Mining giant Clive Palmer has narrowly won the seat of Fairfax by just 36 votes, in a knife-edge result destined for a recount.
At 2.30pm on Saturday, the Australian Electoral Commission finished its count, announcing Mr Palmer had won the seat by three dozen votes, after clawing back from an earlier margin of just 22 votes.
If the margin of votes at the completion of the distribution of preferences is less than 100, a recount will be automatically triggered. The Australian Electoral Commission will waste no time, beginning its recount on Monday.
"There will be a full distribution of preferences which is a fresh count in any case," AEC spokesman Phil Diak said.
Following the announcement of the result, Mr Palmer labelled Australia's electoral commission a national disgrace and said in a statement, he would continue to push for electoral reform.
“I will continue to fight to hold the AEC accountable as they've shown themselves to be greatly incompetent with no transparency,” Mr Palmer said.
“We will be highlighting the many discrepancies we've uncovered in the Court of Disputed Returns.
“The ballots have no security and the AEC is a national disgrace that needs to be heavily scrutinised.
“A full review of Australia's voting system is required - our right to a transparent democracy demands it."
Early on Saturday, scruinteers began the final stage of counting for the seat, tallying some 450 votes that had yet to be counted, plus any late-arriving postal votes.
Mr Palmer is overseas and on Thursday tweeted that he had been having tests of a "Titanic II" model conducted at a facility in Germany.
But he has already indicated that he would demand a recount whatever the result, accusing authorities of "tampering" with ballots earlier in the week.
"I'll formally request a recount in the seat of Fairfax due to evidence of tampering of the ballots and discrepancies with the count," he said.
On Wednesday Mr Palmer lost the lead to LNP candidate Ted O'Brien for the first time in a week and a half, with about 100 votes separating the pair following the distribution of preferences. But the final update for the day showed Mr Palmer ahead by three votes.
The remarkably close tally has Mr Palmer sitting on 42,367 votes, with Mr O'Brien just behind on 42,331 votes.
Although Mr Palmer has attracted just 26.47 per cent of the primary vote in the Sunshine Coast seat – well behind Mr O'Brien's 41.35 per cent – preference flows from supporters of Labor and the Greens helped put the Palmer United Party founder in contention.
While absentee votes have favoured Mr Palmer, pre-poll and postal votes have heavily favoured Mr O'Brien who has clawed back Mr Palmer's lead since the September 7 federal election.
Mr O'Brien has attracted some 60 per cent of postal votes, many of which would have been submitted before Mr Palmer's multimillion-dollar advertising blitz dominated the final weeks of the campaign.
Mr Palmer spent $1.9 million on advertising in August, according to analysis from the ABC, ranking third in national spending on the campaign.
Mr Palmer has complained about "irregularities" in the count and threatened to use his Queensland senator-elect, Glenn Lazarus, to block Tony Abbott's bills in the upper house unless electoral reforms were offered.
Retiring LNP member Alex Somlyay had held the Sunshine Coast-based seat since 1990.