Clive Palmer wins Fairfax, but labels electoral commission a disgrace

Palmer finishes 36 votes in front, triggering a mandatory recount, but still savages Australian Electoral Commission

Clive Palmer has labelled Australia’s electoral commission “a national disgrace” despite apparently winning the seat of Fairfax.

Palmer finished 36 votes ahead of his Liberal National party opponent Ted O’Brien on Saturday, but the mining magnate will have to sweat out a recount before he can claim victory.

While Palmer calls for reform of the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), O’Brien said the Fairfax count was a “great example of democracy in action”.

Palmer said he was amazed he finished with more votes and would 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,” 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.”

O’Brien thanked those involved in the count.

“While the past two weeks may have been intense for everyone involved, it has also been a great example of democracy in action,” the first-time campaigner said.

“When all is said and done, it’s 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.

Palmer led by 111 votes when counting began on Saturday morning, but his lead shrank as votes were tallied. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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