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The New Australian Senators Will Be Decided Next Week

But questions remain about whether any more politicians are ineligible to sit in parliament.

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Senate special counts to determine the replacements for former senators Scott Ludlam, Larissa Waters, Fiona Nash and Malcolm Roberts will be held on Monday, the High Court has announced.

The recounts will be in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, with the presence of candidate scrutineers; the results will be filed on Tuesday, and a hearing to announce the new senators will be on Friday November 10.

In Ludlam's place, 23-year-old Jordon Steele-John is next down the ticket and is likely to be the new Greens senator for Western Australia.

In Waters' place, former Democrats senator turned Greens candidate Andrew Bartlett will likely be elected. One Nation candidate Fraser Anning will replace Roberts, while Liberal Hollie Hughes is likely to be Nash's replacement.

However Hollie Hughes may have a Section 44 issue of her own, given she was one of many former Liberal politicians, or failed Liberal political candidates, to be given a job at the government's independent judicial body, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Constitutional experts have suggested that receiving funds from the Commonwealth could render her ineligible, despite the long gap between the 2016 election and Hughes being elected to the Senate.

BuzzFeed News has confirmed with the governor-general Sir Peter Cosgrove's office that Hughes resigned from the AAT on the day of the High Court's decision on Friday (it is a statutory appointment, so resignations have to go to the governor-general). However a spokesperson for the office has not responded to a question on when exactly on Friday she resigned.

Senate president Stephen Parry resigned this week after revealing he held dual citizenship of the United Kingdom via his late father, and thus was ineligible under Section 44 of the constitution.

Parry's resignation, and the fact he withheld concerns about his own status from everyone, including prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, until this week, has led to further calls for an audit of every elected member of parliament.

Sky News suggests that with a one-seat majority, a full audit of eligibility could result in the government falling.

.@samanthamaiden: Govt sources have told Sky News an audit could see the govt fall and cause a snap election. MORE… https://t.co/sQCB9qA2J0

Both Labor and the Coalition are so far resisting calls for the audit. Labor has maintained that its internal candidate vetting process was exhaustive, while the government insists the only authority to make judgement on eligibility was the High Court.

For Parry's replacement, the Senate still needs to refer his case to the High Court, meaning it will be at least several weeks before it is determined.

It is expected that former Liberal government minister Richard Colbeck will be returned to the Senate as a result of a recount.

As for the president of the Senate, there are reports that a war is brewing between the Liberals and Nationals over who should get the role. It is traditionally held by the Liberals when the Coalition is in power, but the National Party is putting forward John "Wacka" Williams as one potential candidate.

Liberal senator Ian Macdonald has also reportedly expressed interest in the job, but will likely be opposed by Labor and cross bench senators due to his behaviour as a committee chair and in the Senate, where Macdonald frequently targets Labor Senate leader Penny Wong, telling her to be quiet.

Wong pointed to this when asked at a press conference on Thursday whether Macdonald was an appropriate choice.

"I think people can look at the way senator Macdonald behaves in estimates and in the chamber and they can draw their own judgement about whether or not he’s the appropriate person," Wong said.


Josh Taylor is a Senior Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Josh Taylor at josh.taylor@buzzfeed.com.

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