Upper house a 'bloody circus': DLP Senator John Madigan sprays his colleagues

Democratic Labour Party Senator John Madigan has hit out at the current Senate on the eve of the West Australian by-election, describing it as a "bloody circus" and a "twilight zone".

The Victorian senator, who took his seat in 2011, said his 10-year-old son was more intelligent than his colleagues in the upper house, who he described as more interested in pre-selections and flying business class than they were in key issues such as manufacturing.

Senator Madigan told Fairfax Media that "circus music" should be played to introduce senators into the chamber.

"How much time gets burned up at every question time because they can't just shut the hell up and listen?" Senator Madigan told Fairfax Media.

The former blacksmith said that even though he provided ministers with questions before he asked them in question time, they "still can't answer". "I'm not setting anybody up!"

Senator Madigan has also hinted that the major parties may be in for a shock when the new Senate comes in, expressing frustration that in the current senate, he and fellow crossbencher, Nick Xenophon, get unduly ignored.

Senator Madigan pointed to a debate on Commonwealth procurement policy last week, when he and Senator Xenophon had their speaking time cut.

"It does not bode well for July 1," he said. "I remember all this."

A diverse crossbench is set to control the balance of power in the upper house from July 1, including the Palmer United Party, Family First, the Liberal Democratic Party, Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party and South Australian independent Senator Xenophon.

The exact makeup will be determined by the WA Senate election, where the Liberals, Labor, the Greens, PUP and a host of other minor parties are vying for the six spots.

Senator Madigan hit out at critics of crossbenchers in the Parliament, arguing that the Labor Party and Coalition were to blame for Australia's problems, given only they had been in government.

"Stop blaming small and minor parties," he said.

Senator Madigan said he had not been in contact with PUP leader Clive Palmer since the September election, explaining, "he's not a senator".

The Ballarat-based senator added that he had not talked to any of the incoming senators, or been invited to either.

Senator Madigan, who is the first DLP senator elected to Federal Parliament since the 1970s, said that people should "assume nothing" about the new Senate.

"It's all a game of guessing," he said. "We've got a really mixed bag here."

Senator Madigan, when asked, did not have any preferences about who WA voters elect on Saturday, stressing that he acted alone as an MP.

"I'm in nobody's pocket," he said.

He did, however, have some complimentary words to say about Senator Xenophon, who he has teamed up with on issues such as an Australian-made crockery set for Parliament House and Australian-made flags for Commonwealth buildings.

"At least he doesn't bullshit you," he said.

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The story Upper house a 'bloody circus': DLP Senator John Madigan sprays his colleagues first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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