Simon Sheikh Photo: Rohan Thomson
The end is in sight, just, in the close contest for the ACT's second Senate seat. The Australian Electoral Commission says the result should be known by Wednesday week.
The delay in finalising the result is due to entering tens of thousands of below-the-line ballots into the commission's computer.
That task could be completed by the end of the next week, at the earliest, allowing the distribution of preferences to be done, but the following Monday is Family and Community Day in the ACT.
The Greens say a significant proportion of their supporters voted below the line.
Ian Gordon, Australian Electoral Officer for the ACT, has written to all candidates about the timing of the outcome.
''A full distribution of preferences is not undertaken until the Senate fresh scrutiny is complete and all below-the-line ballot papers have been entered into our Easycount computer system in the Central Senate Scrutiny,'' he told them. ''This is not expected to be completed earlier than October 1.''
Greens candidate Simon Sheikh continues to make very small gains as the counting continues, however, Liberal Zed Seselja remains well ahead on primary votes.
Labor's Kate Lundy retains a Senate seat, despite a swing against Labor.
On Thursday afternoon the commission had counted 84.24 per cent of the vote.
Senator Lundy had 34.42 per cent of primary votes, Mr Seselja had 32.86 per cent, and Mr Sheikh had 19.50 per cent.
The Animal Justice Party, which has first place on the ACT Senate ballot paper, is directing its preferences to the Liberal Party.
It put the Greens last in retaliation against ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, who authorised the cull of about 1450 kangaroos recently to protect rare grasslands.
The Rise Up Australia Party is directing its preferences to the Liberals. The Stable Population Party has three tickets, two with preferences for the Greens, one for the Liberals.
The other minor parties directing preferences to the Greens over the Liberal Party are Katter's Australian Party, Bullet Train for Australia, Drug Law Reform, Sex Party, Voluntary Euthanasia Party, Palmer United Party and Australian Independents.