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These Five People Could Save You From $100k Degrees

Who are they and why should you care?

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The five crossbenchers in the 45th parliament look set to have a lot of power.

We still don't have a final election result (or a prime minister), but it looks likely that Malcolm Turnbull could fall short of the 76 seats he needs to govern in his own right and have to form a minority government.

That means he has to secure the support of the crossbench MPs who hold the "balance of power" to get legislation through the lower house.

The five lucky MPs are:

* Independent Cathy McGowan in the seat of Indi in northeastern Victoria.

* Independent Andrew Wilkie in the seat of Denison in Tasmania.

* Katter's Australia Party MP Bob Katter in the seat of Kennedy in north Queensland.

* Nick Xenophon Team MP Rebekha Sharkie in the seat of Mayo south of Adelaide.

* Greens MP Adam Bandt in the seat of Melbourne.

And here are some of the policies that they could have the power to make or break.

More expensive uni degrees

Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

The Turnbull government is committed to partially deregulating university fees on "flagship courses". The Labor party has ruled out supporting university deregulation in any form.

McGowan has committed to oppose any legislation that moves to deregulate universities and to "fight for increased support for rural and regional families to support access to higher education" during her second term as member for Indi.

The Greens also oppose university deregulation.

Sharkie could follow the lead of her party leader Nick Xenophon, who blocked the government's surprise move to deregulate the higher education sector in 2015.

Katter's stance on deregulation is unclear but his party policy states it would ensure "all Australians, regardless of their circumstance, will receive a world class education".

Same-sex marriage

Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images

The Liberal party wants to hold a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, while the Labor party has said it will legislate for marriage equality in the parliament.

Wilkie and McGowan want a free parliamentary vote on the issue.

Bandt also wants it to be legalised via the parliament.

Sharkie has not indicated whether she would vote against a plebiscite, but Xenophon does support marriage equality.

Katter has not declared whether he would support a plebiscite but he is against same-sex marriage and is quick to downplay issues affecting LGBT Australians.

Action on climate change

Paul Crock / AFP / Getty Images

Both major parties have promised to cut emissions: the Coalition by 26 to 28% by 2030 via a Direct Action policy, the Labor party by 45% by 2030 via an emissions trading scheme.

Adam Bandt would follow the Greens party line on climate change, which involves supporting workers to leave the coal industry, ensuring the nation's energy generation is "at least 90% renewable" by 2030 and continuing to fund climate scientists.

Wilkie supported the Gillard government's carbon tax and McGowan voted against repealing it.

NXT wants an emissions trading scheme and 50% renewable energy by 2030.

Katter's views on climate change are complicated: he once claimed climate change was "just a theory, like gravity" and voted against a price on carbon.

However, he has also offered to support initiatives that would reduce C02 emissions including a "Northern Australian clean energy corridor".

Jobs for young people

Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

The Turnbull government has proposed a PaTH program to reduce youth unemployment rates that has been criticised because it involves young people working for as little as $4 per hour.

Under a Labor government, young people who have been unemployed for six months or more will be given the option to sign up to a free 20-week TAFE course that Labor hopes will ease their transition into apprenticeships.

McGowan has recognised the challenges, particularly for rural Australians, in finding work, and voted against the Coalition government’s previous proposal for people under 25 to wait four weeks for a social security support payment. But she hasn't indicated whether she supports Labor or the Coalition's unemployment plan.

While Nick Xenophon has spoken a lot about protecting the existing jobs of those in the steel or manufacturing industries, he is yet to make any meaningful announcements about jobs for young people.

Katter has only really talked about youth unemployment in terms of it being a negative side effect of granting working visas to people from overseas.

Bandt has said "jobs growth must now be a budget priority" for young people but criticised the PaTH program, claiming it might breach international labour laws.

Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Gina Rushton at

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