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You Need To Know The Crazy Make-Up Of The Senate To Understand The Next Government

Who are they and what do they want?

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The results are still being tallied, but it looks likely that the senate crossbench will grow from eight to 10 in the next parliament - and Malcolm Turnbull could need buy-in from One Nation to pass legislation.

Nick Xenophon is calling it the "biggest crossbench since Federation".

The Coalition looks set to win 30 senate seats, Labor 27 and the Greens nine.

On top of that there could be three Nick Xenophon Team senators, three from One Nation, two Liberal Democrats, Jacqui Lambie and Derryn Hinch. If the government can’t secure support from Labor or the Greens, it will need the support of eight of these 10 crossbenchers to pass bills through the senate.

And even though the results aren't yet finalised, it's clear that Malcolm Turnbull will likely need at least one of One Nation’s votes to pass legislation.

Without the support of the crossbench the government won’t be able to push through its election promises including the reason Malcolm Turnbull called the double dissolution election: the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) bill.

This leaves a lot of room for negotiations and compromises.

Nick Xenophon Team. Three seats: Nick Xenophon, Stirling Griff, Skye Kakoschke-Moore.

NXT / Via

Nick Xenophon is known as the kingmaker of the senate.

His team's priorities are Australian manufacturing, gambling reform, local jobs for government contracts, stronger whistleblower protections, changing the emphasis of healthcare to preventive treatment. He’s anti university fee deregulation and pro same sex marriage.

One Nation. Up to three seats: Pauline Hanson, Brian Burston, Rod Culleton.

One Nation / Via

One Nation wants a royal commission into climate science, to ban the burqa, sharia law and the building of mosques and to relax the gun laws to allow people to have access to firearms for self-defence.

Leader Pauline Hanson is also opposed to constitutional recognition of Indigenous people.


Liberal Democrats. Up to two seats: David Leyonhjelm, Gabe Buckley.

LDP / Via

The Liberal Democrats are all about less tax, cutting red tape, small government and more personal freedom.

Their biggest contribution to the last parliament was holding the Nanny State senate inquiry.

They’re pro euthanasia and same-sex marriage, think owning a gun should be easier, that there shouldn’t be a tax on smoking and they are against the Turnbull government’s proposed changes to superannuation.

Jacqui Lambie Network. One seat: Jacqui Lambie.

JLN / Via

Jacqui Lambie’s priorities haven’t changed since she was elected in 2013: withdrawing troops from the Middle East, a royal commission into defence abuse, veterans’ benefits, increasing TAFE funding, reversing the cuts to aged care, changes to the family benefits tax, the schoolkids bonus and support for dairy farmers.

She also wants to scrap the China free trade deal, is opposed to Sharia law, and is in favour of constitutional recognition for Indigenous people as well as quotas for indigenous representation in parliament.

Derryn Hinch's Justice Party. One seat: Derryn Hinch.

DHJP / Via

Derryn Hinch ran on a policy of introducing a national public register of convicted sex offenders showing names, photos, crimes and addresses of offenders.

The Justice Party also wants law reform to stop violent offenders being released on bail. He supports voluntary euthanasia and harsher penalties for animal cruelty.

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at

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