By TOM EDWARDS
After a marathon 40 hour session the Senate passed the government’s upper house reform legislation this afternoon.
Such was the length of the session that South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon wore a pair of pyjamas and brought a pillow into the chamber at 1.30am.
Once passed in the House of Representatives, the legislation will limit the ability of micro-parties and independents to be elected in the upper house. This will result in the two major parties controlling much of the Senate alongside The Greens and Nick Xenophon.
If Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull decides to call a double dissolution election it is likely that independent members such as Ricky Muir, David Leyonhjelm and Jacqui Lambie will not be re-elected.
The timing of the legislation is also beneficial for the Turnbull Government. It takes around three months for changes to be updated to the Australian Electoral Commission’s voting system. This will mean that the government will be able to hold an election in July this year as planned.
Not all major parties are in favour of the legislation. Labor Party Senate Leader Penny Wong said that her party did not support the changes.
“This will be a short-term advantage,” she said.
“It appears that the government is not focussing on growing the jobs of the country, but are focussed on keeping their own jobs.”
Family First and South Australian Senator Bob Day also said that he was displeased with the result.
“We are fighting for the three million voters who did not vote for the major parties at the last federal election,” he said.
“We will be changing our voting preferences at the next election to not support the Liberals.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to call an election for July 2.