Did You Know
Did You Know
Monty Python references, a colonoscopy analogy and a pyjama-clad senator featured during an all-night sitting of Australia's upper house.
The Senate has finally passed changes to how its members are elected after 28 hours of debate.
The changes will disadvantage so-called micro parties that have gained increasing power in the Senate.
The ruling conservative Coalition formed an unlikely partnership with the Greens party to pass the reforms.
But the opposition Labor Party and micro party senators, who opposed the laws, dragged out the debate with filibuster tactics and amendments.
During the all-night debate, Labor senators consistently spoke off-topic to delay votes to the legislation giving voters greater control over where their preferences were allocated.
The laws eventually passed by a margin of 36-24.
'Animal food trough wiper'
The marathon session produced some unusual behaviour among the senators.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon, who supports the reforms, showed up to one vote wearing pyjamas covered with pictures of monkeys and bananas. He was asked to change.
Labor senator Doug Cameron began quoting Monty Python during one exchange: "You empty-headed animal food trough wiper … I fart in your general direction."
And Glenn Sterle, also from Labor, compared the marathon debate to a colonoscopy.
Australia's complex system of voter preference distribution previously allowed micro parties to secure Senate seats, even if they receive a very small percentage of the primary vote.
At the last election a clutch of micro party senators, including Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party and former rugby league footballer Glenn Lazarus, won seats in the senate.
These senators have frustrated the government by blocking legislation. Their presence in the Senate also affects the Greens, depriving them of the balance-of-power position they have often held in the upper house.
The government says the move will give voters more power and prevent backroom deals.
"The only people who get advantaged by this reform are voters," Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said.
Micro party preferences