Federal

Dec 20, 2017

The 2017 Pollie of The Year is Dean Smith

Our pick for best politicians of 2017 represent different aspects of what it means to be a good senator.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

There's a different skillset for being a good senator compared to an MP in the House of Reps. Members of the lower house, of course, have constituents to attend to -- a full-time job even before you tack on other roles like being a minister or shadow minister. But senators have a lot more committee work, and it's more important, because the government doesn't chair non-legislative committees, and chairs are expected to work a lot more collegiately. Effective senators are often the ones who work hard behind the scenes, and collaborate with senators from other parties to get outcomes that aren't necessarily confined to legislation.

The choice of best politician of 2017 was, ultimately, an easy one. It is Dean Smith who has effected a major, and thoroughly belated, change to Australia's marriage laws to end the discrimination that, until recently, both sides of politics supported. Other Liberal backbenchers played important roles in agitating for change, in this term of parliament and the previous one. Ministers like Christopher Pyne pushed the issue hard as well. But Dean Smith did the work. He put together a bill that addressed the issues identified in a near-unanimous (Eric Abetz was the only dissenter) senate committee report on the government's marriage plebiscite bill released last year. That was the bill he released when he and other marriage equality proponents in Liberal ranks again ignited the issue in August. It is the bill that, in substance, is the one that will become law.

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15 comments

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15 thoughts on “The 2017 Pollie of The Year is Dean Smith

  1. rhwombat

    Fair enough BK. Now about the 2017 Worst Pollie comp…

  2. craig

    George Brandis calling out Penny Wong for “being oppressive” was my highlight of the senate year.

    Almost as good as Christopher Pyne’s response to Bob Katter’s white genocide meltdown in the HoR: “Bobby, this is rubbish!”

  3. AR

    I guess an article of dishonourable mentions would be as long as a cricket pitch.

  4. zut alors

    You’ve nailed it this year, Bernard.

    Best Media Performance Award must go to Albanese & Pyne for their light relief banter on Nine’s Today – especially when Stefanovic is interviewing.

  5. CML

    OK…Dean Smith I would tend to agree with, and also Penny Wong.
    Definitely NOT Cormann…just another lying IPA/LNP stooge, who revels in the inequality he makes possible throughout the nation.
    My choice of Bill Shorten will surprise no one. ANYONE who can cope with the sustained abuse and the avalanche of media lies told about you, and still come up with good POLICY…remember what that is?…wins hands down, in my view!!

    1. Yclept

      I agree, how the hell could Cormann be even be considered!

  6. Wallywonga

    Yes, such sincerity and intellectual effort put into the most significant bill of the year, and from that side of parliament. And support from all sides, except for the mealy mouthed few.
    Says everything about how the coalition is operating these days, doesn’t it, when his efforts would not be acknowledged through reward. Because Turnbull is still out there trying to claim credit for it all, isn’t he?

  7. AR

    I wonder if there is any ignificance in Littleproud being one of the four with the courage of their NO vote, unlike the gutless Abbottrocity who seems to have managed that time to run out of the Chamber before the doors were locked.
    Perhaps he is also in Cabinet to represent the homophobe bigot vote of FNQ?

  8. graybul

    Dean Smith and Penny Wong . . . thumbs up for both.

  9. [email protected]

    Smith proved himself a beacon of dogged decency. All Australians are deeply in his debt.

  10. LucyJr

    Good article thank you! Now I would like to see Senator Cormann apply his vast talent to climate solutions.

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