While most of the focus was on Anthony Albanese’s election win in the lower house at the weekend, attention has now turned to the Senate results, with the Australian Greens likely to emerge as power brokers and Legalise Cannabis Australia (LCA) making stunning gains.
With Labor set to bag the 76 lower house seats it needs to form a majority government, the battle for cannabis reform could be fought in the Senate with the Greens on track to hold the sole balance of power.
During the campaign, the Greens vowed to use that power to legalise cannabis nationally, with plans to establish an Australian Cannabis Agency to issue licences for production and sale, act as the single wholesaler of legally accessible cannabis, and police the regulations.
The party would also establish adult retail stores and allow over-18s to grow up to six plants at home for personal use.
Meanwhile, while unlikely to win any seats in the Senate, LCA is on course for a game-changing result, at one stage even threatening Pauline Hanson in Queensland.
With counting ongoing, latest figures show the party has scored 6.6% of the vote in the sunshine state, compared to One Nation’s 7.8%, with Hanson looking likely to cling on.
Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party is trailing with 4.6%, despite spending almost A$100 million on the campaign nationally compared to LCA’s shoestring budget.
That may change though — assuming its vote share holds up in Queensland once counting is finished, LCA will receive Australian Electoral Commission funding for exceeding 4% next time around.
In the NT, it is doing even better, with a 7% vote share, followed by WA (3.8%), Victoria (3.4%), Tasmania (3.3%), New South Wales (3%) and SA (2.5%).
Only in the ACT, where possession and home grow is already decriminalised for adults aged 18-plus, has it failed to reach 2%, with a 1.8% share.
At the time of writing, 40.5% of votes have been counted nationally, with six of 40 seats still in doubt.