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Singh earns independent voice in Tas

AAP logoAAP 26/07/2016 By Andrew Drummond

Re-elected Labor senator Lisa Singh insists her improbable return to the upper house is the result of support not just for the party, but for her as an individual - therefore granting a licence to push her own agenda in Canberra.

Named on Wednesday among Tasmania's senate dozen, Senator Singh's good news came as former federal coalition minister Richard Colbeck lost his position after 14 years in the federal parliament.

Labor has five senators representing the island state, with four Liberals, two for the Australian Greens and independent Jacqui Lambie.

The Greens Nick McKim scraped in to take the 12th position, just 141 votes ahead of One Nation candidate Kate McCulloch.

Listed sixth and last on Labor's double dissolution senate ticket, Senator Singh attracted thousands of below-the-line votes to finish 10th out of 12.

"There are a number of Labor party members and supporters who voted for me because of the progressive Labor values that I hold but there are also a number of people who told me they were voting for a Labor senator for the first time," she told reporters.

"People voted for me because I'm a progressive Labor senator ... other people voted for me because they were not happy in me being placed down the bottom of the ticket."

Disappointed to have lost her shadow parliamentary secretary role in Bill Shorten's new-look line-up, Senator Singh said she plans to have her voice heard.

"Being on the back bench does give you a certain level of freedom to stand for those issues, whether you're fighting internally in the party caucus or whether it's externally," she said.

She does not support Labor's adoption of the boat turnback policy, and has been outspoken on immigration detention.

This has her at odds with other members of her party, including fellow Tasmanian upper house Labor colleagues, including one who subtly aired displeasure at her return.

In a statement Senator Catryna Bilyk congratulated Tasmania's five-member senate team and four lower house MPs, naming each individual except for Senator Singh.

Mr Colbeck said he was proud his contribution to the parliament, including most recently as minister for tourism and international education.

Senior Liberal senator Eric Abetz hoped Mr Colbeck would continue to be part of the party mechanism.

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