Nick Xenophon got into politics at the 1997 SA Election when he ran for the Upper House on a ‘No Pokies’ platform.
Before that he was minding his own business, running a small suburban legal practice in Paradise (the suburb!). But in the mid 1990s he began to see client after client whose lives had been damaged in some way by the introduction of poker machines into pubs and clubs.
So he decided to make a point to run for State Parliament to at least raise the profile of the issue. He didn’t expect to win but scraped in with a bit over three per cent of the state-wide vote.
He spent the next eight years fighting the pokies, as well as campaigning on other issues where people and groups weren’t getting a fair go – asbestos, victims of crime, and land tax, to name but a few.
At the 2006 State Election he was re-elected with 20.5 per cent of the state’s vote. He was as shocked as his political opponents. He decided to leave state politics and run in the November 2007 Federal Election because he believed (and does even more so now) that he could do more for South Australians in the Senate.
He was elected to the Senate with 14.5 per cent of the vote at the 2007 poll – just over a full Senate quota (so he didn’t have to rely on preferences from any political parties).
Articles by Nick Xenophon
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