John Madigan (Australian politician)

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John Madigan
Leader of John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party
In office
8 April 2015 – 13 September 2016
DeputyMark George
Preceded byParty established
Succeeded byParty dissolved
Leader of the Democratic Labour Party
in the Senate
In office
1 July 2011 – 4 September 2014
LeaderDavid McCabe
Paul Funnell
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Leader of the Democratic Labour Party
in Victoria
In office
21 August 2010 – 4 September 2014
DeputyRachel Carling-Jenkins
Preceded byPeter Kavanagh
Succeeded byRachel Carling-Jenkins
Deputy Leader of the Democratic Labour Party in Victoria
In office
LeaderPeter Kavanagh
Preceded byMaugerita Kavanagh
Succeeded byRachel Carling-Jenkins
Senator for Victoria
In office
1 July 2011 – 2 July 2016
Personal details
John Joseph Madigan

(1966-07-21) 21 July 1966 (age 52)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political partyCountry (since 2016)
Other political
John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming (2015–2016)
Independent (2014–2015)
Democratic Labour (before 2010–2014)
Spouse(s)Teresa Madigan
ResidenceBallarat, Victoria, Australia

John Joseph Madigan (born 21 July 1966) is a former Australian politician.[1] He was a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), before resigning from the party and becoming an independent in September 2014. Madigan launched the John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party in 2015.[2] He was elected to the Australian Senate with 2.3 percent of the primary vote in Victoria at the 2010 federal election, to serve a six-year term from July 2011.[3][4] He failed to be re-elected at the 2016 double dissolution election, and the Manufacturing and Farming Party was voluntarily deregistered on 13 September 2016.[5] Madigan joined the Australian Country Party in September 2016.[6]

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.[3][7] 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.[3][8][9]


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.[10]

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.[3][11][12][13]

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 Greens bloc paired with either Labor or the coalition was enough to win a division in the 2011–14 Senate composition.

2016 election[edit]

Due to a double dissolution of parliament in 2016, Madigan did not get to serve his full term in parliament. The Manufacturing and Farming party supported Madigan and Mark George as senate candidates for Victoria in the 2016 federal election.[14]

Madigan was not re-elected, gaining a mere 0.15% of the total Senate vote in Victoria. John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party was voluntarily deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission on 13 September 2016.[5]

Political views[edit]

Madigan has taken a strong stance for implementing refugee and protection conventions[15] and gambling reforms.[16]

Madigan is a climate sceptic[17][18] doubting the scientific evidence behind anthropogenic climate change stating:[19]

...the degree to which man can influence the change of climate, well I don’t believe the jury is in on that yet. For all the people of the world, scientists who say it is, there’s probably an equal body who says it isn’t.

— Senator John Madigan, interview, 17 December 2012.

Madigan invited British climate change denier Christopher Monckton to Australia for a speaking tour in 2012.[20] The booking at Ballarat was made by the Democratic Labour Party and was controversial causing the principal of St Patrick's College to say "The hiring of the college pavilion to the DLP in no way indicates support, tacit or otherwise, for the views of (Lord) Monckton, the DLP or the Climate Sceptics Party."[21]

Madigan has campaigned against wind turbines, chairing the 2015 Select Committee on Wind Turbines,[22] advocating the removal of government incentives from the industry, and promoting the idea of "wind turbine syndrome".[23][24] As of 2011, Madigan’s chief of staff is Brendan Gullifer,[25] a journalist and writer who has published articles against wind power.[26][27]

Madigan describes himself as "unashamedly pro-life".[3] As a representative of the DLP, he opposed legislation on same-sex marriage;[28] the sale of public infrastructure;[28] the implementation of 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");[28] and the limiting of weekend trading hours.[3] He addressed the Inaugural Jack Kane Dinner in July 2011, where he advocated Chifley-style protectionist economics.[7][29]

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:[30][31]

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".[30] He shares views on gambling reform and wind turbines with Xenophon, with the pair helping to establish a Select Committee on Wind Turbines.[32][33]


  1. ^ Turnbull, Jeff. "DLP an outside chance for Senate". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  2. ^ Senator John Madigan to launch his own Manufacturing and Farming Party, Sydney Morning Herald, April 8, 2015
  3. ^ a b c d e f Red-leather day for the DLP, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 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. ^ a b "John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  6. ^ "John Madigan Joins the Country Party". Australian Country Party. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  7. ^ a b Ex-blacksmith may be needed to hammer out Senate deals, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 August 2011
  8. ^ "Democratic Labour Party of Australia: Victoria". Democratic Labour Party of Australia. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  9. ^ "Senator John Madigan biography". Current Senators and Members. Parliament of Australia.
  10. ^ Senator Madigan cuts ties with Democratic Labour Party, will serve out term as independent, ABC, 4 September 2014
  11. ^ "2010 election Victorian Senate preference flows: ABC Elections". Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  12. ^ Victorian 2010 Senate results: AEC Archived 17 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Colebatch, Tim (18 September 2010). "Labor has edge in tightest race ever". The Age. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  14. ^ "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  15. ^ Asylum seeker advocates claim Government has hidden 'retrograde' laws, ABC, 16 September 2014
  16. ^ Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform, Fifth report, The advertising and promotion of gambling services in sport, Broadcasting Services Amendment, (Advertising for Sports Betting) Bill 2013
  17. ^ New Senator may bring DLP back to life, The Australian, June 14, 2011
  18. ^ Carbon tax debate continues in the Senate, Sydney Morning Herald, November 1, 2011
  19. ^ Australia’s most effective pseudoscience: climate change denial, The Guardian, 25 February 2014
  20. ^ DLP invites climate change sceptic Lord Monckton to Ballarat, The Courier, November 4, 2012
  21. ^ St Patrick's College defends Monckton decision, The Courier, July 8, 2011
  22. ^ Committee on Wind Turbines[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ Wind turbine sickness 'all in the mind': study, Sydney Morning Herald, March 15, 2013
  24. ^ The junk science of wind turbine syndrome, Business Spectator, 9 November 2012
  25. ^ Give the seat back: Furious DLP officials slam John Madigan for quitting party, Sydney Morning Herald, September 4, 2014
  26. ^ Wind-farm health fears grow, The Courier, December 1, 2010
  27. ^ Gutsy journalist (Australia), Wind Turbine Syndrome, January 1, 2011
  28. ^ a b c Preiss, Benjamin (15 September 2010). "DLP stakes its position on issues". The Courier. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ a b Gullifer, Brendan (26 August 2011). "Senator Madigan calls to bring something better to the people". The Courier. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  31. ^ Maiden Senate speech (video + transcript) 25 August 2011: Australian Parliament website Archived 15 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ Coalition pushes new Senate Inquiry in bid to stop wind, RenewEconomy, 19 November 2014
  33. ^ Fanning fear: the wind farm nocebo effect, 27 November 2012

External links[edit]