Members of the Australian Senate, 1974–1975

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

Government (29)
     Labor (29) - (2 seat minority)[a]

Opposition (29) [b]
     Liberal (23)
     Country Party (6)

Crossbench (2)
     Liberal Movement (1)
     Independent (1) [c]

  Changes in composition

  1. ^ Labor decreased to 27 and a 4 seat minority as a result of Labor senators Lionel Murphy and Bertie Milliner being replaced by Independents.
  2. ^ Coalition increased to 30 as a result of Michael Townley joining the Liberal party in February 1975.
  3. ^ Independent Michael Townley joined the Liberal party in February 1975. Independents Cleaver Bunton and Albert Field were appointed to casual vacancies.


This is a list of members of the Australian Senate from 1974 to 1975.[1] The 18 May 1974 election was a double dissolution of both Houses, with all 127 seats in the House of Representatives, and all 60 seats in the Senate up for election. The incumbent Labor Party led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam defeated the opposition Liberal Party led by Billy Snedden and their Coalition partner the Country Party led by Doug Anthony.[a]

In accordance with section 13 of the Constitution, following a double dissolution of Parliament, the terms for Senators commence on 1 July preceding the election – i.e., on 1 July 1973. The first five Senators elected in each State were allocated the full six-year terms ending on 30 June 1979 while the other half were allocated three-year terms ending on 30 June 1976.[2] However, in fact, the Senate was dissolved on 11 November 1975 for another double dissolution election on 13 December 1975.

The process for filling casual vacancies was complex. While senators were elected for a six year term, people appointed to a casual vacancy only held office until the earlier of the next election for the House of Representatives or the Senate.[3] It was an established convention that the state parliament choose (or the governor appoint) a replacement from the same political party as their predecessor, however this convention was not always followed. There were two appointments to casual vacancies in this term however neither followed the convention with Labor Senator Lionel Murphy being replaced by Independent Cleaver Bunton and Labor Senator Bertie Milliner being replaced by Albert Field who was expelled as a member of the Labor party for accepting the appointment instead of Labor nomination Mal Colston.

At the May 1974 election, Labor won 29 seats, the Coalition won 29 seats and the balance of power was shared by Liberal Movement Senator Steele Hall and Independent Michael Townley. The President of the Senate votes and if the votes are equal, the motion is defeated.[4] Thus the Labor government needed the support of both cross-bench senators to pass any legislation. The Coalition was increased to 30 seats when Townley joined the Liberal party in February 1975 and thus could effectively block any government legislation or motions, but could not pass any motion on their own. Labor was reduced to 27 seats by the replacement of 2 Labor senators with independents. Field was sworn in on 9 September 1975, however he was given leave from 1 October,[5] not to attend the Senate pending a High Court challenge to his eligibility.[6] As a result the Coalition had a majority in the Senate and as well as blocking supply, could also pass a motion to defer Supply until an election was called.[7] Thus the casual appointments process contributed to the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis.[6]

The controversial appointments of Senators Bunton and Field prompted the 1977 referendum to amend the Constitution to require a replacement senator to be a member of the same political party.[8][9]

