Minor parties take foothold in Senate

NEW minor parties appear set to play a key role in the Senate, with billionaire Clive Palmer's party likely to pick up two spots, in Queensland and Tasmania, and a party for motoring enthusiasts on track to win a seat in Victoria.

Vote counting for the Senate is continuing and preference deals mean even a tiny percentage of the popular vote can influence the outcome.

The Senate will remain under the control of Labor and the Greens until mid-2014 and after that it appears an assortment of parties will play a key role in what Tony Abbott can achieve.

In a surprise result, former rugby league player Glenn Lazarus appears to have claimed a Queensland Senate seat for the Palmer United Party (PUP), which is also likely to be represented by Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania.

The Australian Motoring Enthusiasts Party's Ricky Muir could secure a Senate spot in Victoria, while the Australian Sports Party may pick up a seat in Western Australia.

Read more at ABC news online