Well, what a big day it's been in Senate counting - the AEC has updated Senate results from 146 of the 150 electorates.
While I am busy at work, I will be tweeting any odd or revised Senate outcomes so follow me @AU_Truth_Seeker
Here is my estimation for the overall Senate makeup:
Firstly, this relies on an assessment of WA and TAS, which remain very uncertain and volatile. But if we can move past this, recent counts point to the fact that ALP/GRN/PUP may well have together 38 Senators - enough to block legislation. While for some legislation, this may not matter (can't see Palmer voting against to block a Carbon Tax repeal, for example), it may matter if Palmer decides to play an obstructionist card to leverage alternative policies.
WA (90.19% counted)
Reports of the change in elected Senators appears correct, if there were to be no further votes counted, as the Shooters currently lead the Christians by 79 votes (calculator says 346, but is overstating actuals). This means that PUP's Zhenya Wang and ALP's Louise Pratt have overtaken the Greens' Scott Ludlam and Sports' Wayne Dropulich.
An earlier elimination than "Will the Shooters catch the Christians?" is the Animal Justice vs HEMP. If HEMP falls behind Animal Justice, this strangely locks in the election of Ludlum/Dropulich. But currently HEMP is leading by 183 according to the calculator, but a large 486 if we correctly account for BTLs. This margin is actually higher than yesterday (by about 150 votes), reversing a narrowing trend of the last few days.
A later elimination is PUP vs LDP, with the winning party to leapfrog the other onto the Red couches. Currently, PUP is winning by 700 votes (according to the ABC Calc) but by 1600 votes once BTLs are considered.
Assessment: With the AJP v HEMP gap widening, this appears to increase the likelihood of ALP/PUP.
NSW (91.17% counted)
The NSW Senate race is perhaps the most complicated. See my previous post for information on the critical counts.
Basically, although the critical counts vary in "Calculator" magnitude of 227 to 1138 votes, the actual margins, including BTLs, all vary within the narrow range of 555 to 1011 votes.
I have set up a spreadsheet with all the data auto-feeding from online and will tweet and post if it gets interesting tomorrow.
Assessment: Looking increasingly likely for 3 LNP, 1 LDP, 2 ALP. The outside chance is now more likely to be Shooters and Fishers, not Democrat, as LNP vote has reduced significantly recently enabling the exclusion of Sinodinos to elect SFP. This remains, however, unlikely.
Instead of recreating the wheel, I'll point you in the direction of Kevin Bonham's specialised Tasmanian Senate analysis.
In summary, this one is way too close to call, with too many BTL votes throwing a degree of randomness that simply cannot be modelled accurately. If I had to take a punt, I'd suggest PUP's Jacqui Lambie is slightly more likely to win the final spot.
To be honest, I cannot see any real likelihood of any of these states producing different outcomes. I am keeping a watching brief on SA, in particular, but believe the margins to be insurmountable.