The declaration of the official senate result in WA has been postponed while the electoral commissioner decides whether to grant an appeal by Greens senator Scott Ludlam and allow 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 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 $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 he had won.
But he’s unable to pop the champagne just yet, given 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.
Mr Wang said he heard some of PUP’s policies, thought “this party might work,” and asked to be a 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.”
Mr Wang said he believed 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 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.”
Mr Wang also said he was keen to help out local farmers who were doing it tough with high costs of production and intense competition from overseas.