Senator Party State End term Years in Office
Hon. Sir Ken Anderson   Liberal New South Wales 1976 1953–1975
Dr Peter Baume   Liberal New South Wales 1976 1953–1975
Bessell, EricEric Bessell   Liberal Tasmania 1976 1974–1975
Hon. Reg Bishop   Labor South Australia 1979 1961–1981
Bonner, NevilleNeville Bonner   Liberal Queensland 1979 1971–1983
Brown, BillBill Brown   Labor Victoria 1979 1969–1970, 1971–1978
Bunton, CleaverCleaver Bunton [b]   Independent New South Wales 1975 [c] 1974–1975
Button, JohnJohn Button   Labor Victoria 1979 1974–1993
Cameron, DonDon Cameron   Labor South Australia 1976 1969–1978
Hon. John Carrick   Liberal New South Wales 1979 1970–1987
Hon. Jim Cavanagh   Labor South Australia 1979 1961–1981
Chaney, FredFred Chaney   Liberal Western Australia 1976 1974–1990
Coleman, RuthRuth Coleman   Labor Western Australia 1976 1974–1987
Hon. Sir Magnus Cormack   Liberal Victoria 1979 1951–1953, 1962–1978
Hon. Bob Cotton   Liberal New South Wales 1979 1965–1978
Davidson, GordonGordon Davidson   Liberal South Australia 1976 1961, 1962, 1965–1981
Devitt, DonDon Devitt   Labor Tasmania 1979 1965–1978
Hon. Tom Drake-Brockman   Country [d] Western Australia 1979 1958, 1959–1978
Drury, ArnoldArnold Drury   Labor South Australia 1976 1959–1975
Durack, PeterPeter Durack   Liberal Western Australia 1976 1970–1993
Everett, MervMerv Everett   Labor Tasmania 1976 1974–1975
Field, AlbertAlbert Field [e]   Independent Queensland 1975 [c] 1974–1975
Georges, GeorgeGeorge Georges   Labor Queensland 1979 1967–1987
Gietzelt, ArthurArthur Gietzelt   Labor New South Wales 1976 1970–1989
Hon. Ivor Greenwood   Liberal Victoria 1979 1968–1976
Dr Don Grimes   Labor Tasmania 1976 1974–1987
Guilfoyle, MargaretMargaret Guilfoyle   Liberal Victoria 1976 1970–1987
Hall, SteeleSteele Hall   Liberal Movement South Australia 1979 1974–1977
Jessop, DonDon Jessop   Liberal South Australia 1976 1970–1991
Keeffe, JimJim Keeffe   Labor Queensland 1976 1964–1983
Sir Condor Laucke   Liberal South Australia 1979 1967–1981
Lawrie, EllisEllis Lawrie   Liberal Queensland 1976 1965–1975
Ron McAuliffe   Labor Queensland 1979 1970–1981
Hon. Doug McClelland   Labor New South Wales 1979 1961–1987
Hon. Jim McClelland   Labor New South Wales 1976 1970–1978
Gordon McIntosh   Labor Western Australia 1976 1974–1987
Geoff McLaren   Labor South Australia 1976 1970–1983
Marriott, JohnJohn Marriott   Liberal Tasmania 1976 1953–1975
Kathy Martin   Liberal Queensland 1976 1974–1984
Maunsell, RonRon Maunsell   Country Queensland 1979 1967–1981
Melzer, JeanJean Melzer   Labor Victoria 1976 1974–1981
Milliner, BertieBertie Milliner [e]   Labor Queensland 1979 1968–1975
Missen, AlanAlan Missen   Liberal Victoria 1976 1974–1986
Mulvihill, TonyTony Mulvihill   Labor New South Wales 1979 1964–1983
Hon. Lionel Murphy [b]   Labor New South Wales 1979 1962–1975
Hon. Justin O'Byrne [f]   Labor Tasmania 1979 1947–1981
Poyser, GeorgeGeorge Poyser   Labor Victoria 1976 1966–1975
Primmer, CyrilCyril Primmer   Labor Victoria 1979 1971–1985
Rae, PeterPeter Rae   Liberal Tasmania 1979 1967–1986
Douglas Scott   Country New South Wales 1976 1970, 1974–1985
Dr Glen Sheil   Country Queensland 1976 1974–1981
Sim, PeterPeter Sim   Liberal Western Australia 1979 1964–1981
Townely, MichaelMichael Townely   Independent/Liberal [g] Tasmania 1976 1970–1987
Walsh, PeterPeter Walsh   Labor Western Australia 1976 1974–1993
Webster, JamesJames Webster   Country Victoria 1976 1964–1981
Wheeldon, JohnJohn Wheeldon   Labor Western Australia 1979 1964–1981
Hon Don Willesee   Labor Western Australia 1979 1950–1975
Withers, RegReg Withers   Liberal Western Australia 1979 1966, 1967–1987
Wood, IanIan Wood   Liberal Queensland 1979 1950–1978
Hon. Ken Wriedt   Labor Tasmania 1979 1964–1980
Hon. Reg Wright   Liberal Tasmania 1979 1950–1978
Young, HaroldHarold Young   Liberal South Australia 1979 1968–1981

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In 1975 the Australian Country Party changed its name to the National Country Party.
  2. ^ a b Labor Senator Lionel Murphy resigned on 9 February 1975 to be appointed to the High Court of Australia; Independent Cleaver Bunton was appointed to fill the ensuing vacancy on 27 February until the double dissolution election on 13 December 1975.
  3. ^ a b Appointed to a casual vacancy and only held office until the earlier of the next election for the House of Representatives or the Senate.[3]
  4. ^ Tom Drake-Brockman stood as member of the National Alliance (Australia), a merger between the WA Country Party and WA Democratic Labor Party. Drake-Brockman was the only alliance candidate to win a seat at the May 1974 election and he subsequently sat as a member of the Country Party
  5. ^ a b Labor Senator Bertie Milliner died on 30 June 1975; independent Albert Field was appointed to fill the ensuing vacancy on 3 September until the double dissolution election on 13 December 1975.
  6. ^ Father of the Senate
  7. ^ Michael Townley joined the Liberal Party in February 1975.


  1. ^ "The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate 1975". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 21 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Lionel Murphy (17 July 1974). "Rotation of Senators". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Commonwealth of Australia: Senate. 
  3. ^ a b Evans, H. "Filling Casual Vacancies before 1977" (PDF). The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, Volume 3. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  4. ^ Constitution (Cth) s 23 Voting in the Senate.
  5. ^ A Senator can only be absent for 2 months with the permission of the Senate: Constitution (Cth) s 20 Vacancy by absence.
  6. ^ a b "Field, Albert Patrick (Pat) (1910-1990)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "Appropriation Bill No 1" (PDF). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Commonwealth of Australia: Senate. 16 October 1975. pp. 1220–1241. 
  8. ^ Gerard Newman (14 May 2002). "Senate Casual Vacancies" (PDF). Research Note no.35 2001-2001. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  9. ^ Constitution Alteration (Senate Casual Vacancies) Act 1977 (Cth).


Members of the Australian Parliament
House of Representatives

1972–1974  · 1974–1975  · 1975–1977


1971–1974  · 1974–1975  · 1975–1978