9 Sep 2013

Minor parties will have key role in Australian Senate

10:59 pm on 9 September 2013

Australia's prime minister-elect Tony Abbott says he has not yet spoken to any of the potential senators representing so-called micro-parties but he expects them to respect his mandate.

Mr Abbott's Liberal National coalition has a majority of more than 30 seats in the House of Representatives.

But it looks as though the balance of power in the Senate will be held by the Greens and tiny special interest parties such as the Motoring Enthusiasts Party and the Palmer United Party.

The Green Party says it looks like Mr Abbott will have to negotiate with minor parties, despite condemning Labor for doing the same thing.

Before Saturday's general election, Tony Abbott was highly critical of deals Labor did with the Greens and the Independents.

He also ruled out leading a minority government in the event of another hung parliament.

Greens leader Christine Milne says despite Mr Abbott's rhetoric, his negotiating skills look likely to be tested.

Mining magnate Clive Palmer says he will adopt a rational approach to using his party's balance of power in the Senate.

The leader of the right-of-centre Palmer United Party is confident of winning at least two Senate seats and possible a seat in the lower House.

Meanwhile former federal treasurer Wayne Swan the millionaire was able to spend as much as he did getting PUP into parliament. The party only registered eight weeks ago.

Mr Palmer says he doesn't know how much he spent but it was necessary.