Mayor of Devonport Steve Martin today released an update on the process involved in taking up a seat representing Tasmania in the Senate.

Mr Martin said he wanted to help Tasmanians understand lingering questions over his own eligibility. ”Tasmanians voted in good faith at the election and they deserve to be kept in the loop as the citizenship saga in our Parliament gets ever more complicated,” Mr Martin said.

The move comes after the High Court today confirmed Mr Martin would be elected to the Senate, subject to eligibility, after a special recount of Senate votes in Tasmania identified him in ninth position out of twelve Tasmanian Senators. Mr Martin ran second on the JLN senate ticket in the 2016 election behind Jacqui Lambie, who was last week ruled ineligible due to her dual citizenship.

As part of that hearing Mr Martin took the proactive step of attaching himself early as an ‘interested party’ in the High Court deliberations. The next High Court hearing has been scheduled as a full-court hearing for the first available day after 25 January. That hearing is expected to finally decide the matter.

“I’m humbled and thrilled to be so close to representing Tasmania in the Senate, and I’m eager to take up the fight on behalf of my great state. But for now there are still a few legal hurdles concerning my eligibility to deal with and we need to tackle with those head-on,” Mr Martin said.

The issue is whether or not Mr. Martin’s position as Mayor is considered an ‘office of profit under the crown,’ according to Section 44 (iv) of the Constitution.
Commonwealth and State public servants have been disqualified by previous High Court rulings, but the status of aldermen and local councillors has never been determined.

“The reality is this issue has never been tested by the High Court,” Mr Martin said, “despite many Mayors and local councillors serving in parliament over the years. It’s now time we put this issue to the test then put it to bed once and for all – if nothing else, at least clearing the legal path for future local government representatives seeking Federal office.”

Mr Martin is being represented in the proceedings by barristers Mr Philip Solomon QC and Dr Charles Parkinson, instructed by solicitors from Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

In attaching himself as an interested party, Mr Martin hopes to clarify the operation of a law he believes is too murky. This confusion discourages local councillors and aldermen from seeking to adapt their unique skills and experience to the Federal Parliament.

There are around 537 local government bodies in Australia, consisting of about 6,600 elected aldermen/councillors.

“These are civic-minded people, many of whom work at the coal-face of community engagement and embody the best traditions of independent, non-partisan politics. They should be encouraged, and it is my sincere hope that this rare opportunity is used to help finally clear the air,” Mr Martin said.

MEDIA STATEMENT 17th November 2017

Today I am announcing my decision to fill the JLN Senate vacancy should the High Court find me eligible. And I’d also like to make public, written legal advice from the respected former Senate Clerk, Dr Rosemary Laing and former High Court Justice and President of the Court of Appeal, Michael Kirby, which indicates respectively, that my bid for the Senate is “legally sound” and that “Local Government was not part of the Crown.”

Obviously when it comes to parliament and the law, you can’t get two bigger heavy hitters than Dr Laing and Justice Michael Kirby.

After consulting with my family, I am comfortable with my decision to seek to fill the Senate vacancy, following Jacqui Lambie’s surprise resignation.

In the lead up to the 2016 double dissolution election, I took every reasonable action and acted diligently, to ensure that my candidacy didn’t breach the Australian Constitution. This included officially asking (through Senator Lambie’s office) for advice from Dr Laing on Section 44 (iv) of our Constitution.

Dr Laing’s letter of reply is unique, because she doesn’t just write generally about local government members and their eligibility to run for federal parliament, as you’ll see today Dr Laing specifically pulls apart the Tasmanian Local Government Act 1993 in relation to Section 44 (iv) of our Constitution or the, Office of Profit under the Crown – Clause. And in doing so Dr Laing makes some very strong supportive statements, which in summary claim that my position was, legally sound.

In part Dr Laing also writes:

·       The key point is that payments to councillors are not in the gift of the executive government, such that it could be said that councillors are paid by the Crown. and…

·       In my view, it is unlikely that the office of councillor, including the office of mayor, would be found to be an office of profit under the Crown within the meaning of section 44(iv) of the Constitution.

This is because councillors are elected by the electors, they are not appointed by the executive government, and payments made to them are determined by statutory entitlements in respect of their offices.

Dr Laing’s March 2016 opinion was reconfirmed when I recently wrote to the new Clerk of the Senate, Richard Pye. I understand that some respected legal experts have publicly said that my Senate eligibility is in a Grey area. I’d ask those people to read Dr Laing’s letter and once again consider retired justice Michael Kirby’s black and white views on the matter that he expressed in a 1997 report to the House of Representatives titled Aspects of section 44 of the Australian constitution, which simply reads: “Local Government was not part of the Crown.”

