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Senate will include independents and micro pa -

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EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: The new Senate is set to be a complex chamber brought about as a result of vote-swapping arrangements that have delivered a raft of micro parties.

Clive Palmer's Palmer United Party may well have two senators, while other fringe groups have surprised many as they look set to take a seat in the nation's house of review with just a relatively small number of votes.

From Melbourne, Karen Percy reports.

KAREN PERCY, REPORTER: Victorians with a passion for motorsports have their choice of events. But even hardcore revheads might be wondering how the little-known Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, with just half of one per cent of the total senate vote in Victoria, got a seat.

DAMON ALEXANDER, UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE: Well there's at least 2,000 motor enthusiasts, I suppose, but still quite a low number. I think they managed to stitch up preference deals with about 23 other parties, so if nothing else, I think they've got a career in political strategy for the major parties to come.

KAREN PERCY: The party is for smaller taxes, the rights of the individual and for mateship. Its would-be senator, Ricky Muir, is quite a larrikin, featured here in a YouTube posting where he's flinging kangaroo poo.

One major Senate success is the Palmer United Party, headed by businessman Clive Palmer. It could now hold two Senate seats, one from Tasmania to be held by former soldier Jacqui Lambie, the other from Queensland in the form of Australian rugby league star Glenn Lazarus.

GLENN LAZARUS, PALMER UNITED PARTY: And I think that's great. It's gotta be good for Australia, getting the opinions and the ideas of people from all over the country and obviously in all different backgrounds. I think it'll be great and I think it'll be great for the country.

KAREN PERCY: In the west, former grid iron player Wayne Dropulich from the Sporting Party of Australia also looks headed to the Senate.

Some of the newcomers, like the Liberal Democrats in New South Wales, benefitted from the donkey vote and a name association. They support gun ownership, gay marriage, lower taxes and relaxed marijuana laws.

DAVID LEYONHJELM, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY: There are a few issues on which we will differ and there are some key no-go areas from our point of view. They are increasing taxes and reducing liberty. We won't vote for anything that does either of those.

KAREN PERCY: This senate race has been hotly contested by a record number of candidates. More than 500 people representing dozens of parties have vied for the 40 seats that will be vacant as of July next year. But some voters are complaining that it's becoming more complicated and less transparent as the parties serve up multiple preference deals for different candidates.

In South Australia, Nick Xenophon went very close to getting his running mate up, but says Stirling Griff was thwarted by Labor.

NICK XENOPHON, INDEPENDENT SENATOR: I still don't understand why the ALP would preference the Liberals ahead of Stirling.

KAREN PERCY: Senator Xenophon has his wishlist ready. If Tony Abbott wants his support to overturn the carbon tax, there will have to be continued support for the car industry.

NICK XENOPHON: Well, he's got a mandate to introduce the legislation and the Senate has an obligation to scrutinise that legislation. Simple as that.

KAREN PERCY: In light of these results, there are a number of calls for a structural shift in the way Australians vote in the Senate.

DAMON ALEXANDER: At the very least it's time to start looking at providing decent public information on preference deals for voters to take into the booth. There's no guarantee that that's gonna make a lotta difference given how apathetic a lot voters are these days. The other obvious candidate for reform might be looking at optional preferential voting.

KAREN PERCY: The final list of Senate winners could still be a few weeks away.

Karen Percy, Lateline.