Greens senator Scott Ludlam has lost his West Australian Senate seat, after the results from the Australian Electoral Commission confirmed another victory for the Palmer United Party (PUP).
After a tight count involving complicated preference votes, three Liberal senators, two Labor senators and Zhenya Wang from PUP were declared winners.
David Johnston, Michaelia Cash and Linda Reynolds will represent the Liberals, Joe Bullock and Louise Pratt will represent Labor, and Mr Wang will be the PUP’s latest parliamentary representative.
PUP has secured two other Senate seats, with former rugby league forward Glenn Lazarus winning in Queensland and Jacqui Lambie in Tasmania.
On Tuesday, party leader Clive Palmer finished only seven votes ahead of his Liberal National Party opponent in the federal seat of Fairfax on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, triggering a recount of every vote.
Mr Palmer said he now looked forward to working with Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
“The Senate election results for the Palmer United Party are a tremendous achievement in our election debut,” Mr Palmer said in a statement.
“The Palmer United Party looks forward to working with the Abbott government to get Australia back on track.”
Mr Wang said he was humbled by his surprising win.
“It is an honour to be able to represent WA and I am looking forward to serving my local community and this great state in the Senate to the best of my ability,” Mr Wang said.
“The people of Australia have bestowed a great responsibility on myself and the Palmer United Party and I would like to thank them for the opportunity.”
Senator Ludlam, whose term expires on June 30 next year, said he was expecting the result to be confirmed at 3pm (WST), despite some close scrutiny of the count.
“Everyone is going to have a close look at the numbers and see if there is cause for a recount,” he told ABC radio.
“But it appears they (PUP) have been elected on roughly half the vote of the Greens, and that is the sort of result our voting system throws up from time to time.
“(Losing) is still sinking in, but I would love to keep working on the things I have been working on – and if you think politicians do a crap job, then you should just try it.”
Senator Ludlam said there was an urgent need for electoral reform.
“It is an elegant system being expertly gamed and manipulated,” he said.
“The whole purpose of an electoral system is to accurately as possible reflect the voting will of the Australian people. It has let us down in this instance.”
The Australian Sports Party, which was in the running, also lost out on preference votes.