Family First has a glimmer of a chance getting a South Australian senate seat thanks to preference flows and a well-known candidate with deep pockets.
The balance could remain three Labor and three Liberal senators, political observers say.
But if polling is on the mark the Greens’ Penny Wright has a very good chance of upsetting Labor senator Dana Wortley.
In what has intrigued political observers in Adelaide, Family First has for the first time an outside chance of knocking out a Liberal.
Family First candidate Bob Day is a wealthy Adelaide property developer with a history of failed attempts as an independent and as the Liberal candidate for Makin in the 2007 federal election.
As a Liberal he took one of the biggest swings against the party in suburban Adelaide.
But Flinders University associate professor Haydon Manning says Mr Day is in with a chance because he is well known, cashed up and because Family First don’t need a lot of votes to potentially grab the last senate spot.
“Im not for one moment suggesting that Family First will win,” Prof Manning said.
“But given their favourable preference flow, and if they get a reasonable first preference vote on the back of quite a degree of protest against the major parties, it is not inconceivable.
“If the Liberal candidate is eliminated from the count they will get Liberal preferences ahead of any other party, ahead of Labor and ahead of the Greens.
“They actually have a reasonable outside chance whereas in previous elections you just couldn’t see it.”
Adelaide University head of the School of History and Politics Clem Macintyre says the likelihood of the vote being split three-three is still there.
“I think there is every chance the Greens will pick up a seat at the expense of Labor,” Prof Macintyre said.
“I wouldn’t rule out Family First, but it is unlikely.”
The Labor vote in SA has held up much stronger than in other states.
“But if the Greens are excluded at some point and Family First is still in the hunt then the Greens preferences will go to Family first, that’s why it is an outside chance,” Prof Macintyre said.
Family First is in the last spot on the SA senate ticket, with 42 candidates vying for the six seats up for grabs in the August 21 federal election.