Senate school opened yesterday with 12 new sprightly students filing in through the doors of Parliament in Canberra to learn how to do the job they’ve been elected to do.
Orientation classes are in session and will cover most of the things the newbie senators – including the Palmer United Party’s Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang, as well as Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir – will need to know, preparing them all for federal Upper House life.
They will each receive a base salary of $195,130 a year plus the senators are allocated a $32,000 electoral allowance, something that was covered in class on Thursday.
Matt Canavan, Liberal National Senator for Queensland, jokingly said after his first day at senate school he had a “greater appreciation of what my kids go through”.
Day one included lots of PowerPoint slides about the senate handbook. The Upper House members learned about motions, legislation, entitlements and allowances.
Day two (which is currently in session) is all about role-playing.
The senators will practice notice of motions, where they each stand up and go through the procedure of talking in the chambers. They’re also learning their lines for swearing in ceremonies scheduled for Monday.
A spokesperson for Greens Senator Janet Rice said orientation is a good networking opportunity for the members.
“I’m sure there will be friends made,” he said.
Like any first day at school or work, the senators were also set up with all their books and stationary requirements. Each received a goodie bag full of handbooks and even a cookbook, a gift from the ACT government.
The senators’ first “real” day of work begins after they’re sworn in on Monday July 7.
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