The Representation of Small Parties and Independents in the Senate

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Minor party and independent senators have played a critical role in supporting procedural changes which have given the Australian Senate the ability to play an independent role in the legislative process, and to scrutinise the executive branch effectively. This article examines how this situation has followed from the adoption of proportional representation (PR) for Senate elections since 1949. In looking at the evidence available in 1948, it is argued that the current symbiotic relationship between minor parties and the Senate could not have been foreseen. Whether intended or not, the adoption of PR and the representation of minor parties has done more to enhance the operation of parliamentary democracy in Australia than any institutional change since federation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
JournalAustralian Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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