Roll up for the Senate circus
Whoever forms government will have to deal with a record number of crossbenchers in the Senate after Malcolm Turnbull’s gamble to clear out the Upper House backfired spectacularly.
South Australian independent Nick Xenophon will control the biggest bloc, while Pauline Hanson makes a political return and highprofile broadcaster Derryn Hinch is all but guaranteed to snare a seat.
In WA, the final three spots of 12 remain unknown, but Labor and the Greens are likely to grab two of them.
The Liberals have locked in five senators in WA, but former defence minister David Johnston needs a miracle to save his parliamentary career.
Labor has definitely won three seats in WA and former senator Louise Pratt is likely to make it a fourth.
Greens deputy leader Scott Ludlam has clinched a seat and the party remains confident its second senator Rachel Siewert will fall over the line.
The Palmer United Party’s Dio Wang failed in his bid to be re-elected, with the party’s primary vote collapsing to a dismal 0.4 per cent — not even enough to get its deposit back.
The Liberals are a smidgen under five quotas, but postal votes will lift the tally to more than that figure.
If Senator Johnston can leapfrog Nationals candidate Kado Muir, he may get home off the back of preferences from the Nationals and Christian-based parties if supporters followed how-to-vote cards.
Mr Muir will benefit from any surplus Liberal votes if Senator Johnston is eliminated before him.
But they need to overhaul One Nation’s Rod Culleton.
Elsewhere, Senator Xenophon’s popularity saw him get his two running mates elected in SA.
In Queensland, the political revival of Ms Hanson, almost 18 years after she lost office, has been confirmed and her One Nation Party may also pick up a second seat in the Sunshine State.