Skip To Content

    The Senate Literally Didn't Go To Sleep Last Night And Shit Got Weird

    There were fart jokes, graphic details of a colonoscopy and so many dank memes.

    For 21 straight hours from 4:30pm Thursday to 1:30pm Friday the Senate debated gov's voting reform bills. The Greens teamed up with the Coalition to pass the laws, which angered Labor and the crossbench. You can read our sexy explainer of the laws here.

    This is some dank pasta/Penny Wong gear someone has posted in the press gallery. #auspol #nocarbs

    At 7pm, a few hours into the debate, rumours started flying around that Labor planned to filibuster until at least 9am.

    A filibuster basically means talking about anything and everything to avoid actually voting on the subject being debated.

    By 9pm, things were kicking right off.

    1. Immediately, Labor began attacking Greens Leader Richard Di Natale over his famous GQ shoot.

    "Senator Di Natale in those fancy pants, walking the cat walk" - Labor's Stephen Conroy warned for language #auspol

    "WHAT A PAIR OF PANTS THEY WERE," Labor Senator Stephen Conroy declared.

    "Most people liked the skivvy but I liked the pants."

    2. Labor's vitriol brought out the #istandwithrichard fans.

    Greens leader @RichardDiNatale's GQ skivvy has a fan club called #istandwithrichard

    3. We got a lesson in how to count.

    The Finance Minister is literally now repeatedly counting from 1 to 6 to explain voting reform. #SenateSleepover

    4. If you ever wondered what political staffers do while their bosses have long debates, here's your answer. One Labor adviser made a remix of heckles to 'Is It A Banger'.

    5. Labor Senator Sam Dastyari doubled down on the skivvy sledges.

    Dastyari - in politics you get asked some tough questions Conroy - should I wear socks in the photoshoot or not 🔥🔥🔥

    "Fancy pants".

    Senator Di Natale wasn't impressed. "Somehow by doing a photoshoot it represents a betrayal of progressive values. How disturbing has this debate become!"

    @workmanalice @RichardDiNatale there's progressive and then there's subverting traditional ankle covering values central to our society.

    @workmanalice parliament is pants

    You see this and think: 'If only Labor did this over something that mattered'. Wars never saw such rage and thunder.

    Pretty sad watching the two progressive parties use very rare all night sittings to tear each other apart

    6. BOTTOMS V BUMS. There was a debate about whether "bums" was unparliamentary language, and politicians should use the more formal "bottom" while throwing shade.

    Liberal Senator James McGrath told the Senate he "prefers bottoms".

    In the end it was decided "bums were ok".

    7. Staying #agile and #dexterous with iPad games is important during a marathon debate.

    I'm tweeting during Labor filibuster. Conroy playing candy crush during answer by Defence Minister on defence issues

    8. By 11pm, Labor Senators admitted their filibuster speeches were boring.

    9. Senator Dastyari pledged that he was in for the long haul.

    @workmanalice that's ambitious - who knows - could be later. 8 bills after this one. Everyone wants to have a say.

    But he also has tickets to Madonna on Sunday night, so Labor promised this debate will be over by then.

    Hoping to catch my 6.35 pm plane Friday night. Not confident though.

    10. The heckling got personal.

    Ludlam accuses Collins of being "boring". Doug Cameron rises, "I'd rather be boring than be dumb" #SenateReform

    11. Just like a toddler who's missed a nap, the Senators were cranky and emotional in the early hours of Friday morning.

    Senator Lambie getting worked up saying she "doesn't need all the fluffy stuff" she just wants someone to answer her q. #SenateSleepover

    12. There was no end in sight.

    @MathiasCormann kidding yourself if you think there is a set time this will end. Should have scheduled proper debate. Not rushed through.

    13. There were more lessons in how to count.

    The Australian Senate is literally debating how to count from one to six. #SenateSleepover

    14. 2am was peak silly Senate. There were Monty Python fart jokes. Here's a vine of Labor Senator Doug Cameron saying "I fart in your general direction".

    IT'S 2AM AND THERE ARE FART JOKES BEING MADE IN THE SENATE. #auspol #senatereform #senatesleepover

    Quite possibly the best #auspol gif in history.

