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Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

So say three judges.

Eric Black sets out the potential legal steps after this ruling but says:

The likeliest outcome — no matter whether Team Coleman takes their case to the U.S. Supreme Court and/or tries to get a fresh start in federal district court — is that Franken will be seated in the Senate in roughly May or June.

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The stimulus package has been blocked in the Senate on a 35-35 vote. Commentary from the economists – Peter Martin and Joshua Gans.

Things I would note:

  • Malcolm and the Coalition completely rejected the package and refused to negotiate.
  • Mr F threw an impassioned wobbly and gave vague indications of what he wanted from the negotiations – and then voted for the package.
  • Xenophon insisted on bringing Murray-Darling action into the package – which both Martin and Gans seem to suggest would not be very relevant or helpful in terms of economic stimulus – and blocked the bill when he didn’t get it.
  • The Greens produced a list of amendments they wanted, negotiated to get some of them from the Government while missing out on others (including the Murray-Darling), and then voted to pass it.

Remember that when people are talking about who in our Parliament are the radicals, the unpredictable, and the obstructionists. And remember it when thinking about who can make an effective source of review in the Senate.

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Election over?

It’s official (until the lawsuit) – Franken by 225 votes.

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This is what a close election looks like: 1,209,188 vs 1,209,183 at the time of writing. You can also have a look at what the contested ballots look like.

In other news on the Minnesota ballot changes, Nate Silver notes that the Canvassing Board thinks Brett Favre is less likely to be a real person than are Lizard People. He also reports on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s ruling on the procedure for counting wrongfully rejected ballots.

UPDATE: As of Saturday morning, Franken appears to have taken the lead – but obviously, this is far from settled.

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Hey, look – there’s a political party that is asking the Government to answer questions that would justify its policy. Presumably, this party might base its decision about whether to support or oppose the legislation based on the satisfaction they get from the answers.

By the way, did you know Kevin Rudd is a bit odd?

UPDATE: Via Jeremy, here is video of Senator Ludlam’s questions and Senator Conroy’s non-responses:

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Steve Fielding:

The Federal Government’s luxury car tax bill has been defeated in the Senate after Family First Senator Steve Fielding and the Opposition combined to vote against it.

“The Government could do something if they wanted to to get this measure through,” he said.

“There’s no way that Family First can vote for a bill that’s going to put up a tax for farmers and tourism, that’s just crazy.

“They’re already doing it so tough at the moment.”

Treasurer Wayne Swan told Radio National that Senator Fielding’s requested amendments would have been a “compliance nightmare.”

Correctamundo, Mr Swan.

It’s an interesting start to the Senate’s activities – the Greens negotiated and achieved what seems a reasonable outcome, while it’s one of the two Jokers in the deck who stymied the Bill. Meanwhile, the Opposition appears to remain committed to taking its role literally – meaning that it’s the Greens, Mr FF and Mr X who Labor will be talking to.

If there are ongoing issues with the legislation relating to fiscal policy, the extent to which the different parties have negotiated in good faith might become quite relevant to the double dissolution prospects. But this is only the very first instance in what looks set to be an interesting series of events.

ELSEWHERE: John Quiggin and Andrew Bartlett have both written about the double dissolution prospects. Over at Public Polity, Sam has pointed to Kevin Rennie’s analysis of the relatively small cost that Fielding’s argument was based on.

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No, not here. At other places.

OpenAustralia now has Senate coverage.

The Greens Senators now have their new home.

And in good old post-Olympic fashion, Possum Comitatus is turning pro.

And what about the traditional media? The Australian and the other News sites still have their same shitty systems. Moderation queues that move in highly mysterious. No trackbacks. And a corps of largely pathetic commentators who focus on grinding their respective axes (AGW denialism, Costello for Christ!, Protect the Kids, Someone Please Take the Heiner Affair Seriously, Bloggers Sux, etc.). And Fairfax hasn’t even managed to master the necessity of fine-grained RSS feeds and engagement with the blogosphere.

Get your fact and balance from them. Get the good stuff elsewhere.

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Apparently Team Brendan are going to put their foot down in the Senate. After the interminable stream of media bullshit during the winter recess, I would like to see a legitimate debate about the issues in the upper house. If the Coalition can articulate a meaningful case, good luck to them. If they fail to do so, and instead end up looking petty and obstructive, then we’re moving closer to a double dissolution. And if the ALP chooses to bypass them and manages to strike a deal with the Greens plus Nick and Steve, then the Coalition manages to marginalise itself. After three years of a Government that could push through just about anything it wante, the notion of a legitimate exchange of competing points of view is appealing.

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New Senate Order

I don’t want to let the passing of the Democrats go without mention, but their contribution has been covered in just about every political blog and newspaper column over the past fortnight. Suffice to say, I suspect that I am like many people – I voted for the Democrats sometimes, and didn’t vote for them other times; I liked some of the Democrat Senators, and disliked others; and I agreed with some of the positions they took, and disagreed with others. But through it the past three decades, they made an important contribution to public awareness and debate of issues that might otherwise have passed without mention.

Now we are commencing on a new era of balance in the Senate. Remaining aware of the positions and processes in the new Senate is going to be important, as Mark Bahnisch notes. And Jeremy Sear has kicked off a discussion about the Greens’ placement in a Senate that still leans slightly to the conservative side.

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As expected – the claim and counter-claim about whether all legislation should be rammed through without parliamentary oversight or should be held up needlessly gets underway.

ELSEWHERE: Some commentary from Tim Dunlop – it’s interesting that Joe Hockey is happy to acknowledge that “payback” is part of the motivation for trying to stall legislation.

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