CCF – The Senate

Earlier this week it was reported that the Department of Finance had written to Rod Culleton to let him know he’ll have to repay his salary and his staff’s salary, plus superannuation and travel expenses for the time he was in the Senate.

This week the Family First Party amalgamated with Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives. However, the only federal Senator for Family First, Lucy Gichuhi, decided that she would become an independent instead of joining the Australian Conservatives.

So One Nation Senator Rod Culleton is out. Senate President Stephen Parry has notified the Western Australian Governor that Mr Culleton’s Senate seat became vacant as a necessary and automatic consequence of his bankruptcy.

Most Australians understand that when you vote in the Senate, you’re voting for a State representative. Your vote, along with all the other votes in your State elect a group of Senators. You might not know quite how many, but you understand the concept.

Before the US election, CEFA briefly wrote about the two cases that have been referred by the Senate to the High Court as the Court of Disputed Returns. This is actually a very unusual event.

In mid-October Senator Bob Day from the Family First Party announced that his home building business had gone into liquidation and that as such his position in the Senate was untenable.

Last week Victorian Labor Senator Stephen Conroy resigned after only a couple of months into his six year term. He will now need to be replaced. How this occurs is stipulated in Section 15 of the Constitution which was amended at a referendum in 1977.

The article we wrote last week about moving towards four-year fixed terms in the House of Representatives gained a huge social media response. We had hundreds of comments on Facebook.

For decades there has been a dilemma about moving to four-year fixed terms in our Federal Parliament. But because the terms of Parliament are stipulated in the Constitution changing them would require a vote of the people at a referendum.


Subscribe and stay up to date with CEFA's Constitutional Forum