Clive Palmer wins seat of Fairfax


Clive Palmer has won the seat of Fairfax and says he'll have no conflict of interest as an MP despite his business interests.

Newly declared federal MP Clive Palmer doesn't have a clue how much money, or how many company directorships or properties he has, but reckons it'll be no problem to declare his pecuniary interests.

"Well, you've got within 28 days from when you've been sworn in, so it will be there," a jovial Mr Palmer told ABC television on Thursday after being declared the winner of the Sunshine Coast seat of Fairfax with a final margin of 53 votes.

Mr Palmer thought he might own up to 20 properties.

He said "who knows, who cares ... don't worry about money" when asked how much he had, and denied he would have any conflict of interest as an MP because of his business interests.

"Conflict of interest only comes if you are a minister of the crown," he said.

He was unable to say how many company directorships he had because he didn't think of them in terms of numbers.

"I wouldn't have a clue, but a lot, maybe 40 or 50," he told the 7.30 program.

Mr Palmer told AAP he was looking forward to the Palmer United Party making a positive contribution to the battle of ideas in Canberra.

"We have three senators and have the balance of power, so I think we can make a significant contribution as a party."

His Liberal National Party (LNP) opponent Ted O'Brien congratulated Mr Palmer, but the party may still challenge the result.

LNP state director Brad Henderson said the validity of any election could be disputed by a petition addressed to the Court of Disputed Returns within 40 days of a declaration.

"Given the sheer scale of this process, in terms of the number and nature of challenges and determinations made, the LNP will now take some time to consider its position", he said in a statement.

Mr Palmer was concerned by the three recounts in Fairfax, one of closest electoral races in Australian history.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) finally declared him the winner almost eight weeks after the September 7 federal election, and following his party challenging more than 50,000 ballot papers.

Mr Palmer originally finished 36 votes ahead of Mr O'Brien, but the AEC on September 21 automatically ordered a recount because the margin was less than 100 votes.

"I'm very disappointed in the AEC because the first count I won by 36 votes, the second count I won by seven votes and the third count I won by 53 votes," he told AAP.

"That's a bit of a worry, isn't it?"

He said he'd been criticised for challenging the validity of 50,099 of the 89,176 ballots, another Australian record, but the result had vindicated his actions.

The Palmer United Party leader has over the past two months accused both the LNP and AEC of vote fraud and applied for a Federal Court injunction to stop the count in Fairfax.

Mr Palmer also claimed former military officers were controlling the electoral commission and rigging the election.

Despite his grievances, he thanked rival candidates and the local AEC officials "who had a very difficult job and had a great deal of pressure on them from the AEC apparatchik from Canberra and Brisbane".

Source: AAP