Swelling the ranks of the unrepresentative swill

Someone you probably have never heard of, most certainly never voted for and who is known for his potty mouth and intimidating manner is your newest senator.

Nothing much new there for the senate, once notoriously dubbed unrepresentative swill by Paul Keating – a term which may well be his greatest legacy to the nation.

This momentous event happened on Tuesday (11th Feb) when the Queensland Parliament rubber stamped the appointment of former LNP treasurer and big kahuna Barry O’Sullivan.


Senator-elect O’Sullivan, a former detective, is infamous for his tough, expletive-fuelled interrogation of party members and potential candidates.

(He still has some explaining to do about how Scott Driscoll got through.)

O’Sullivan scored the plum senate job when former Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce quit the senate and the state to run in a lower house seat in NSW so he could one day be National Party leader and deputy prime minister.

Just have a think about that for a minute.

When a senator quits before his or her term is up there is no by-election – their party gets to appoint someone else to fill the vacancy.

Both sides of politics have a history of parachuting party powerbrokers into these vacant senate seats because, let’s be honest, no one else would vote for them.

And it’s a nice way of saying thank you for all their, umm, hard work.

Although, a cake and a carton of beer from petty cash is also nice.

Unfortunately, because of a pesky Crime and Misconduct Commission inquiry – which found no evidence of anything amiss – O’Sullivan had to wait to take up his new job, leaving Queensland one senator down in Parliament for several months.

Not that it matters much. Lord knows what they actually do.

It was worth the wait though. He scores a $195,130 base salary, a huge range of generous allowances and a guaranteed job until at least June 2017.

Not a bad little earner for someone who never had to woo a vote.

By the way, there are no senators based on or near the Gold Coast.

Of the 12 ALP, Liberal, National, LNP and Greens senators in Queensland, two are based in North Queensland, nine in Brisbane, and now one in Toowoomba.

Unrepresentative swill.


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