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Heckling begins as senators sworn in

AAP logoAAP 30/08/2016 Belinda Merhab

It didn't take long for the new Senate - yet to begin official business - to tumble into petty viciousness.

The heckling couldn't even wait until every one of the 76 senators elected on July 2 was sworn-in on Tuesday.

For a while the mood was jovial as senators arrived in the parliament's upper house, ready to swear their allegiance to the Queen and take their seats.

In a rare break from the usual hyper-partisanship, there were smiles and handshakes all round - Greens greeting Liberals, Liberals greeting Labor, and everyone making nice with the important new crossbench.

There was an especially warm welcome for returned Labor Senator Don Farrell, who lost his seat in 2013.

"Welcome back Don," government senators called across the room, some making the trip over to Labor benches to greet him.

But it didn't last long.

Serial Labor heckler Stephen Conroy took aim as Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion approached to be sworn-in.

"Giles is coming," he yelled, remarking the senator wouldn't be there for long.

It was a reference to reports the dumped Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles is flagging a future tilt at the Senate.

ACT senator Zed Seselja, who was swearing his oath beside Senator Scullion, began reading louder.

Looks of disgust swept the government benches.

The smiles returned with the unopposed re-election of Senate President Stephen Parry, his firm but fair approach praised by both sides.

"What price did you pay for that," Labor's Sam Dastyari joked.

As senators filed out of the chamber, Pauline Hanson, returning to parliament after almost two decades, was beaming.

She and One Nation colleague Brian Burston wrapped their arms around each other as they walked out.

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