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What’s this? A man of principle in the Senate? Is that permitted under the Constitution?

It may be early days, but it seems that the new independent Senator from South Australia may be a man of principle which could throw a large spanner in the works and the way the Liberal Party like to run our Upper House.

Tim Storer has only been in the Senate for a couple of weeks, he was the Nick Xenophon Team’s fourth and final Senate candidate in South Australia at the 2016 election, which saw the three NXT candidates above Storer elected, two of whom resigned in late 2017. When party leader Nick Xenophon resigned in October 2017, intending to appoint staffer Rex Patrick as his successor, Storer wrote to the Parliament of South Australia claiming he held the right to fill the casual vacancy – which he did.

One week later, Storer withdrew the challenge and resigned from the party. When NXT Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore resigned in November 2017 after confirming that she held British citizenship, the High Court of Australia held that she was invalidly elected, but was delayed in announcing her successor since the only other candidate on the party list, Storer, had left the party. In February 2018, following a challenge by Kakoschke-Moore to reclaim her seat having renounced her foreign citizenship, the High Court appointed Storer as a senator.

Tim Storer enters the Senate at a critical time as the Turnbull government try to convince the cross-bench that with government debt at an all-time high and the deficit ballooning, now would be an excellent time to start cutting corporate taxes. Senator Storer, it seems, didn’t come down in the last shower. Indeed, he studied economics at the University of Adelaide, and was dux of his class in the Master of Business Administration at the Australian National University; he is also a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese which may give him some insight to the occasional and confusing utterances of Senator Pauline Hanson (or not).

Strangely, for a Senator, he actually reads the legislation upon which he is being called upon to vote and he not only understands economics and is not tempted by the trinkets that the Liberals are so fond of scattering before the cross-bench, he also has the welfare of the Australian people and its economic well-being in mind.

Senators Cormann and Cash are responsible for schmoozing cross bench senators and feeding them bullshit to get them to vote with the government. But Senator Storer is a bit of a worry, he doesn’t fit the mould and as a result the expected triumph of the Trumble government in getting through this ill-considered legislation on Wednesday did not happen. The legislation was withdrawn and all the senators high-tailed it home to enjoy their Easter holidays.

Like the small boy in the fable, Tim Storer was quite prepared to bring to our notice that this emperor prime minister has no clothes and when it comes to corporate tax cuts is in fact cavorting naked through the parliament in a most unseemly manner while being loudly applauded and encouraged by his acolytes in the coalition. Senator Storer has even had the temerity to suggest that in view of the government debt and deficit disaster – their term not his – now may not be the most prudent time to be slashing our national revenues. He has also pointed to the fact that cherry-picking taxation reform from the Henry Review may not be the sensible way to go and that all this talk about our company tax rates being uncompetitive and discouraging overseas investment could just be political claptrap.

In this he is joined, perhaps unwittingly, by Senator Matt ‘old king coal’ Canavan who in a moment reminiscent of the Jim Carrey movie Liar Lair, where a lawyer’s son wishes his dad (Carrey) would stop lying for 24 hours, the Carrey character like Canavan suddenly finds that he can only speak the truth and in a moment of brutal honesty Canavan on Wednesday happily told assembled journalists at the National Press Club that:

“We have attracted more than 200 billion dollars’ worth of investment in the last decade in oil and gas generally so we obviously are doing something right in this country. I think we do have very competitive tax systems and tax settings and that’s been proven.”

Why would Canavan say that when it completely undermines the fabrication that Trumble and his mates have been assembling so carefully? Could it be that the honesty of Senator Storer is like a virus and it is spreading throughout the parliament? Now, there’s something to think about. Will Michaelia Cash be the next one off the blocks admitting that she’s a scheming fraud and will Pauline Hanson concede that she doesn’t know what the f**k she’s talking about and will Tony Abbott admit that he is only hanging around because nobody has offered him a better paying (or any) job and will Peter Dutton acknowledge that his empathy towards refugees and asylum seekers was nurtured in his youth when he rejoiced in the practice of pulling the wings off butterflies to watch them struggle and die? Nup, I don’t think so either.

