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Sen. Andrew Bartlett (Greens-Qld) – Maiden Speech

The Queensland Greens Senator Andrew Bartlett has delivered his maiden speech to the upper house.


Bartlett was chosen to represent Queensland in the Senate on November 10, 2017. His election followed the resignation of Larissa Waters on July 18, 2017. On October 27, 2017, the High Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, ruled that Waters was ineligible to be elected under Section 44 of the Constitution, due to her Canadian dual citizenship. A special recount was ordered and Bartlett was declared elected. He had been the number two candidate on the Greens ticket at the 2016 election.

Bartlett, 53, previously served as an Australian Democrats senator from Queensland between 1997 and 2008. He was leader of the party for two years from 2002 until 2004.

  • Listen to Bartlett’s speech (21m)
  • Watch Bartlett’s speech (22m)

Hansard transcript of Senator Andrew Bartlett’s maiden speech.

The PRESIDENT (17:00): Pursuant to order, I now call Senator Bartlett to make his first speech and ask honourable senators that the usual courtesies be extended to him.

Senator BARTLETT (Queensland) (17:00): I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land that this parliament is meeting on, the Ngunawal and Ngambri people, and also the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owners of the lands and waters across my home state of Queensland. I pay respects to their elders past, present and emerging. I recognise that sovereignty was never ceded and that there is still so much unfinished business that our country needs to address before we have truth, reconciliation and justice for the first peoples of this land. [Read more…]

Current Federal Parliamentary Party Leaders

Each political party represented in the Federal Parliament elects leaders in each house.

Just as the government is decided in the House of Representatives, so the parties elect their leaders and deputy leaders from amongst their representatives in the House. If the party is not represented in the lower house, its leader will be chosen from amongst its members in the Senate.

House of Representatives
Party Leader Deputy Leader
Liberal Party John Howard
Member for Bennelong (NSW)
Peter Costello
Member for Higgins (Vic)
National Party Mark Vaile
Member for Lyne (NSW)
Warren Truss
Member for Wide Bay (Qld)
Australian Labor Party Kevin Rudd
Member for Griffith (Qld)
Julia Gillard
Member for Lalor (Vic)

The major parties also elect leaders and deputy leaders in the Senate. These people form part of the leadership group and act as the focal point for their parties in the upper house.

For example, the current Liberal Party leader in the Senate, Nick Minchin, is referred to as the Government Leader in the Senate. Senator Chris Evans is referred to as the Opposition Leader in the Senate.

Party Leader Deputy Leader
Liberal Party Senator Nick Minchin
(South Australia)
Senator Helen Coonan
(New South Wales)
National Party Senator Ron Boswell
Senator Nigel Scullion
(Northern Territory)
Australian Labor Party Senator Chris Evans
(Western Australia)
Senator Stephen Conroy
Australian Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett
Senator Lyn Allison
Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown
Family First Senator Steve Fielding

Footnote: Convention dictates that the official leader of the main parties will be a member of the House of Representatives. In 1968, following the death of its Prime Minister, Harold Holt, the Liberal Party chose its upper house leader, Senator John Gorton, as the new prime minister. Gorton immediately resigned his Senate seat and contested the by-election for Holt’s lower house electorate, Higgins. Thus, Australia had a prime minister for several weeks who was not a member of either house. This is allowed for in Section 64 of the Constitution.

Democrats Leader Andrew Bartlett Addresses The National Press Club

The leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Andrew Bartlett, has addressed the National Press Club.

Bartlett’s election appearance was followed eleven days later by a disastrous showing in the election. The Democrats were defending three Senate seats, all of which were lost. The Democrats polled just 2.1% in the Senate. In the House of Representatives, its vote fell 4.17% to just 1.24%.

By contrast, the Australian Greens lifted their vote to 7.7% in the Senate and won an extra 2 seats, giving the party 4 in total. [Read more…]

People And Parliament Still In The Dark On FTA: Democrats

The Australian Democrats have attacked the lack of detail of the proposed Free Trade Agreement with the United States announced earlier today.

The party’s leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, has lamented the Senate’s lack of power to force changed to the FTA. The Democrats have also called for more parliamentary involvement in the treaty-making process.

  • Listen to Bartlett (10m)

Text of media statement by the Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Andrew Bartlett, and the party’s spokesperson for Trade and Overseas Development, Senator Aden Ridgeway.

