A final election result for the seat of Fairfax is still undecided, with an extremely high number of challenges to ballot papers delaying the recount of the Sunshine Coast seat. Queensland businessman and Palmer United Party (PUP) leader Clive Palmer was ahead of the LNP’s Ted O’Brien by just seven votes in the initial count, automatically triggering a recount that started last week. AEC spokesperson Phil Diak told the ABC’s Karyn Wood that although it’s unknown when the recount will be finalised, the AEC is focused and wants to get the job done.
“There is around a 50 per cent challenge rate, and of that 50 per cent there’s about 60 per cent of the returning officer’s decisions being challenged also – so those ballots then go to Brisbane to the Australian Electoral Officer to make a final decision on,” says Mr Diak. He says a higher rate of challenges is expected in any recount.
“We found that in Victoria in 2007. But there are some challenges above and beyond say whether a vote is formal or not, votes are being challenged on whether they are…authentic.
“Now overwhelmingly they’re challenges that are coming from the Palmer United Party scrutineers. They are entitled to challenge on that basis if they wish, but overall the total challenges we have, the slower the count,” says Mr Diak.