Talk:Australian Senate

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Old talk page discussion points[edit]

There is no convention that requires a government to automatically resign or call an election once supply is blocked. The 'convention' was made up in the 1970s to suit the political rhetoric of the time. In fact a government may 'hang tough' for as long as the GG allows them to do so.

Removed this:

The original arrangement was a block voting mechanism [OK, but what does that mean?]. In 1919, this was ammended to allow for preferential voting. The block voting model tended to grant landslide majorities very easily. In 1946, the Australian Labor Party government won 30 out of the 33 Senate seats. In 1948, partially in response to this extreme situation, they introduced proportional representation in the Senate.

Because it is badly written and confusing. I substituted a simpler thing, losing some meaning, but trusting that someone with expertise in this area will come along and restore the cut in such a way that it isn't self-contradictoty. Tannin 08:03 Feb 13, 2003 (UTC)

OK. I'll do some more research and re-write the description correctly. Pde

Roadrunner and Tannin edited in the following paragraph:

In contrast to Presidental systems such as that of the United States (in which the inability of the President to pass a major bill through the legislature is considered routine), the Australian parliamentary system often regards the inability of the government to pass a major bill as quite significant. Because the Senate and the House of Representatives are elected with different voting procedures, the party composition of the Senate rarely matches that of the House of Representatives. Further, in contrast to other parliamentary systems, the Australian Senate is expected to play an active legislative role.

I get the feeling that this highly comparative approach to describing the way the Senate operates is quite confusing, because the whole picture is not present:

  • Many parliaments have legislative deadlocks of various sorts; the House of Lords was able to cause them before 1911, too.
  • Party composition in upper & lower houses is different in most places
  • A major difference between Australia and the US is that almost all votes are along party lines. The ALP has a binding caucus; the Liberals (& even the Democrats) have very low tollerance for their MPs crossing the floor.
  • The US Senate does take a proactive legislative role.

I've tried to re-write the paragraph by saying how things happen in the Australian parliament, including all of the important facts. If readers want to compare this to other political systems (not just those of the US & the UK) then hopefully wikipedia can provide clear articles for other parliaments too!

Pde 23:29 Feb 13, 2003 (UTC)

Good move, Pde. It is a lot clearer now. Tannin 23:48 Feb 13, 2003 (UTC)

the infamous clash between the British House of Commons and House of Lords in 1909. Can someone explain this, or point to a page which discusses it? RickK 04:43, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)

It's discussed on the House of Lords page. I've tried to clarify the text a little. -- Pde

During a double dissolution, how is it determined which members will serve half terms and which members will serve full terms? RickK 04:50, 31 Aug 2003 (UTC)

Good question. IIRC, it's been changed (or at least debated) over the years. One system which the Liberals and elements of the ALP have supported, and may now be in place, is a system in which the first 6 senators elected in the STV process are elected for two terms. This automatically gives all the full-term seats to major parties, probably 3 each -- and means that a double dissolution is a serious threat disruption to the long term health of a smaller party like the Democrats, which often has two senators from a State. -- Pde 16:49, 1 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I dispute the claim that the ability to block supply makes the government "accountable" to the Senate: this at the least is a point of contention rather than being authoritatively settled. Lacrimosus 23:50, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Block voting meant 3 votes if 3 vacancies.[edit]

The original voting system for the Australia Senate gave each voter a vote for each vacancy, originally 3 per state. The first 3 past the post where then elected.

I am not quite sure what this system is called.

Later on the system was adapted to include preferences.

The disadvantage of this system was that is often lead to lopsided results, as bad as 36-0. These lopsided results brought the Senate into disrepute, leading eventually to the adoption of STV in 1949.

Syd1435 02:51, 2004 Oct 4 (UTC)

Unlike Cumulative voting is some US jurisdictions, in the Australian "Block Voting" you had to vote for 3 different candidates. Tabletop (talk) 20:44, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Nader, Kerry, et al. on the Australian Senate ballot?????[edit]

I'd say it looks a lot more like this. We could probably get away with putting that image (or a more contemporary equivalent, with the Greens instead of the NDP) on Wikipedia; copyright is unlikely to subsist in those images. -- pde 04:43, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I have chosen names to be short, and to make some sense to non-Australian readers, hence Bush (Republican) and Kerrry (Democrat) etc.

Syd1435 06:48, 2004 Oct 7 (UTC)

  • Please don't. Just include a generic name that is not an American political figure. I don't particularly want to see American politics entering into an article about the politics of Australia. Besides which, it sort of looks like we're being ruled by Americans, and I really do object to that (no offence to Americans, but we are an independent nation even if we are still technically a monarchy). - Ta bu shi da yu 13:51, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I was going to edit it to match the Tasmanian senate paper (as it would be the smallest)? Shouldn't be a problem with using a real example should there? -- Chuq 22:03, 13 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Done that now - could do with a better way of signifying a tick box, but is a lot easier to read than the last example. -- Chuq 01:32, 15 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Double Dissolusion[edit]

Just because the 1975 double dissolusion may not have been to put supply through, does not mean it cannot be used for that purpose. The reason the GG wanted supply through before the election was that he wanted money to start flowing at the government departments. Xtra 23:26, 13 August 2005 (UTC)

1. The better practice with contested reverts is to talk them out rather than just doing them.

2. It was an accident that other bills were available on which a double dissolution could be granted. The rules don't apply because they do not cover the situation the Senate refuses supply and there are no double dissolution bills. In that case the two houses cannot be dissolved, supply can be exhausted, and there is no way to resolve the situation.

