The Palmer United Party has won its first seat at the election, with its candidate Jacqui Lambie taking out the final Senate seat in Tasmania.
A 42-year-old single mother with two children, Ms Lambie squeezed past the Liberals' third candidate Sally Chandler and sex industry lobbyist Robbie Swan to win a seat in the new Senate.
In the end, the result was in the hands of "the big man upstairs", Ms Lambie said. And by that, she didn't mean Clive Palmer.
"No, no, not this time around," the former military policewoman said after the Senate preferences distribution gave her the final Tasmanian seat.
"Once it gets to that point, it's up to God upstairs. There's not much else I can do about it."
In the tightest contest in Tasmanian history, Mr Swan fell just 244 votes short of overtaking Labor senator Lin Thorp at the point where one or other dropped out of the count.
With just another 0.08 per cent of the vote, the Canberra-based co-convener of the sex industry's Eros Foundation would have topped her vote, won her preferences and most likely gone on to take the seat.
Instead, Ms Lambie won the seat, winning 6.6 per cent of the vote, in the Palmer United Party's best performance anywhere outside Queensland.
She was helped over the line by a horde of preferences from other parties, ranging from the libertarian Liberal Democrats to the Greens.
The Palmer United Party is certain to win a second Senate seat in Queensland, where rugby league legend Glenn Lazarus won 10 per cent of the vote, and has a 50-50 chance of winning a third seat in Western Australia, where it is in a fight with the obscure Australian Sports Party.
PUP leader Clive Palmer won the lower house seat of Fairfax by 36 votes but the slender margin means the contest is now subject to a recount, with results not expected until next week.
The Coalition's loss in Tasmania means it will have only 33 seats in the new 76-member Senate, one fewer than now. Labor and the Greens will have 35 seats between them, with a crossbench of eight senators holding the balance of power.
Ms Lambie is learning about maintaining a united party voice. Her initial support for some sort of carbon tax has been abandoned.
Ms Lambie also partly backed her leader's concerns about the Australian Electoral Commission.
"I think there needs to be some reform about," she said. "But everything is very clean swept down here in Tasmania. I've had no issues whatsoever."
The issue that brought the former military policewoman alive was the treatment of war veterans and injured defence personnel.
With almost nine months to wait until she takes her seat in the Senate, Ms Lambie said she would be using the time to take their case up to the Abbott government.
"I know the Liberal Party is very aware of my concerns when it comes to war veterans and injured defence personnel. So, if they don't come through with it, I'm going to ask for a royal commission . . . on the management practices of Veterans Affairs."