The Australian Sex Party (ASP), which favours sex education in schools, gay marriage and a censorship regime, has emerged as a key factor in the country’s general election.

The party outpolled several more prominent minor parties and came within about 10,000 votes of another small party, Family First for the Senate in Victoria, the Herald Sun reported on Tuesday.

After Coalition, Labour and Greens, the ASP is now neck and neck with Family First for the fourth place in the national Senate vote — a result achieved without fielding candidates in the Australian Capital Territory or Tasmania.

And in the Northern Territory, it secured more than five percent of the vote in one Senate position, qualifying for more than $3,700 in taxpayer funds.

Once a party or candidate secures four percent of first preferences, they are paid $2.31 for every vote they receive.

ASP candidate Fiona Patten said the support was encouraging and they would be back for the state election.

Sex Party policies include R and X ratings for computer games, an end to internet filters, and a national sex education curriculum to prevent “the sexualisation of children”.

While the ASP gained 2.2 percent of the Senate first preferences in Victoria, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) managed roughly the same. Despite this, the Victorian DLP has been vying for the last Senate spot.

The ASP secured a total of 54,744 first preference votes in the Senate in Victoria, compared with One Nation’s 8,804 and the Australian Democrats’ 11,774.

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