The President of the Senate, Liberal Scott Ryan has been summonsed to appear in the Court of Disputed Returns to defend the unconstitutional referral of Senator Rodney Culleton to the court which saw him dismissed from the senate.
Two weeks ago ‘exiled’ Senator Rodney Culleton filed an action in the High Court of Australia sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.
Mr Culleton said his dismissal and that of Senator Bob Day were unconstitutional and that all hostile referrals by the senate of other senators since dismissed were unlawful.
“It is clear that at all material times, the Government did not follow proper due process as required under the Constitution. All referrals from the House post 7th November 2016 appear to be invalid,” Mr Culleton told Cairns News.
He said under section 47 of the Commonwealth Constitution of Australia only the senate can decide on the qualifications of a senator.
“On the 4th July 2018, a summons was successfully filed back into the Court of Disputed Returns, Matter No C15/2016 Culleton v Commonwealth.
“This unconcluded case is now unprecedented and has in effect re-opened all invalid hostile referrals that have been invoked by the House under s 376 Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, post 7th November 2016 which did not comply with the Constitution.
“Section 368 Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918, states Decisions to be final: All decisions of the Court shall be final and conclusive and without appeal, and shall not be questioned in any way.
“Notwithstanding the prohibition as defined in ss 368 and 364 CEA ,Section 47 of the Constitution, in contrast, is squarely addressed to authority to decide and to nothing other than authority to decide. Each House shall be the Judge of the … Qualifications of its own Members”, there is in s 47 a textually and Sections 22, 23 and 49 Constitution.”
Acting for Mr Culleton is the former Solicitor General of Australia, David Bennett AC, QC who has been following the saga with interest.
Culleton said Mr Bennet believed he had a strong case which was straightforward Constitutional law.
“The relevant effect of the section 47 Constitution is that, unless the Parliament otherwise provides and to the extent that the Parliament does not otherwise provide, ‘any question’ which answers the description of a ‘question respecting the qualification of a senator’ in our matters, must be determined by the Senate and not otherwise,” stressed Mr Culleton.
“The House must hear the disallowance motion 163 of 2016 and allow all constitutionally elected Senators to appear at the bar in order to have the Senate demonstrate its constitutional commitment of the determination of the identified questions to a coordinated political department as a privy council in order to judge the qualification of its own members.
“This must be remedied to restore honesty and integrity back into Parliament.
“The House is not only sitting unconstitutionally but these breaches have set a bad case precedent in allowing the major parties to re-shuffle the deck of cards and regain power by removing Independents and defanging the minor parties.”