Can a senator move to the House of Representatives and potentially become Prime Minister?
Thanks for your question, Mel. The short answer to both parts of your question is ‘yes’!
A senator can become a member of the House of Representatives but only after they first resign their position in the Senate. They can then stand for election to the House of Representatives.
There are many examples of senators choosing to become a member of the House of Representatives. The Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP was a senator before resigning from the Senate and being elected to the House. He later became leader of his political party (The Nationals) and Deputy Prime Minister.
Following the death of Prime Minister Harold Holt in 1968, Senator John Gorton was chosen by the Liberal Party to be its new leader and was appointed prime minister by the Governor-General. But to continue in the position he needed to become a member of the House of Representatives because by convention – tradition – the prime minister is always a member of the House. Gorton resigned as a senator and contested the by-election for the House of Representatives seat vacated by Mr Holt. He was successful and was able to continue as prime minister as he was now a member of the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives.
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