John Madigan (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Madigan
Senator for Victoria
In office
1 July 2011 – 2 July 2016
Leader of John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party
In office
8 April 2015 – 13 September 2016
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
Personal details
John Joseph Madigan

21 July 1966
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died16 June 2020(2020-06-16) (aged 53)
Victoria, Australia
Political partyDemocratic Labour (until 2014; 2020)[1]
Other political
Independent (2014–15)
Manufacturing and Farming (2015–16)
Country (2016–20)
Spouse(s)Teresa Madigan
ResidenceBallarat, Victoria, Australia

John Joseph Madigan (21 July 1966 – 16 June 2020) was an Australian blacksmith and politician.[2] He served as a Senator for Victoria from 2011 to 2016. He was elected to the Senate at the 2010 federal election as a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP).[3][4] He resigned from the DLP to become an independent in September 2014, and later launched "John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party" in 2015.[5]

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.[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 lived in Ballarat and was married with two children.[3][8][9]


Madigan (centre) with Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove (left), Lady Cosgrove, and other Senators in 2014

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.[14]

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.[15]

Madigan was not re-elected, gaining 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.[6]

Later years and death[edit]

Madigan joined the Australian Country Party in September 2016.[16]

In December 2018, Madigan announced that he had liver and bowel cancer. He died on 16 June 2020, aged 53, at a palliative care facility near his home in Hepburn Springs, Victoria.[17] Former prime minister Tony Abbott eulogised Madigan as "a fine representative of a worthy political tradition" with an "old-fashioned sense of courtesy and respect for others".[18]

Political views[edit]

Madigan took a strong stance for implementing refugee and protection conventions[19] and gambling reforms.[20]

Madigan campaigned against wind turbines, chairing the 2015 Select Committee on Wind Turbines, advocating the removal of government incentives from the industry, and promoting the idea of "wind turbine syndrome".[21][22] From 2011 onward, Madigan's chief of staff was Brendan Gullifer,[23] a journalist and writer who has published articles against wind power.[24][25]

Madigan described himself as "unashamedly pro-life".[3] As a representative of the DLP, he opposed legislation on same-sex marriage;[26] the sale of public infrastructure;[26] 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");[26] 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][27]

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:[28][29]

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".[28] He shared views on gambling reform and wind turbines with Xenophon, with the pair helping to establish a Select Committee on Wind Turbines.[30][31]


  1. ^ Vale John Madigan, Democratic Labour Party, 16 June 2020
  2. ^ Turnbull, Jeff. "DLP an outside chance for Senate". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 7 September 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Red-leather day for the DLP, The 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. ^ Senator John Madigan to launch his own Manufacturing and Farming Party, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b "John Madigan's Manufacturing and Farming Party". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  7. ^ a b Ex-blacksmith may be needed to hammer out Senate deals, The 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. ^ McCann, Dr Joy. "Balancing act: the Australian Greens 2008–2011". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  15. ^ "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  16. ^ "John Madigan Joins the Country Party". Australian Country Party. 26 September 2016. Archived from the original on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  17. ^ "'A true original': Former DLP senator John Madigan dies, aged 53". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 June 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  18. ^ "Tributes flow for down-to-earth former Senator John Madigan". The Courier. 16 June 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2020.
  19. ^ Asylum seeker advocates claim Government has hidden 'retrograde' laws, ABC, 16 September 2014
  20. ^ Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform Archived 11 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Fifth report, The advertising and promotion of gambling services in sport, Broadcasting Services Amendment, (Advertising for Sports Betting) Bill 2013
  21. ^ Wind turbine sickness 'all in the mind': study, The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 2013.
  22. ^ The junk science of wind turbine syndrome, Business Spectator, 9 November 2012.
  23. ^ Give the seat back: Furious DLP officials slam John Madigan for quitting party, The Sydney Morning Herald, 4 September 2014.
  24. ^ Wind-farm health fears grow, The Courier, 1 December 2010.
  25. ^ Gutsy journalist (Australia), Wind Turbine Syndrome, 1 January 2011.
  26. ^ a b c Preiss, Benjamin (15 September 2010). "DLP stakes its position on issues". The Courier. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ a b Gullifer, Brendan (26 August 2011). "Senator Madigan calls to bring something better to the people". The Courier. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  29. ^ Maiden Senate speech (video + transcript) 25 August 2011: Australian Parliament website Archived 15 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Coalition pushes new Senate Inquiry in bid to stop wind, RenewEconomy, 19 November 2014
  31. ^ Fanning fear: the wind farm nocebo effect, 27 November 2012

External links[edit]