Twelve new senators take their seats today, although they won’t officially sit in the chamber until July 7.
Three PUPs, one Family First, one Liberal Democrat and the famously media-shy Ricky Muir from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast party will all now play a crucial role -- alongside sitting senators Nick Xenophon and John Madigan -- in the upper house. The government will need six of their votes to pass any bill opposed by Labor and the Greens.
Until now some of those balance-of-power senators have got away with saying nothing or almost nothing about their policy positions or voting intentions in the chamber. Some are a total mystery. Now that they are in Canberra, being paid a base salary of $195,000 a year to represent their various states, it’s time they come clean with the Australian people on where they stand on key policy issues.
Fudging and evasion has served some of them very well until today. That won't wash from now.
Moreover, we hope this will be the last time a mish-mash of micro-parties who garnered very few votes holds the balance of power in the Senate. Crikey supports
planned changes to our troubled electoral system, as recommended by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.
And you're about to see why we take that view.