Senate

The Senate is one of the two houses of the Australian Federal Parliament. It consists of 76 senators, twelve from each of the six states and two from each of the mainland territories. It shares the power to make laws with the other House of the Parliament, the House of Representatives.

carousel photo
Work of the Senate
Keep track of Senate proceedings
carousel photo
News and events
The latest news from the Senate and its committees
carousel photo
Senate Discovery
Discover the latest news from the Senate with our new videos
carousel photo
Practice and procedure
View Senate publications, guides and other resources

Senate Composition

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. Previously, the highest number had been 13 senators, in 2002-2005.

 

Breakdown of Senate numbers 

State senators have been divided into two classes: short-term senators whose terms expire on 30 June 2019, and long-term senators whose terms expire on 30 June 2022. On 31 August the Senate decided to allocate senators according to the order of their election. Details of senators' terms of service are available on this page.

On 7 November 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.

  • Related documents
  • Transcript of the 21 November 2016 directions hearing
  • Transcript and video of the 7 December 2016 hearing on the Culleton matter (judgment reserved)
  • Transcript of the 13 December 2016 hearing on the Day matter (adjourned until January 2017)

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.

How to fill the vacancies caused by the resignation of Senator Day and the disqualification of Senator Culleton remains a matter for the Court of Disputed Returns.

 



Browse by states: All, ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA


Senators

Information on the President of the Senate, current and former senators and ministers.

Committees

Find current inquiries, upcoming hearings, recent reports, committee homepages and more.

Work of the Senate

Follow the business of the Senate with the documents that guide and govern proceedings.


Estimates

Estimates of government expenditure are referred to Senate committees for examination.

Practice and Procedure

Learn about the Senate, its history and all aspects of its powers, procedures and practices.

News and Events

The latest news from the Senate and its committees, and information about lectures, seminars, exhibitions and conferences.