When prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called a double dissolution election, it meant that all 76 seats were up for grabs, unlike the usual half-senate election. The PM also changed the way people vote in the senate so that the preference deals which saw the likes of Ricky Muir’s Motoring Enthusiasts Party elected.
But if Turnbull was hoping to gain greater control of the senate after the Coalition complained that the crossbench was making it hard to govern, because it was blocking legislation such as the introduction of the union watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission, then he has failed spectacularly.
It looks like the Liberal-National parties will lose three seats in the senate, reducing them to 30 senators in the 76-seat upper house.
Labor has fared a little better, and looks set to pick up two seats to 27.
The Greens have failed to capitalise, and may end up with nine senators, losing one.
The Palmer United Party has vanished. The new force is South Australian Nick Xenophon, who looks set to be joined by two new senators as a three-person block.
Twenty years after she controversially burst onto the scene, Queensland anti-immigration candidate Pauline Hanson is back and will have at least two senators, joined by one from New South Wales.
Hanson’s success has put an end to the career of former Palmer United and rugby league legend Glenn Lazarus.
Victorian broadcaster Derryn Hinch is heading to Canberra under his own name. Tasmania’s Jacqui Lambie, a Hanson-esque former PUP senator, is back and will no doubt cause the government more pain.
Octogenarian politician and Christian minister Fred Nile, who’s been in the NSW parliament for 35 years, looks to have a representative federally, giving conservative Christians a voice.
Independent John “submarines are the spaceships of the oceans” Madigan, has missed out, along the sole surviving PUP senator, WA’s Dio Wang.
The Democratic Liberal Party may also nab a spot, and one seat remains up for grabs and is likely to go to one of the minor parties.
The added challenge for all the new senators is the upper house will have to decide who gets to stay for the full six years – two terms – and who will back facing voters in three years time in a half-senate election.
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