Articles on US Senate

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, accompanied by his wife Lucy, greet people as they walk along Oxford Street. David Moir/AAP

Will Senate voting reform end up in the too-hard basket?

The polling sends a strong message: Malcolm Turnbull starts his prime ministership with people wanting to think the best of him. Essential has found people believe Turnbull is intelligent (81%), hardworking…
‘Not the best person to liaise with us’: senator David Leyonhjelm on new government Senate leader George Brandis. Lukas Coch/AAP

Senate crossbencher’s advice to new PM: come and walk the red carpet, Malcolm

An important element in the success of Malcolm Turnbull’s government will be how effectively it handles the Senate. Some crossbench senators have greeted the arrival of Turnbull enthusiastically, contrasting…
Labor says it will move a motion in the Senate this week for a message to be sent to the Governor-General, requesting he dismiss Dyson Heydon as royal commissioner. AAP/Alan Porritt

Can the Senate force the removal of a royal commissioner?

Given the Governor-General usually acts on the advice of the government and its ministers, an address from the Senate on Dyson Heydon is unlikely to have any effect.
Because their votes may be open to negotiation, crossbench senators often have the final say on the form, and passage, of legislation. AAP/Alan Porritt

Scorn the crossbench, ignore Australian political history

Instead of treating crossbenchers in parliament as a source of chaos and an aberration, we should recognise that they play a crucial role in shaping legislation as the constitution provides.
The cross-bench senators may call to mind Paul Keating’s charge of ‘unrepresentative swill’, but they also reflect and respond to the 21st-century world in ways that the major parties can’t. AAP/Alan Porritt

Don’t blame micro-parties or the Senate – update an archaic system

The Senate is not a root cause, but part of a long list of symptoms that indicate Australia's political system is increasingly unfit for purpose in the 21st century.
How well this lot can get along may depend most on the growing group of politicians hoping to sit in the president’s chair in two years. Reuters

What the budget deal means for Congress and the ‘16 elections

Given the contentiousness of recent fiscal negotiations, the prelude to the budget passed by the Senate last month was surprisingly placid. Will a uniquely unproductive Congress be followed by a more conciliatory…
Parties who gained a very small first preference vote look set to be elected to Victoria’s upper house. AAP/Luis Enrique Ascui

How to make Australia’s upper houses truly democratic

The final count for Victoria’s Legislative Council is still some days away, but it appears members elected from micro-parties will hold the balance of power in the upper house. This will be a challenge…
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was re-elected despite a tight fight over his tax cuts and resulting deficit, which were revealed to be worse than expected just days after the election. Reuters

Brownback’s Kansas tax experiment may prove death knell for corporate reform

Republican gains in this month’s election, which handed the GOP united control of Congress for the first time since 2006, have lifted hopes that the government can pass corporate tax reform next year…
The man to watch: new Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Midterms 2014: a little big day

No denying it, Tuesday was a big day for Republicans. They took control of the Senate, expanded their majority in the House, and added to the number of governorships they hold. The Senate outcome is rightly…

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