Australia

Crossbenchers put climate on agenda

New independent MP Helen Haines says she doesn't intend to operate in a bloc with other crossbenchers, saying she runs her own race in Indi.

The Victorian seat of Indi's likely new independent MP Helen Haines says she doesn't intend to operate as a bloc with fellow crossbenchers, but expects they'll work together on issues such as climate change.

Ms Haines looks set to take the seat that was previously held by independent Cathy McGowan, winning almost 52 per cent of the vote so far after preferences.

It would make her the first independent to succeed another independent in a seat.

"I'm feeling a little tired, rather excited and ...really waiting for the final results to come in," she told ABC television after a night that saw the coalition unexpectedly retain power, albeit by a slim majority or minority.

Irrespective of the overall outcome, Ms Haines said she will work with the government on a case-by-case basis.

"I'm not operating as a bloc with the other independents. I very much run my own race in Indi," she said.

"There's no doubt, though, that we do see eye-to-eye on action on climate. I think climate is the one that we will be collaborating very closely on the crossbench."

She said she had yet to speak to other members that will make up the crossbench in the House of Representatives.

Zali Steggall was another shock of election night, booting out former prime minister Tony Abbott in the Sydney seat of Warringah.

Wentworth independent, Kerryn Phelps, who famously won the Sydney seat in a by-election previously held by another former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, remains in a close contest with Liberal David Sharma.

However, independent MP Andrew Wilkie romped home with a 68 per cent of the vote in his Tasmanian seat of Clark.

Other crossbenchers Rebekha Sharkie (Centre Alliance, Mayo, SA), Bob Katter (Katter's Australian Party, Kennedy, Queensland) and Adam Bandt (Greens, Melbourne, Victoria) were also returned.

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