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…]


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…]


Islamic State Beheadings Plot Alleged Following Terrorist Raid Arrests In Sydney And Brisbane

Federal Police raids this morning have resulted in a 22-year old man, Omarjan Azari, appearing in a Sydney court charged with planning a terrorist act designed to “shock, horrify and terrify”.

Azari is accused of conspiring with Mohammad Baryalei, the man described as a “top terrorist recruiter” in Australia. The arrest is one of about 15 resulting from raids across western Sydney and Brisbane. The raids, involving 800 police and described as the largest in Australian history, took place as a result of information gleaned from an intercepted telephone conversation in recent days. [Read more…]


Sen. Jacqui Lambie (PUP-Tas) – Maiden Speech

Jacqui Lambie, the Tasmanian Palmer United Party senator, has given her maiden speech to the Senate.

Lambie

Lambie, 43, was elected at the 2013 federal election. PUP polled 6.58% of the primary vote and she was elected on preferences. Her term began on July 1, 2014 and will expire on June 30, 2020. [Read more…]


Morrison Announces Tamil Asylum Seekers Will Be Brought To Mainland For Processing

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, has announced that the government will bring 157 Tamil asylum seekers to the Australian mainland for processing.

Morrison

The Tamils have been on an Australian customs vessel in the Indian Ocean since last month. The High Court ruled that they could not be handed over to Sri Lankan officials. [Read more…]


Gloria’s Adult Sex Line, Tony Abbott’s Wink, And Politics At Its Most Trivial

Political “news” was dominated today by extensive discussion of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s wink during a talkback call on ABC Radio 774 in Melbourne.

Abbott was interviewed by Jon Faine and then took calls from listeners who mainly complained about last week’s Budget. The interview was also shown on television.

When “Gloria from Warburton”, a 67-year-old pensioner, told Abbott she worked for an adult sex line to make ends meet, the prime minister winked at Faine. “Gloria” attacked Abbott and was told by Faine to “be nice”. [Read more…]


Rudd’s Boat People Policy: All Asylum Seekers To Be Sent To PNG

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill have announced an agreement that will ensure asylum seekers who arrive by boat will be sent to Manus Island and refused settlement in Australia.

The two prime ministers signed the Regional Settlement Arrangement in Brisbane this afternoon. Speaking at a press conference, Kevin Rudd said: “As of today asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.”

Rudd

Rudd said the plan was aimed at destroying the business model of the people smugglers. “Be in no doubt. If people are paying thousands and thousands of dollars to a people smuggler they are buying a ticket to a country other than Australia.”

From today, asylum seekers who arrive by boat will undergo medical checks and then be sent to Manus Island. If found to be genuine asylum seekers, they will be resettled in PNG.

There is no cap on the number of people who will be sent to Manus Island. The agreement will be reviewed in 12 months.

In return for PNG’s co-operation, Australia has undertaken to provide funding for education and health projects.

The Australian Greens condemned the plan and said it was “a day of shame” for Australia.

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, gave tentative support to the plan but cast doubt on Labor’s ability to implement it. He said: “I welcome it but it won’t work under Mr. Rudd.”

The PNG solution is likely to neutralise the issue of asylum seekers in the forthcoming elections. Speculation continues to mount that Rudd will call an election for August 31.

Kevin Rudd has also released an “Address to the Nation” on the asylum seekers issue.

Text of statement from Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

AUSTRALIA AND PAPUA NEW GUINEA REGIONAL SETTLEMENT ARRANGEMENT

As of today asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.

Under the new arrangement signed with Papua New Guinea today – the Regional Settlement Arrangement – unauthorised arrivals will be sent to Papua New Guinea for assessment and if found to be a refugee will be settled there. [Read more…]