A new Senate president has been elected, but his win stirred controversy in the chamber after a plea for gender equality was ignored.
West Australian senator Slade Brockman has been elected as the new Senate president in a tense parliamentary vote.
Senator Brockman is set to replace former Senate president Scott Ryan, who shocked the chamber when he announced last month that he would be quitting his role nine months earlier than planned.
But the Liberal politician’s election into the important Senate position stirred controversy in the chamber.
Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi was also elected by her party to run for the position.
Senator Faruqi urged the Senate to allow a greater diversity of people to claim positions of power in Australian politics.
“In the history of the Senate, there has only been one woman in that chair. And that was decades ago,” she said.
“We’ve been talking about gender equity all of this year. If you really care about gender equity, I would be very honoured to facilitate this chamber.”
“Put a black woman in the chair!” someone yelled from across the chamber.
Despite Senator Faruqi’s appeal, Senator Brockman was elected by a landslide, receiving 45 of the 54 votes.
Senator Brockman said he was “honoured” to take over from Senator Ryan.
“While a diverse range of perspectives are represented in this chamber, I will treat each of you as duly elected and equal representatives of your states,” he said.
“I will take your arguments on the merits and seek to act impartially at all times.”
Senator Brockman has been a politician since August 2017 when he was appointed as senator for Western Australia.
As Senate president he will maintain parliamentary order and procedure during Senate debates, performing similar duties to the Speaker of the House.