Just a bit of advice to Tim Storer, whatever you do, don’t drink the Kool-Aid at Aussies cafe in Parliament House no matter what that nice Mr Abetz tells you!

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  1. david1

    Superb contribution Terence, many hear hears from me as I read and brilliant summation of the crap that is dished up in so called negotiations by the Senate Govt nongs.
    Encore encore!!

  2. nonsibicunctis

    Well written, brief but accurate summary of the state of play in our present federal parliament, and the actions/attitudes of some of the key figures.

    An easy enjoyable read but packed with punch. I admire its brevity and the accurate portrayal that it is.

  3. Peter Mcc

    Great summary and a glimmer of hope that we have a Senator with some expertise. I don’t quite know how to process this radical change. 😎

  4. Jon Chesterson

    Yup we owe a debt of gratitude to Tim Storer for a fresh and able mind independent mind in the senate… the glimmer of hope that David can and will defeat the Goliath, but lets not bring biblical into it, other than to say that if this government is not stopped in its tracks like this, we are all toast. Good work Tim, good call, stand your ground, do not drop your gaze!

  5. Miriam English

    The fact that this traitorous government tried to rush this through without proper consideration speaks volumes.

    I hope you’re right that Tim Storer has integrity. Of course, the fact that GetUp went all-out to pressure the last two senators that could block the legislation probably had an impact too. GetUp let the two senators, one of whom was Tim Storer, know that they had the public attention focussed on them, so people would know which way they voted, and that 81% of Australians hate the tax cuts for big business, and posted headlines from the Business Council’s own secret work that showed the tax cuts would NOT help wages or employment.

    I hope Tim Storer voted against the corporate tax cuts because he is an honest politician. We need more of them. But I don’t think I’d trust him too much yet. I’d wait to see how he votes in the future.

    I’d love to see how all our politicians voted on the corporate tax cuts. It would be illuminating, and it would be nice to hold the bastards accountable for voting against Australians.

  6. Kaye Lee

    If anyone would like to express their appreciation and support to Senator Storer (after the holidays), his phone number is (02) 6277 3698. I think it is important to let our politicians know that we support them when they do the right thing. How refreshing to have a Senator who actually looks at the evidence.

  7. helvityni

    “.. will Peter Dutton acknowledge that his empathy towards refugees and asylum seekers was nurtured in his youth when he rejoiced in the practice of pulling the wings off butterflies to watch them struggle and die?”

    Nicely written article, Terence; hopefully Tim Storer will restore my faith in Oz politics… It’s time!

  8. Ricardo29

    I agree completely, but let’s not forget that Hinch apparently held out too.i don’t want to play the “We warned the Czar” card but I did email Senator Hinch asking him to oppose the planned cuts.

  9. helvityni

    Fair enough: Thank you, Hinch and you too, Ricardo…

    Is there light flickering on that far away hill after all…there, there, behind Pauline, Michaelia, Peter, Tones….

  10. Kaye Lee

    Ricardo, I also went to Senator Hinch’s facebook page and left a comment….

    “I understand the pressure on Senator Hinch about company tax cuts but I would ask him to let the Coalition take it to an election where we can see the total packages offered by both sides. Let the people decide”

  11. Keitha Granville

    More of us need to write to our Senators more often – if they can see the level of opposition to some of their choices they may very well begin to actually vote as their electorate wishes – isn’t that the point of the Senate ?

  12. Terry

    A Fine piece of work Terrence.

  13. David Bruce

    The AIMN is doing an outstanding job at replacing the main stream media on so many issues.It is a sad state of affairs when it takes so long to learn about the ponzi economy and money system, the monetized society in which we now live, the fraudulent system of banking we have in Australia and the committee of 300 who control our politicians. I never learned about any of this at school, nor at university. I was 50 before I saw the big picture and now I read so many articles in AIMN which paint the details of some part of that big picture. Thank you!

