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The Senate is the so-called “upper house” in Australia’s bicameral parliament.

Unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate’s membership is based on state representation. Each state has 12 senators and each of the two territories has 2, giving a total of 76.

Senators serve fixed six-year terms, with each term beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30 six years later. Section 13 of the Constitution stipulates that Senate elections take place every three years and that elections for the Senate can only take place in the 12 months prior to the expiry of senators’ terms. Hence, the Senate has a rotating membership, with half of each state’s representation facing the electorate every three years in a half-Senate election.

The Senate may be dissolved in the event of a deadlock between the two houses, as set out in Section 57 of the Constitution.

State of the Parties

Senate Activity

Senate Procedures

Senate Seating Plans

Women Senators

Lists: Members of the Senate

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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