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Senate Refers Nash And Xenophon To High Court; Hinch And Gallagher Safe; Hanson Audit Motion Defeated

The Senate today voted to refer Senators Fiona Nash and Nick Xenophon to the High Court. The court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, will rule on their eligibility to nominate at the 2016 election.

The government leader, Senator George Brandis, moved that Senator Nash be referred, in order to determine whether she was a British dual citizen in breach of Section 44(i) of the Constitution.

Senator Xenophon moved to refer himself to the High Court. He delivered a statement explaining that he was born in Australia to Greek and Cypriot parents. He said that “out of an abundance of caution” he had renounced any rights to Greek or Cypriot citizenship but had been advised that he might hold British “overseas citizenship” on account of his father having been a British subject before he migrated to Australia.

The Senate heard a statement from Senator Derryn Hinch (DHJP-Vic). Hinch explained the circumstances in which he was eligible to receive a United States government pension. The government and the ALP have agreed that Hinch’s circumstances do not warrant a referral to the High Court.

The Senate also heard a statement from Senator Katy Gallagher (ALP-ACT). She explained the circumstances which gave rise to the possibility of her holding Ecuadorian and British citizenship. No attempt was made to refer Gallagher to the court.

Senator Pauline Hanson (One Nation-Qld) moved to establish an audit of all members of parliament to clarify their eligibility. The government and the ALP both opposed the motion and it was defeated by 43 votes to 13.

The High Court will hear the dual citizenship cases next month. In addition to Nash and Xenophon, it will hear the cases concerning Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters, Matthew Canavan, Malcolm Roberts and Barnaby Joyce.

  • Watch the Senate proceedings (39m)
  • Listen to the Senate proceedings (39m)

Hansard transcript of Senate proceedings to refer members to the High Court.

Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (10:07): by leave—I move:

That pursuant to section 376 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Senate refers to the Court of Disputed Returns the following questions— [Read more…]


Senate President Statement On Burqa Wearing

The Senate President, Stephen Parry, has made a statement explaining what happened when Senator Pauline Hanson wore a burqa into the chamber.

The incident took place on August 17. Parry explained that Hanson had not jeopardised security since she was already in a secure area of the parliament and called upon security guards to escort her to the chamber.

Parry called for a committee of the Senate to consider amendments to the Standing Orders to give the presiding officers more power to deal with such. situations

  • Watch Parry’s statement (6m)
  • Listen to Parry (6m)

Hansard transcript of statement by Senator Stephen Parry.

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Parliament House: Security

Parliament House: Dress Standards

The PRESIDENT (10:01): On Thursday, 17 August, I indicated that I would reflect on matters that arose during question time that day. These reflections were prompted by Senator Hanson’s decision to wear a burqa into the Senate chamber. Wearing this garment completely concealed her identity. [Read more…]


Pauline Hanson’s Senate Burqa Stunt; Labor And Greens Give Brandis A Standing Ovation

Pauline Hanson today staged an anti-burqa stunt during Question Time in the Senate.

The One Nation leader appeared in a burqa at 2.06pm. The Senate President, Senator Stephen Parry, said that her identity had been verified by parliamentary staff.

At 2.09pm, as online and social media began reporting on Hanson’s behaviour, Senator Derryn Hinch raised a point of order regarding dress requirements in the chamber.

At 2.25pm, Hanson rose to ask the Government Leader and Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, whether the government would legislate to ban the burqa. Brandis delivered a stinging rebuke to Hanson and received a standing ovation from ALP and Greens senators.

Hanson used a supplementary question to ask whether the government would ban the burqa in the houses of parliament. Senate President Parry took the question, pointing out that such decisions are the province of the presiding officers.

The ALP leader, Senator Penny Wong, said she would like to have moved a motion of congratulations for Senator Brandis,

After her question, Hanson left the chamber.

  • 2.06pm: Watch Senate President Stephen Parry make the first reference to Hanson’s appearance in a burqa (1m)
  • 2.09pm: Watch Senator Derryn Hinch’s point of order (1m)
  • 2.25pm: Watch Hanson’s question to Brandis (7m)

Hansard transcript of Senate Question Time proceedings.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Duniam, a supplementary question.

Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (14:06): What risks are there in a registered organisation donating money to the political campaigns of its own staff?

Senator Hanson having entered the chamber —

Senator DUNIAM: What on earth?

Honourable senators interjecting— [Read more…]


Current Federal Parliamentary 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.

These tables are correct as of the first day of the 2017 sittings of the 45th Parliament. Following the retirement of Senator Stephen Conroy on September 30, 2016, the ALP elected Senator Don Farrell as its deputy leader in the Senate. [Read more…]


Senator Rodney Culleton Disqualified; Senate President Declares Vacancy In WA; High Court To Decide How To Fill It

Senator Rodney Culleton has been disqualified and has lost his position in the upper house because of the bankruptcy judgement delivered against him before Christmas.

CulletonThe Senate President, Stephen Parry, announced tonight that he had notified the Western Australian Governor that a vacancy exists in the state’s Senate representation.

Parry said the High Court would decide if the vacancy was a casual vacancy or whether Culleton was ineligible to be chosen at last year’s double dissolution election. In coming weeks, the High Court will rule on an application to declare Culleton ineligible on the basis of a conviction in NSW.

A vacancy caused by Culleton’s ineligibility under Section 44 would probably mean that a countback of the 2016 Senate votes would take place. This would result in Culleton’s brother-in-law taking the seat.

A casual vacancy under Section 15 of the Constitution would enable the Western Australian branch of One Nation to nominate a replacement. It is not clear whether Culleton’s supporters control the WA branch. The party’s federal leader, Senator Pauline Hanson, will clearly prefer to nominate someone other than a Culleton supporter.

Culleton released a letter he sent to Senator Parry, arguing that Parry acted precipitately before the bankruptcy proceedings had been completed.

Statement by President of the Senate, Stephen Parry.

Parry

Letter from Rodney Culleton to Senate President Stephen Parry.

Culleton


Sen. Pauline Hanson (One Nation-Qld) – Maiden Speech

Senator Pauline Hanson has delivered her maiden speech to the Senate, as a Queensland representative of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

Hanson

The speech came 20 years and 4 days since Hanson gave her maiden speech as the member for Oxley in the House of Representatives, during the first year of the Howard government. Hanson had been elected as a disendorsed Liberal candidate. She founded her own party but was defeated at the 1998 election. [Read more…]


Sen. Malcolm Roberts (One Nation-Qld) Maiden Speech

This is the maiden speech by Senator Malcolm Roberts, one of two Queensland One Nation representatives.

  • Listen to Roberts (25m – transcript below)
  • Watch Roberts (25m)

Hansard transcript of maiden speech by One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts. [Read more…]


Current Federal Parliamentary 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.

These tables are correct as of the first day of the 45th Parliament, August 30, 2016. The Liberal, Nationals and ALP positions are unchanged from those that applied immediately prior to the July 2 double dissolution election. Senate parties with more than one senator have been included for the first time. [Read more…]


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…]


Government And ALP Agree On Senate Terms; First Elected To Get 6 Years

It was reported today that the government and the ALP have agreed on the allocation of terms for the new Senate.

The reports say the Coalition and the ALP have agreed that the first six elected in each state will get 6-year terms, whilst the last six will get three-year terms. This is the procedure that has been adopted following previous double dissolutions.

The ALP and the Coalition easily have the numbers to impose this decision on the Senate. Its effect is to give six-year terms to a majority of senators from the Coalition (16 of 28), ALP (13 of 24) and Nick Xenophon Team (2 of 3).

Pauline Hanson and Jacqui Lambie will also get six-year terms. Both polled a Senate quota in their own right.

Only three of the Greens’ nine senators will receive six-year terms. Each of them – Richard Di Natale (Vic), Scott Ludlam (WA) and Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas) – represents a state where the Greens won two places. The other six senators, one in each state, will all face the electorate before June 2019. This means it is all but impossible for the Greens to increase their overall numbers at the next election. Instead, they will face the danger of losing incumbents. [Read more…]