Wednesday, 2 November 2016
On 1 November 2016 it was the announcement that it was the intention of the Turnbull Government and Australian Parliament to challenge the validity of the election of Family First Senator for South Australia Bob Day in the High Court on the basis of a potential non-direct pecuniary interest through Fullarton Investments Pty Ltd.
One day later and a similar announcement is made concerning One Nation Senator for West Australia Rod Cullerton in relation to a criminal conviction for larceny prior to the 2016 federal election.
SENATOR THE HON GEORGE BRANDIS QC
LEADER OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE SENATE
Senator Rod Culleton
Last Saturday, I wrote to the President of the Senate, the Hon Stephen Parry, to draw to his attention an Opinion which I had received from the Solicitor-General concerning the election of Senator Rod Culleton as a Senator for Western Australia. I received the Opinion late on Friday, 28 October 2016. I also provided a copy of the Opinion to Senator Culleton.
The opinion was sought by me on 13 October 2016 in view of issues raised in proceedings commenced in the High Court against Senator Culleton by Mr Bruce Bell.
It appears that the proceedings brought by Mr Bell are based on an allegation that, at the time of the last election, Senator Culleton had been convicted of an offence punishable by a sentence of imprisonment for one year or longer, and was therefore “incapable of being chosen” as a Senator under section 44(ii) of the Constitution.
The President of the Senate has written to me today to advise that he proposes to bring the matter to the attention of the Senate when it sits on 7 November 2016. At that time, the Government will initiate a referral of the matter to the High Court pursuant to section 376 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act.
2 November 2016