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Retirement of coal fired power stations
Environment and Communications References Committee report – March 2017
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Committee reports
Find all recent Senate and Joint Committee reports

Senators

On 7 November 2016 under section 376 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, the Senate referred two matters to the High Court. Both involved the qualification of senators under section 44 of the Constitution. The first involved a possible pecuniary interest relating to the lease for an electoral office for former Senator Day, who had resigned as a senator for South Australia on 1 November. The second matter related to Senator Culleton and involved a conviction for larceny which was subsequently annulled, but had stood throughout the election period.

On 18 December 2016, Senator Culleton resigned from Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party to sit as an independent senator. On 11 January 2017, the President of the Senate informed the Governor of Western Australia of a vacancy due to Senator Culleton being disqualified from the position due to a declaration of bankruptcy.

On 3 February 2017 the Court of Disputed Returns determined that Mr Culleton had not been validly elected in the 2016 election, and that the vacancy in the representation of Western Australia should be filled by a recount of ballots. The recount occurred on 7 March 2017, and as a result Peter Georgiou from Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party was elected to fill the vacancy.

In a judgment handed down on 5 April 2017, the Court of Disputed Returns found that Mr Bob Day had not been validly elected and ordered a special count of ballots to fill the vacancy. The recount was conducted on 13 April and, on 19 April 2017, the High Court declared Lucy Gichuhi as a senator for South Australia.

On 7 February 2017, Senator Bernardi announced his resignation from the Liberal Party.

Senate composition

An election for all Senate seats was held on 2 July 2016 after the dissolution of the Senate on 9 May 2016. The Senate in the 45th Parliament contains its largest cross-bench of 20 senators (9 AG and 11 others), compared with 18 senators (10 AG and 8 others) at the end of the 44th Parliament.

 

Breakdown of Senate numbers in 2017

 

Committees

You can keep track of the more than 50 current Senate committee inquiries using the following resources:

Senate Discovery

Senate Discovery is a video series designed to 'fast-track' information about Senate business and the work of its committees. Each episode contains a recap of business highlights such as the passage (or otherwise) of bills, new committee inquiries and the presentation of reports, swearing-in of new senators, and other matters of significance.

 

  • Senate Lecture Series

    Public lunchtime lectures on topics relating to Parliament and governance. Admission is free and bookings are not required. Lecture transcripts and audio and television recordings of the lectures are also available.

    Lecture Series

  • Seminars for public servants

    The Senate provides training for members of the public service including a full-day seminar on the role of the Senate and part-day seminars on topics including Senate committees, the estimates process, getting bills through the Senate, parliamentary privilege and delegated legislation

    Seminars

  • Exhibitions

    Learn about the exhibitions on display in Parliament House, and visit the online exhibitions Women in Federal Parliament; Magna Carta; Making Laws; and For Peace, Order and Good Government

    Exhibitions

  • Conferences

    Information on upcoming conferences will be made available here. Papers from previous conferences and proceedings are also available.

    Conferences