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Although in this country it would presumably be a by-election if there was any doubt over the result as it was in Winchester when the declaration had given the Liberal Democrats a majority of 2, at the by-election though they won a 26,000 majority.

Winchester was a disaster. I heard that Gerry Malone and his wife were not registered to vote in their constituency, hence the loss by 2 votes. If it had been tied, the seat would have been decided by a coin toss.

Malone managed to lose three Tory seats - Hillhead, Aberdeen South and Winchester. The Commons is a better place without his conceited arrogance. The British people owe the voters of Winchester a debt of gratitude.

But at the next election Steve Brine must win Winchester back. He's doing an excellent job so far - a million light years away from the bad old days of Gerry Malone.

I think it's worth understanding that Australian elections are not counted and declared in the same way as in the UK. Here we take all the votes to one location, count either on the night or the next day and give provisional results to the candidates/agents only, with all recounts handled before any public declaration. And postal votes must be received by polling day.

In Australia it's different. From what I can tell ballots are counted (or entered onto computer) at the local polling station and relayed centrally. Postal votes can come in for up to two weeks after polling day, so long as they're accurately dated. And provisional interim results are made public (and reported as such) and sometimes knife edge results do lead to this "Gain, no Hold, no Gain, no Hold" situation in the next few weeks.

Also Australia uses preferential voting with the requirement that voters must preference every single candidate. