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The Balance of Power in the Senate

The Federal election has made little change to the composition of the Senate. However, some interesting possibilities exist in the next six months before the new senators take up their places.

Senate
State of the Parties
Party Now July 1
2002
ALP
28
28
Liberal/CLP
32
32
National
3
3
Democrats
9
8
Greens
1
2
Harradine
1
1
One Nation
1
1
Independent
1
1
Total

76

76

There are 12 senators per State, regardless of the size (population or geographic) of the State. The Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory have 2 senators each.

Senators are elected for fixed six-year terms. Terms commence on July 1 and run until June 30 six years later. Half of the Senate face the people every three years, although ACT and NT senators serve the same term as members of the House of Representatives.

Senators elected at the elections on October 3, 1998 took up their places on July 1, 1999. They expire on June 30, 2005.

Senators chosen on November 10, 2001 take up their places on July 1, 2002. Until then, senators elected on March 2, 1996 (who took up their places on July 1, 1996) will remain in place until June 30, 2002.

Of course, many Senators were re-elected, so little will change next year. Senators who were defeated on November 10, such as Vicki Bourne (Democrats, NSW) or Chris Schacht (ALP, South Australia) know that they have a job until midnight on June 30, 2002. [Read more…]