Electoral uncertainty but Senate goes Green

Uncertainty surrounds the make-up of the next federal government, but the Greens grab the balance of power in the Senate

By Brad Gardner | August 23, 2010

Uncertainty surrounds the make-up of the next federal government, but the Greens have grabbed the balance of power in the Senate.

As well as securing one seat in the House of Representatives for the first time in its history, the party is tipped to secure nine Senate spots.

The extra senators – up from five in the current Senate – means the Greens will have the deciding vote on legislation from July 1 next year.

"We have achieved balance of power in the Senate and will use that power responsibly for good and progressive outcomes for the people of Australia," Greens deputy leader Christine Milne says.

"Regardless of which party forms government, we will work with them using the huge experience we have with balance of power politics."

The seat of Melbourne won by Adam Bandt means the Greens will now be able to introduce bills in the House of Representatives.

The Greens released their transport policy before election, which included a comprehensive safety assessment of all roads rather than the current system which focuses on major highways.

It wants all regional roads to achieve a four-star safety rating by 2020 and for major highways to be designed to achieve five stars. The party also supports greater investment in rail.

"While investing in rail may at first seem contrary to the interests of the trucking association, we note projections estimate that the amount of freight carried on the roads will probably double within about 20 years," the party says.

"Even if some freight is shifted onto rail the trucking industry will still experience strong growth."

Lee Rhiannon, who is expected to secure a seat in the Senate, wants road funding diverted to rail.

She has suggested B-double registration fees should be $23,000 on the basis the trucking industry is not paying enough to cover the cost it imposes on the road network.

Rhiannon also opposes an upgrade to Sydney’s M5 motorway and linking the F3 to the M2.

Labor and the Coalition failed to gain a majority of the seats in the House of Representatives, meaning they will need to negotiate with independents and Bandt to form the 76 seats required to govern.

The ABC predicts both parties will win 73 seats each. The remaining four will be split between three independents and Bandt.

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