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Greens And Sports Party Prevail In WA Senate Count; Next Stop Court Of Disputed Returns

The Greens and Sports Party candidates have prevailed in the recount of the Western Australian Senate election but their success may be shortlived as a legal challenge to the result looms.

The official recount concluded today after the Australian Electoral Commission computer conducted a full distribution of preferences. The Australian Sports Party candidate, Wayne Dropulich, was elected to the fifth position, whilst Greens Senator Scott Ludlam was re-elected to the final position.


Dropulich and Ludlam missed out in the first count. A 14-vote margin in one of the distributions led to the ALP’s Louise Pratt being re-elected and the Palmer United Party picking up a seat. The recount has overturned that result.

The ABC’s Antony Green reports that the result of the recount hinged on the Australian Christians leading the Shooters Party by 12 votes.

However, the AEC’s loss of 1375 votes during the recount is likely to lead to a legal challenge. There now seems little doubt that the Palmer United Party and/or others will launch a challenge which will be resolved by the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.

The AEC will declare the result on Monday. The declaration will clear the way for a legal challenge. The Commonwealth Electoral Act allows for a legal challenge to be brought in the 40 days after the declaration. On Thursday, in light of the missing ballots, the AEC left open the possibility that it might lodge a petition itself against the result.

A notable feature of today’s declaration is that the ALP has won only one of the six Senate positions in WA. It also managed only one senator in South Australia. This is an unprecedented result, the only time since the introduction of proportional voting in 1949 that the ALP or Coalition has failed to win at least two seats. The result also reflects the success of the preference deals stitched together by the micro parties.

The 12 Votes That Made The Difference

The crucial point in the distribution of preferences can be seen on page 66 of the official record at count 138-141. The Australian Christians are designated AUC. The Shooters and Fishers are ASP. [CLICK THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE].


Media release from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Western Australia Senators decided from recount

The State Manager for Western Australia, Peter Kramer, announced the results of the recount and distribution of preferences for the election of six Senators for Western Australia.

The successful candidates (and order of their election) are:

  1. David JOHNSTON – Liberal Party
  2. Joe BULLOCK – Australian Labor Party
  3. Michaelia CASH – Liberal Party
  4. Linda REYNOLDS – Liberal Party
  5. Wayne DROPULICH – Australian Sports Party
  6. Scott LUDLAM – The Greens (WA)

The distribution of preferences combined the recounted formal votes with all formal below-the-line votes that were not subject to the recount process, consistent with the Electoral Commissioner’s media statement announcing the recount of 10 October 2013.

Detailed information regarding the distribution of preferences will be posted to the AEC Virtual Tally Room as soon as it is available later today.

Declaration of the Poll

Mr Kramer said that the formal Declaration of the Poll for the 2013 election of Senators for Western Australia will take place at 12 midday (WST) on Monday, 4 November and will be held at the AEC State Office, Level 13, 200 St Georges Terrace, Perth.

All candidates and the media are invited to attend.

Media release from the Australian Greens.

Greens Leader on WA recount result

Australians Greens Leader Christine Milne has congratulated her colleague Senator Scott Ludlam with the news the recount will see him returned as a Greens Senator and as a tremendous representative for Western Australia.

“This is a terrific day for Scott Ludlam and the Greens,” Senator Milne said.

“I want to thank all the scrutineers, Greens members and supporters around the country who have been so supportive of Scott and put in a fantastic effort.

“It’s clear the recount was justified. But the saga is not over yet.

“There are questions that the AEC will need to respond to.

“This whole saga highlights the need for electoral reform.

“This has been a difficult time for all the candidates in Western Australia. We now have to work to guarantee that voter’s confidence in our electoral system is assured.”

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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