolution election.

Just 8 of the 47 parties polled above 1% nationally. Five of these 8 parties elected senators: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (4 senators), Nick Xenophon Team (3), Liberal Democrats (1), Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (1) and Family First (1). The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, the Christian Democrats and the Animal Justice Party did not elect any of their candidates.

There were 39 parties that nominated candidates in at least one state or territory but failed to poll above 0.74%. Fourteen failed to even reach 0.1% nationally and did only marginally better in individual states. Another 25 polled between 0.14%-0.74%.

The Jacqui Lambie Network was the only party in the latter group that managed to elect a senator. Lambie polled just 0.50% nationally, but she only ran candidates in three states and polled a full quota in her own right in Tasmania. With 8.30% of the vote, Lambie won a place in the first group of senators who will receive six-year terms.

The election of Derryn Hinch in Victoria is somewhat comparable to Lambie. His party only polled 1.93% nationally, and less than 1% in all states except Victoria, where Hinch secured election off a primary base of 6.05%.

The combined Coalition-ALP-Greens vote was 73.62%, down 2.85% from the 2013 result. This delivered 65 of the 76 Senate positions (85.5%) to these three groups.

The remaining 26.38% of the vote was split between 47 parties. These parties won the remaining 11 seats (14.4%).

Independent and ungrouped candidates below-the-line received just 0.18% of the vote.

The figures in the table below are consistent with the previous election. In 2013, there were 46 parties that polled less than 1% each.

The overall proportion of the vote flowing to the Coalition, ALP and Greens fell once again at the 2016 election. It fuels the argument that voters are disillusioned with the major parties and looking for alternatives. However, the figures indicate that this is a simplistic analysis.

Voters have failed to coalesce around more than a handful of minor and micro parties. Outside the top 11 groups, the votes for other parties are derisory. The so-called fragmentation of support for the major political groups is more than matched by a fragmented voter rebellion.

Group voting tickets were abolished for this election. Without them, all but a handful of parties were incapable of winning seats. Those elected more closely represent the parties with the highest primary votes. The Family First party in South Australia elected Bob Day from the lowest primary vote of 2.87%. [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…]


Seats Changing Hands At The 2016 Federal Election

A total of 19 seats changed hands at the 2016 House of Representatives elections.

The Coalition went into the election holding 90 seats and finished up with 76. It lost 17 (16 to the ALP and one to the Nick Xenophon Team). One seat moved from the Liberal Party to The Nationals. The Liberals won one seat from the ALP.

The ALP went into the election holding 55 seats and ended up with 69. It won 16 from the Coalition, lost one to the Liberals, and lost one to the redistribution in NSW.

As in 2013, there are 5 crossbenchers. The Greens and Katter’s Australian Party retained their seats, whilst the two independents (Wilkie and McGowan) increased their majorities. Clive Palmer did not contest Fairfax and it returned to the LNP. The Nick Xenophon Team took Mayo from the Liberal Party.

The 19 seats that changed hands represent 12.66% of the House. 131 seats (87.33%) did not change hands, demonstrating once again the stability and predictability of Australian voting habits and the narrow range of seats that change governments. In the 2013 election, 22 seats (14.66%) changed hands. [Read more…]


Government And ALP Agree On Senate Terms; First Elected To Get 6 Years

It was reported today that the government and the ALP have agreed on the allocation of terms for the new Senate.

The reports say the Coalition and the ALP have agreed that the first six elected in each state will get 6-year terms, whilst the last six will get three-year terms. This is the procedure that has been adopted following previous double dissolutions.

The ALP and the Coalition easily have the numbers to impose this decision on the Senate. Its effect is to give six-year terms to a majority of senators from the Coalition (16 of 28), ALP (13 of 24) and Nick Xenophon Team (2 of 3).

Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie will also get six-year terms. Both polled a Senate quota in their own right.

Only three of the Greens’ nine senators will receive six-year terms. Each of them – Richard Di Natale (Vic), Scott Ludlam (WA) and Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas) – represents a state where the Greens won two places. The other six senators, one in each state, will all face the electorate before June 2019. This means it is all but impossible for the Greens to increase their overall numbers at the next election. Instead, they will face the danger of losing incumbents. [Read more…]