The Courier Mail, 17 March 2015
By Dennis Atkins
ADVOCATES of policy boldness and reform are scathing about the unprecedented number of independent senators standing between success and failure of legislation.
There are now eight individuals who are either unbranded Independents or single representatives of parties.
The Palmer United Party, Family First, Motoring Enthusiasts and Liberal Democrats have one senator each while John Madigan, Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus are Independents who used to belong to parties and Nick Xenophon is an actual independent, who’s about to form a party.
When Lazarus left the PUP last Friday, leaving Dio Wang as the sole Palmer senator, questions were asked about whether this would have any practical impact on the Government’s ability to pass laws.
It’s now pretty conclusive that it won’t beyond now having to make eight phone calls instead of seven.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne, who could stand before a camera and declare England was winning the current cricket World Cup without blushing, is showing that as complicated as the numbers might be, it’s policy that matters.
Pyne is desperate to get his higher education deregulation package through the Senate but it looks as though only by jettisoning almost everything is he going to achieve the victory he so craves.
The Senate is difficult because of the myriad interests represented by the eight cross benchers and their often unpredictable voting habits.
The election of these disparate characters is a failure of the two-party system and while this Senate is difficult, it is the Senate Australia elected.
Source: The Courier Mail