US Trade Deal: Australian People and Parliament Still in the Dark

BartlettThe Australian Parliament and the Australian people still have little knowledge of the detail of the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, say the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ Trade spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway, said that as negotiations have been conducted in secret there is no real idea of the extent of the compromises made in the agreement and the inconsistent messages from each side are cause for concern. [Read more…]

Costello Releases Updated Budget Outlook, Compares Bartlett With Latham

The Federal Budget surplus is projected to hit $4.6 billion this year, according to the Treasurer, Peter Costello.

Releasing the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, Costello said the government expected to receive a net increase of $2 billion in tax revenues, most of this from increased company tax. Allowing for increased expenditure of $1 billion on the MedicarePlus package, pharmaceutical benefits, drought assistance and the commitment to the Solomon Islands, the budget surplus will increase from the budget forecast of $2.2 billiob to $4.6 billion.

Australia’s economic growth forecast has also been upgraded from 3.25 per cent to 3.75%, due mainly to an easing of the drought.

The Treasurer said Australia’s net debt was now $23 billion, down $73 billion since 1996. [Read more…]

Bartlett Apologises To Ferris, Public And Democrats

Senator Andrew Bartlett has made a media statement apologising to Senator Jeannie Ferris and the Australian Democrats over his behaviour in a late-night incident in the Senate chamber last week.

Bartlett, pictured holding his daughter, is bound to be criticised for using his child as a prop at the media conference. Her crying disrupted the delivery of the statement. [Read more…]

Andrew Bartlett ‘Stands Aside’ Over Drunken Incident In Senate Chamber

The Leader of the Australian Democrats, Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett, has ‘stood aside’ following publication of details of an incident in the Senate chamber last Thursday night (Dec 4).

BartlettIt is alleged that Bartlett abused and manhandled South Australian Liberal Senator Jeannie Ferris in a dispute over wine stolen from a Liberal Party Christmas party.

The incident is likely to further damage the hapless party which has been riven by internal dissension in recent years. Bartlett took over the leadership in 2002, following the resignation of Senator Natasha Stott Despoja. Stott Despoja had in turn defeated Senator Meg Lees in a leadership challenge in 2001. In 1997 the previous leader, Cheryl Kernot, defected from the party and joined the ALP.

Recent opinion polls have put the party’s electoral support as low as 1%.

Text of statement from Senator Andrew Bartlett, published today on the party’s web-site.

Date: 6th December 2003

Statement by Senator Andrew Bartlett

This is a brief statement regarding the coverage to do with my behaviour towards Senator Jeannie Ferris.

As the letter from Senator Ferris to myself regarding the matter states, I have already apologised privately and she has accepted my apology. However, given the public commentary on the matter, it is appropriate for me to repeat that apology publicly and unconditionally.

Physical aggression is never appropriate, and regardless of any of the other circumstances surrounding the incident, it is not acceptable.

I also apologised to my Party Room colleagues and to the Australian Democrats for causing damage to our hard-won reputation.


Text of a statement from the Australian Democrats party-room, following a phone hook-up today.

Date: 6th December 2003

Statement by the Australian Democrats’ Party Room:

The Democrats wholeheartedly endorse the unreserved apology offered by Senator Bartlett to Senator Ferris for unacceptable behaviour and emphasise that it is not in keeping with principles to which we adhere.

Senator Bartlett has requested and been granted leave and Senator Allison will be Acting Leader as of today.

Senator Bartlett will work through the issues raised by this incident and will do so in private and with the full personal support of his Democrat colleagues.


This is the article in the Herald-Sun that broke the story.


Mauled by a wild MP

By Gerard McManus, Michael Harvey and Jason Frenkel

DEMOCRATS leader Andrew Bartlett mauled a female Liberal senator and hurled abuse at her during a late-night fracas over stolen wine.

A shaken Senator Jeannie Ferris was left nursing an injured upper arm after chasing Senator Bartlett, who had taken five bottles of wine from a Liberal Party Christmas barbecue in Parliament House.

The ugly altercation spilled on to the floor of the Senate chamber, where Senator Bartlett repeatedly shook Senator Ferris by the shoulder and called her a “f…ing bitch”.

Senators, including fellow Democrat Lyn Allison, watched in horror as the purple-shirted and purple-faced party leader lurched at Senator Ferris, grabbed her then hurled abuse.

