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PUP candidate calls for recount of votes in Hinkler

PALMER United Party (PUP) Hinkler candidate Rob Messenger says he will not concede defeat in the race for the federal seat of Hinkler until a full preferential vote count is carried out by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).

"While the odds of winning Hinkler are against me, after receiving 18.19% (13,114) of the primary vote (75,681) counted to date, ... mathematically under a full preferential voting system, it is still possible for me to win the seat for PUP, if the preference flows come my way," Mr Messenger said.

"And with up to 6000 postal votes left to count, a few hundred votes could still determine the outcome in Hinkler."
Mr Messenger claimed the AEC had not counted the preference flows to PUP from minor parties and the independent candidates as required under the act.

"Nominal preference voting effectively meant that the numbers of my primary vote was disregarded on election night at individual polling booths and AEC officers without warning in a premeditated move, chose only two parties, LNP and Labor, to receive the preferences of all other candidates," he said.

"There were at least two examples of vote counting at different booths I've been made aware of where my primary vote was the second highest and yet the AEC officers chose, in direct breach of their own rules, to break apart my pile of votes and distribute my votes according to their second preferences," he said.

Mr Messenger said in Hinkler, the AEC may not have taken into account that Clive Palmer had negotiated preferences deals with all minor parties.

"This will ensure that a high rate of Katter (4.44%), Greens (2.63%), Family First (1.82%) and independent (0.75%) second preferences votes (9.64%) will flow to me before the Labor or LNP candidates," he said.

"If my first preference (18.19%) and other candidates' second preferences, (9.64%, binging the total to 27.83%) boost me higher than Labor's total (27.8%) - then it will trigger a provision under the Act where nearly all of Labor's preferences transfer to my two-party total," he said.

"And then the vote count becomes very interesting, with a possible total of up to 55.63%, two-party preferred result in my favour."

LNP candidate and the current first-preference vote front-runner Keith Pitt said he was not concerned.
about the situation.

"The AEC is the independent umpire and it's up to them," Mr Pitt said.

"We should be a little bit concerned about whether it's a waste of the taxpayers' money. If they have to do a recount it will take time and cost more money.

"I think we've got a very strong primary."

Mr Pitt said it was now just a case of waiting.

"Clearly we're no different to any other site - we just need to wait for the AEC to declare it and then we'll get to work," he said.

"The Labor candidate was gracious enough to concede on Saturday night."

Labor candidate Leanne Donaldson conceded defeat to Mr Pitt on the night of the election night.

"Mr Messenger is entitled to pursue any line of enquiry he wishes," she said. "However I would like to take the opportunity to wish Mr Pitt well after his win and for him to keep in mind the trust the voters of Hinkler have put in him."

An AEC spokeswoman said the declaration of results would not happen until all votes had been received by the AEC, which could take up to two weeks.

"Therefore, the results on our website are progressive figures and are not final," she said.

Topics:  federal election 2013, hinkler, recount, rob messenger



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