If you want to find out more about my day to day role in the Senate, read on.
Currently, I am one of 12 Senators for the state of South Australia and my term as a Senator runs until 30 June 2014.
There are 76 Senators in all.
The Goverment has 32, the Opposition (The Coalition of the Liberals and the Nationals) has 33, the Greens have 9 and there is one Democratic Labor Party Senator. I am the only Independent Senator.
To get something through, the Government needs 39 votes. For legislation to be blocked, 38 votes are needed.
However, my contribution in the Senate is not just about making speeches and turning up to vote. I can also ask questions of the Government, present petitions on behalf of voters, and seek the support of the Senate to order certain actions from Ministers or to instigate inquiries. I am also involved in Senate Committees, which do much of the important research and consultation work that helps the Senate run smoothly.
I have one Question without Notice in each week, which is asked on Thursday on the first sitting week and Wednesday on the second sitting week. Have a look at the Senate homepage for this year’s sitting schedule. I can also submit Questions with Notice at any time.
When I present signed petitions from the public, I need to have them in a specific format, otherwise the Senate won’t accept them. If you would like me to submit a petition on your behalf, please contact my Adelaide office prior to collating the petition. If we can get it right at the start it saves a lot of time and frustration.
Naturally, I also have to agree with the views expressed in the petition if I am to table it on behalf of constituents - you won't catch me tabling a petition calling on the Federal Government to scrap its policy on mandatory pre-commitment for poker machines, for example.
As an Independent, I will also not table petitions organised by registered political parties.
If you would like to know which Committees are conducting inquiries and on which topics, have a look each Wednesday in The Australian newspaper. If you have questions about how to make a submission to a committee inquiry, please contact my Adelaide office. They will be pleased to help you out.
The Notice Paper is the daily agenda for business in the Senate. If you want to find out what is up for debate on any given day, please view the Notice Paper link on the Senate business documents homepage.
The Dynamic Red is the daily running sheet for the Senate, which is updated immediately online. If you want to find out what is happening in the Senate at any given time, please see the Dynamic Red link on the Senate business documents homepage.
The Hansard is the official word by word record of everything said in the Senate and House of Representatives. If you want to find out what I have said in the Senate, please visit the Parliament page on this site. However, if you want to search Hansard for what other Senators have said, please see the Hansard link on the Senate business documents homepage.
TUNING IN LIVE
To listen or watch me in the Senate, you can watch and listen online at Parliament Live Broadcasting or by tuning in to ABC News Radio.