A number of writers have criticised Kerr's action in that he applied the double dissolution power to resolve a Supply crisis for which they were not designed. It' a basic principle of constitutional law that you should not invoke a targeted power to achieve a different object.

There may be a case for putting both views. There is no case for putting for one view as though it had universal acceptance. Alan 09:09, 14 August 2005 (UTC)

Appointment to the senate[edit]

Appointments made under section 15 of the Constitution should probably be mentioned. I would add it but I don't know where to find the info. Senate Committees (standing and sitting) are also notably absent.--nixie 05:47, 18 September 2005 (UTC)


There should be a section on this as it was probably the most significant event in the Senate since federation. Xtra 02:07, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

I believe that the newly re-written "blocking supply" section is a good summary. Given that all we really want is a summary (we can't give undue prominence to one year out of 105, that's what the Australian constitutional crisis of 1975 article is for), feel free to add whatever's required. Slac speak up! 02:27, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
missed that. Xtra 03:08, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Tied Vote[edit]

Hi, I'm just wondering what happens in the case of a tied vote in the Senate. An even number of seats means the vote could be tied 38-38, and unlike the US there's no Vice President to step in and break it. Is the bill considered defeated in that case or does something else happen. -- James Ferguson

In the event of a tied vote on a bill in the Senate, the bill is considered defeated. However, my understanding is that a procedural motion can succeed on a tie. Slac speak up! 09:48, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
I've written a bit on this in a new section on votes in the Senate, but have not located anything to suggest tied procedural motions can succeed. It appears to me that section 23 governs all divisions. BTW Slac thanks for your welcome all those months ago. hamiltonstone 03:12, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

See casting vote. Tabletop (talk) 04:02, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Parliamentary Chamber infobox[edit]

I see a disagreement between CJ and Lockesdonkey about creation of a new infobox in this article. I thought the infobox was quite a good assembly of information dispersed throughout the article (some of it not easily found). I note Lockesdonkey's observation that these are used in other legislature pages, though the format is not always standard (compare Bundestag with Scottish Parliament for example). Unless WP has a policy that an infobox should not duplicate information in an article in any way (in which case, there seem to be a lot of info boxes that need removing!), i would favour its retention. I will post this to the two user pages, revert the removal of the box for now, and await discussion here. hamiltonstone 23:23, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, Hamilton. While I recognize that the format is a bit messy as of now, I believe this is NOT a reason to remove infoboxes, but rather to edit the infobox or create a standard for it. I did not create the legislature infobox, nor was I involved in its development; I merely applied it to articles which did not previously bear the box. If CJ considers the application of any infobox to this article (or, for that matter, the other ones that I applied it to, including Australian Parliament and Australian House of Representatives and their Canadian counterparts), then I would ask him what exactly impels him to this position. If he merely thinks the infobox as it stands is bad, I would ask that he leave the infoboxes intact and edit the infobox into a shape more to his liking. Lockesdonkey 22:28, 20 August 2007 (UTC)

Link to Wikipedia page on US Senate (in "See also" section)[edit]

Link is appropriate as Australian Senate is partly modelled on US Senate, also it is designed to be able to be moved more towards the US system, if Australian people want it to go that way. Also, in section on the Australian Senate's origins/history, US Senate is mentioned(and link to Wikipedia article on US Senate is included in text).

Possible restructure[edit]

The article Senate of Canada achieved Feature Article status. It could be a good model for some improvements to the Australian Senate page. The differences between the two institutions do mean there need to be some differences in presentation of information - the powerful role of Australia's Senate makes procedural aspects more important, as well as warranting more attention to elections and balance of power arrangements. On the other hand, the Canadian article has better quality text, is less fragmented both visually and thematically, and is better organised. in coming months i might try some reorganisation to build on the Canadian exemplar and see how it goes. This may involve shifting most or all tabulations of results etc to the end of the article, and perhaps moving some of them out in favour of directing viewers to more appropriate locations. hamiltonstone (talk) 05:20, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

BTW I think I once noticed a possible error in the "historical" table (a contradiction with another article somewhere). Sorry but I can't remember exactly, I think it was a Labor/Democrats count in the 90s. I was unable to resolve the error, so left it as is. Just a point to note if you're going to go through it carefully. Peter Ballard (talk) 05:50, 11 December 2007 (UTC)

Crossing the floor - delete[edit]