Senator Ferris was deeply upset by the Thursday night incident and yesterday said her arm still ached badly.

Burly Senator Bartlett, 39, a former champion rugby player, apologised in person and in writing yesterday.

He has campaigned against violence to women.

Senator Ferris was prepared to let the matter rest until Senator Bartlett apologetically sent a card yesterday – and a single bottle of wine – wishing her a “relaxing break”.

Senator Ferris wrote back, urging the Democrats leader to seek a “treatment program”.

“There is no doubt in my mind that you were seriously under the influence of alcohol and perhaps you should consider whether a treatment program could assist you,” she said in the letter, which was also sent to Senate President Paul Calvert.

“Whilst I said to you this morning that I accept your apology – and I do – my arm remains quite sore, and I continue to be deeply offended by your behaviour.

“You clearly intended to intimidate me and were obviously angry because I had sought the return of five bottles of wine that you had taken to your office from the Coalition Christmas barbecue.

“You grabbed my arm with considerable strength and called me a `f…ing bitch’ several times. When I asked you to let go of me and tried to walk away from you, you followed me continuing to call me a “f…ing bitch”.

Senator Ferris hosted the Coalition Christmas Party and had welcomed Senator Bartlett as an unexpected guest and did not object to him joining the drinking.

But Senator Ferris decided enough was enough when she spotted the Democrats leader hightailing from the party, arms full of wine.

Liberal staff were despatched to retrieve the five bottles, but it is understood they returned with only four.

When a Senate division was called later in the night, Senators Ferris and Bartlett came face to face on the floor of the chamber and the angry confrontation ensued.

Footage of the proceedings did not pick up the incident but showed a stunned Senator Allison watching in horror.

Senator Bartlett then came into video view as he staggered across the chamber.

A spokeswoman for Senator Bartlett last night said the Democrats leader regretted his behaviour.

“Senator Bartlett said he regretted his comments to Senator Ferris and any aggressive behaviour.” she said.

“He has apologised in person and in writing yesterday morning.”

Senator Bartlett has built a career in public life on compassion towards animals and has been a strident campaigner on women’s issues.

He lashed the Federal Government for cutting funding for domestic violence programs during his Budget reply in May.

And he highlighted the role of domestic violence in homelessness at a Democrats youth conference in July, at which he also spoke of the dangers of teenage binge drinking.

Before entering Parliament in 1997, he spoke on behalf of Men Against Sexual Assault at a rally against domestic violence in Brisbane.

Preventing violence against women has been a key theme for the Democrats. Senator Bartlett’s predecessor, Natasha Stott Despoja, spoke on the issue just 12 months ago in Parliament.

Andrew Bartlett played for a champion team while representing Queensland in under-16s rugby union.

“In those days . . . he was capable of physical exertion,” his biography on the Democrats website states.

Democrats Renew Call For Royal Commission On Child Abuse

The Australian Democrats have renewed their call for the establishment of a Royal Commission on Child Abuse..

The party’s leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, said the withdrawal of the rape case against the Governor-General is not the end of the matter. [Read more…]

Democrats Call On Hollingworth To Step Down

The Australian Democrats have called on Governor-General Peter Hollingworth to step down.

This is the text of a media release by the leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Andrew Bartlett.

Justice for Abused Children in Care

Senator Andrew BartlettThe Australian Democrats today said an investigation revealing the Anglican Church in Brisbane under Peter Hollingworth acted unfairly in dealing with complaints of sexual abuse confirmed serious concerns over Dr Hollingworth’s fitness to remain as Australian Governor-General.

Democrats’ Leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, today repeated his calls for Dr Hollingworth to step down as Governor-General in the wake of the report’s conclusions. [Read more…]

The Case Against War: Bartlett Puts Australian Democrats View

As debate about Australia’s involvement in a war against Iraq gathers strength, the leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Andrew Bartlett, has delivered a speech setting out his party’s opposition to a war.

Bartlett spoke to a public meeting at the Melbourne Town Hall.

Text of speech by Senator Andrew Bartlett, leader of the Australian Democrats.

BartlettI acknowledge the traditional owners of the land.

Thank you Don Chipp and Senator Lyn Allison and the many other organisations and individuals who have contributed to holding this meeting.

I believe what we need to be doing tonight is not just looking at the immediate threat of the impending war with Iraq but what it will also mean for our future, as Australians and indeed the global community. [Read more…]