Xenophon’s latest surprise: Quitting Senate for SA state tilt – October 2017
Senator Nick Xenophon has revealed he will quit the Senate to run in the South Australian state election early next year.
The leader of the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) plans to run in the eastern Adelaide seat of Hartley.
“I don’t expect this to be easy. I expect this will be like climbing Mt Everest without an oxygen tank. But I will do this,” he said.
He said the move was motivated in part by the continuing high unemployment rate in his home state and its declining population.
“Our state has been falling behind for so long because we have been failed by our state’s political leaders, their parties and institutions.
“I’m sick of seeing this contest of low expectations.
“We have a government that deserves to lose and an opposition that does not deserve to win,” he said.
He said he had been considering the switch for a number of months, especially since the state-wide blackout earlier in the year.
“This will be the toughest political fight of my life,” he said. “But I'm up for that challenge because I love our state, our people and I believe that if you are in politics you should be there to make a difference.”
Senator Xenophon was re-elected at last year’s federal election along with two other NXT senators and one MP.
He is only one year in to his six-year term but said he would still have a very active and direct role in decisions made at a federal level.
“I am going to miss him in the big house but I think this is a great thing for South Australia,” said NXT MP Rebekha Sharkie.
“Nick will still be involved in federal politics. Think about all the issues that blur the lines - submarines, defence, shipbuilding, energy.
“We are still one team.”
Senator Xenophon served in state politics between 1997 and 2007.
He is one of seven federal politicians who have recently been caught up in the dual citizenship saga, now in the hands of the High Court.
He said he would have made his announcement earlier if it were not for the dual citizenship drama. He will remain in the Senate until the High Court makes a determination on his case.
Guardian Australia reported, “Xenophon’s departure from the federal scene is a major shift for the micro-party and it is unclear who will replace him as leader.
“The party is likely to wait to determine its future federal leader until Xenophon’s replacement in the Senate, likely to be Tim Storer, who was No 4 on the NXT ticket at the last federal election, is installed in the federal parliament.
“Current indications suggest that may not happen until late November, because the state parliament would need to approve his appointment.”