Roll up for the Se­nate cir­cus

Pilbara News - - State News - An­drew Til­lett

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.

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