This paper discusses mandate doctrine against the background of both recent empirical research and controversy surrounding the term in Australia. It defends the concept as a normative term which belongs with the responsible party model and consent theory. It further concludes that the Democrats' claim to enjoy a mandate equal to that of the coalition government is not justified from the perspective of responsible government. However, Senator Kernot's position marks another step in the constitutional evolution of the Senate. Final judgment on the meaning of mandate depends on what kind of polity emerges.