29 August 2016
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Politics and Public Administration
- This paper provides a brief overview of the party and gender
composition of the 45th Parliament of Australia.
- A double dissolution election was held on 2 July 2016 whereby all
seats in the House of Representatives and Senate were up for election. All
seats in both Chambers were declared
by the Australian Electoral Commission prior to the return of the writs on
8 August 2016 and the 45th Parliament of Australia will be opened on 30 August
- Following various resignations, retirements and leadership
changes this was the first election campaign for the leaders of the major parliamentary
parties (Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Deputy Prime Minister and The
Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, and Opposition leader and Australian Labor
Party (ALP) leader Bill Shorten) as well as Australian Greens leader Richard Di
- The incumbent Turnbull Coalition Government experienced a national
swing against it of 3.13 per cent, and now has a total of 76 seats in the
House of Representatives, down from 90 seats in the previous Parliament.
- The ALP increased its number of seats in the House of
Representatives from 55 to 69; two Independents (Cathy McGowan and Andrew
Wilkie), one Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) member (Bob Katter), and one
Australian Greens member (Adam Bandt) were re-elected; and a new minor party
MP, Rebekha Sharkie (Nick Xenophon Team (NXT)) was elected to the House.
- Party representation in the Senate has changed from the 44th
Parliament: Coalition parties now have 30 Senators (down from 33) and the ALP
26 (up from 25).
- The Senate crossbench now contains 20 Senators: nine Australian
Greens (down from 10) and 11 minor party Senators (up from eight). This is the
largest Senate crossbench since the expansion of the Senate in 1950.
- Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party (PHON) returns to the
Parliament, securing four Senate
||Australian Labor Party
||Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
||Katter’s Australian Party
||Liberal Party of Australia
||Nick Xenophon Team
||Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
||Palmer United Party
House of Representatives
The federal election on 2 July 2016 saw the retirement of
23 members of the House of Representatives. This is fewer than at the 2013
election (25), which was the highest number of departures at any one election.
16 sitting members were defeated. There will be 39 new
members of the House of Representatives. New members constitute approximately
26 per cent of the House of Representatives, compared with 28 per cent in 2013
(42 new members) and 21 per cent in 2010 (32 new members).
Included in the 39 new members of the House of
Representatives are two former members: Steve Georganas (ALP, Hindmarsh, 2004–13,
South Australia (SA)) and Mike Kelly (ALP, Eden-Monaro, 2007–13, New South
During the recent redistributions of Western
Australia (WA), NSW and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), the electorate
of Throsby (NSW) was renamed Whitlam. The electorate of Fraser (ACT) (not named
after the late former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser) was renamed Fenner, and
the electorate of Burt (WA) was established. The electorate of Hunter (NSW) was
abolished, but the NSW electorate of Charlton was renamed Hunter as this is a
federation electorate name.
As the election on 2 July was a double dissolution election,
all 76 senators were up for re-election.
Four senators did not contest the election and 10 were
defeated, thus 14 new senators (approximately 18 per cent of the Senate) were
elected at the 2 July election from a variety of parties. The 14 new senators elected equals the 14 new senators elected at the 2013 and
2007 federal elections.
The Senate of the 45th Parliament also sees the return of
two former senators, Louise Pratt (ALP, WA) and Don Farrell (ALP, SA) and one
former Member of the House of Representatives, Pauline Hanson (PHON, Qld).
Senator Hanson will return to Parliament some 18 years after departing the
House of Representatives; she served as the PHON Member for Oxley (Qld) from
1996 to 1998.
The 2016 election reshuffled the balance of power in the
Senate and significantly reduced the Government’s majority in the House of
Representatives, as demonstrated in Table 1.
The Coalition won the election, having retained 76 seats in
the House of Representatives—a one seat majority. The
ALP emerged with 69 seats; two Independents (Ms McGowan and Mr Wilkie) and two
minor party members (Mr Bandt (AG) and Mr Katter (KAP)) retained their seats;
and a new minor party member, Rebekha Sharkie (NXT), won the seat of Mayo (SA).
If the Speaker of the House of Representatives (to be elected on the first day
of Parliament) is drawn from the Coalition ranks, the Government majority will
fall to 75 seats.
