howard wins a senate majority

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    Howard wins a Senate majority
    By staff writers and wires
    October 28, 2004

    PRIME Minister John Howard will have control of the upper house after the National Party was declared the winner of Queensland's last Senate seat today.

    Helping hand ... Mr Joyce, pictured with his daughters, could help the PM's cause in the upper house.

    Brisbane Nationals candidate Barnaby Joyce was declared the winner of the sixth Senate seat when the Australian Electoral Commission completed the final computer count on the complex Senate preference distribution.

    Mr Joyce's victory hands the Coalition 39 of the Senate's 76 members, giving the Government a majority in the upper house for the first time in a quarter of a century.

    Veteran Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell burst into tears when the result was declared and called Mr Howard to deliver the good news.

    Asked whether the Senate would be a rubber stamp now for the Government, Senator Boswell said: "The Prime Minister has said he is not going to abuse the power and he is going to be very careful what he puts through.

    "He said he will be very happy to work with us ... this is the icing on his cake."

    Australian Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett said Australians would have to watch the Senate closely now minor parties had lost the balance of power.

    In the Queensland Senate race, the Liberals won three seats, Labor two and the Nationals one.

    The result means from July next year, the Howard Government will be able to pass controversial legislation previously blocked by the Senate, such as the full sale of Telstra and the introduction of certain industrial relations reforms.

    The news came despite some predictions that Mr Joyce had lost a crucial lead overnight.

    The party, though, remained confident through the last hours of counting.

    "If I were in the Melbourne Cup, I would be more likely to put money on me than against me," Mr Joyce said last night ahead of the result.

    But he did warn against his victory being seen as John Howard's success.

    "John Howard will realise the Nationals in Queensland hold the Senate majority," he said. "John Howard has never called me - it has nothing to do with John Howard, it's got a lot to do with the Nationals in Queensland." with AAP and The Australian



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