(Transcript from World News Radio)
The election had to be conducted a second time after 1370 Senate ballots disappeared during a recount of the original Senate election in September last year.
It will be at least a week until the final make-up of the Senate is known, but there are likely to be at least two seats for the Liberals, one each for Labor, the Greens and Palmer United Party with the last seat to be a battle between Labor and Liberal.
As Amanda Cavill reports the Greens and the Palmer United Party have emerged as the big winners.
With almost 70 per cent of the vote counted, the Greens recorded a swing of 6.4 per cent.
The Palmer United Party had a swing of 7.5 per cent towards it.
The major parties lost votes with swings of about 5 per cent against both Labor and Liberal.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam easily won a seat following the surge in the Greens vote.
Senator Ludlum says he’s delighted with the result, but stresses the winner of the final seat will be crucial for the balance of power in the Senate.
“We had a very strong online campaign backing up the most motivated grassroots face-to-face campaign I’ve ever seen. Right across the board, I’m really glad we’ve seen this kind of result. We just need to temper expectations a little bit. Let’s see what the final makeup is. My understanding on these early numbers there’s still a seat in play. We’re just going to have to wait over the next few days for the result I suspect.”
And the election of Chinese-born mining executive Dio Wang as the Palmer United Party’s third Senator gives extraordinary power to the party.
PUP also has an alliance to vote together with the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party’s Ricky Muir, who was elected to represent Victoria in the Senate in September’s election.
This means Tony Abbott will have little choice but to deal with the high-profile mining magnate to get legislation through the Senate when Labor and the Greens oppose the Coalition’s agenda.
Labor member for Perth Alannah MacTiernan says the composition of the new Senate will make for an interesting time in the upper house come July 1.
“And I think that we’re going to see a very interesting relationship between Tony Abbott and Clive Palmer .. because to get the legislation through you are going to have to solicit their votes”.
To pass legislation, the Government will need 39 votes in the Senate.
Although the outcome for the sixth WA seat is still unknown, when the new Senate sits from July 1, the Coalition will definitely have 32 seats, Labor 25 seats, and the Greens 10 seats.
The result of the sixth seat will come down to preferences and the Coalition says it’s hopeful of winning that seat.
But even if the sixth seat does go to Labor or the Greens, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she’s confident the Coalition will be able to reach agreement with Clive Palmer and his senators to pass the government’s agenda.
“We haven’t had to negotiate with the Palmer United Party yet but of course we are determined to deliver on the promises we took to the Australian people about stopping the boats, about getting rid of the carbon tax, getting rid of the mining tax, building infrastructure, building roads, getting rid of unnecessary red tape and regulation. They are all the sorts of things Clive Palmer and his Party would generally agree with. I think we have a good opportunity to have a constructive relationship with Clive Palmer.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dismissed the swing against the Federal Government.
He says candidates who’re against the carbon tax and mining tax have performed very strongly.
Mr Abbott says he expects both taxes to be swiftly scrapped when the new Senate takes office from July 1.