Sen. Kristina Keneally (ALP-NSW) Sworn In

ALP Senator Kristina Keneally has been sworn into office in a brief ceremony in the Senate chamber at 9.30 this morning.

Keneally, 49, fills the casual vacancy created by the resignation of Sam Dastyari on January 25. She is the 98th female member of the Senate since Federation.

  • Watch Keneally’s swearing-in (7m)

Keneally, American by birth, was a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly from 2003 until 2012, representing the electorate of Heffron. She was premier of NSW between December 2009 and March 2011, the third of three leaders who followed Bob Carr’s ten-year term that ended in 2005. She led the ALP to a massive defeat in the 2011 election, suffering a two-party swing of 16.48% and the loss of 32 seats.

After a period as a political commentator on Sky News, Keneally ran as the ALP candidate in the Bennelong by-election in December 2017, following the resignation of the Liberal member, John Alexander, due to UK dual citizenship. Alexander successfully re-contested the seat and Keneally garnered a two-party swing of 4.84%, slightly less than the average by-election swing against governments.

Keneally was pre-selected by the ALP and nominated for the Senate vacancy by a joint sitting of the NSW Parliament on February 14, in accordance with the casual vacancy provisions of Section 15 of the Constitution.

Sen. Jim Molan (Lib-NSW) Maiden Speech

The Liberal Senator Jim Molan delivered his first speech to the Senate on February 14, 2018.


Molan acknowledged the unique circumstances of his election. From seventh place on the coalition’s NSW Senate ticket, he found himself taking his place in the chamber eighteen months after the 2016 federal election.

Senator Fiona Nash (Nat) was disqualified by the High Court on October 27, 2017, due to her dual citizenship. The court ordered a special recount of the ballot which resulted in the election of Hollie Hughes (Lib). Hughes was then disqualified because she had taken a job with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in 2017, a time held by the High Court to still be part of the election period. Molan was then elected. She was disqualified under Section 44 of the Constitution for holding an office of profit under the crown. [Read more…]

Berejiklian Announces Reshuffled NSW Ministry; Stokes To Education, Hazzard Into Health

Gladys Berejiklian has announced her reshuffled ministry, following her elevation to NSW Premier last week.


Two senior ministers have been dumped from the new ministry. Brad Hazzard will replace Jillian Skinner as Health Minister. Skinner announced her retirement from parliament late last week. Rob Stokes becomes Education Minister, following the dumping of Adrian Piccoli.

Roads minister Duncan Gay has also been dumped. He will be replaced by Melinda Pavey, one of three new women in the ministry. The other new women are Sarah Mitchell and Tanya Davies. The Nationals minister Leslie Williams has lost her position.

Matt Kean joins the ministry in the Innovation and Better Regulation portfolio.

As expected, the new Treasurer will be Dominic Perrottet, the former Finance minister.

Mark Speakman becomes Attorney-General, swapping places with Gabrielle Upton, who takes Speakman’s old portfolio of Environment.

Don Harwin, the current President of the Legislative Council, will become the government leader in the Legislative Council. The new President will be John Akaka, who has been moved out of the ministry.

Berejiklian announced the ministry at a press conference in Queanbeyan with her National Party deputy John Barilaro. The outdoor appearance was punctuated by interjections from protesters objecting to local council amalgamations. [Read more…]

Gladys Berejiklian Becomes 45th Premier Of NSW

Gladys Berejiklian has been sworn in as the 45th Premier of New South Wales, following her unopposed election as leader of the Liberal Party.


Berejiklian, 46, is the second female premier of NSW and the first female Liberal Party premier in any Australian state.

She was elected unopposed at a meeting of the Liberal party-room this morning. Her deputy is Dominic Perrottet, 33. Their unopposed election followed an agreement between the conservative and moderate wings of the NSW Liberals.

Berejiklian was elected to the Legislative Assembly as the member for Willoughby in 2003. She was Minister for Transport from 2011 until 2015. She became deputy leader of the party in 2014 when Mike Baird replaced Barry O’Farrell as leader. She has been Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations since 2015. [Read more…]

Mike Baird Announces Resignation As NSW Premier

Mike Baird, the Liberal Premier of New South Wales, has announced that he is retiring.


Baird has been Premier since April 17, 2014, when he replaced Barry O’Farrell, who fell victim to an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.

Baird took the coalition government to its second successive victory at the election on March 28, 2015.

Recent controversies, especially the proposed banning of dog racing, have impacted on the government’s popularity. It lost a by-election in Orange to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party last year.

Gladys Berejiklian is Baird’s most likely replacement. She is currently deputy leader, Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations.

The next premier will be the seventh in twelve years. Labor’s Bob Carr was the last premier to serve a full term. He retired in 2005.

At a press conference in Sydney, a tearful Baird said: “My father and my mother and my sister are going through a very serious health challenge…at times I have been in pain.”

He went on to say: “I didn’t want to become a career politician. I wanted to go as hard as I could for as long as I could and then step aside.” He denied he was cutting and running, citing his three years as Treasurer and three as Premier. He said he made the decision to resign in the last couple of weeks.

Final Two-Party Figures: Coalition Won 2016 Election With 50.36%; Swing To Labor Of 3.13%

Final figures published by the Australian Electoral Commission show that the Coalition won the 2016 federal election with 50.36% of the two-party-preferred vote.

The Liberal-Nationals coalition polled 50.36% of the national two-party-preferred vote. The ALP received 49.64%. There was a 3.13% swing to the ALP nationally, a near reversal of the 3.61% swing to the Coalition in the 2013 election.

Every state and territory recorded a swing against the Coalition. The largest swing was 7.41% in the Northern Territory. The smallest was 1.22% in the Australian Capital Territory. [Read more…]

So When Will The Next Election Be Held?

The Parliamentary Library has published a research paper setting out Federal, State and Local election dates over the next few years.

According to the paper, the earliest possible date for a joint House of Representatives and half-Senate election is August 4, 2018. The last possible date for such an election is May 18, 2019. Assuming no unforeseen events, the next federal election is almost certain to fall between these dates.

The last possible date for a double dissolution is May 4, 2019. A double dissolution of the parliament cannot be called later than February 27, 2019.

The paper shows that there will only be two state or territory elections over the next eighteen months: in the ACT on October 15, 2016 and in Western Australia on March 11, 2017. [Read more…]