The "Crossing the floor" section should be deleted. It details specific instances of crossing the floor, and is out of place in a general article on the Australian Senate. Of course crossing the floor can be mentioned, but since the Senate is no different from the House in this respect, little needs to be said. Peter Ballard (talk) 01:46, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Little needs to be said, except for that a majority is much easier to generate from the minority in the Senate than in the lower house. I'm not sure of the last time a couple of renegade MPs in the lower meant they had the power to block bills. Timeshift (talk) 01:56, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
I guess that in turn comes from the fact that it is hard to get a "landslide" victory in the Senate: if one party manages to get a majority in the Senate, it is by a narrow margin. Not sure where that belongs. Perhaps somewhere in section 4 "Membership of the Senate". Peter Ballard (talk) 02:14, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
In one sense, i see the first two points - the content is perhaps too specific. however, it is also part of a broader section that explains to an outsider how the Senate actually works - including an outsider who might not be familiar with tight party discipline or its limitations. I think we might be better served to alter the section to put floor-crossing in that broader context. I will tinker a bit sometime - in the meantime i'm inserting references to deal with the 'fact' tags. BTW I was thinking to get an assessment of what was needed to get Australian Senate tagged a Good Article. If either of you have other suggestions, I can do some following up. Cheers hamiltonstone (talk) 02:16, 9 January 2008 (UTC)
Good work Hamilton. Timeshift (talk) 02:22, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Senate Ballot Paper names.[edit]

In your senate ballot paper example, you have for group F "Ind." Suggesting party name of 'Independent'. If that is the case then afaik a party may not be called "Independent". See Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 - extracts relevant to an application for party registration, Part XI - Registration of political parties, section 129. Parties with certain names,

"1(e) comprises the words “Independent Party” or comprises or contains the word “Independent” and:
(i) the name, or an abbreviation or acronym of the name, of a recognised political party; or
(ii) matter that so nearly resembles the name, or an abbreviation or acronym of the name, of a recognised political party that the matter is likely to be confused with or mistaken for that name or that abbreviation or acronym, as the case may be."

Additionally, and most importantly, a single independent candidate doesn't get a ticket box, if they are ungrouped (single), independent, AND not affiliated to any registered party. Column G, with it's ticket box, may be acceptable if both independent candidates nominate as a pair. (talk) 02:53, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Isn't there a special exception for sitting Senators? ISTR reading that had there been a double dissolution Nick Xenophon would have been able to stand without risking bringing in a running mate and having a rerun of the problems in the state parliament. Timrollpickering (talk) 11:42, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

This is correct. Sitting senators can stand as an independent, on their own, and with a ticket box. But senate candidates who are running for the first time do not get a ticket box if they're unaffiliated with any party, and if they're ungrouped. A first time unaffiliated senate candidate can only get a voting ticket box if they nominate as a group with at least one other senate candidate. I think for the section on which candidates get ticket boxes, the distinction between sitting senators and new senate candidates should be stated/clarified.

I also think there should be a section describing the Senator Fielding case of the 2004 election. In that case, Senator Fielding got only 56,376 formal votes. Less than the Australian Democrats, the Democratic Labour Party, and significantly less than The Greens who got 263,481 votes (but not enough to get a seat). But because Labor did a preference deal with Family First (instead of The Greens), with Labors surplus votes Senator Fielding got in. Assuming that very few voters study parties group voting preference tickets, the voters got a senator they did not vote as much for. A very undemocratic aspect of preferences.

Preference voting works so long as Parties preference tickets is well understood and known by the public. If I recall my history correctly the above the line ticket box system was introduced to reduce the onerous task (for the voter) of numbering up to 70 candidates, AND to increase the chance of established large parties to get their candidates elected. Whilst the first is necessary, the latter is also undemocratic. I feel that if they abolished the above the line ticket boxes, and instead allowed voters to number only 6 candidates in order of their preference (12 candidates when there's a full senate election), then it will be more democratic. This would also force party senate candidates to campaign with their individual policy / ideology difference(s) and convince the voter why they should be voted for, in favour of other candidates, or indeed in favour of their own party rivals. Eg Senator Conroy could perhaps have stood with Internet Filtering as a policy, whilst another Labor senate candidate might have offered an alternative policy. Tmsener (talk) 02:12, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Most tweaks to voting systems tend to have been introduced with at least a partial eye to helping parties, usually because of ever more limited resources of both money and activists. For instance whatever the civic duty arguments about compulsory voting it also benefits parties because they don't have to run get out the vote efforts on election day and can deploy activist resources elsewhere. Party names on ballot papers have similarly taken over from the days when parties had far more activists to tell the world who the candidates were. Ticket voting allows them to print much smaller How To Vote cards and also helps parties who can't provide activists for every polling station to get their voters to follow the recommended order. (Doesn't South Australia have something similar with the HTV cards displayed in all polling stations for state elections?)
Your idea would have several problems. Firstly it could disenfranchise a lot of voters whose votes exhaust, as seen in New South Wales state elections, and the proportions involved would be much greater for federal elections. In turn this would lead to more Senators getting elected with only part of a quota.
But more substantially your idea requires a change in political culture as well. Strong political parties are going to prioritise getting as many members elected as possible. They are going to devote scarce resources to that. They are not going to pick a set of candidates who offer every single combination of policies, nor are they going to provide opportunities for candidates to disagree with each other. The size of the states and the number of voters involved means that there just won't be the resources to have such a widespread diverse campaign. If there is going to be a distinction between candidates in campaigning it will be geographic with some candidates focusing on the metropolitan areas and others the regions. This kind of personal election can work in somewhere like the Tasmanian state divisions or the constituencies in both Irelands where the number of voters per quota is small (usually four figures) and so the voter can have reasonably intimate contact with the candidates. In a state wide election, especially one that is not the primary focus of the media, the candidates will be far more distant and party loyalty will override all this. Timrollpickering (talk) 21:38, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Territory Senator Numbers[edit]

