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How Your Vote Works: Vacancies

So, the election is over, the politicians are in Canberra, and something happens to one of them. How is that handled?

Well it depends on what happens.

No matter how the parties like to spin it, elections in Australia put people into those seats, not the Party. As a result, if a politician has a falling out with the party and leaves the party, they are still the member. They are now an Independent, or the member of whatever party they choose to join.

However, if something more permanent happens, like a politician retiring, being forced to stand down due to illness or other activities, or passing away while in office, then what happens next depends on which house they are in.

If they are in the House of Representatives, then a by-election is called. This is treated exactly the same as a normal House of Representatives election except only for the affected electorate. If a regular election is due soon, the by-election may be skipped.

If they are a Senator, then a Casual Vacancy is filled. The State Parliament of the affected Senate seat holds a joint sitting of both houses and an appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of the term. Usually this is a person from the same political party as was vacating, but not always. Queensland only has a single house, so a joint sitting is not required. For the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, the decision is made by their Legislative Assembly.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
hasimir
Aug. 10th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC)
I'm surprised you didn't mention the Senate replacement by Sir Joh in the lead-up to the ousting of the Whitlam Government in 1975.
halloranelder
Aug. 11th, 2010 10:22 am (UTC)
I didn't mention it because I had forgotten about it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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Desert Rose

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of fire
Those dreams are tied to a horse that will never tire
And in the flames
Her shadows play in the shape of a man's desire

This desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

And as she turns
This way she moves in the logic of all my dreams
This fire burns
I realize that nothing's as it seems

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

I dream of rain
I lift my gaze to empty skies above
I close my eyes
This rare perfume is the sweet intoxication of her love

I dream of rain
I dream of gardens in the desert sand
I wake in vain
I dream of love as time runs through my hand

Sweet desert rose
Each of her veils, a secret promise
This desert flower
No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this

Sweet desert rose
This memory of Eden haunts us all
This desert flower
This rare perfume, is the sweet intoxication of the fall

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