  14. Graeme Henchel

    With so many useless tossers in the Senate it is hopeful that one “independent” seems to have the intelligence and integrity to do a good job. IF he can show true leadership, fairness and integrity he could have a long career in the senate. Particularly from SA where Xenophon has passed his use by date and they have a penchant for independents. Meg Lees found out the folly of getting into bed with the liberals. I hope Storer failed to support the business tax cuts because he knows they are a con but he might also, if he is smart, realise his longevity in the senate will be enhanced by rejecting such flawed policy.

  15. Glenn Barry

    What if it plays out this way – Tim Storer, now the centre of attention with a burgeoning media profile – gets interviewed regularly and puts a non-partisan case against the corporate tax cuts – gains trust, gains respect and gains public profile as a result.

    Now he is only one man and his vote may only be crucial on a tiny number of occasions, but with the profile of this one, it is when it counts – for his induction.

    There’s so many contingencies and a whole lot of if’s in all of this, and very likely that if he is a thorn in the Turdbull govt’s side the MSM will either ignore him or worse assassinate his character, but we’ll see…

    It would be nice to have one fundamentally principled person in parliament, he may be lonely but he may also be venerated

  16. Kaye Lee

    I think Derryn Hinch also wants to do the right thing but he doesn’t have the capacity to necessarily be able to sort the wheat from the chaff in all that is thrown at him so he and Storer may be able to help each other as it is they that now really hold the balance of power.

  17. Egalitarian

    Derryn is only a one trick pony and is not that bright.He’ll need strong council and advice to get it right.

  18. Michael Taylor

    Kaye, while everyone’s eyes were on Hinch, this bloke really came out of the left field.

    And the fact that here was a politician who could actually grasp the concept of legislation and what it entailed, was absolutely refreshing.

    What a pity that The Australian is now treating him as public enemy number 1.

  19. New England Cocky

    An excellent piece Terry, thank you!!

    Muddles Turdball as the king with no clothes is a strong representation of the present RAbbott Morriscum Dicko Turdball NLP misgovernment. Now where do we find some more candidates with integrity and life experience to match Storer? Surely yes, as Gough said in 1972, “It’s Time!!” and there has been some indication that November 2018 is the expected date of the necessary double dissolution election.

  20. auntyuta

    I must admit I did not know what the meaning of ‘drinking Kool-Aid’ was.
    So I looked it up in Google, et voila, it said: “”Drinking the Kool-Aid” is an expression commonly used in the United States that refers to any person or group who goes along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure. The phrase often carries a negative connotation when applied to an individual or group. It can also be used ironically or humorously to refer to accepting an idea or changing a preference due to popularity, peer pressure, or persuasion. In recent years it has evolved further to mean extreme dedication to a cause or purpose, so extreme that one would “Drink the Kool-Aid” and die for the cause. . . ”

    Is a politician allowed to have certain principles? I often wonder about this. Maybe, just maybe, Senator Storer may be able to show us how to make it possible that a politician can stick to his principles and influence politics that way? “A man of principle” sounds quite promising and like a welcome change in politics.

    “Could it be that the honesty of Senator Storer is like a virus and it is spreading throughout the parliament? ”
    Oh, I wished so much that some honesty could be spread like a virus throughout the parliament, or is that perhaps too much to hope for?

  21. nonsibicunctis

    As long as we have the present two-party preferred system, election of Political Parties rather than individual politicians, and therefore an aggressive polarisation of ‘them’ and ‘us’, we will never achieve a governance system that is truly representative of the diversity of our community, nor one which works for the community as opposed to for itself and its supporters (read donors).

    We also need a set of criteria that aspiring politicians ought to have to meet before the can even become a candidate and get onto a ballot paper. Those criteria need to include, in HR parlance, “demonstrated experience” i.e. concrete evidence of their past contributions to the welfare of others and the nation as a whole. They should also have to indicate why they think that they make appropriate people to participate in the direct decision making which will affect our nation. Evidence of negative “isms” ought, at the very least be noted, if not exclude them entirely.