The contribution below was deleted:

Section 122 of the Constitution provides: “The Parliament…may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it sees fit.” This section provided the constitutional support for the Senate (Representation of Territories) Act passed after the double dissolution in 1974. This Act survived constitutional challenge in two High Court cases- the First and Second Territory Senators Cases (1975 & 1977). In broad terms, the judges divided over whether the basic legal principle to apply was protection of democratic representation, or of the federal nature of the Constitution. Judgments favouring the latter emphasised section 122 might be used to flood the Senate with Territory senators. Judges prioritising the former considered it undemocratic for Australian citizens to have no Senate representation merely bec
ause of the geographic accident of their residing in the Northern Territory (NT) or the ACT. Self government and population growth in the Territories (ACT to over 350,000 and NT 225,000, with Tasmania by comparison 500,000) has made the issue of Senate representation for the Territories more pressing in terms of basic democratic principles underpinning proportional representation. In the ACT and NT, for example, if two candidates get 33.3% of the Senate vote they have a quota and all other candidates are eliminated, but in the six states, a successful Senate candidate need only get 14.3% of the vote at a half-Senate election to obtain a seat. A proposal has been made to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act section 40 which currently allows the number of senators in the ACT (or the Northern Territory) to increase beyond two only when there are ‘6 or more’ members of the House of Representatives in those jurisdictions so that the ACT and NT are represented each by four senators serving three year terms (a third the Senate representation of every State). ref: Faunce T and Dalla-Pozza D. 'Move Legislative Constraints on Senator Numbers' Canberra Times September 15 2010 p19. (talk) 01:12, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

you're putting up an Australian PR argument with the smaller states, this is unacceptable even with refs because it comes across as a soapbox. if you insist please form WP:CONSENSUS. As such, I am again removing it. If others are ok with it then I will be too, but until that time, basic wikipedia law, your addition is disputed, it has been removed, therefore you require talkpage consensus. Thanks. Timeshift (talk) 01:25, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
While a case can be made for a sentence or two on the Territory Senators Cases to ensure completeness of the history of Senate representation, the rest is soapbox and/or detail not germane to the article subject. I think Timeshift has this basically right. hamiltonstone (talk) 01:35, 15 September 2010 (UTC)
This is the few referenced sentences that have been deleted now. Surely some reference can be made to this published material.

Section 122 of the Constitution provides: “The Parliament…may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it sees fit.” and a proposal has been made to amend the Commonwealth Electoral Act so that the ACT and NT are represented each by four senators serving three year terms (a third the Senate representation of every State).ref: Faunce T and Dalla-Pozza D. 'Move Legislative Constraints on Senator Numbers' Canberra Times September 15 2010 p19. (talk) 02:15, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

There are all sorts of proposals being constantly made about parliamentary / Senate reform in Australia - literally dozens if not hundreds, published in reliable sources. None except the most significant rate a mention - by significant, I mean, eg, put to a referendum, or publicly discussed in major fora, or backed by major political organisations and debated in the press. The only part of the text that had been inserted that I thought might, in amended form, find a home in the WP article, would be of the Act surviving constitutional challenge - and without detailed comments on the justices' thinking. hamiltonstone (talk) 02:44, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Coalition Numbers[edit]

Time Shift 9: If you viewed Australian House of Representatives you would be surprised to see that the Coalition is listed as Coalition, not Liberal, National and CLP. Secondly the CLP is the NT Division of the Liberal Party. Is this just because you can't stand the Coalition having control of the Senate? (talk) 09:23, 7 November 2010 (UTC)

