Senate composition


On 31 August 2016 state senators were 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. These classes were allocated according to the order of election.

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.

The Court of Disputed Returns found that neither senator had been validly elected and in each instance a recount of ballots was ordered. As a result Peter Georgiou from Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party was elected to replace Senator Culleton, and Lucy Gichuhi from Family First was elected to replace Senator Day. Senator Gichuhi later indicated that she would sit as an independent senator.

On 7 February 2017, Senator Bernardi announced his resignation from the Liberal Party and now sits as an Australian Conservatives senator.

Senators Ludlam and Waters of the Australian Greens announced their resignations, on 14 and 18 July 2017 respectively, due to dual citizenship (see section 44(i) of the Constitution). Both matters, as well as matters regarding the eligibility of Senators Canavan, Nash, Roberts and Xenophon were referred to the Court of Disputed Returns. On 27 October 2017, the Court found that Senators Canavan and Xenophon were eligible to have been elected to the Senate and Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters, the Hon. Fiona Nash and Malcolm Roberts were ineligible.

On 10 November 2017 Senators Jordon Steele-John, Andrew Bartlett and Fraser Anning were declared elected by the High Court in place of Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters and Malcolm Roberts, respectively. A further hearing will occur in respect of the vacancy caused by the Hon. Fiona Nash being found to have been ineligible.

Senator Nick Xenophon resigned his place as a senator for South Australia on 31 October and Rex Patrick was selected by the South Australian Parliament to fill the vacancy on 14 November 2017. Senator Patrick was sworn in on 15 November.

Senator the Hon. Stephen Parry resigned as President of the Senate and as a senator for Tasmania on 2 November 2017. Senator Lambie resigned as a senator for Tasmania on 14 November , and Senator Kakoschke-Moore resigned as a senator for South Australia on 22 November 2017. Matters regarding their eligibility have been referred to the Court of Disputed Returns.