The recent Australian federal election on the Seventh of September is not played out yet. With only fourteen votes separating two of the minor parties at elimination, the result of which changed the course of the result in the final pair of seats, a recount was undertaken.
Towards the close of the recount, it was discovered that nearly 1,400 votes were missing and could not be accounted for. An investigation is underway into how this happened, but in the meantime the result has been declared with the previous winners, Palmer United Party and Labor ousted and the seats going to the Greens and the Sports Party.
Palmer has announced that he will challenge the result, and it is a fair bet that Labor will as well:
The recount did not include 1255 formal votes and 120 informal votes from electorates of Pearce and Forrest that were lost by the Australian Electoral Commission. "The distribution of preferences combined the recounted votes as well as the below the line votes that weren't the subject of the recount,'' AEC spokesman Phil Diak said.
Senator Ludlam said on Twitter that he believed the margin in the partial recount was just 12 votes.
The results will be formally declared on Monday at 12pm WST, then a writ will be returned to the WA Governor Malcolm McCusker. Candidates and the AEC will then have 40 days to appeal to the Court of Disputed Returns. …
… PUP leader Clive Palmer said the party would challenge the result and believed the outcome of the first count should be upheld.
"If this is not done, we believe the only fair outcome is a new election with all Senate positions declared vacant,'' Mr Palmer said. "The original count should stand as that is the only count where we've had a full count of all votes.''
Earlier today, deputy federal Labor leader Tanya Plibersek declined to say whether the party would appeal against the recount verdict.
"First things first: we'll allow the Electoral Commission make a determination about the best course of action,'' Ms Plibersek said on the sidelines of the state Labor conference.``The AEC has acknowledged that an error has been made - a very serious error - but we know that the AEC is in fact one of the best and most trusted electoral commissions in the world, so we'll wait for them to make their comment.”
It is doubtful that the result of the recount will be allowed to stand given the missing ballots and the closeness of the result. The most likely result of a challenge is that the recount will be overturned, or a new election called.
Given that ‘several hundred votes changed hands in the recount’, it is reasonable to assume that the original count is flawed and may be tossed out as well owing to the inability to correctly call it owing to the missing ballots.
Gut feeling; we’re probably going back to the polls.