Er, the Coalition doesn't have control of the Senate? Timeshift (talk) 19:37, 7 November 2010 (UTC)
OK, having more Senator's than Labor. Anyway just explain your reasons (talk) 02:21, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
I believe it is better with the Coalition seperated in the Senate, as the Nats claim they may very well not vote with the opposition. Seperating them does not change the Senate numbers. As it has been this way on this page for ages, it is incumbent upon yourself to gain WP:CONSENSUS here. Until such time, you are not allowed to insist on your changes, as such, I have reverted them within the article. Thanks. Timeshift (talk) 02:28, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
I can see arguments both ways, but I think the article does need to show the numbers of the constituent parties and at present this infobox is the place to do that, since they are almagamated into "coalition" in the table near the end of the article. hamiltonstone (talk) 04:15, 8 November 2010 (UTC)
I too have observed the institutional bias on this page, but had thought it futile to comment. The argument will remain that it has been wrong, but for a long time. (talk) 13:30, 23 July 2012 (UTC)
The composition table is based on the votes received, in which case you cannot separate the Liberals and Nationals because of the joint tickets in NSW/Victoria/Queensland (in 2007, with the LNP in 2010) - indeed it's only in WA where a viable Nationals party exists that don't run a joint ticket with the Liberals, and there are no sitting Nationals in the Senate who weren't elected from a joint ticket. --GoForMoe (talk) 16:10, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Question on seat allocation[edit]

In a hypothetical where if a state result saw the two largest parties just happen to get the exact same number of primary votes, how does the AEC work out who wins the first and second of the six seats up for election? Timeshift (talk) 13:54, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Where there is an equal number generally "In counting votes in a Senate election, if only two candidates remain for the last vacancy to be filled and they have an equal number of votes, the Australian Electoral Officer for the state or territory has a casting vote, but does not otherwise vote in the election." (talk) 13:25, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Proposed name change[edit]

To Senate of Australia, as most governmental bodies have article titles in this manner.--RM (Be my friend) 05:06, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Support: Oppose:

Liberal National Party[edit]

The article on the Liberal National Party of Queensland (referenced by the LNP constitution) says that sitting Liberal and National Senators in Queensland retained their party alignment until 1 July 2011 when they would be listed as LNP. The LNP constitution does refer to "former Liberal" and "former National" members. However, the Parliament House website still lists them as Liberal and National members.

I was wondering how the party breakdown in the infobox in this article should be listed as of today? Any thoughts? --Canley (talk) 01:14, 1 July 2011 (UTC)


The latest amendments to the introduction contain inaccuracies. For example, Territory senators serve three year terms. Also (somewhat techically) only original states have 12 senators - it is moot because there are no new states to date; but the intro is misleading in this regard. The prior version correctly used the word "usually". (talk) 13:11, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

File:Australian Senate - Parliament of Australia.jpg to appear as POTD[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Australian Senate - Parliament of Australia.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on May 26, 2013. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2013-05-26. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 22:47, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Australian Senate
The meeting place of the Australian Senate, the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, in Parliament House, Canberra. Established in the Australian Constitution, the 76-seat senate has 12 representatives from each of Australia's six states and two from each of the country's internal territories.Photo: JJ Harrison

Thickness of line,[edit]

The line drawn on the current senate ballot line is quite thick, about 10mm, so that is cannot be overlooked.

The diagram in Australian Senate should be modified to suit. Tabletop (talk) 03:11, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

The thick line has been added using diamonds "♦♦♦♦". Can these be replaced with even blacker BLOCKS? Tabletop (talk) 03:58, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

Three Months[edit]

If the Senate twice in a three-month period refuses to pass the same piece of legislation....

The above text is unclear.

  • Does it means fails to pass after a gap of three months?
  • Does it mean withing three months, say today, and tomorrow, which is within/in three months? Tabletop (talk) 04:31, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
That paragraph is misleadingly and inaccurately written. The relevant section of the Constitution says:
If the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously. ...
That is, the two rejections or failures to pass the bill must be separated by at least three months, but must not be separated by any more than one session of parliament. I hope to get to a rewrite of that para on the weekend. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 04:44, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
In the only ever joint sitting in 1974, four bills were considered, as the government had "accumulated" four rejected bills.
Indeed, IIRC, there was a fifth bill which failed to meet the "three month" test, and was excluded from the joint sitting. Tabletop (talk) 13:28, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
There were actually six bills which were all taken to the joint sitting. They were the Commonwealth Electoral Bill (No. 2) 1973, Senate (Representation of Territories) Bill 1973, Representation Bill 1973, Health Insurance Bill 1973, Health Insurance Commission Bill 1973, Petroleum and Minerals Authority Bill 1973. All six were passed but there were some subsequent court challenges and the last bill was ruled to have not met the criteria and thus invalidated. From what I understand the key factor was the precise definition of "three months" with the clock ruled to have started ticking in February when the bill first arrived in the Senate rather than December when it left the House just before a recess. Unfortunately the linked sources on this have been moved. Timrollpickering (talk) 21:06, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

A double dissolution is also not allowed withing say 3 months of the expiry of the term of the Senate. Tabletop (talk) 20:30, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

No, that's a six-month clause, and it refers to the expiry of the House of Reps, not the Senate (because the Senate never expires except when there's a double dissolution). The above quote goes on:
  • But such dissolution shall not take place within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives by effluxion of time. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 20:37, 25 May 2013 (UTC)


Hansard (Parliamentary Record) for the different houses are coloured:

  • Green - House of Representatives
  • Red - Senate
  • White - Joint Sitting. Tabletop (talk) 20:33, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
May I ask why you're reporting these details here. What do you want to discuss about them? -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 20:39, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Groups F & G[edit]

