With a hostile Senate, a Labor government would be severely hamstrung in pursuing their legislative agenda.
We have seen the irrational demands and horse-trading from One Nation in the current Senate, withholding their vote on everything until they get their way on their latest attention-getter.
At the moment, the Senate is comprised of 36 Coalition Senators, 26 Labor, 9 Greens, 2 PHON, Jacquie Lambie, Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff.
The Senators who are not up for re-election are 17 Coalition, 11 Labor, 6 Greens, Jacquie Lambie and Malcolm Roberts – a 50/50 goodies v baddies split.
A state-by-state analysis of the 40 seats up for grabs shows there is some work to be done if we don’t want to be controlled by the far-right nutters.
In the ACT, Labor’s Katy Gallagher and Liberal Zed Seselja will be returned.
In the NT, Labor’s Malarndirri McCarthy will win and Sam McMahon, who lost endorsement, will be replaced by Country Liberal Jacinta Price, two Aboriginal women with very different views. I would suggest anyone considering voting for Ms Price reads up on her opinions and past performance.
NSW should see Labor’s Deb O’Neill and Jenny McAllister returned but Kristina Keneally’s spot (she is running for a lower house seat) could go to the Greens who are running current state member David Shoebridge. Marise Payne is number 1 for the Liberals. The Nationals have reclaimed the second spot with state party director Ross Cadell as their candidate, leaving Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells in the vulnerable third position. If Jim Molan decides to recontest, he will be in the unwinnable 4th spot and lose yet another election.
The Coalition Victorian ticket offers Sarah Henderson, Bridget McKenzie and Sophie Mirabella’s husband Greg who replaced the retired Scott Ryan. Lidia Thorpe should hang on for the Greens. Labor, in typically disappointing fashion, are still arguing over their ticket with Shorten pick Kimberly Kitching likely number 1 and Kim Carr #2.
The Queensland LNP ticket is James McGrath, Matt Canavan and Amanda Stoker – a group that make the Vic crowd look good and that takes some doing. Labor’s Murray Watt will be returned but Anthony Chisholm may be in danger to the Greens Penny Allman-Payne, a Gladstone teacher. Sad to say, Pauline should get back in. The wild cards up there are Clive Palmer and Campbell Newman. I would say they are no chance but I’m not from Qld.
WA have Michaelia Cash, Dean Smith and Ben Small lining up for the Liberal Party. Normally they would be safe but the abysmal state election result could see the Nationals take a seat from them for the first time since 1975. On the Labor side, Sue Lines and Glenn Sterle have been re-endorsed with the unlikely third spot going to Fatima Payman, president of WA Young Labor. The Greens Rachel Siewert resigned in September and was replaced by Dorinda Cox who should hold the seat for the party..
In SA, the Liberals Simon Birmingham and Andrew McLachlan should be returned as should Labor’s Penny Wong and Don Farrell. It remains to be seen what will happen with Stirling Griff and Rex Patrick (who is a hard-working honest Senator and would be a loss) but they could be replaced by the third Liberal candidate, Kerrynne Liddle, a businesswoman and company director who if elected would be South Australia’s first Indigenous federal member, and the lead Greens candidate, Barbara Pocock, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the University of South Australia.
Labor’s Helen Polley and Anne Urquhart should be returned in Tasmania as should Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson. After an unsuccessful tussle with his former staffer Jonathon Duniam, Eric Abetz has been relegated to third spot on the Liberal party ballot with Wendy Askew at #2. There is a slim chance Eric could be gone and Labor pick up a seat but unlikely. It’s a nice thought nevertheless.
Putting all that together, the likely end composition of the Senate is 37 Coalition, 24 Labor, 12 Greens, and Jacquie Lambie, with Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts as the deciding votes on legislation.
I would suggest we all get very active about discussing the importance of the Senate vote with friends, family, neighbours, colleagues and anyone who will listen.
A hung parliament is one thing but we don’t have time for a paralysed one at the mercy of PHON.
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