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Steve Martin (Australian politician)

Steven Leigh Martin (born 3 October 1960)[1] is an Australian politician who was a Senator for Tasmania from February 2018 to June 2019, when he lost his seat at the 2019 federal election. Martin was declared elected to the Senate on a recount when Jacqui Lambie was caught up in the parliamentary eligibility crisis. He took his seat as an independent, before joining the National Party in May 2018 as its first Tasmanian member since the 1920s.[2] He was previously the mayor of the City of Devonport from 2011 to 2018.

Steve Martin
Senator for Tasmania
In office
9 February 2018 – 30 June 2019
Preceded byJacqui Lambie
Personal details
Steven Leigh Martin

(1960-10-03) 3 October 1960 (age 58)
Devonport, Tasmania, Australia
Political partyNationals (28 May 2018 - )
Independent (2018)
Jacqui Lambie Network (until 2018)


Early lifeEdit

Martin was born in Devonport, Tasmania. Prior to entering politics he was a newsagent operator and restauranteur.[3]

Local government careerEdit

In 2009, Martin was elected as an alderman to the Devonport City Council. He was also an unsuccessful candidate for Mersey in the Tasmanian Legislative Council elections. He was involved in the campaign to save the Mersey Community Hospital.[4] Martin began his mayoral term in 2011, survived a non-binding motion of no confidence in 2013, and was re-elected to a four-year term as Mayor in 2014.[5][6]


Martin ran as a Senate candidate for the newly formed Jacqui Lambie Network (JLN) in the 2016 federal election,[7] second on the JLN ticket behind party founder and incumbent Senator Jacqui Lambie. The party won enough votes for Lambie to be reelected. However, she resigned in November 2017 during the parliamentary eligibility crisis after discovering that she held dual British-Australian citizenship and was thus ineligible under section 44 of the Constitution of Australia. Due to Lambie being found ineligible by the High Court, the High Court ordered a countback be conducted to fill the seat. After JLN votes above the line flowed to Martin, he was declared elected. Kate McCulloch, an unsuccessful Tasmanian Senate candidate at the 2016 federal election for One Nation, argued that Martin was also constitutionally ineligible because his mayoral role amounted to an "office of profit under the Crown", but the High Court of Australia rejected this challenge and confirmed Martin's eligibility on 6 February 2018.[8][9]

Lambie expected Martin to immediately resign, which would have cleared the way for her to be appointed to fill the resulting casual vacancy and return to the Senate. She claimed that "personal morality" and loyalty dictated that Martin stand down. A party spokesman contended that Tasmanians intended for Lambie to hold the seat, and there was "an opportunity for that vote to be restored" if Martin resigned.[10] When Martin refused to do so, Lambie expelled him later in the week.[11] He resigned as Mayor of Devonport on 9 March 2018.[12]

Joining the NationalsEdit

Martin joined the Nationals on 28 May 2018.[2] Martin became the first Tasmanian Nationals senator and the party's first Tasmanian member of parliament since Llewellyn Atkinson, who sat as a member of the then-Country Party in Wilmot (now Lyons) from 1921 to 1928 before returning to the Nationalists.[13] Martin wants to reestablish a Nationals branch in Tasmania, where the party has historically not done well; it has only existed sporadically since Federation.[14] He stood for re-election at the 2019 federal election, with The Sydney Morning Herald reporting that the Nationals are "throwing a modest level of resources behind his bid".[15] He was not successful, polling just over one percent of the statewide Senate vote.[16]


  1. ^ "Steve Martin flags intention to take Jacqui Lambie's seat". ABC News. 17 November 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Tasmanian independent senator Steve Martin joins the Nationals". SBS News. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Senator Steve Martin". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  4. ^ Tasmanian Legislative Council 2009 Elections Mersey
  5. ^ "Meet Steve". Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  6. ^ Bingham, Libby (22 January 2013). "Motion of no confidence in mayor passed". The Advocate. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  7. ^ "Devonport Mayor Steve Martin to contest Senate seat for Jacqui Lambie Network". ABC News (Australia). 12 March 2016. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  8. ^ Grattan, Michelle (6 February 2018). "Lambie's Senate replacement Steve Martin flags that he won't stand aside". The Conversation. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  9. ^ Re Lambie [2018] HCA 6
  10. ^ Imogen Elliott (February 6, 2018). "Jacqui Lambie raises "personal morality" of Martin taking JLN Senate spot". The Advocate.
  11. ^ Maloney, Matt (8 February 2018). "Jacqui Lambie expels senator Steve Martin from party for denying her return to Parliament". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  12. ^ Zwartz, Henry (9 March 2018). "Former Jacqui Lambie Network senator Steve Martin resigns as Devonport Mayor". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 20 March 2018.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Sue Bailey (2018-05-29). "Senator Steve Martin will struggle to get elected at the next poll says a Tasmanian academic". Examiner. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  15. ^ "The state Scott Morrison thinks is ripe for a surprise on election day". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  16. ^ "Nationals fail to make a dent in Tasmania". The Advocate. 19 May 2019. Retrieved 31 May 2019.

External linksEdit