Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Rotation of Senators
This is not my first speech and I have taken my No-Doz. I think it is a dirty stitch-up deal between the government and the Labor Party. The fix was in from the day of the election, and I think that in this deal you have betrayed more than 200,000 voters in Victoria, in my case. In the case of Senator Rhiannon, you have betrayed the voters of New South Wales. Under section 282, former Prime Minister Hawke said was a fair way to reflect what happens after double dissolution—a fair way to do it. I should get six years and Senator Rhiannon should get six years and we are—we are going to get three. The AEC report was tabled last night—282(1) says:
Where the scrutiny in an election of Senators for a State held following a dissolution of the Senate under section 57 of the Constitution has been completed, the Australian Electoral Officer for that state shall conduct a re-count of the ballot papers in the election in accordance with subsections 273(7) to (30) …
in subsection 273(8) 'half' were inserted before 'the number of candidates'; …
The whole point of this method was that after a double dissolution the result best resembled a regular half-Senate election. Now, I am told by Liberal Party people in Victoria that with the vote that I got, I actually would have got elected and be in this place if there had been a half Senate instead of a double dissolution.
The AEC in that report say that this is the way you should have elected senators for six-year terms—(1) Mitch Fifield, (2) Kim Carr (3) Richard Di Natale, (4) Bridget McKenzie, (5) Stephen Conroy and (6) Derryn Hinch. That is the way the people of Victoria voted on 2 July. You did this dirty little stitch-up to try and get one more, and said: 'Yeah, let's do a deal here. We'll put one more Labor senator up in New South Wales. We'll put one more Lib up in Victoria. That gives us one more each. Isn't that great.'
It is wrong; it is unfair and, in this place of all places, you should respect democracy in the way that the voters of Victoria said you should. This is not for me personally; this is for somebody who comes after me. I just think it is wrong and I know it is not going to work. I said the stitch-up was done the same way that the government made the deal to try and get rid of the minor parties earlier this year. That worked fine, didn’t it!
I do not want to take up the full 20 minutes. I just want to say it is wrong. If the vote goes against us, okay, I am here for three years. I have been sacked 16 times. If the voters of Victoria want to sack me the 17th time, they will do it. My plan is to go there in three years time—if the vote goes against us—get re-elected and do six years, and leave here after nine years. Thank you very much.