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Media Release: Self-interest is once again to determine who the long-term senators will be

Today's media release by the PRSA National President sets out several reasons why the only method that the Senate has ever chosen to use - at its first meeting after a double dissolution election - to decide which of the State senators elected will be short-term senators, and which will be long-term senators, is inadequate.

Section 13 of the Constitution requires the Senate alone to make that decision, and to decide the method.

These reasons include:
  • the circumstances in which 15.4% will in practice guarantee two long-term places,
  • how a majority of votes might lead to a majority of places but five of them short-term, and
  • how candidates obtaining below-the-line quotas might result in a party with 30% support having more long-term senators than one with 40% of first preferences.
Past Senate resolutions have commended the Section 282 method for future use, because not giving advance notice was one excuse invoked in 1987 when Labor and the Australian Democrats combined to disadvantage their Coalition opponents by giving them an unfairly low number of long-term senators.