I have recently written to Prime Minister Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. They both have a copy of Dr. Laing’s advice. I look forward to speaking with them and finding out their opinions on the matter.

Never-the-less, given the extraordinary chain of legal and political events that have occurred and the number of Senators and lower house members who have been found to be ineligible, should the Government choose to refer my matter to the High Court for further consideration, I’m very comfortable with that course of action.

Parliament library studies last year indicated that at least 38 Mayors have been elected to the federal parliament and not one has been referred to the High Court for a breach of Section 44 of the Constitution.

If I have to be the local government test case to help solve a problem, which has been in the too hard basket for decades, then I welcome the government’s action.

Many Tasmanian local government members have been in contact with me and offered their support and encouragement. The bottom line is: we all would like this question definitively answered sooner rather than later.

As to Jacqui, Jacqui’s work in the Senate has been amazing. She has fought tirelessly for Tasmania and for all Tasmanians. Jacqui has battled her way through Canberra, cut through the nonsense and never took a backward step.

Jacqui gave a voice to those who are too often not heard. And has done it all with the trademark humour and honesty for which she is loved for all around Australia.

The JLN have candidates running and registered for the state election and Jacqui is giving me all the space I need as Jacqui is paying attention to the state candidates. However, Jacqui is on my speed dial and available should I need her.

Right now though, I look forward to the chance, if eligible, to pick up where Jacqui has left off, Putting Tasmania first.


LIVING CITY – is an exciting initiative for our region, for the residents and visitors to our beautiful part of Tasmania. The project is a strategic vision for the City of Devonport, building on its regional role to become a sustainable City which is vibrant, compact, intense and connected.

Regional residents had their say as part of the Living City consultation, with over a quarter of respondents living outside of Devonport, from neighbouring communities including Kentish, Latrobe, Port Sorrel and Central Coast. Many of those respondents visit Devonport daily, weekly and monthly to work, shop, be entertained or utilise the diverse community infrastructure.

90% of respondents agreed that Devonport can be a vibrant and prosperous Regional City, reinforcing the principles of the plan to position Devonport as the retail and service hub of the North West Coast. 

Employment and Tourism are key economic development opportunities which our region is focussed on. Living City is an important strategic initiative, increasing the capacity of the region to welcome and farewell it’s 360,000 passengers on the Spirit of Tasmania. The prospect of creating a regional shopping centre and an iconic arts and tourism precinct to attract and retain more visitors in our area has benefits for the entire region and beyond.  

We know that while our region is experiencing strong population growth, we also continue to have high unemployment rates. LIVING CITY has the potential to create varied employment opportunities for people and provide incentives for our residents to stay in this area.

Our municipalities live and work side by side, viewing our region as a whole unites us, maximises limited resources and aligns vision and strategies to grow a strong and prosperous region.

The benefits from LIVING CITY will flow to the entire region.  The feedback from our residents tells us that Devonport does play an important role in achieving a vibrant and thriving future for all.

Mayor Steve Martin                                                                       

Devonport City Council

Run for Senate

Popular Mayor Steve Martin to headline JLN Senate Ticket in Tasmania: Lambie

JLN Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie will introduce her Number 1 Senate Candidate, Steve Martin to the media today.

 “I’m looking forward to introducing for the first time - my full Senate team for Tasmania, to the public today.

 Steve Martin - Local Government Leader

 And while the JLN’s number one Senate Candidate Steve Martin may not be a name recognized in all Australian households - just yet, in Tasmania Steve is very well-known and has made a fine reputation as a popular, independent Mayor, and respected community leader.” said Senator Lambie.

“Steve topped the polls in the 2009 local government elections, becoming a Devonport Alderman; he was elected Devonport Mayor in 2011; and was overwhelmingly re-elected as an Alderman and as Devonport Mayor in 2014.” said Senator Lambie.

“Steve has mentored young Tasmanians for nearly 23 years, and has just recently celebrated 20 years of community work. Steve and his wife Susanne have also successfully owned and operated two small Tasmanian businesses.”

Bass Strait Highway

“If the Liberal federal and state governments don’t take drastic measures to reduce the costs of travel and freight (both north and south) across our State border - then our economy and prospects for job growth, will always suffer.

Bass Strait must be treated like a National Highway. I agree with Jacqui who said in her first speech to parliament. If Tasmania is to be treated fairly as a state of Australia - the cost of transporting both domestic and international bound goods in containers (machinery, food, fuel) between Hobart and Melbourne – should be no more than the cost of transporting a container on a semi trailer between Melbourne and Wagga Wagga on the Hume Highway.

