Clive controls balancing act as recount gets under way

Clive Palmer and Glenn Lazarus.
Clive Palmer and Glenn Lazarus. Nev Madsen

CLIVE Palmer will start the recount of votes in Fairfax today at 9am, knowing he has already won.

Although the billionaire is not Australia's prime minister as he predicted before the federal election and may not even be the winner in Fairfax whenever the recount concludes, it was confirmed yesterday that his Palmer United Party had secured three Senate seats and effectively the balance of power in the Federal Parliament.

With the count in Fairfax already stretching deep into a fourth week and his widely publicised claims of voting irregularity, his first use of that power is almost certainly to be to push for reform of the electoral system itself.

Palmer United Party candidates Glenn Lazarus (Qld) and Zhenya (Dio) Wang (WA) yesterday joined Jacqui Lambie (Tas) as confirmed senators for their states and will take up the roles in July next year.

Although he has threatened to block legislation through the Senate until electoral reform was addressed, in a statement yesterday Mr Palmer - who is on holidays - was conciliatory towards new Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

"The Senate election results for the Palmer United Party are a tremendous achievement in our election debut," he said.

"The Palmer United Party looks forward to working with the Abbott Government to get Australia back on track."

Mr Palmer finished seven votes ahead of LNP rival Ted O'Brien on Tuesday after the full distribution of preferences in Fairfax, but the slate has effectively been wiped clean for today's recount.

The Australian Electoral Commission recount will begin today at 9am at the Fairfax counting centre on the corner of Millwell Rd and Evan St in Maroochydore.

The AEC will open the doors to the media at 11am as the nation focuses on the last of 150 House of Representative seats to be determined.

Progress in the recount will be posted on the AEC website virtual tally room.

AEC spokesman Phil Diak said at this stage there was no forecast as to how long the process would take.

He said the distribution of preferences identified several informal votes, something that was not uncommon.

Topics:  clive palmer federal election 2013 glenn lazarus palmer united party

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