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10 August 2020


Senator Rex Patrick has announced that he will represent South Australia as an independent senator. 

"After careful consideration, I have decided that I will continue to represent SA in the Federal Senate as an Independent," Senator Patrick said. 

"It’s more important than ever that SA keeps a strong and independent voice in the Senate to ensure that our state isn’t taken for granted by the major Federal political parties which are all dominated by the political and economic interests of Australia’s eastern coast. Strong independent representation will be all the more important as SA works to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic." 

"In October 2017 I was honoured to replace Nick Xenophon as a Senator for SA. In the thirty-three months since then I have done my best to represent our great state, initially as a member of the Nick Xenophon Team and then as part of Centre Alliance."

"I’ve worked hard to hold the Federal Government to account for its performance and to use the Senate balance of power to advance SA’s interests."

"I’ve fought hard for SA jobs – whether in relation to submarine construction and maintenance in Adelaide, or to support the Whyalla steel mill. I’ve fought hard for SA’s water rights in the operation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. I’ve campaigned strongly to protect the pristine marine environment of the Great Australian Bight and I am absolutely convinced of the need for action to combat climate change and to deal with the impacts it is already having on our continent."

"I’ve campaigned for the Federal Government to put Australian firms first when they purchase goods and services. I’ve used the Parliament as a forum to shame corporate executives whose companies make huge profits but avoid paying any income tax. I’ve spoken up in defence of whistle-blowers who have exposed government wrongdoing, policy failures, corrupt and unethical behaviour."

"I’ve used the Senate’s Committees, questions to Ministers, many Freedom of Information cases to bring greater transparency to the often-secretive workings of government. I’ve submitted 1027 Questions on Notice, pursued 180 FOI requests and moved 15 Senate Orders for Production of Documents. I’m determined to use every opportunity to ‘keep the bastards honest’ by pressing for more accountable, transparent and responsive government."

"I want to see a Federal ICAC take a deep dive into our national political life and the workings of many government agencies."

"I’ve worked hard to highlight the tendency of the Coalition and Labor to work together in their own narrow interests and to exempt themselves from standards, rules and even laws that apply to everyone else. It is a remarkable state of affairs that the Coalition and Labor enacted laws to guard against foreign political interference and then exempted Federal MPs and their staff from those laws." 

"I have been pleased to work closely with my Centre Alliance colleagues Senator Stirling Griff and the Federal Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie and anticipate continuing to confer closely with them moving forward."

"However I have concluded that in seeking to continue to represent SA, and to ensure that our State’s Senate representation includes a voice from the political centre, the best way forward for me is to strike an independent path. Accordingly, I have tendered my resignation as a member of Centre Alliance."  

"The Senate will be dealing with many challenging legislative issues through the rest of this parliamentary term, many of which will be vitally important to South Australians. I will use the freedom that comes with being an independent to press hard to win the best outcomes for SA."

"I will also continue to engage on the full range of issues of great significance to our nation. I support a strong, well-equipped Defence Force. I’m committed to protecting our nation from foreign threats, of terrorism, espionage and covert interference, while at the same time ensuring that our civil liberties and democratic freedoms are not compromised." 

"I'm working to ensure there is rigorous scrutiny to the Australian Government’s COVID-19 response. In dealing with what are most difficult economic circumstances, I’ll be pressing the Government to build on Australia’s healthcare and social security systems and I want to ensure that hard-won workers’ rights and entitlements are not sacrificed."

"Politics must also give the highest priority to protecting vulnerable members of our communities. This year, in spite of some surprising reluctance from some MPs, I’ve pressed the Parliament to work for a greater commitment of resources to protect women and children from the scourge of domestic violence."

"In every Parliament since 1981, South Australia’s Senate representation has included representatives from the political centre, standing between the intensely partisan factions of Liberal and Labor. That centrist representation, assessing issues on their merits and negotiating better outcomes for SA, has served our state very well. I am determined to continue that important and distinctly South Australian political tradition."

"I have written to the President of the Senate to advise the change in my status."

"I will be making further announcements as we move closer to the next Federal election."