23 May 2018

High Court declares David Smith winner of Senate recount

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
Senator-elect David Smith. Photo: Tim Benson.

Senator-elect David Smith. Photo: Tim Benson.

The ACT Director of Professionals Australia, David Smith, has been confirmed as the ACT’s new Labor Senator to replace Katy Gallagher, who was thrown out of the Senate by the High Court for being a British citizen at the time of the 2016 election.

At a hearing in Brisbane today, the High Court declared Senator-elect Smith, who was second on the Labor ticket in 2016, the winner of the special recount that was ordered.

The High Court found Ms Gallagher had not done enough to renounce her British citizenship in time, ruling that bureaucratic delays could not be used as an excuse.

The decision has sparked by-elections in four lower house seats held by Labor.

Senator-elect Smith has rejected any suggestions that he would be keeping the seat warm for Ms Gallagher, with an election able to be called after August and due by the middle of next year.

“That’s not the way I approach it. I’ve got some very firm views about issues that need to be addressed and need to be addressed now,” he told The RiotACT after the High Court’s decision on May 9.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Given that we have always elected one Labor and one Liberal senator to fill the two posts, it’s unlikely that the voters will ever elect anyone but the number one candidate for the two big parties.

Smith now has a well-paid and work-free job for life. The only people he has to worry about are his Labor bosses.

The real story isn’t a party hack getting a cushy job. The story is that both parties routinely break laws they don’t care for, and then lie about it to the voters.

Katy Gallagher was appointed to the Senate in 2015, when there is now no dispute that she was a British citizen. s44 states that such a person “shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator”.

Gallagher was in breach of the Constitution a year before the 2016 election. So were several other MPs.

We may be charitable and say that minor parties and independents don’t have much of a clue, but Labor and Liberal take turns in government, and they both repeatedly declared that their processes were ironclad.

As we now know, this was rubbish. Scores of MPs holding birth or residual British citizenship were in parliament illegally, ever since the High Court found the UK to be a foreign power in 1999.

As we see, there is no penalty other than being removed from their position. They are not charged with a crime, they are not imprisoned, they are not even required to pay back the salaries and allowances they improperly received.

If our lawmakers do not respect the fundamental law of the nation, then we are in a sad position.

Scathing reviews for David by the Sydney shock jocks today. Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and Chris Smith all called him a union hack.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.