John Madigan (Australian politician)

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John Madigan
Senator for Victoria
Assumed office
1 July 2011
Personal details
Born (1966-07-21) 21 July 1966 (age 48)
Melbourne, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Democratic Labour Party (2010–2014)
Independent (2014–present)
Children 2
Residence Ballarat, Victoria
Occupation Politician
Profession Blacksmith
Religion Roman Catholicism[1][2]

John Joseph Madigan (born 21 July 1966) is an Australian politician.[3] He was a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), before resigning from the party and becoming an independent in September 2014. He was elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal election, serving a six-year term from July 2011.[4][1]

Early life[edit]

Born into a Catholic family, Madigan belonged to a youth group run by the National Civic Council founder, B.A. Santamaria, in Melbourne.[1][2] Madigan was a blacksmith and boilermaker from 1983 to 2011, self-employed in his own engineering workshop in Hepburn Springs, Victoria. He has an apprenticeship in Structural Steel Fabrication from Newport TAFE. He lives in Ballarat and is married with two children.[1][5][6]


Madigan served as vice-president of the Victorian DLP from 2008 to 2009 and was elected to the Senate at the 2010 election. Madigan resigned from the DLP and became an independent Senator on 4 September 2014, citing long-term internal party tensions.[7]

2010 federal election[edit]

Madigan won the sixth and last Victorian Senate seat at the 2010 federal election. He took office on 1 July 2011 as the first "DLP" senator from Victoria since Frank McManus and Jack Little, who were both defeated at the double-dissolution election in 1974. Preference counts indicated that the primary DLP vote of 2.3 percent (75,000 votes) in Victoria reached the 14.3 percent quota required by gaining One Nation, Christian Democratic and Building Australia preferences to edge out Steve Fielding of the Family First Party with a 0.2 percent lead and thus gained their preferences. When the Australian Sex Party candidate was excluded, the DLP gained Liberal Democratic Party preferences, overtaking the third Liberal/National candidate and gaining their preferences to win the last seat.[1][8][9][10]

Madigan took his seat in the Senate on 1 July 2011. The then Labor government held 31 seats, eight short of a majority, with the Greens holding nine seats, a sole balance of power position, therefore Madigan's vote was unlikely to be a decider in a senate division because the Green bloc paired with either Labor or the coalition was enough to win a division in the 2011–14 Senate composition.

Political views[edit]

Madigan takes a pro-life stance, describing himself as "unashamedly pro-life".[1] As a representative of the DLP, he has opposed legislation on same-sex marriage;[11] opposed the sale of public infrastructure;[11] opposed to a carbon tax, stating "We're not in favour of a carbon tax because we believe it's a tax on people and a tax on life";[11] advocated shops closing at midday on Saturdays;[1] and addressed the Inaugural Jack Kane Dinner in July 2011, where he advocated Chifley protectionist economics.[2][12]

In his maiden speech to the Senate, Madigan denounced Victoria's "inhumane" abortion laws and committed to help restore Australia's dwindling manufacturing sector. He called for a "good Labor government that will bring something better to the people". He said that the DLP and ALP differed in a number of ways, stating:[13][14]

We both came from the same lineage and however some members on both sides may dislike it, we are kin, of sorts. The ALP has a chance to reaffirm its commitment to that unchanging labour movement. The DLP intends to pursue that vision....

During my time here there will no doubt be a number of controversial bills proposed. I do not intend to be deliberately controversial simply for a few cheap headlines but on some issues I cannot be complicit by my silence.

— Senator John Madigan, first speech to the Australian Senate, 25 August 2011.

Madigan also praised fellow crossbench Senator Nick Xenophon in his maiden speech, saying he had "done his best to address the plight of the Australian worker and the Australian family".[13] Madigan was one of only a couple of Senators present when Xenophon used parliamentary privilege in September 2011 to make claims about Catholic Church coverups of alleged sexual abuse.[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Fyfe, Melissa (12 September 2010). "Red-leather day for the DLP". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ex-blacksmith may be needed to hammer out Senate deals". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Turnbull, Jeff. "DLP an outside chance for Senate". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Levy, Megan (16 September 2010). "Family First's Steve Fielding loses Senate seat". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  5. ^ "Democratic Labor Party of Australia: Victoria". Democratic Labor Party of Australia. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Senator John Madigan biography". Current Senators and Members. Parliament of Australia. 
  7. ^ Senator Madigan cuts ties with Democratic Labour Party, will serve out term as independent: ABC 4 September 2014
  8. ^ "2010 election Victorian Senate preference flows: ABC Elections". Retrieved 7 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Victorian 2010 Senate results: AEC
  10. ^ Colebatch, Tim (18 September 2010). "Labor has edge in tightest race ever". The Age. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  11. ^ a b c Preiss, Benjamin (15 September 2010). "DLP stakes its position on issues". The Courier (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 16 September 2010. 
  12. ^ Allan, Lyle (July 2011). "Historical parallels: ALP preferences and the resurgent DLP". Recorder (Melbourne: Australian Society for the Study of Labour History) (270): 6–7. 
  13. ^ a b Gullifer, Brendan (26 August 2011). "Senator Madigan calls to bring something better to the people". The Courier. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  14. ^ Maiden Senate speech (video + transcript) 25 August 2011: Australian Parliament website[dead link]
  15. ^ Xenophon speech puts parliamentary privilege in spotlight: 7.30 report ABC 15 September 2011

External links[edit]