Labor wins Ferny Grove despite PUP preferences question
IT CAME down to a difference of 409 votes between the two main contenders in Ferny Grove and it will be in a judge's hands to decide whether preference votes from an ineligible candidate make any difference to the outcome.
Labor candidate Mark Furner was officially declared the winner of the controversial seat of Ferny Grove yesterday and a court will decide whether or not he keeps his position.
Following confirmation that Palmer United Party candidate Mark Taverner was an undischarged bankrupt and ineligible to run, the Electoral Commission of Queensland plans to refer the outcome to the Court of Disputed Returns.
An ECQ representative said on Wednesday it would apply to the court once the return of the writ was completed, which would occur once all 89 seats were declared.
As Queensland University of Technology political science lecturer John Mickel explained, the court decision would come down to two main arguments.
"The LNP will argue the presence of the candidate, who shouldn't have been on the ballot paper, should have affected the result," Mr Mickel said.
The former Queensland Parliament Speaker said Labor would argue the number of preferences distributed from Mr Taverner's first preference votes would not have been enough to affect the overall result.
ECQ figures showed Mr Taverner secured 993 first preference votes.
Greens candidate Michael Berkman secured 3589 votes while independent Di Gittins had 588.
Mr Furner won Ferny Grove on preference votes. Before preferences were allocated, LNP candidate Dale Shuttleworth was ahead by about 2000 votes.
But Mr Furner scraped over the line by 409 votes with 459 votes declared informal.
Mr Mickel said if it was determined Mr Taverner's presence on ballot papers affected the overall result, there could be another election in the seat of Ferny Grove. But there also may not be another election.
"Everyone is guessing," he said.
ECQ principal elections officer Carrick Brough told 4BC radio yesterday it had been counting the Ferny Grove votes exactly the same as other seats.
He said they would petition the Court of Disputed Returns to "have a look at it and tell us what we should do".
"The question is about how the court will look at it," Mr Brough said. "And what they will do is they will look and see would we have a different result under different circumstances. Their power is only to intervene if it would have provided a different result."
The ECQ hopes to finalise all seats by the end of the week but a representative said this deadline was still not definite.
"We are doing full preference counts and we will declare a seat once one candidate achieves 50% of the votes plus one vote," they said.