On the subject of names, interestingly the LNP is investigating, if not already, implementing legislation to outlaw the practise of having political parties with similar sounding names to those of major parties. The position of the Liberal Democrat party on the voting papers, in addition to their similar name to the Liberals was suggested to have pulled as much as 4% of the vote away from voters true intentions of voting Liberal.
The Electoral Act already forbids the registration of parties which are too similar to existing parties for this very reason, although many are saying that it isn't being enforced strongly enough, especially after the last election. You are correct in saying the Coalition are looking to legislate this more rigidly but the method they've proposed (banning specific words like Liberal and Labour) is not very fair to legit existing parties which use those words.
*The present system of elections for the upper house is deeply flawed, where complex preference deals now control who wins rather then a direct vote by the people. You may think your voting, for example the greens, and through what deals are in place elect micro-party X whose strong right views are polar opposite to what you initially wanted.
I agree that it's flawed, and in my opinion would be drastically improved if it allowed people to vote below the line but only as many times as they wanted, ie they can do the whole thing, just the first two parties, the first ten, etc. That way your preferences stop when you stop numbering people, which means your preferences will only flow as far as you want them to (and there isn't the massive burden of numbering 100-odd boxes).
That said, if it bothers you where your preferences go, you should really just vote below the line. Then preference deals mean nothing.
is there a continuing trend where smaller political parties whose voices are not heard will gain additional traction in coming elections?
I don't know about that. There has certainly been an increase in micro parties lately, and they will occasionally fluke a seat through preference flows, but that tends not to be a trick that works well a second time.
To return to the prospect of a Save Our Rail party - it's not really the best idea. Single-issue organisations like this work better as lobbying groups, who can work on challenging all the parties, and supporting those whose goals align with theirs. That's not to say they wouldn't have some success if they went to an election - they might - but it would be better for all involved if they didn't.