    I used to correspond with AIMN in its early days when it was far less professional than it is now [Congratulations on its professional feel but continuing honesty and directness] but stopped doing so because of being howled down by those with an intellectual deficit that didn’t allow them to see complex situations in anything but black and white, them or us. Although there may have been some improvement, too much comment is still very much in that vein and, as a result, is preaching to the converted and unlikely to change very much, if anything at all.

    Frankly, as it stands now, as much as I detest the obnoxious and unconscionable decisions and policies, (which is probably too grand a term), of the LNP and its drivers – the IPA, Big Business, Wealthy individuals – I would now vote for any Party which promised that, as its first priority after election, it would establish a widely representative body, including both appropriate expertise and lay-people, to review our electoral system using a ‘clean slate’ approach.

    In my opinion, there will never be real change until we have a fair system that is not based on artificial geographic boundaries but which considers who are the significant groups of people who make up our society, in what sort of ansociety do these groups and individuals wish to live, and how can we achieve that goal in an inclusive fashion that, by definition, leaves no-one behind and allocates no special privilege.

    The ubiquitous acceptance of our parliament as comprising government and opposition models entirely the wrong type of structure for carrying people with you and would be readily discarded by any competent business or institution as being an appropriate model for creating a healthy work environment. Yet, in a national sense, it seems that well-being and inclusivity are considered to be unimportant. The result is that, at any particular time, certainly no more and probably much less than 50% of those with the Franchise actually approve of, let alone wholeheartedly support what our government does.

    In reality, following most elections we may just as well only appoint to parliament the members of the Party that gained the biggest vote, for the rest are as good as impotent. Instead of a group of 225 and another of 75 actually coming together in assembly to determine what priorities ought to be and in what order, then combining their expertise to make decisions on how to tackle them – we just have bickering, name calling or rubber-stamping. [Yes, I know that occasionally, there is a small win when an opposition or a cross-bencher catches a break, but that is the exception not the rule, nor is it probably a truly representative way for decisions to be made.]

    I’m hoping that someone here sees some worth in what I’ve written. I hope that most here see some worth in a government based on inclusive decision making rather than the politics of polarisation. That would give me some hope that the decades since the illegal removal of Whitlam have actually produced some new thinking and a move beyond the simplistic and argumentative, often abusive, tit for tat exchanges that pass for political comment across the broad range of our media – mainstream or not.

    However, if that’s not the case and I receive the same sort of arrogant belittlement as when I used to participate, then I will, once more, bow out as gracefully as I’m able. As a very disgruntled, disgusted and frustrated citizen who despairs at the shame that the current government has inflicted on the Australian people, I’m not sure, however, that my ability to exit gracefully will be all that effective.

  22. paul keylard

    Dear Tim, watch your back as we hate to see you floating face down Cooks river (canal) in Sydney. in the mean time, our best wishes for a bright future.

  23. Lord John

    Fine words nonsibicunctis.

  24. Kronomex

    I wonder how long it will take the Murdoch (all hail The Rupert) dirt diggers to start on Mr. Storer in an attempt to smear him because he, at the moment, seems to be agin Dutton’s gubm…oops, Turnbull’s gubmint.

  25. Michael Taylor

    Kronomex, they’ve already started. They’re somewhat annoyed with Tim Storer scuttling the corporate tax-cut bill when he only received 189 first preference votes. They say nothing, of course, about Family First Senator Lucy Gichuhi who received 152 votes and supported the bill.

  26. Terry2

    Michael The High Court determined that Storer was the elected Senator for South Australia : if that doesn’t suit News Corp then they need to take their grievances to the HC where they will receive short-shrift

    nonsibicunctis you’re contribution, I would think, is of equal value as any on this platform

    As regards Derryn he wanted to see the tax cuts go through but not to the banks : that seems to be cherry-picking the cherry-pick !

  27. diannaart

    Hoping Hinch may prove useful is like hoping Pauline Hanson will ever make total sense. Derryn supports the LNP more often than not – if he thinks tax cuts should go through but not to banks, he is continuing to not think – at which he excells.

