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Palmer Anger at Senate Recount -

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EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: Clive Palmer may have less influence in the next Senate than he originally thought.

The mining magnate says his party now appears likely to lose the Western Australia recount for a Senate seat.

Meanwhile, there also seems to be some uncertainty about his deal with the Motoring Enthusiasts Party.

James Glenday reports from Canberra.

JAMES GLENDAY, REPORTER: First, there were four: three pups and a motoring enthusiast pledging to vote as a bloc in the Upper House.


JAMES GLENDAY: But now, according to Clive Palmer, there will only be three. He says Dio Wang has little chance of wining a spot in the West Australian Senate recount.

CLIVE PALMER: You can't win if you have people rigging the votes, and if you haven't got all the votes being recounted.

JAMES GLENDAY: As part of the recount, the Electoral Commission is reviewing all informal votes. So, several hundred ballot papers that were once ruled out could be ruled in.

PHIL DIAK, AUSTRALIAN ELECTORAL COMMISSION: We're double checking all of that, as you would expect in a recount, to determine if there's any formal votes in there.

JAMES GLENDAY: And that could potentially change the final outcome. The Palmer United Party and Labor are locked in a battle for the final two spots with the Australian Sports Party and the Greens.

SCOTT LUDLAM, GREENS SENATOR: Anything is possible. That's why it's worth going back and making sure that the votes are in the right place.

JAMES GLENDAY: But Clive Palmer is furious and, if his party loses out, he's promising to challenge the result in the Court of Disputed Returns.

CLIVE PALMER: We'll draw attention to the inadequacy of the AEC, what they've done by selectively deciding to count some votes and not the others, how corrupt the system really is and how Australians need change.

JAMES GLENDAY: Regardless of what happens in Western Australia, the Palmer United and Motoring Enthusiasts Parties will still have three votes in the Senate. And, if they stick together they will wield enormous power.

However, there does appear to be some confusion about exactly how formal their voting agreement is. Tasmanian Senator Jackie Lambie calls it merely a gentleman's handshake.

JACKIE LAMBIE, PALMER UNITED PARTY, SENATOR-ELECT: If he wants our help, we're there to help him. We're all just trying to watch each other's back. Like I said, it's a tough gig.

JAMES GLENDAY: But Mr Palmer insists it's a full written agreement and he still expects the parties to vote as a bloc.

CLIVE PALMER: She meant that people have got principles in our party, they've got principles in the motorists. A gentleman's hand shake is as good as his word; a man lives by his bond. That's what she meant. All things that politicians don't normally understand.

JAMES GLENDAY: He says the details of the agreement won't be released for a while. The Coalition is still hoping to negotiate with the crossbenchers individually and dilute Mr Palmer's power.