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Composition of the 44th Parliament

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4 Parliamentary Library Briefing Book: Key Issues for the 44th Parliament

Composition of the 44th Parliament Martin Lumb, Politics and Public Administration

Note: figures in this brief were drawn from the Australian Electoral Commission’s Virtual Tally Room as at 2 October 2013.

House of Representatives The federal election on 7 September 2013 saw the retirement of 25 members of the House of Representatives. This is the highest number of departures at any one election - the previous highest was 21 at the 2007 election. Seventeen sitting members were defeated. There will be 37 new members of the House of Representatives, the highest new intake since 2007. The new component constitutes approximately 25% of the House of Representatives, compared with 20% in 2010 (29 new members) and 26% in 2007 (39 new members).

The House of Representatives also sees the return of two former members, Mal Brough (LP, Fisher, Qld) and Jason Wood (LP, La Trobe, Vic.). It also sees the arrival of three former senators who recently resigned to contest seats in the House of Representatives: David Feeney (ALP, Batman, Vic.), Barnaby Joyce (Nationals, New England, NSW) and Matt Thistlethwaite (ALP, Kingsford Smith, NSW).

Senate Of the 40 senators up for re-election, 26 were re-elected. Seven did not contest the election and 7 were defeated. The 14 new Senators will comprise approximately 18% of the Senate as from 1 July 2014, equalling the previous highest intake following the 2007 election. This also compares with 12 new senators (16%) after the 2010 election.

Gender Following the election, the number of women in the House of Representatives has risen from 37 (25%) to 39 (26%). When the new senators take up their places on 1 July 2014, the number of women in the Senate will decline from 30 (39%) to 29 (38%). Overall the number of women in Parliament will rise from 67 to 68 (30%).

Milestones The election produced a number of notable results:

• Nova Peris (ALP, NT) becomes the first Indigenous woman elected to the federal Parliament.

• Cathy McGowan (IND, Indi, Vic.) becomes the first woman elected as an Independent to the House of Representatives. [Doris Blackburn (Bourke, Vic., 1946-49) was Independent Labor, and Pauline Hanson (Oxley, Qld, 1996-98) was a disendorsed Liberal Party candidate when elected, later forming the One Nation Party.]

• Pending a recount, the Palmer United Party looks to have secured one House of Representatives seat, its leader Clive Palmer elected to Fairfax in Queensland. Three Palmer United Party candidates were elected to the Senate: Glenn Lazarus (Qld), Jacqui Lambie (Tas.) and Zhenya Wang (WA).

• Katter’s Australian Party did not secure any additional seats. Leader Bob Katter (KAP, Kennedy, Qld) retained his seat, despite a 16% swing against him.

• Candidates for three other small parties were elected to the Senate and will commence on 1 July 2014: Bob Day (Family First Party, SA), David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democratic Party, NSW) and Ricky Muir (Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party, Vic). Only one of these parties has had a representative in Parliament before - the Family First Party’s Steve Fielding (Vic.) was elected in 2004 and served a six-year term from 2005 to 2011.

KEY ISSUE The 2013 election saw the retirement of 25 members of the House of Representatives and 7 senators, and the defeat of 17 members and 7 senators. The new component in the 44th Parliament will be sizeable: 37 members and 14 senators. The number of women in Parliament rises slightly.


The 44th Parliament

Party representation in Parliament*

House of Representatives Senate


pre-election post-election before July 2014 after July


Coalition 72 90 34 33

Liberal Party of Australia 44 58 24 23

The Nationals/Country Liberal Party

8 10 4 4

Liberal National Party 20 22 6 6

Australian Labor Party 71 55 31 26

Australian Greens 1 1 9 9

Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party

- - - 1

Democratic Labour Party - - 1 1

Family First Party - - - 1

Katter’s Australian Party 1 1 - -

Liberal Democratic Party - - - 1

Palmer United Party - 1 - 3

Independent 5 2 1 1

Total 150 150 76 76

*Pending recounts in Fairfax and the WA Senate.

Number of women in the House of Representatives 1983-2013

Source: Parliamentary Library.

Further reading Parliamentary handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia, Parliamentary Library, Canberra.

Parliamentary Library. Politics and Public Administration Section, Composition of Australian parliaments by party and gender, as at 26 June 2013, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2013.

M Lumb, The 43rd Parliament: traits and trends, Research paper, 2013-14, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2013.