Ted O'Brien speaks with voters on polling day.
Ted O'Brien speaks with voters on polling day. Richard Bruinsma

Palmer widens the gap as federal parliament waits

CLIVE Palmer extended his lead in Fairfax to 32 yesterday as more challenged ballot papers were found in his favour by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The recount is now beginning to pull the separation between Mr Palmer and his LNP rival Ted O'Brien closer to the 36-vote margin the billionaire enjoyed at the end of the first two-party preferred count on September 21.

That lead was reduced to just seven after the full distribution of preferences concluded on October 1, triggering the recount.

At the close of the recount yesterday totals at only 11 of 46 polling places had been resolved.

If the process continues at this pace it will be Wednesday next week at least before a fresh full distribution of preferences can begin.

If that process takes as long as the first time around, the Fairfax result may not be finalised until November 1, a full two months after the September 7 federal election.

The Fairfax count is delaying the start of the new federal parliament, which cannot sit until the election writs for Queensland are returned.


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