Palmer has AEC in sights despite win

VICTORY CLAIMED: Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer.
VICTORY CLAIMED: Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer. DAVE HUNT

CLIVE Palmer has set his crosshairs on the Australian Electoral Commission despite yesterday claiming victory in Fairfax.

Mr Palmer edged out the LNP's Ted O'Brien by just 36 votes following the completion of the two-party preferred count.

A full recount is probable and the official result is unlikely to be known for weeks.

If the margin is still less than 100 after the full distribution of preferences then a full recount will be triggered automatically.

Mr Palmer was yesterday overseas on business, however, issued a statement saying he would seek greater scrutiny of the AEC.

During the count Mr Palmer has accused the AEC of vote tampering and other irregularities.

"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. "We will be highlighting the many discrepancies we've uncovered in the Court of Disputed Returns.

"A full review of Australia's voting system is required. Our right to a transparent democracy demands it."

He last week failed in his Federal Court bid to force a fresh election in the Sunshine Coast seat.

Mr Palmer went into yesterday's count with an 111 vote lead, but it was slowly eroded over the course of the count and it appeared he would be overtaken by Mr O'Brien at the post. However Mr Palmer held on as the final 301 pre-poll and 155 postal votes were tallied.

The fight for Fairfax has been a battle between two polar opposite personalities.

While the mining magnate yesterday railed against the AEC and has climbed atop his soapbox at every opportunity, Mr O'Brien thanked counting officials, and continued to keep a low profile.

Mr O'Brien has not spoken to the media since the election, but yesterday issued a statement saying he would await the result of the recount before making any declaration.

"While the past two weeks may have been intense for everyone involved, it's also been a great example of democracy in action," Mr O'Brien said.

The Fairfax count was one of the closest in Australian electoral history. Ian Viner won the Perth seat of Stirling at the 1974 election by just 12 votes while Fran Bailey took out McEwan, in Victoria, by the same margin in 2007.

Topics:  aec clive palmer fairfax federal election 2013 recount ted obrien

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