Look out Canberra. Here comes Clive after 53 vote win
CLIVE Palmer has thanked the voters of Fairfax after finally being declared the winner of the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax by just 53 votes.
The federal leader of the Palmer United Party also thanked his opponent Ted O'Brien and wished he and his family well.
After several weeks spent recounting around 90,000 ballot papers, Mr Palmer secured a 'famous win' and will now take his seat in Canberra when parliament reconvenes towards mid-November.
Mr Palmer, who won the original count by seven votes, increased his margin in the lengthy recount.
"I am thrilled by the result and humbled by the responsibility of representing the people of Fairfax in federal parliament," the mining magnate and billionaire said.
"I'd like to thank Ted O'Brien and all the other candidates. I wish Ted and his family all the best for the future.
"I would also like to thank the AEC staff on the Sunshine Coast who had a very difficult job and had a great deal of pressure on them from the AEC apparatchik from Canberra and Brisbane."
In a statement just before 5pm, Mr O'Brien congratulated Clive Palmer and said he was pleased that the counting process was now over.
"I congratulate Clive Palmer on being declared the next Member for Fairfax by the Australian Electoral Commission," Mr O'Brien said.
"It's been a long eight weeks for everyone involved, not least the local community here in Fairfax that has waited patiently for the count to conclude," Mr O'Brien said.
"I would like to thank the hardworking staff of the AEC and also my scrutineers whose generosity in volunteering their time and expertise has been extraordinary," Mr O'Brien said.
Mr O'Brien said he was grateful to Fairfax voters who returned him the highest primary vote of 41% compared to his nearest rival Mr Palmer who received 26%.
After the distribution of preferences from votes for the other six candidates, the AEC declared Mr Palmer was the
winner with 50.03% of the vote over Mr O'Brien's 49.97% - a difference of 53 votes out of more than 89,176 votes cast.
"This election has not only confirmed the old adage that "every vote counts", but also that "every preference counts," said Mr O'Brien.
Despite Clive Palmer being declared the next Member for Fairfax, Mr O'Brien remains positive.
"This result doesn't change my belief that there is no greater privilege than being entrusted by your local community to serve their interests in public office," he said.
The official declaration of the result will take place at 12 noon on Friday at the Maroochydore Scrutiny Centre.
The recount began at 9am on October 3 with the process finalising at about 3pm today.