Federal Election 2016: A Senate can save the Government from itself, Nick Xenophon says
Australia's Federal Government faces the "biggest crossbench since Federation", Senator Nick Xenophon has declared, after his new Parliamentary colleagues had their first informal meeting.
Vote counting is still underway but the Nick Xenophon Team has already won two seats in the Federal Senate, one in the House of Representatives and is likely to win a third Senate seat.
This includes South Australian NXT senators Nick Xenophon and Stirling Griff, the party's lone MP in the House of Representatives, Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, and Senate candidate Skye Kakoschke-Moore is also on track to win a seat.
Senator Xenophon said his fledgling party met today for "coffee and to work through a whole lot of issues".
"Let's wait and see what the final results will be in the Senate," he said.
"It will test the negotiation skills of any government because it will be the biggest crossbench since Federation."
Senate seats have also been won by One Nation, Jacqui Lambie Network and the Greens, while Derryn Hinch's Justice Party is also on track to win a seat.
"Sometimes a Senate has to save a government from itself, from bad legislation that will have catastrophic consequences," Senator Xenophon said
"The Senate did that in spades with the 2014 budget, which contained a number of nasty elements in it that would have caused a lot of social disharmony, damage to communities and individuals around the country."
Mr Xenophon was referring to the budget handed down by former treasurer Joe Hockey and former prime Minister Tony Abbott, which included widespread cuts to health and education, and changes to welfare.
NXT nearly won a second seat in the Lower House after candidate Andrea Broadfoot almost unseated incumbent Rowan Ramsey in the seat of Grey.
Mr Ramsey yesterday declared victory with 52 per cent of the vote but Ms Broadfoot has not conceded defeat while there are votes still to be counted.
Asked if Ms Sharkie would side with the Coalition in the Lower House, Senator Xenophon said the Coalition was likely to have the numbers to form government in its own right.
"We want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem," he said.
"For those who do want to cause maximum mayhem in Parliament, we won't be part of that, but we do want to hold the Government to account.
"There's a very heavy obligation on every member of Parliament and senator to make this Parliament work to solve this nation's problems and goodness knows there's a lot of issues that need to be dealt with."
Source: ABC News