The chances of a July 2 federal election have shortened dramatically with the passage of Senate voting reforms after a marathon 40-hour debate.
The Coalition, with the support of the Greens and independent Senator Nick Xenophon, pushed through the bill shortly after 1.30pm on Friday by 36 votes to 23.
The debate was one of the longest considerations of a single bill in the past 26 years.
Labor and other crossbenchers voted against the changes, which will allow voters to allocate their own preferences above the line on the Senate ballot paper.
And if they choose to vote below the line they won't have to number every box - in some states that could be as many as 100.
As well group voting tickets will be abolished, a move crossbenchers fear will purge the Senate of micro-party senators.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann praised all senators, even those opposed to the changes, who made an active contribution to the debate.
"It's a reform which will help ensure that future Senate election results truly reflect the will of the Australian people," he said.
Opposition Senate leader Penny Wong wasn't nearly as effusive.
"It says everything about this government that their most urgent bill on the eve of an election is not, is not about helping Australians, but about helping themselves," she told Parliament.
Senator Wong took a swipe at the Greens, telling the minor party its support for the changes risked giving away the working majority in the Upper House over time.
The bill, which passed with nine government amendments, needs to be approved by the lower houses.
MPs have been on standby for a recall of the house, expected within the hour.
The new laws will apply from July 1, allowing the government to use them for a double-dissolution election.
- with AAP
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