Australian Electoral Commission

Media advisory – Fairfax recount

Updated: 29 October 2013

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The progress

The section will be updated regularly for the duration of the recount.

The table below shows the polling places, to date, for which parcels of ballot papers have been opened for recounting and the number of challenges to ballot papers made by scrutineers.

Updated count results (where available) are linked to from the relevant polling place in the table below.

Progress as at 8.50am AEDT 29 October 2013
Of those referred to AEO (where recorded)
Polling Place Number of ballot papers in Count Number Challenged - Authenticity Number Challenged - Other Total Referred to DRO for decision Total Referred to AEO for decision Number Challenged - Authenticity Number Challenged - Other
Bli Bli 2,702 1,033 302 1,335 1,119 1,033 86
BLV Fairfax PPVC 22 10 0 10 10 10 0
Brisbane City (Fairfax) 37 9 1 10 9 9 0
Buderim 2,701 1,093 249 1,342 1,230 1,093 137
Buderim East 1,442 442 137 579 469 441 28
Buderim Garden Village 775 404 150 554 449 402 47
Buderim Immanuel 426 180 24 204 204 180 24
Buderim North 1,212 487 204 691 584 487 97
Buderim PPVC 3,967 2,298 423 2,721 2,493 2,298 195
Buderim South 1,232 702 115 817 750 702 48
Buderim West 973 539 139 678 604 539 65
Burnside 1,719 607 333 940 708 607 101
Coolum Beach 1,663 566 195 761 673 566 107
Coolum Beach North 1,578 568 202 770 658 568 90
Coolum Beach PPVC 3,210 1,417 295 1,712 1,597 1,417 180
Cotton Tree 1,295 563 234 797 701 563 138
Diddillibah 1,062 490 87 577 532 490 42
Divisional office (Prepoll) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Eumundi 1,348 573 164 737 682 573 109
Forest Glen 624 354 88 442 405 354 51
Kenilworth 546 214 106 320 265 214 51
Kuluin 1,234 406 155 561 501 406 95
Kureelpa 322 164 35 199 176 164 12
Mapleton 1,345 618 168 786 709 618 91
Maroochydore 1,612 452 319 771 597 452 145
Maroochydore East 1,967 654 261 915 795 654 141
Maroochydore FAIRFAX PPVC 8,209 4,189 847 5,036 4,687 4,189 498
Maroochydore North FAIRFAX PPVC 1,937 999 163 1,162 1,105 999 106
Mooloolaba (Fairfax) 310 125 21 146 136 125 11
Mount Coolum 1,605 580 133 713 679 580 99
Mountain Creek 3,127 1,399 447 1,846 1,546 1,399 147
Mudjimba 1,208 493 137 630 556 493 63
Nambour 1,651 494 184 678 607 494 113
Nambour PPVC 7,386 3,267 848 4,115 3,726 3,267 459
Nambour South 409 141 31 172 170 141 29
Nambour West 1,105 363 97 460 403 363 40
Noosaville West (Fairfax) 488 210 51 261 251 210 41
North Arm 445 78 178 256 113 78 35
Pacific Paradise 2,490 878 293 1,171 998 878 120
Palmwoods (Fairfax) 1,606 262 578 840 370 262 108
Peregian Springs 1,577 809 231 1,040 971 809 162
Special Hospital Team 1 314 147 57 204 173 147 26
Special Hospital Team 2 198 86 49 135 113 86 27
Special Hospital Team 3 238 129 33 162 151 129 22
Woombye 1,925 728 235 963 827 728 99
Yandina 2,465 851 305 1,156 998 851 147
Absent 4,258 1,604 730 2,334 1,900 1,604 296
Postal 6,593 3,724 552 4,276 3,964 3,724 240
Pre-Poll 4,395 2,338 663 3,001 2,542 2,338 204
Provisional 220 0 113 113 36 0 36
TOTAL 89,173 38,737 11,362 50,099 43,942 38,734 5,208

The process

Following the full distribution of preferences in the Division of Fairfax the margin between the two leading candidates was seven. As the margin was less than one hundred, the Divisional Returning Officer for Fairfax began a formal recount at the divisional counting centre in Maroochydore at 9:00am on Thursday 3 October.

The full recount involves a fresh look at every vote cast by voters for the Division of Fairfax in the 2013 Federal Election (more than 89,000). This includes votes cast by Fairfax voters at polling places within the division, at other voting centres throughout Australia and overseas, or by post.

First preferences

A count of all first preferences on House of Representatives ballot papers will be conducted first, including checking whether votes are formal or informal.

Any ballot paper which is identified as being in a pile of ballot papers for the wrong candidate will be transferred to the correct candidate’s pile of ballot papers.

If the total number of ballot papers (including informal ballot papers) for a polling place or declaration scrutiny differs from the total at the previous count, the total will be re-checked again. If the total continues to differ from the total at the previous count, the Divisional Returning Officer (DRO) will accept the recount total.

Two candidate preferred count

A ‘two-candidate-preferred’ (TCP) count will then be conducted. A TCP count is indicative. Each ballot paper is sorted according to whichever candidate (of the two candidates in the TCP count) has the highest preference number. This results in all ballot papers being allocated to either Clive Palmer or Ted O’Brien to give a TCP count result.

Distribution of preferences

After the TCP count is complete staff will conduct a full distribution of preferences at the polling place level. This process involves moving the ballot papers from each excluded candidate, in the order in which they were excluded, to the ballot paper’s next available preference. The final result of the distribution of preferences will match the TCP count for each polling place.

Scrutineers

Candidates are entitled to appoint people to act as scrutineers for the duration of the recount.

Challenged ballot papers

Initially, five teams of two AEC staff will open each parcel of ballot papers, and review all ballot papers.

Any ballot paper which has been incorrectly identified as formal or informal will be transferred to the correct pile.

If a Scrutineer challenges a ballot paper, the ballot paper will be referred to the DRO for a decision. After making his decision the DRO will annotate the back of the ballot paper with “admitted” or “rejected”. He may reverse any previous decision to admit or reject a ballot paper.

At the request of a Scrutineer, the DRO’s decision regarding a ballot paper will be referred to the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for Queensland for final decision on admission.

When a ballot paper is referred to the AEO, the DRO will stamp “referred for AEO decision” on the back of the ballot paper. The ballot paper(s) will be forwarded to the AEO in a sealed envelope and a photocopy kept at the Maroochydore Counting Centre with the relevant parcel.

In the presence of an Officer of the Australian Public Service, the AEO will open the envelopes of ballot papers sent to her and mark on the back of each ballot paper “admitted” or “rejected” according to her decision.

AEO consideration of ballot papers is subject to scrutineering. Candidates have been advised that the AEO will commence her consideration of challenged ballot papers from 9am on Tuesday 8 October 2013 at her office in Brisbane.

Once the AEO has made her determinations, the ballot papers will be returned to the DRO for re-inclusion in the relevant parcel of ballot papers.

Completion of the recount

Once the recount has been completed the DRO will set a date, time and location to formally declare the result of the election. This information will be communicated to the media when available.

The validity of the election of any member of parliament may only be disputed by a petition to the Court of Disputed Returns within 40 days of the return of the writ. Further information can be found in the Candidates Handbook