If we are to be treated fairly as a state – the cost of people taking their cars, motor homes, camper vans, caravans, motor-bikes, grey hounds, race horses or unicorns – from Devonport to Melbourne or vice versa – should be no more than the cost of driving the 420 kilometers of National highway from Melbourne to Albury.

I congratulate Jacqui for forcing the federal government to increase our Freight Equalisation subsidy scheme (TFES) by an extra $200M – but that money has to directly lower the cost of goods, freight and living to Tasmanian families and businesses.” said Mayor Steve Martin.

Australian Masters Games to Tasmania

“For the past 8 years Steve has lead the effort to entice the Australian Masters Games to Tasmania and was successful in attracting the Games for 2017, bringing with it $12M worth of economic benefits for the state.” said Senator Lambie.

Balance of power will make it hard for Federal Gov. to cut Health Budget

“Steve entered the political arena in 2003 lobbying for the retention of health services in the North West, specifically at the Mersey Community Hospital. Together we will fight, not only for a better public health service for Tasmania’s northwest, but for the whole of our state.

If the JLN holds the balance of power in the Senate, we will make it very difficult for the federal government – no matter whether it’s Liberal or Labor - to cut a billion dollars of funding over the next 8 years from our public health system and attack Medicare.” said Senator Lambie.

Improving educational opportunities for all

“Like all good community leaders Steve has also devoted a lot of his time to improving educational opportunities for all residents of Devonport.” said Senator Lambie.

“For 3 years I have also been working towards evolving the City of Devonport into a learning community, a place to live and a place to learn,” said Mayor Martin.

“Life-long learning will assist us to further enhance our abilities and potential, so that we as a community, region and state can be sustainably resourced and flexible enough to attract and benefit from any and all opportunities that may present. This means jobs and a future.” said Mr Martin.

“We need to look at the 4R’s in education - reading, writing, arithmetic, with the fourth being retention and that’s about engaging and keeping our kids in school so they can learn; and not just in years 11 & 12, but much, much earlier.” said Mr. Martin.

“We have far too many kids absent for far too many days, missing out on their 3R’s and their life’s potential. We need to understand why this is happening, where the kids actually are and to better resource our schools to improve and ensure attendance.

Better equipping our kids with life tools at an early age is also exceedingly important; our kids need to gain the ability to not only understand, but to also be able to cope with and make good decisions about any issue.” said Mr Martin.

“If kids are increasingly exposed to and practise - responsibility, respect, integrity, to do your best, a sense of a fair go, care & compassion, honesty & trustworthiness, freedom, understanding, tolerance and inclusion, then our kids will be better prepared for life and what it brings.    

“I have worked hard throughout my life, achieving success and failure, both have provided me with valuable, real life experience and knowledge. It is through those understandings and achievements that I feel I can contribute, represent and further benefit Tasmania and Tasmanians.” said Mr Martin.

Rob Waterman - No2 JLN Senate Candidate

“Steve Martin is supported by JLN’s No.2 Senate candidate, Rob Waterman, who has spent 30 years in the private sector, not-for-profit and government health and criminal justice sectors. Rob is currently the CEO of Rural Health Tasmania. If elected to the Senate, Rob would push for a stronger commitment to early intervention and preventative health funding.

Rob and Steve both strongly support the JLN’s policy to give Australian parents the right under law to involuntarily detox their children if they become addicted to the drug Ice.

Rob’s experience in the community services industry and research shows that an early intervention and preventive approach is seven times less expensive than treatment. Over the long term, it reduces health spending and provides a stronger economy.

Rob would also continue to fight to reduce unemployment, reduce addiction, domestic violence, and ensure education is more affordable and accessible in rural/regional Australia.” said Senator Lambie.


Smoking age; Drinking age; Voting age; National service

Over the past 10 years there has been many conversations concerning the young people, the effect of ‘privileges or habit’ that adults enjoy or take part in and how they might be counteracted to gain better outcomes for young people.

Most if not all the time, it is adults, who are gathering and analysing the data, then suggesting actions. Politicians are then lobbied either way.

The critical component that is missing here in these conversations is the input of young people and involvement in the decision making; after all they will be inheriting the final outcomes - if any.

“Young people are today’s consultants for tomorrow’s world.”

The adults should provide the process used to gather the data and the data itself to our young people and ask them for their thoughts for the way ahead. Let’s not under estimated the power and clearness of the untainted views of our young people.

Engage our young people.