Composition of the 43rd Parliament

Martin Lumb, Politics and Public Administration Section

House of Representatives

The 2010 election saw the election of 29 new members to the House of Representatives, together with the return of three Coalition members who did not retain their seats at the 2007 election, Warren Entsch (LNP, Leichhardt, Qld), Teresa Gambaro (LNP, Brisbane, Qld) and Ross Vasta (LNP, Bonner, Qld). This new component constitutes approximately 20 per cent of the chamber. This compares with 39 new members at the 2007 election (26 per cent of the chamber). Of the 32 members who left the House of Representatives, 20 retired and 12 were defeated at the election.

Senate

Of the 40 senators up for re-election, who will begin their terms on 1 July 2011, all but 12 were re-elected. Six did not contest the election and six were defeated. The 12 new senators, including David Fawcett (LP, SA) the former Member for Wakefield from 2004 to 2007, will comprise approximately 16 per cent of the new Senate. This compares with 14 new Senators (18 per cent) after the 2007 election.

Gender

Following the election, the number of women in the House of Representatives has declined from 41 (27 per cent) to 37 (25 per cent). When the new Senators take up their places on 1 July 2011, the number of women in the Senate will rise slightly from 27 (35 per cent) to 29 (38 per cent). Overall the number of women in Parliament will decline from 68 (30 per cent) to 66 (29 per cent). The figure below illustrates trends in the number of women in the House of Representatives since 1983.

Number of women in the House of Representatives 1983-2010 - Text version

Number of women in the House of Representatives 1983-2010

Milestones

The election produced a number of milestones:

  • The 43rd Parliament is the first hung Parliament since the election of 21 September 1940.
  • Julia Gillard becomes the first elected female Prime Minister.
  • 20-year old Wyatt Roy (LNP, Longman, Qld) becomes the youngest member of the House of Representatives since Federation. The previous youngest members of the House of Representatives were Edwin Corboy (ALP, Swan, WA), 22 years two months when elected in 1918, and Andrew Jones (LIB, Adelaide, SA), 22 years six months when elected in 1966.
  • Ken Wyatt (LIB, Hasluck, WA) becomes the first indigenous member of the House of Representatives. Former Senators Neville Bonner (LIB, IND, Qld) and Aden Ridgeway (AD, NSW) remain the only indigenous members elected to the upper house.
  • Ed Husic (ALP, Chifley, NSW) becomes the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives.
  • The election of Adam Bandt (Greens, Melbourne, Vic.) marks the first time the Greens won a seat in the House of Representatives at a general election. Michael Organ (Greens, Cunningham, NSW) won at a by-election in 2002 but was subsequently defeated at the general election of 2004.
  • The election of four Independents and one Green to the House of Representatives constitutes the highest number of elected independent/minor party MPs in the House of Representatives since 1996, when there were five Independents.
  • The election of Tony Crook (Nationals, O’Connor, WA) marks the first time the party has held a Western Australian seat in the lower house since the departures of John Hallett (Country Party, Canning, WA) and Donald Maisey (Country Party, Moore, WA) in 1974.
  • John Madigan (DLP, Vic) is the first successful Democratic Labor Party candidate since the November 1970 half-Senate election at which five DLP Senators were elected. These Senators served until the double dissolution of May 1974.

Library publications and key documents

Parliamentary Library, Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra,
http://www.aph.gov.au/Library/handbook/index.htm

S Miskin and M Lumb, The 41st Parliament: middle-aged, well-educated and (mostly) male, Research Note,
no. 24, 2005-06, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2006,
http://www.aph.gov.au/library/Pubs/RN/2005-06/06rn24.pdf

Images courtesy of the Parliamentary Education Office: http://www.peo.gov.au

House of Reps Chamber Senate Chamber
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