Liberal Democrats’ Duncan Spender will be sworn into parliament today. And he’s not planning on wasting a moment of time as a newly minted senator.
Not that he can afford to. Spender, David Leyonhjelm’s former chief of staff, could end up setting a new record for fewest sitting days spent in the Senate. That’s because his first day could also mark the start of his final week in parliament.
If he fails to win a seat in the May election, Spender would have had just two sitting days — the shortest span since Charles MacKellar in 1903.
Speaking to the AAP, he said he would work to ensure Senate estimates would continue into next week, in spite of the chance an election will be called.
He is unsure whether Labor will support the motion as the government enters a caretaker period.
The move may put the opposition in a tricky position, having hounded the government over a lack of action in parliament, but still wanting to spend as long as possible on the campaign trail.
The Liberal Democrats are staunch free speech advocates, but the Senator rejects the notion that support of a censure motion for Fraser Anning contradicts their libertarian approach.
The Senate will vote today to admonish Senator Anning for his inflammatory comments following the Christchurch massacre.
Spender believes Senator Anning is entitled to make the comments in the same way that he is entitled to censure them.
Free report: Australia’s right to free speech is under attack! Discover how a select group of Australians want to stifle your fundamental right to speak your mind — and what you can do to help turn the tide.
Spender to go against Labor
Senator Spender also flagged his intention to vote against Labor’s bid to shoot down regulations that prevent long-term casual workers from claiming annual leave entitlements.
In his eyes, the current state of industrial relations laws are a ‘dog’s breakfast’ that usually line the pockets of lawyers instead of employees or workers.
Spender’s maiden speech will be made on Wednesday, which he hopes will draw attention to the full-spectrum of his party’s platform.
Labor’s Raff Ciccone and the Liberal’s Wendy Askew will also be sworn in to parliament on Tuesday.
Senator Ciccone has been re-elected for a six-year term after replacing Jacinta Collins at the top of Labor’s Victorian ticket, having previously worked as a staffer for her.
Senator Askew is taking over from her brother, David Bushby, who has left parliament to take up the position of Australia’s consul-general in Chicago.
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