Clive Palmer believes the Australian Electoral Commission will “rig” the Fairfax recount and deliver victory to his LNP opponent.
Mr Palmer says he’s odds on to lose the contest with the LNP’s Ted O’Brien, despite finishing ahead in two previous counts.
“I think in the end Ted O’Brien will win because the AEC will put him there,” Mr Palmer told AAP on Friday.
“I’ve said that while I’ve been leading all along because the system is very corrupt.
“I’ve got great confidence in the AEC to rig the result.”
Mr Palmer originally finished with 36 more votes than Mr O’Brien. His lead was whittled down to a mere seven votes after a full redistribution of preferences.
The AEC is now conducting a full recount which isn’t likely to wind-up for at least another week.
While almost 55,000 of the 80,000 votes have been viewed, close to 30,000 have been challenged.
Of those, more than 15,000 have been referred to the AEC in Brisbane for a decision.
Mr Palmer said the situation was ridiculous.
“Both times I’ve won and now they are sending the ballots down to Brisbane to have a different AEC officer to do a different determination on them which is quite amazing,” he said.
However, the mining magnate concedes the Palmer United Party is responsible for the majority of challenges which have questioned the validly of ballot papers.
Mr Palmer is also frustrated by the AEC’s decision to conduct a West Australian senate recount which has put his candidate, Zhenya “Dio” Wang, at risk of losing his spot in the upper house.
He said it was “disturbing” the Electoral Commissioner had overruled a local officer’s refusal of a recount, and ordered all of WA’s 1.25 million above-the-line ballots to be recounted.
The AEC’s Phil Diak didn’t comment on Mr Palmer’s claim that the commission was rigging the Fairfax result.
However, he said the decision to send thousands of ballots to Brisbane was in accordance with Commonwealth electoral law.
Mr Diak said the number of votes referred to the Australian Electoral Commission officer in Brisbane was high due to the amount of challenges, with most coming from PUP scrutineers.
The recount of the WA senate result was also in accordance with the electoral act, he said.