The formal declaration of West Australian Senate election results has revealed the extent of swings towards the Greens and Palmer United Party (PUP).
With counting of ballot papers and crunching of preference flows now completed, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has returned the writ to the Governor of WA, Malcolm McCusker, and declared the results.
The final figures show a 5.41 per cent swing away from the Liberals and 5.06 per cent swing away from Labor.
The Greens enjoyed a 6.11 per cent swing towards them while PUP had a 7.33 swing towards it.
The outcome of the re-run election was mostly clear after the April 5 poll. Liberal senators David Johnston and Michaelia Cash retained their seats, the Greens’ Scott Ludlam kept his, while PUP’s Dio Wang was the newcomer.
The Liberals also gained a new WA senator, Linda Reynolds.
Labor’s Joe Bullock, a trade union leader, won a seat after squeezing out Louise Pratt from the top spot on the party’s Senate ticket.
Mr Bullock, Senator Johnston and Senator Ludlam were elected on quota, while Senator Cash, Mr Wang and Ms Reynolds won their seats after distribution of preferences.
Senator Pratt conceded defeat on April 16 as counting continued, lashing Mr Bullock for controversial comments he made about her and calling for the grip of union powerbrokers on the preselection process to be broken.
The pair were effectively absent from Labor’s how-to-vote cards, unlike the Greens and PUP, which respectively emblazoned their material with Senator Ludlam and billionaire party leader Clive Palmer.
PUP spent especially big on advertising while on the hustings, while the Greens also made the most of social media.
Both campaigned hard to appeal to voters who were disillusioned with the major parties.
A fresh Senate election was ordered in the state and an official inquiry launched after the AEC lost 1370 votes during a recount requested by Senator Ludlam because the original count showed he had lost his seat by a wafer-thin margin.
The AEC came under fire days before the re-run poll amid revelations that 75 pre-poll votes at the RAAFA Estate retirement home in Merriwa, in Perth’s outer suburbs, were put in an unsecured ballot box and then transferred to a secure box in breach of proper procedure.