Neither major party gained a
majority in the Senate. The Coalition retained 30 seats (down from 33) and the
ALP 26 seats (up from 25). The Australian Greens retained nine seats (down from
10) and the rest of the crossbench expanded to 11 senators, up from eight in
the 44th Parliament.
Crossbench minor party representation in the Senate is as
- Liberal Democratic Party—David Leyonhjelm (NSW)
- Family First—Bob Day (SA)
- Jacqui Lambie Network—Jacqui Lambie (Tas.)
- NXT—Nick Xenophon, Stirling Griff and Skye Kakoschke-Moore (SA)
- PHON—Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts (Qld), Brian Burston
(NSW), and Rodney Culleton (WA) and
- Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party (DHJP)—Derryn Hinch (Vic.).
John Madigan (IND, Vic.), Glenn Lazarus (Glenn Lazarus Team,
Qld), Ricky Muir (Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, Vic.) and Zhenya Wang
(Palmer United Party, WA) were defeated at the 2016 general election; their
terms ended on 9 May 2016 with the dissolution of the Parliament.
Table 1: 45th Parliament of the
Commonwealth of Australia party representation
||House of Representatives
|Liberal Party of Australia
|Country Liberal Party
|Australian Labor Party
|Palmer United Party
|Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party
|Liberal Democratic Party
|Nick Xenophon Team
|Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
|Jacqui Lambie Network
|Glenn Lazarus Team
|Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party
|Katter’s Australian Party
Source: Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), ‘2016 Federal Election Tally Room’, accessed 26 August 2009.
Following the 2016 election, the number of women in the
House of Representatives rose from 40 (27 per cent) at the end of the 44th
Parliament to 43 (29 per cent).
The number of women in the Senate rose slightly to 30
senators (39 per cent), one more than at the end of the 44th Parliament. Overall,
the number of women in Parliament has risen from 69 (31 per cent) to 73 (32 per
For the first time at the commencement of a Parliament, all
major parties have a female leader or deputy leader: Liberal Party deputy leader
Julie Bishop MP (LIB, Curtin, WA); The Nationals deputy leader Senator Fiona
Nash (NAT, NSW); ALP deputy leader Tanya Plibersek MP (ALP, Sydney, NSW); and
Australian Greens co-deputy leader Senator Larissa Waters (AG, Qld).
- Linda Burney (ALP, Barton, NSW) becomes the first Indigenous
woman elected to the House of Representatives. Ms Burney was also the first
Indigenous person to be elected to the NSW Parliament.
- Rebekha Sharkie (NXT, Mayo, SA) becomes the first person elected
to the House of Representatives from NXT. The three NXT senators—Nick Xenophon,
Stirling Griff and Skye Kakoschke-Moore (all from SA)—are also the first NXT
candidates to be elected to the Senate.
- PHON returns to Parliament gaining four seats, held by party leader
Pauline Hanson (Qld), Brian Burston (NSW), Malcolm Roberts (Qld) and Rodney
- Derryn Hinch becomes the first person elected to any Australian
Parliament from DHJP. He was elected as senator for Victoria.
Eight Senators retired during the 44th Parliament: Bob Carr (ALP, NSW),
Kate Lundy (ALP, ACT), John Faulkner (ALP, NSW), Brett Mason (LIB, Qld),
Christine Milne (AG, Tas.), Penny Wright (AG, SA), Michael Ronaldson (LIB,
Vic.) and Joe Bullock (ALP, WA); they were replaced by Deborah O’Neill (ALP,
NSW), Katy Gallagher (ALP, ACT), Jenny McAllister (ALP, NSW), Joanna Lindgren
(LIB, Qld), Nick McKim (AG, Tas.), Robert Simms (AG, SA), James Paterson (LIB,
Vic.) and Pat Dodson (ALP, WA), respectively.
at the 2010 general election as a senator for the Democratic Labour Party
(DLP), John Madigan left the DLP to become an Independent in September 2014. He
unsuccessfully contested the 2016 election as an Independent Senator for
Three Palmer United Party (PUP) senators were elected at the 2013 federal
election and 2014 WA Senate election: Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus and Zhenya
(Dio) Wang. Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus departed the PUP during the 44th
Parliament—Lambie in November 2014 and Lazarus in March 2015. Wang and Lazarus
unsuccessfully contested the 2016 election as PUP and Glenn Lazarus Team
senators respectively. Senator Lambie was elected as a senator for the Jacqui
Lambie Network at the 2016 election.
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