    15. At 2:30am.

    We are now coming up to 29 hours debate on our Senate voting reforms yet @samdastyari says - again - this legislation is rushed. #drink

    16. After midnight, the #SleeplessSenate memes got pretty dank.

    Some excellent memes sliding into my dms after midnight #SenateSleepover

    17. Politicians started dishing out some salty tweets.

    18. The memes got danker.

    Democracy is not a game for you or backroom dealers to play Senator Conroy #SenateSleepover

    19. It's a reference to Senator Stephen Conroy playing Candy Crush on his iPad during #SenateQT.

    Labor Senator Stephen Conroy is playing a colourful candy crush style game on his iPad during #SenateQT.


    I asked a Parliament House security guard at 2am what he thought about the #senatereform debate. He said it didn't grab him.

    21. Nick Xenophon wore pyjamas into the Chamber for a vote at 2am. It was "politely suggested" by attendants he change clothes.

    Poor @Nick_Xenophon is plum tuckered he has slipped into his PJ's & slippers & he needed a goodnight hug @murpharoo

    22. But the pillow stayed.

    Nick Xenophon's pillow remains in his seat, acting as a proxy, by the looks of things

    23. The real stars of #SleeplessSenate were the Labor backbenchers who were left to filibuster.

    That's not a filibuster. This is a filibuster #redcarpertrumble

    24. Former politicians weighed in.

    There is a child like quality about our politics. This day I announce a brand new world. Let it be called NBN. It will be glorious.

    25. Senator Cameron was genuinely upset no one got his Monty Python references e.g. "your mother was a hampster".

    26. It was all dragging on.

    It's now 2.45am🤔 & in the 922 days since my election not 1, kaput👌🏾zero constituents in #NT have raised #SenateReform w/ me #SenateSleepover

    27. By 3am, they were back to yelling.

    This vine sums up 3am in the Senate. LOUD NOISES. #auspol #senatereform #senatesleepover

    28. Then at 3:22am I found $10. That was pretty good.

    I JUST FOUND $10 ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE PRESS GALLERY. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me at 3:22am.

    29. Nick Xenophon and his monkey and banana PJs went MIA.

    This is the second vote in a row that @Nick_Xenophon has missed. Is he asleep in his monkey pjs?

    30. Nap time!

    31. "Those in favour say AYE. Those in favour say NO." After 4am the chair was getting tired.

    32. More speeches.

    445am update - ultimate filibuster underway with Sen O'Neill delivering long speech on history of filibuster - seriously #SenateSleepover

    33. "I'm witnessing a political colonoscopy," Labor Senator Glenn Sterle declared at 5am. He explained to the #SenateReform debate what a colonoscopy is....because he's had one and says it's relevant. "He's going to stick a tube 17 feet up where?"

    Labor's @GlennSterle says at 5:15am he's "stone cold sober" and "there are no illegal drugs in my system.

    "I am stone cold sober, there are no illegal drugs in my system," Senator Sterle declared.

    He then gave some graphic details about his colonoscopy, including that he insisted on being awake during the procedure so the doctor wouldn't do anything dodgy to him.

    34. There was one legend who sat in the public gallery all night and never looked bored.

    Still same one guy in the public gallery (others come and gone) but he has been there for the whole debate. #SenateSleepover

    He left around 6pm and was replaced by a man who promptly fell asleep.

    35. SA Liberal Senator Sean Edwards began serenading his colleagues as they waited and waited and waited to vote. His voice was pretty good for someone who'd done an all nighter.

    @workmanalice an ol Tony Bennett number - "I left my heart in San Francisco" hope you enjoyed!

    36. By 8:52am the content and smell of the room was dank. So the Government created an OPT IN shower roster for Liberal and National Senators. Good news for hygiene fans.

    37. At 9.16 this morning, they were all still going. But at least Sam Dastyari was getting some sleep.

    If you want a micro nap @samdastyari don't sit behind the person with the call #HotTip


    If we've learnt anything from #sleeplesssenate its @mathiascormann has a steel bladder. He's barely left in 16hrs.

    Or is he like Kim Jong Un and doesn't use the bathroom?