    Tim Storer – one man for whom the Murdoch bell is tolling. We’ll just have to wait and see.

    My moment of gob-smacking zen was with this:

    Senators Cormann and Cash are responsible for schmoozing cross bench senators and feeding them bullshit to get them to vote with the government.

    Michaelia Cash is considered a schmoozer? In what alternate reality? I guess she makes Cormann appear possibly human…

  28. Miriam English

    nonsibicunctis, here is a politician (Michael Berkman) who feels somewhat the same as you, and echoes the feelings of many of us:

  29. Glenn Barry

    I can’t access “The Australian” across it’s paywall – well I can with some diddling, blocking, script disabling and luck, but it’s not worth the effort – are they complaining about the number of votes received?

    I only ask the question as the number has been quoted

    Can someone remind me how many votes Malcolm Roberts received? 😀 😀 😀

  30. Kaye Lee

    Fraser Anning got 19 first preference votes and he made it.

    Matt Canavan said he was elected after running on an unashamedly pro-coal platform. What crap. He was gifted the job by his position as number two on the LNP senate ticket. The coal warrior got 2255 first preference votes.

    As for Tim Storer. he was given fourth position on the Xenophon ticket but he got more first preference votes than either Stirling Griff or Skye Kakoschke-Moore who were elected from positions two and three.

  31. Kronomex

    diannaart, I think it’s a case of the old good politician and bad politician. The Corminator is niceness and sweetness unless the other party doesn’t fall for the crap, then he threatens to unleash The Screaming Harpy.

  32. Matters Not

    nonsibicunctis while you raise any number of interesting issues, can I perhaps draw your attention to this one:

    never be real change until we have a fair system that is not based on artificial geographic boundaries

    In particular, the artificial geographic boundaries and how they may, might or ought (or not) to impact on our (supposedly) democratic system of government. Seems to me that the concept of geographical location is valid (and useful) when it comes to the role played by what we call local government – because voters in a particular location have a common interest re the provision of roads, bridges, sewerage, libraries and the like because there’s an identifiable common interest. Local government, if you like, deals with the basics of everyday life that can be geographically recognised. The nuts and bolts.

    On the other hand, the further one moves up the (ideal) democratic totem (structurally), the less important the geographical location of the voter seems to be. Seems to me that foreign policy and a whole range of other policy considerations have nothing to do with the common interests of the geographical located voter. Indeed it seems that geography is irrelevant in so many ways.

    So if not geography – as the basis for determining our elected representative – then what? The possibilities for qualification are almost endless but here’s a few for consideration – race, gender, class, education level, wealth, age, socioeconomic location, or any number of combinations of same.

    In short, what should the electorate look like in a modern democracy? Perhaps it might be an electorate of the whole – a direct democracy where each and all have the right and opportunity to represent ourselves?

  33. Evelyn Hogan

    A generation of academics and public servants were influenced by the work of Treasury Secretary Dr Ken Henry. I was a public servant from 1990 to 2010 and during that time we studied the speeches of Dr Henry, an adherent of the capability theories of Amartya Sen. Here is an example of the many Henry speeches still filed in the Treasury Archive. “Addressing Extreme Disadvantage Through Investment in Capability Development. Closing Keynote Address to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Conference “Australia’s Welfare 2007″” . I have no doubt Tim Storer is part of that ANU generation. I hope in his time in the Senate he will reinvigorate debate on the intellectual foundations of public policy development in Australia.

  34. Steve Laing

    At the end of the day, you cannot beat the straight thinking and straight talking that comes from politicians who are outside of the political parties and thus able to think and speak freely. Over the last 15 years, some of the most effective politicians have been independent, and is why I so dislike the party political system, particularly in our current environment where it has simply become a numbers game, and hang the quality of any debate. More independents please!! And particularly more who seem as capable as Senator Storer.

    It would seem that the best thing that Xylophone did was effectively push him out his little cabal, and thereby made him effective.

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