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Cars, guns and sport: Tony Abbott wins, but small parties drive Australian Senate to distraction

Sep 09 2013, 18:54 IST
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SummaryIt's got guns for everyone and souped-up cars, as well as mechanical dinosaurs and a Titanic replica - welcome to the new dawn of Australian politics.

It's got guns for everyone and souped-up cars, as well as mechanical dinosaurs and a Titanic replica - welcome to the new dawn of Australian politics. Almost 15 million voters in sports-mad Australia chose conservative fitness fanatic Tony Abbott as their new PM on Saturday, at the same time heralding in a rag-tag group of "micro parties" set to play a role in the upper house Senate.

At the forefront of the new breed is the Palmer United Party, which is likely to secure at least one Senate seat, set up by the colourful coal mining multi-millionaire Clive Palmer.

Palmer's list of achievements includes plans to build a replica of the Titanic and putting mechanical dinosaurs on a luxury golf resort.

"Who knows where they stand on anything? For most of them, there is no policy platform. It is going to be really interesting times," Greens leader Christine Milne told reporters on Monday.

Tony Abbott won a decisive majority in the lower house over the centre-left Labor government on Saturday but Milne said he would likely need support from six of an expected eight unaligned senators in the upper house.

Markets welcomed a return to majority government after six years of Labor rule, with Australian shares rising 0.4 percent on Monday as investors put their faith in Abbott to deliver promised political and policymaking stability.

ROO POO

One of the likely Senate newcomers whose support Tony Abbott might need is Ricky Muir, leader of the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party. Muir has featured in a social media video clip taking part in a friendly backyard fight with friends using kangaroo droppings.

His party's website proclaims support for motorists, the right to customise cars and to drive in national parks. Other than that, Muir's party sees no need for other policies.

It was a similar refrain from the previously unknown Sports Party in Western Australia state, which is also likely to win a Senate seat.

"The Australian Sports Party is all about healthy living through sport. We want to make sure everyone has the best opportunity to play sport," likely new Senator Wayne Dropulich told Australian television.

In New South Wales, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm is also on track to win a seat despite doing little public campaigning. Gun ownership is heavily regulated in Australia but he wants to free up gun laws so everyone can carry a weapon.

Leyonhjelm's party, similarly named to Tony Abbott's Liberal-National Party coalition, was the first

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