ELECTION: Coalition shy of Senate majority

AAP

Australian voters look set to deliver a jumbled Senate where the balance of power is held by minor party players including a former footballer, prompting senior parliamentarians to call for a review of the election process.

A complex system of preferencing will likely deny the coalition a 39-seat majority in the upper house, while granting a Senate ticket to newcomers like former rugby league player Glenn Lazarus in Queensland for the Palmer United Party.

Incoming Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be forced to negotiate with balance-of-power senators to pass legislation including his promises to scrap the carbon tax and mining tax.

"If the collection of senators are elected that we suspect will be elected, I think that will be a group of people that Tony Abbott will be able to, regrettably, progress some of his policies and reforms through the Senate," re-elected Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie told reporters on Sunday.

On current projections, the coalition is expected to get three senators in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia, two in South Australia and Tasmania and one each in the ACT and Northern Territory, leaving it with an unchanged national total of 34.

Labor is set to hold two seats in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia, with one each in the ACT, NT and South Australia, giving it a total of 26, down five from its current standing.

NT Labor senator-elect Nova Peris will be the first indigenous woman in parliament.

The Palmer United Party could pick up a second seat, with Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania.

Independent Nick Xenophon will be returned in South Australia where Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young's place remains in doubt.

Senator Xenophon described as "bizarre" the process of micro-party preferencing and said there needs to be greater transparency in the process.

Still in the mix across the nation are candidates from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party and the Australian Sports Party.

In NSW, One Nation founder Pauline Hanson is jostling for a place with Liberal Democrats lead candidate David Leyonhjelm.

The Liberal Democrats were positioned first on the lengthy Senate ballot paper and commentators suspect some voters mistook the party name for "Liberal".

Despite little campaigning, the party picked up close to nine per cent of the NSW Senate vote.

"That is a matter that brings the democratic process into disrepute," Liberal Senator Eric Abetz told reporters in Hobart.

"When people see that they are being gamed, they are being tricked, people will lose confidence in the democratic system and ultimately that will need to be looked at."

Until the Senate changeover in July, the Greens will continue to hold the balance of power, making it impossible for the Abbott government to pass legislation such as the carbon tax repeal and toughening up asylum seeker policies unless Labor offers its support.

Read Robert Gottliebsen's 'Abbott's 12-point plan to transform Australia' here.

Read Stephen Koukoulas' 'No time for Abbott to hover with the knife' here.