How will micro-parties affect the Senate?
The large number of micro-parties in the Senate mean we may be headed toward a double dissolution election faster than we thought. Professor George Williams from the Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law, explains how to prevent this happening.PT0M0S 620 349
The strategist behind the likely surprise election to the Senate of three minor party candidates, Glenn Druery, owns a lobbying firm selling itself to business as able to ''build a productive working relationship with Independent and minor party MPs''.
The dual roles mean Mr Druery could be lobbying senators he helped get elected on Saturday - from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, Australian Sports Party and Family First - on behalf of private sector clients.
Advice: Glenn Druery has not lobbied for two years. Photo: James Alcock
A loophole in the rules also means neither Mr Druery nor his firm Independent Liaison is required to register as a lobbyist with the Federal Parliament because the firm says it does not lobby government representatives, only non-government politicians.
Independent Liaison's website states Mr Druery ''advises businesses and organisations on how to have the most effective and productive working relationships with Independent MPs and minor parties around the country. He continues to work closely with those MPs on their campaigns.''
On Monday, however, Mr Druery told Fairfax Media it was ''not an issue'' as he hadn't lobbied for about two years and would ''absolutely not'' lobby those he helped get elected on Saturday.
It would be ''improper . . . to get people elected and then somehow put your hand out and say you owe me a favour'', Mr Druery said.
However, he would not discount lobbying members of Federal Parliament in future.
Complex preference swaps orchestrated by Mr Druery have led to the likely election to the Senate of Ricky Muir from the Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party, Wayne Dropulich of the Australian Sports Party and Bob Day from Family First.
Final results are unlikely to be known for some time but the trio is regarded as a good chance to share the balance of power with 10 Greens, independent Nick Xenophon, a Liberal Democrat, a Democrat Labor Party representative and two from the Palmer United Party.
They would potentially enjoy a powerful negotiating position with the Abbott government over the passage of legislation.
Mr Druery is well known for his preference-swapping tactics, having registered 24 micro-parties at the 1999 NSW election that led to the infamous ''tablecloth'' ballot paper for the upper house.
It led to authorities changing registration rules but not before he managed to get his friend Malcolm Jones of the Outdoor Recreation (Stop the Greens) Party elected.
Independent Liaison was launched in early 2011, when global communications firm STW announced it as a new joint venture with Mr Druery.
STW - which also owns the Labor-aligned lobbying firm Hawker Britton and the Liberal-linked Barton Deakin - announced it would be ''the country's first and only government relations firm specialising in working exclusively with - and for - Independents and minority parties''.
In the months before the election, Mr Druery attracted attention by convening preference-strategy meetings for dozens of micro-parties contesting the Senate. This so-called ''micro-party alliance'' led to Saturday's successes.
Company records show STW's chief financial officer, Lukas Aviani and its chief operating officer Chris Savage were directors of Independent Liaison until early last month. Mr Druery is now its sole director and shareholder.
But STW government relations group practice manager Justin Di Lollo - who helped establish Independent Liaison - said STW was no longer associated with Mr Druery as his firm had been unsuccessful.
''That company never made one cent in profit,'' he said. ''It wasn't a huge loss spinner but it didn't make any money.''
He denied STW had any association with Mr Druery's dealings with micro-parties.