Why is group F marked "Ind(ependent)" while group G is not marked at all? Tabletop (talk) 20:28, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Isn't there an option to have no description at all as opposed to Independent? Timrollpickering (talk) 21:07, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, there is. Here is the election result in question, which also reveals that "Murphy T", who was supposedly on Shayne Murphy's ticket, didn't exist. Not sure how that ended up on there. Frickeg (talk) 00:32, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Unrepresentative House?[edit]

I think that possibly a table to this effect could be useful:

State/Territory Population Divisions Senators Population/Division Population/Senator
New South Wales 7,272,230 48 12 151,505 606,019
Victoria 5,585,573 37 12 150,961 465,464
Queensland 4,548,700 30 12 151,632 379,058
Western Australia 2,317,068 15 12 154,471 193,089
South Australia 1,650,383 11 12 150,035 137,532
Tasmania 509,292 5* 12 101,858 42,441
Australian Capital Territory 362,424 2 2 181,212 181,212
Northern Territory 231,953 2 2 115,977 115,977

Population data is as used by the AEC, for the 2011 redistribution[1]. This table clearly shows the imbalance between the states and territories in terms of senate representation. While an ACT resident has 3.3 times the "voting power" of a NSW resident in the senate, a Tasmanian has 14 times the voting power. Note also that due to Section 24 of the constitution, that Tasmania must have 5 lower house representatives, so a Tasmanian resident has greater representation in both houses. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:49, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

The article near the lead already states: "Rather it was intended to play, and does play an active role in legislation. Rather than being modelled after the House of Lords, as the Canadian Senate was, the Australian Senate was in part modelled after the United States Senate, by giving equal representation to each state. The Constitution intended to give less populous states added voice in a Federal legislature, while also providing for the revising role of an upper house in the Westminster system." and then there's a whole section titled "Issues with equal representation". I'm not convinced that the above table wouldn't be bordering on WP:OR. And you had 12 Senators for ACT and NT which i've corrected to two. Timeshift (talk) 03:40, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Introduction post-election[edit]

I have made minor edits to the introduction. It reads:

The present Parliament was elected at the 2013 election, and is the 44th Federal Parliament since Federation. The six-year term of the 36 state senators who were elected will commence on 1 July 2014.

Instead of:

The present Parliament was elected at the 2010 election, and is the 43rd Federal Parliament since Federation. The six-year term of the 36 state senators who were elected commenced on 1 July 2011.

It seemed to me an uncontroversial change, since anyone talking about "the present parliament" would be referring to the 44th. Although the MHRs elected in September haven't actually sat yet, the government has changed hands as though they have, and APH website already lists the new members rather than the old. The new parliament isn't constituted, but the old one isn't the present one either.

I kept the changes to a minimum and linked to "term" so that it was clear to anyone unfamiliar with the Senate why the composition is still shown as the 2010 outcome (technically the 4 territory Senators take their seats immediately, but the result there was 2 ALP 2 Coalition same as '10), since in fact the Senate remains the same until 1 July 2014. IMHO the intro needs a more substantial change. Perhaps referring to "the current parliament" is a bad idea, since there's a period of months in which the incumbent Senate is not that of the most recently elected parliament. It would probably be best to begin the third intro paragraph by noting that senators don't take their seats until the 1st of July after the election, noting the composition after that date, then the composition to that date. (talk) 21:23, 12 October 2013 (UTC)

party room?[edit]

What is a “party room”, as in “Liberal party room” and “National party room”? – Kaihsu (talk) 17:20, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

It's a meeting place in Parliament House for members of that party, where tactical and policy matters are discussed. For the purposes of this article (when describing LNP and CLP members) it describes how those members behave, i.e. Senator Scullion (CLP) behaves as a member of the National Party. Frickeg (talk) 20:40, 30 April 2014 (UTC)

Senate composition: big problems[edit]

I'm really confused reading this article. The information about the senate composition in the opening paragraphs seems to contradict that in the table at the bottom. Why no mention of PUP or AMEP senators until the very end? Exactly how many Labor senators actually are there? Etc. SDavies (talk) 06:54, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Before anyone answers. Do you understand that Senator terms don't start until 1 July? Timeshift (talk) 07:33, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Yes, of course. The third paragraph in the introduction talks about the outcome of the 2013 election, commencing in July 2014. It gives the composition as Coalition 34, ALP 31, Greens 9, 1 DLP, & Xenophon. However, the party composition table at the end of the article gives the composition beginning July 2014 as ALP 25, coalition 33, 10 Greens, 3 PUP, 1 DLP, 1 LDP, 1 Family First, 1 AMEP & Xenophon. Which is right? SDavies (talk) 18:41, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
Ok, i've added the word "currently". Though for some reason in the infobox in image and text the coalition was at 33, not 34, so i've fixed that up. Timeshift (talk) 01:25, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I've also hived it off into a separate paragraph, as I think there may still have been scope for confusion otherwise. SDavies (talk) 07:14, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
Ok. Timeshift (talk) 07:28, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Senate Diagram[edit]

