Western Australian Senate result postponed again

Western Australian Senate result postponed again

Summary: The declaration of Senate results from Western Australia has been suspended 'until further notice'.

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The declaration of the official Senate result in Western Australia has been postponed while the electoral commissioner decides whether to grant an appeal by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam for a recount.

Senator Ludlam had asked for a partial recount after a 14-vote difference between micro-parties the Shooters and Fishers Party and Australian Christians handed a third Senate seat to the Palmer United Party (PUP).

But the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) denied the request, along with a call by Australian Sports Party candidate Wayne Dropulich for a full recount, saying that no "specific issues" had been found that would warrant it.

A Senate result recount, which hasn't occurred since the 1980 federal election, is estimated to cost AU$1 million.

On Friday morning, the AEC said the declaration had been put off "until further notice", while electoral commissioner Ed Killesteyn made his decision about Senator Ludlam's appeal.

Senator Ludlam continued to argue that a recount should be ordered, given the wafer-thin margin.

"In such a marginal decision, with such important consequences for two Senate seats, only a recount can ensure that the votes receive the scrutiny needed to exclude human error," he said.

Meanwhile, PUP's victorious candidate, Nanjing-born civil engineer Zhenya "Dio" Wang, said he could still not quite believe that he had won.

But he's unable to pop the champagne just yet, given that he'll have to wait for the AEC to formally declare the result.

"It's hard to work out my exact feelings at the moment, but let's say I have my fingers crossed," he told ABC Radio.

Wang said he had heard some of PUP's policies, thought "this party might work", and asked to be part of it. He said people should not underestimate PUP's colourful leader Clive Palmer.

"He is a brilliant man, visionary, inspiring, and he's also entertaining.

"He often asks you 'are you happy?' So he cares about people."

Wang said he believed that the mining tax was ill designed and should be abolished — unsurprising, considering he heads the billionaire's majority-owned iron ore explorer Australasian Resources.

And while he believes that climate change is real, he doesn't agree with the carbon tax.

"Essentially, the carbon tax is punishing ordinary people ... we haven't come up with a better solution yet."

Wang also said that he is keen to help out local farmers, who are doing it tough with high costs of production and intense competition from overseas.

Topics: Government AU, Australia

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  • I'm quite surprised

    that a 14 vote spread wouldn't result in an automatic recount. But then again I come from a country where 1) you only vote for people you want into office instead of ranking everyone with the potential result that your vote winds up going to someone you wouldn't vote into student government, 2) you don't wind up having people from a Motoring Enthusiast Party get a seat despite their having opponents (like the Wikileaks Party) receive more direct votes, and 3) instead of being forced to vote for someone you don't like you can write in a vote for anyone you choose, or abstain from voting entirely. However since the Australian legislators thought it was better to have everyone vote (including those who don't give a crap about any of the issues), than to allow people to truly vote their conscience, which sort of defeats the whole point voting.
    hmmm,
    • I'm under the impression...

      ...that you don't have to rank *all* the candidates; only the ones you find acceptable (a vote can only be transferred to a candidate actually ranked). STV is complicated, but it's still better than a list system.
      John L. Ries