Xenophon to maintain role in federal lawmaking despite SA move

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 8:  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pays a visit to North Bondi SLSC to promote the introduction of a new updated cervical canncer drug GARDASIL 9 for the Human Papillomavirus to be introduced to teenagers.Pictured with Health minuster Greg Hunt on the left and Dr Ian Frazer on the right on October 8, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 8: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pays a visit to North Bondi SLSC to promote the introduction of a new updated cervical canncer drug GARDASIL 9 for the Human Papillomavirus to be introduced to teenagers.Pictured with Health minuster Greg Hunt on the left and Dr Ian Frazer on the right on October 8, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ben Rushton/Fairfax Media)

Nick Xenophon will continue to have his say on federal legislation and could even take an active role in negotiations in Canberra despite quitting the Senate to run for a South Australian seat.

Senator Xenophon announced on Friday he will resign from the upper house - just one year into his six-year term - regardless of the outcome of the High Court case currently examining his citizenship.

He will run for the Adelaide-based seat of Hartley at the March 2018 state election and field up to 20 other candidates as he seeks a balance of power spot for his party SA-Best.

But he has now made it clear the move does not mean he will relinquish his influence on the national stage.

"I won't be there but I will still be involved in policy decisions, I'll still be having very close discussions with my colleagues," Senator Xenophon told Sky News on Sunday.

"You can expect I will still be involved in legislative decisions in the same way I have been in the past year and a bit."

Asked if he would still travel to Canberra and even take a direct role in discussions with the government and opposition, Senator Xenophon said: "I'd be happy to. It's a matter of what people can feel comfortable with."

He insisted his three federal colleagues - Stirling Griff, Rebekha Sharkie and Skye Kakoschke-Moore - could all "hold their own", but said it was important there was a sensible transition to the new arrangements. He says his move is likely to hasten a name-change for the federal party, away from the Nick Xenophon Team - which he claims to hate.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government would still be able to get legislation through the upper house without Senator Xenophon, whose support has been instrumental on a number of controversial bills.

"We have put more legislation through in the not-quite 18 months as the last election than we did in the whole three years of the previous Parliament," he said.

"So we're getting things done. I am confident if Nick Xenophon retires from the Senate, whoever replaces him, we will work with them as much as we have with anyone else."

ABC election analyst Antony Green said on Sunday there was a small possibility Nick Xenophon could find himself premier after next year's election.

"There's also deep discontent with the major parties and I don't think anyone could discount the fact that he may do spectacularly well and his party could finish in second place or even equal to one of the other parties," Mr Green told ABC TV on Sunday.

"I don't want to make people think it is a real possibility he could be premier but it is the sort of thing you shouldn't discount."

This story Xenophon to maintain role in federal lawmaking despite SA move first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.