When is there going to be a diagram of the new senate like there was for the old one? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:36, 9 July 2014 (UTC)

The Greens are part of the crossbench - not part of the opposition[edit]

Anyone else noticing how many news outlets, and politicians, are referring to a crossbench which apparently has no Greens on it? It's rather annoying. Timeshift (talk) 03:12, 11 July 2014 (UTC)

Results/composition table now has both pre-WA and post-WA results - should they?[edit]

See Australian Senate#Composition. I recall discussion on the 2013 election article saying that we should only have the original, pre-WA result, with extra text and a link to the WA election article. The same table, text and link was used in the composition table. But it seems that the results/composition table now has both pre-WA and post-WA results. Personally I think it looks confusing and messy and should go back to how the 2013 article has it. Thoughts? Timeshift (talk) 06:10, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

For this page, I wonder if we actually need the vote figures? This is about the Senate, not the election. I think it would be simpler just to list the number of senators for each party (post-WA, of course). Frickeg (talk) 08:13, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I do believe that we should have the most recent results table in the lower/upper articles IMHO. Timeshift (talk) 08:22, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Hmm. I had a look around, and I quite like how the British do it - including both, but separately. That way we aren't trying to conflate two separate pieces of information (the election result, and the current membership). It also means we can include the original WA result in the results table (with a note, of course), and then the current numbers later, without any confusion. Frickeg (talk) 11:56, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I like the contents, but I don't like how much space they take up... Timeshift (talk) 02:12, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
I was suggesting more with the general layout, not the actual table format. I would keep our format for the results table (the one that's currently on the page), and then steal their one for the membership. Frickeg (talk) 03:26, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Seems ok to me. Timeshift (talk) 03:26, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

A suggestion (or a very crazy idea)[edit]

I think there should be a separate article for the Black Rod in the Australian Federal Parliament. But I don't think I have enough knowledge about this. Komitsuki (talk) 04:24, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Reference to Canadian Senate[edit]

In the section on Origins and role, reference is made to the Canadian Senate "being modelled solely after the House of Lords". This isn't entirely true. The Canadian Senate was envisaged with a regional representation function that the House of Lords does not have owing to Canada, like the US and Australia, being a federation, which the UK was not. It's not the strict equality of states of the US (and Australian) Senate but rather equality of "regions" made up of one or more provinces. So there was clearly *some* influence from the US Senate in the design of the Canadian Senate. D P J (talk) 14:35, 16 June 2015 (UTC)

Proposed changes, 2016[edit]

I was thinking that Australian Senate#2016 Senate reforms is notable enough to have its own article. Thoughts? Timeshift (talk) 06:47, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

Great idea. See next items. Tabletop (talk) 09:21, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Parties in general[edit]

There needs to be a section to deal with rules for parties in general.

For example, the changes to the Electoral Law in March 2016, tightened the rules for party officers, so that the same people could not be officers of multiple parties, especially so-called "Microparties."

Tabletop (talk) 09:18, 25 March 2016 (UTC)


What is the correct term for an elected senator during the period between being elected and taking their seat? JennyOz (talk) 03:09, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

I would have thought senator-elect, but I'm no expert – Hshook (talk) 03:12, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
Yes, senator-elect. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 03:50, 16 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, thought so but I'd seen a discussion somewhere else, which must have been about something else:). JennyOz (talk) 06:26, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

Two quick questions - passing legislation and table[edit]

1. "It is then passed to the Senate, which may amend the bill or refuse to pass it." Should this sentence also include 3rd option ie accept/pass it?

2. In the Party composition/Historical table - why 1951-1956 not 1953? Is it just a typo? JennyOz (talk) 06:26, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

I have changed "...may..." to "...has the opportunity to...". I think this clarifies the original intent. --Scott Davis Talk 12:49, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I fixed the second one too - it looks like the typo has been there since that part of the history was added in April 2011. The makeup DID change in 1953, and is reflected by the next row of the table - thanks for noticing. --Scott Davis Talk 13:05, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
Thank you Scott - all good. I understand the intent of that sentence now. JennyOz (talk) 14:06, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

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Do we really need the 2016 voting changes to be detailed twice?[edit]

Under the Electoral System section, the changes are briefly detailed at the top of the section then explored more under its own heading. I feel that this is largely unnecessary and that the bottom section should be simplified a bit and added to the top. We don't have a separate section for the 1984 Above the Line/Below the Line changes or the far more radical 1948 introduction of Proportional Representation. In the grand scheme of things the 2016 changes were relatively minor. (talk) 23:01, 13 December 2016 (UTC)

Which method the major parties prefer[edit]

"This method is likely to be preferred by the major parties in the Senate where it would deliver more six-year terms to their members."

