Clive Palmer has labelled Australia’s electoral commission ‘‘a national disgrace’’ and will keep highlighting ballot discrepancies despite apparently winning the seat of Fairfax.
While Mr Palmer calls for electoral reform, his LNP opponent Ted O’Brien says the Fairfax count is a ‘‘great example of democracy in action’’.
Although Mr Palmer finished 36 votes ahead of Mr O’Brien, the mining magnate will have to sweat out a recount before he can claim victory.
Mr Palmer says he is amazed he finished with more votes and will continue to ‘‘pursue the AEC and push for reform’’.
‘‘I will continue to fight to hold the AEC accountable as they’ve shown themselves to be greatly incompetent with no transparency,’’ Mr Palmer said in a statement.
‘‘We will be highlighting the many discrepancies we’ve uncovered in the Court of Disputed Returns.
‘‘The ballots have no security and the AEC is a national disgrace that needs to be heavily scrutinised.’’
Meanwhile, Mr O’Brien has thanked those involved in the count.
‘‘While the past two weeks may have been intense for everyone involved, its also been a great example of democracy in action,’’ the first-time campaigner said.
‘‘When all is said and done, its up to the people to decide who they want representing them.
’’The AEC will begin a recount of the Sunshine Coast based seat on Monday - more than two weeks after the election.
‘‘There will be a full distribution of preferences, which is a fresh count in any case,’’ AEC spokesman Phil Diak said.
A recount is automatically triggered when there are fewer than 100 votes separating two candidates after all preferences have been distributed.
Mr Palmer led by 111 votes when counting began on Saturday morning, however his lead shrunk as votes were tallied.
Fairfax has traditionally been a conservative electorate.
Retiring LNP member Alex Somlyay has held the Sunshine Coast-based seat since 1990.
While there were big swings to the Coalition nationally, preference flows to the Palmer United Party (PUP) has hurt the LNP’s bid to retain Fairfax.Mr Palmer attracted 26.47 per cent of the primary vote, compared to Mr O’Brien’s 41.35 per cent.