Scott Ludlam, the Greens senator for Western Australia, has lost his seat in a close election count due to preferences – which also saw Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party gaining a third seat in the Senate and Labor just scraping in with two Senate seats in the state.
According to the Australian Electoral Commission, there will be three Liberal senators (David Johnston, Michaelia Cash, and Linda Reynolds), two Labor senators (Louise Pratt and Joe Bullock), and one PUP senator (Zhenya Wang).
In a tweet, Ludlam thanked his supporters and confirmed that he is checking if there was a possibility to conduct a recount:
thanks to everyone who went through this wait with us. checking for recount possibility; meantime your support means a lot #ausvotes
— Scott Ludlam (@SenatorLudlam) October 2, 2013
Ludlam also released this statement on Facebook:
The Greens are disappointed with the provisional result of the Western Australian Senate count.
Scrutineers have identified the result may have come down to a 14 vote margin and will likely require a recount before the final result is known.
Senator Ludlam has thanked the 124,000 people who voted Green in WA, and the Western Australian and national campaign teams for their work during the election campaign.
“In particular, I acknowledge Senator Christine Milne for her dedicated and tenacious leadership: the role of the Greens has never been more crucial than now,” Senator Ludlam said.
The Greens will provide an update on the provisional count once scrutineers have assessed the grounds for a recount.
According to the ABC’s election analyst Antony Green, only fourteen votes decided if Labor and the Palmer United Party or the Greens and the Australian Sports Party won the fifth and sixth Senate spots in the state. If the Greens did win the seat, then it would leave Labor with one seat in the state.
It is a possibility that the preferences of the minor parties affected his vote, since most preferenced each other before the major parties. It also didn’t help that the Wikileaks Party, started up by Assange in his bid for a Senate seat, preferenced the Nationals ahead of the Greens in their group voting ticket.
However, whether or not the controversial preferences had an impact on Ludlam remains to be seen. It appears that it did not, but we’ll have to wait and see when the full distribution of preferences are released by the AEC.
Ludlam entered the Senate in November 2007, and is the Greens’ spokesperson on communications and nuclear issues. He is also known for his critiques on government surveillance proposals such as data retention, and is a big supporter of Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange.