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Sen. Mitch Fifield (Lib-Vic) – Valedictory Speeches

These are the valedictory speeches for Senator Mitch Fifield, Liberal, Victoria.

Fifield, 52, was appointed to the Senate on March 3, 2004, filling a casual vacancy caused by the resignation of Senator Richard Alston.

Fifield served as a minister in the governments of Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison, between September 2013 and May 2019. He was Minister for the Arts and Minister for Communications from 2015 until 2019.

He was Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate between 2017 and 2018, and Manager of Government Business in the Senate from 2018 to 2019.

Prior to entering parliament, Fifield worked for Treasurer Peter Costello (1996-2003) as a senior political adviser. He was also a senior policy adviser to Alan Brown, the Victorian Minister for Transcpot (1992-96).

Fifield, bruised by the leadership turmoil in the Liberal Party in 2018, will soon take up the post of Ambassador to the United Nations.

Listen to the valedictory speeches for Fifield (57m):

Watch the valedictories (57m):

Hansard transcript of valedictory speeches for Senator Mitch Fifield.

The PRESIDENT (18:33): Pursuant to order, the Senate will now move to valedictory statements.

Senator FIFIELD (Victoria) (18:33): Colleagues and friends, doesn’t it go by in the blink of an eye? It was a little over 15 years ago that I rose to speak for the first time in this great chamber. I did so as the 487th senator to serve in this place since Federation. This struck me at the time as being a pretty small number, but since I arrived 120 senators have left this place. I cite these figures to highlight that, while ours may be a select group, our custodianship is transitory. To be chosen by your party peers to be their flag-bearer, to be endorsed by the voters, to be afforded a platform and resources to pursue the national interest, there are few greater privileges. Today, for me, represents the culmination of a decade and a half in the Senate, and the drawing of stumps on a parliamentary and a ministerial career. But today also represents for me the conclusion of 31 years in full-time professional politics and 23 years working in this building. [Read more…]


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…]


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…]


Sussan Ley Stands Aside From Ministry; Investigation Into Gold Coast Travel Expenses

The Minister for Health, Sussan Ley, has stood aside from the Turnbull ministry, pending an investigation into her travel expenses.

Ley

The Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet will investigate her travel expenses in relation to visits to the Gold Coast over the past couple of years. During one visit, Ley purchased an investment property. The Health department will also conduct an investigation.

Ley will stand aside without ministerial pay, until the investigation is completed. Senator Arthur Sinodinos will act as Minister for Health and Aged Care, and Minister for Sport.

At her press conference in Albury, Ley denied any wrongdoing.  In a statement issued yesterday, she apologised for an “error of judgement”.

Ley is the first ministerial casualty of the Turnbull government since last year’s election. After replacing Tony Abbott in September 2015, Turnbull lost three ministers in his first five months as prime minister.

Statement from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Travel claims by the Minister for Health

Today I have asked the Secretary of my Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet for advice in relation to the Statement of Ministerial Standards relating to travel claims made by the Minister for Health, Aged Care and Sport, the Hon Sussan Ley MP. [Read more…]


Senate Passes Resolution Calling For Royal Commission Into Banking Industry

The Senate today passed a motion calling for the establishment of a royal commission to inquire into misconduct in the banking and financial services industry.

The motion was moved by the ALP leader in the Senate, Penny Wong. After five minutes of discussion, it was passed on the voices.

The motion was similar to one rejected the day before by the House of Representatives.

The motion requested the concurrence of the House. When it was presented to the House later in the day, the government was outmanoeuvred by the Opposition in a series of votes. The absence of Coalition MPs meant that the government lost control of the House for nearly two hours. [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…]


ALP Shadow Ministry 2016 – Statistical Analysis

This page provides statistical data on the 2016 Shorten shadow ministry.

The 32-member ministry was elected/endorsed by the ALP Caucus on July 22. Portfolio allocations were announced today. The ministry comprises 22 members in the shadow Cabinet and 10 members in the shadow outer ministry. There are 16 shadow parliamentary secretaries who act as assistants to the ministry. These positions were chosen by Shorten.

The first table shows the ministry by age, sex, state, parliamentary chamber and faction.

The second table lists each member of the executive and gives their birthdays, ages, electorates, states, portfolio, faction and when they were first elected to parliament. A handful of members have also served in state parliaments and this is shown in the table.

I have shown only the main Left and Right factional affiliations, disregarding the mainly state-based sub-groupings.

The second table lists members of the three groups in order of age. [Read more…]


Shorten Announces ALP Shadow Ministry Portfolio Allocations

The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, has announced his allocation of portfolios for the ALP’s Shadow Ministry.

The 48-member executive includes 22 members in the Shadow Cabinet, 10 in the Shadow Outer Ministry and 16 Shadow Assistant Ministers (Parliamentary Secretaries). The total Caucus numbers are not yet final but are likely to be around 95 members. About half of the Caucus will be members of the shadow executive.

A number of positions in the Shadow Cabinet have changed hands, although Chris Bowen remains Shadow Treasurer. The biggest winner of the reshuffle is the second-term MP Jim Chalmers, who has been made Shadow Minister for Finance and moves into the Shadow Cabinet.

In other changes, deputy leader Tanya Plibersek has been moved into the high-profile domestic portfolio of Education. The party’s Senate leader, Penny Wong, takes Foreign Affairs.

Senator Kim Carr, for whom the shadow ministry has been expanded from 30 to 32, retains the portfolio of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

Another significant change sees Michelle Rowland take over Communications, whilst Defence goes to Richard Marles and Senator Stephen Conroy takes on Special Minister of State and Sport. The relatively unknown Queenslander, Shayne Neumann, becomes Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. [Read more…]


Bill Shorten Re-Elected Unopposed As Federal ALP Leader

Bill Shorten has been re-elected unopposed as leader of the ALP.

ShortenThe announcement was made tonight by Chris Hayes, the member for Fowler and Returning Officer for the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party.

As required by the party’s rules, the leadership of the ALP fell vacant following the party’s defeat in the federal election. Nominations were opened at last Friday’s (8/7/16) Caucus meeting and closed at 6pm today. Shorten was the only nomination.

The Caucus will meet again next Friday, July 22, to elect the deputy leader (currently Tanya Plibersek, the Senate leaders (currently Penny Wong and Stephen Conroy) and the shadow ministry. [Read more…]