This does not sound right to me, and and reference given does not give a good explanation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Oz freediver (talkcontribs) 03:19, 31 March 2017 (UTC)

Infobox party groupings[edit]

Generally, articles on legislatures are updated constantly to reflect the party groupings as they are formed and dissolved. The fact that Nigel Scullion was elected as a member of the Country Liberal Party does not make him any less a National in Parliament as Fiona Nash, elected on the Liberal & Nationals ticket in New South Wales, and a member of the NSW Nationals.

Similarly, to suggest that George Brandis is not a Liberal in the Senate, as he is a member of the LNP (a state division of the Liberal Party) and elected on its ticket, is nonsensical. Portwalrus (talk) 09:48, 29 June 2017 (UTC)

I disagree, they were elected under that Party name and in a future election will presumably seek reelection under the same party name. I think the notes sufficiently explain the situation. Superegz (talk) 00:39, 30 June 2017 (UTC)
Again, I will reiterate that in my opinion, the most relevant piece of information for the reader is the grouping with which the Senator sits and caucuses. Party policy is determined separately by the Liberal Party Room and the National Party Room. There are very seldom meetings of the entire Coalition (the exception that proves the rule being the August 2015 one on same-sex marriage). George Brandis, labelled an LNP Senator by the current version of the article, has much less to do in Parliament with his fellow "LNP" Senator Matthew Canavan than with, say, Michaelia Cash. Brandis and Cash sit in the same party room and debate policy together; Brandis and Canavan do not.
The Senate website recognises Brandis as a Liberal, while designating Canavan as a National Senator. Indeed, the Senate website lists 23 Liberals, 5 Nationals, and 1 CLP. I would generally suggest following that. Given that Scullion (the CLP member) is also listed as the Leader of the Nationals, 23-6 to me seems like the best way to split the Coalition Senators.
Generally speaking, party membership in Australia is state-based. So you would be right in saying that both Canavan and Brandis are LNP members. Despite that, the article George Brandis lists him primarily as a Liberal, and additionally as an LNP member, which I think is right. Regardless, in the Senate, certainly the most useful distinction is between Liberal and National senators. If we want to differentiate between CLP and NSW Nat Senators, we might as well distinguish between Vic Nats and NSW Nats.
Perhaps where that is illustrated most strongly is that Brandis and Trevor Evans would have a vote on any future Liberal Party leadership spill - thus electing the PM - while Canavan and Scullion would not. Portwalrus (talk) 06:06, 30 June 2017 (UTC)

To sum: Essentially, the dispute is about whether the Senators should primarily be listed (e.g. in the infobox) according to the group with which they were elected, or the parliamentary grouping in which they sit. There are two relevant groups of Senators. Queensland Coalition Senators are fielded by and elected under the banner of the Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP), a merger between the Queensland Liberal and National parties. Formally, the LNP is the state branch of the Liberal Party in Queensland, but is also affiliated with the National Party. In federal Parliament, LNP Senators sit separately in the Liberal and National groupings, are appointed to the Ministry on the basis of either their own Liberal or National affiliation, and vote separately for the Liberal and National parliamentary party leadership. The second group is the Country Liberal Party Senator Nigel Scullion, who is the Leader of the Nationals in the Senate. As detailed in the CLP article, it is affiliated with both the national Liberal and National parties, and makes its own decision as to which party room its senator will sit in. Perhaps importantly, the Senate website distributes the LNP Senators between the Liberals and the Nationals. It describes Scullion as a member of the CLP, but also as Leader of the Nationals in the Senate. Portwalrus (talk) 14:48, 7 July 2017 (UTC)

I think there is information in the current box that would be lost or become more convoluted by replacing the five light blue boxes by three Liberal Blue and two National Blue. --Scott Davis Talk 01:55, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
This is my solution: I personally do not think it is particularly convoluted (then again, it is my suggestion). Portwalrus (talk) 03:48, 10 July 2017 (UTC)
I agree with Scott Davis that it kinda hides information that is easier to see in the current setup. Also, while they do sit in Parliament as Liberal or National, that doesn't change the fact that they are members of the LNP or CLP and that is an important part of their political identity. When people go into the ballot booth in Queensland an the NT they don't see Liberal or National, they see Liberal National or Country Liberal and to people who might not know the complexities, they might get confused if they don't see that displayed here. I just feel that the current colourings with the notes to indicate that members sit as Liberal or National is the most honest way of displaying the complexities of the coalition setup. Superegz (talk) 07:55, 11 July 2017 (UTC)
The Coalition (Australia) article says there are four parties in the coalition, so it seems fair to display that they all have parliamentary representation. I guess it comes down to whether they are LNP and CLP members who choose (and are invited) to sit in the Liberal or National party room meetings, or are they Liberal or National members, who happen to have been elected on tickets of the LNP or CLP rather than on their own party's ticket, due to the vagaries of the party headquarters decisions around them. According to our articles as of right now:
A sample of a few other reps from Queensland showed them to be LNP like Evans with no indication of allegience to either Liberal or National, but I didn't check them all. Brandis seems to be the odd one out, perhaps because he was already in parliament when LNP was formed? --Scott Davis Talk 14:52, 11 July 2017 (UTC)