News National Lucy Gichuhi wins Senate recount, High Court to rule next week

Lucy Gichuhi wins Senate recount, High Court to rule next week

Kenyan-born Lucy Gichuhi is now likely to replace fellow Family First politician Bob Day.
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Family First politician Lucy Gichuhi has won the recount for Bob Day’s vacant senate seat for South Australia.

Ms Gichuhi claimed victory after a special recount was conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission behind closed doors on Thursday.

The court struck out Mr Day’s election to the Senate at last year’s federal election due to an indirect pecuniary interest involving his electoral office.

Ms Gichuhi was the second candidate on the Family First ticket, after Mr Day, and picked up 152 first-preference votes in the original count.

“Today the recount has confirmed that I, Lucy Gichuhi, have been elected to represent the state of South Australia in the Australian Senate,” she said.

“I am honoured and grateful for this opportunity to serve Australia. I see it as an opportunity to give back to this great nation.”

Last week, Ms Gichuhi dodged questions about whether she has renounced her Kenyan citizenship, which could create a constitutional hurdle to her election.

On Thursday, she dismissed suggestions she was ineligible.

“I do not intend on commenting on the processes that have brought us to this point,” she said.

“As a lawyer, I am deeply respectful of both the legal and electoral processes. I am an Australian citizen and am eligible to serve.”

“I will continue to take advice on all of these matters as we move forward.”

However, Labor said on Thursday that it may appeal the outcome.

“After obtaining legal advice from Senior Counsel, the ALP is considering making a further submission on this matter when the Court of Disputed Returns considers it again next week,” Acting Attorney General Katy Gallagher.

“The election of a Senator is an important constitutional matter. It is incredibly important that the validity of each Senator’s election is beyond question.”

“This is not about Ms Gichuhi, this is about the integrity of the Senate and electoral system.”

Former Labor senator Anne McEwen had previously been tipped as an outside chance to win the recount.

Born in Kenya, Ms Gichuhi is a qualified lawyer and accountant who has worked for Ernst & Young and the SA Auditor-General’s Department.

She migrated to Adelaide in 1999 and has been an Australian citizen since 2001.

Before the election, she told of her childhood growing up in Kenya, including going to a rural primary school with no real classrooms.

The results of the recount will now be presented to the High Court, which will rule on the vacant seat next week.

South Australia’s newest senator will be sworn in on May 9 – the same day the budget will be handed down.

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