irony of being elected to the
NSW Upper House largely on the back of One Nation preferences is
not lost on Peter Breen "
I wonder what
they will think of electing a human rights lawyer who supports multiculturalism
and is proactive in the area of Aboriginal rights," he said.
be that they are not very happy."
of Mr Breen, from the Reform
the Legal System party 1
highlights the labyrinthine
nature of the preference system that operated in the Upper House
ballot with its record 264 candidates and 80 parties.
lawyer from Lismore got only 35,712 primary votes
1 per cent of the total but preference
deals including 50,000 votes from One Nation, got him
over the line.
were even more critical to the Outdoor Recreation Partys leader,
Malcolm Jones, who got elected with only 7,264 primary votes
0.2 per cent of the vote.
Mr Breen admitted
to surprise at the final result yesterday and the critical support
of One Nation.
into their candidate Brian Burston at the electoral office one day
and he asked whether I was putting them last," he said.
I was putting the major parties last would give me some support.
I think I ended up 20th on their preference list and the other 19
A lawyer since
1973, Mr Breen 10 years ago abandoned his city practice to concentrate
on writing books on the legal system, pushing for an Australian
Bill of Rights, and championing several causes in the court, including
running a class action on behalf of home owners against Home Fund.
Mr Breen said
he would be pushing for changes to the legal system to make it more
accessible and cheaper to use. His partys constitution meant
he would vote for government legislation except where it contravened
basis human rights obligations.
Mr Jones and
his party were not contactable yesterday but his election came after
he benefited from a meticulously planned preference deal involving
more than 20 parties which was set up by former party member and
unsuccessful Republic 2001/People First candidate Glenn Druery.
successful candidate for the Greens, Lee Rhiannon, said Mr Jones
lacked credibility, "having been elected on a deceptive flow
of preferences from parties with names that suggest a commitment
to the environment".
Unity party was another winner in the ballot with its leader Peter
Wong being elected.
Dr Wong, a western
Sydney GP and former Liberal Party member, said his election confirmed
there was significant support for multiculturalism within the community.
Unity was established before the last Federal election to counter
the rise of One Nation.
Dr Wong said
it had developed a detailed set of policies and would focus on social
justice, education and welfare issues in the Parliament as well
as any moves to support or strengthen multiculturalism.
The last place
in the new-look Upper House went to the Rev Fred Nile from the Christian
Democratic Party, who fell short of the quota of 160,000 primary
votes necessary to win outright but picked up sufficient preferences
to hold his position. Of Labors eight MPs elected only one,
John Hatzistergos, was not in the last Parliament. The Coalitions
only new face will be Don Harwin, who picked up its sixth spot.