While the votes are still being counted, we do know the 45th Parliament will include quite a few independent and micro-party members, from Nick Xenophon and his band of populist South Australians, to Pauline Hanson and possibly one other, or even more, of her cohort.

In the lower house, Cathy McGowan, Andrew Wilkie and Adam Bandt will be returned, along with Rebekha Sharkie from the Nick Xenophon Team and the nonpareil Bob Katter.

But what about the independents who didn’t make it? In Australia, candidates are eligible for electoral funding if they receive more than 4% of the primary vote, and at this election that is paid at $2.62 per vote. Based on the first count before postal or pre-poll votes, these high-profile independent challengers had the following results:

Tony Windsor 

The ex-MP has been perhaps the most successful out of the high-profile indies in giving Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce a scare in the seat of New England. Windsor ended up with 29.7% of the primary vote, or 24,961 votes. After preferences, he’s on 41.8% of the vote, but Joyce is still heading back to Canberra (and his bureaucrats to Armidale). Windsor will be paid $65,397.82 in electoral funding.

Rob Oakeshott

The former independent member for Lyne announced his candidacy at the last minute, just before nominations closed. Since the boundary redistribution moved his home of Port Macquarie into the seat of Cowper, he ran against the Nationals’ Luke Hartsuyker and gained 26.56% of the vote, around 24,214 votes. That’s a return of $63,440.68. Only nine of 70 polling booths have been returned for the two-candidate preferred margin, so there’s still a chance Oakeshott could give Hartsuyker a run for his money there.

James Mathison

Former Australian Idol host James Mathison said he was challenging former prime minister Tony Abbott in the seat of Warringah because “Tony Abbott’s views don’t only reflect the views of the people of Warringah, but they don’t reflect the views of anyone I know under 30”.

“He’s against marriage equality, he thinks climate change is a hoax, doesn’t sneeze at the idea that we’ve locked children up in deplorable conditions overseas, and he’s lied over and over again.”

Mathison was one of 10 candidates taking on Abbott, one of the electorates with the most candidates across the country. He managed 11.65% of the vote, and there was a 9% swing against Abbott. The Labor candidate also experienced a decline in the primary vote, as did the Greens, so it’s more likely Mathison took votes from the progressive parties, rather than Abbott himself. With 8416 votes, Mathison will receive $22,049.92 to go towards his campaign costs.

Stephen Mayne 

Crikey founder Stephen Mayne failed at his bid to unseat former defence minister Kevin Andrews in the blue-ribbon seat of Menzies, which covers Melbourne’s leafy north eastern suburbs, but did manage to take a chunk out of Andrews’ vote. While Andrews won the seat without preferences with 51% of the vote, he did experience a 7.78% swing against him. Mayne picked up 7.2% of the vote, 4880 votes, coming in behind the two major parties and the Greens. He will go home with $12,785.60.

Dennis Jensen 

The former Liberal MP decided to run in his seat as an independent after his party dumped him at preselection earlier this year. Jensen, who may now be looking at a career as a self-published novelist, managed to get 12% of the vote in the seat of Tangney, which was 8118 votes at last update. That means he’ll get $21,269 of electoral funds to pay for the campaign, in which he came third, behind the Liberals’ Ben Morton and Labor’s Marion Boswell.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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