The announcement by Peter Andren that health reasons had led him to withdraw from the NSW Senate contest is one of those ‘what if’ situations, where the potential future of Australia may just have altered quite significantly.
Andren is fighting cancer, which is obviously a tragic situation for him, and it is understandable he has stepped back so he can focus totally on beating it. But it also means a future Senate will be different from what it may have been. I think Andren had a good chance of winning a Senate seat, as he would have been likely to receive a good flow of preferences from across the spectrum. I was actually quite looking forward to the prospect of working with him in the Senate, should I be fortunate enough to be re-elected, as he has shown himself to take a genuinely independent, thinking position on many issues, which is what is really needed in the Senate – and which unfortunately is much rarer than I would like.
Given the fact that the Senate is likely to be finely balanced after the election, a single person such as Andren could well have been in a pivotal position, as Brian Harradine had been in the past. The position he may have taken on particular legislation could well have been pivotal in determining what became law and what didn’t. One can never tell what might have been, but it is none the less worth noting that Australia’s future may well now be different in some substantial ways as result of Peter Andren’s unfortunate illness. Such can be the significance of how people vote in the Senate, and who they decide to elect.
My best wishes to Peter Andren with his current battle.