James McGrath senate liberal party
Liberal Senator James McGrath (Image: AAP/Alan Porritt)

Now that the Coalition is sitting pretty in the Senate, the government has the ability to entrench its position through self-interested changes to electoral laws. Will they go for it?

All eyes are on the regular post-election inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. Its preliminaries have been the subject of much greater interest than usual. And fears of a Republican-style partisan assault on democratic norms have hardly been discouraged by the committee's chair, James McGrath, who came to the post shortly after Malcolm Turnbull’s demise last year.

One of McGrath's early forays into the realm of electoral matters was a stint on Boris Johnson's campaign for the London mayoralty in 2008, which came to an abrupt end after he asserted that African-Caribbean residents concerned at Johnson's colourful pronouncements on racial issues could "go if they don't like it here". His disregard for liberal sensitivities got another workout on the weekend, when his social media followers were treated to a post boasting about a dead cockatoo caught in the roof rack of his car.