Senate debates

Monday, 27 November 2017

Parliamentary Representation

South Australia; Qualifications of Senators

10:02 am

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | | Hansard source

by leave—I move:

That, pursuant to section 376 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Senate refers to the Court of Disputed Returns the following questions—

(a) whether, by reason of s 44(i) of the Constitution, there is a vacancy in the representation of South Australia in the Senate for the place for which Skye Kakoschke-Moore was returned;

(b) if the answer to Question (a) is "yes", by what means and in what manner that vacancy should be filled;

(c) what directions and other orders, if any, should the Court make in order to hear and finally dispose of this reference; and

(d) what, if any, orders should be made as to the costs of these proceedings.

Mr President, I won't detain the Senate for long in speaking to this motion. We all know the circumstances in which our former colleague Skye Kakoschke-Moore became aware the week before last that she was a dual citizen of the United Kingdom. This was something of which she had been entirely unaware until she made inquiries which disclosed that fact, and she has taken the very proper course, as others in this chamber have taken as well, of resigning her place upon appreciating the circumstances of her disqualification. This is, by my count, the seventh member of the Senate who has fallen to the stipulation of section 44(i) in all its strictness as the High Court has explained to us in the recent proceedings concerning other members of this chamber, and Mr Joyce, formerly of the lower house.

The motion is cast in terms identical to those of the previous references. I have discussed the matter with Nick Xenophon, who, although no longer among us, is the leader, nevertheless, of the party that Skye Kakoschke-Moore represented in this chamber. He was of the view that this was the appropriate motion to move and that it was appropriate that it be moved by the government. I don't anticipate that this will be controversial, and I want to make it very clear that the fact of her resignation reflects absolutely no discredit upon Skye Kakoschke-Moore. These were circumstances obviously utterly unknown to her and utterly beyond her control and, when she became aware of them and appreciated them, she did the appropriate thing, as others from different political interests represented in the chamber have done as well. I commend the motion to the Senate.

10:05 am

Photo of Derryn HinchDerryn Hinch (Victoria, Derryn Hinch's Justice Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would just like to say that, from my party's point of view and personally, Senator Kakoschke-Moore was one of the more diligent, committed people I have met in my short time here. In committee, she was well prepared and well researched. She will be missed. I was in Dharamshala last week, at the cricket ground there, when I got the news that she had resigned under the dual citizenship rules. I would say that she's been bowled LBW by a dubious call. But it has to happen, and she'll be back for a second innings. I wish her well.

Question agreed to.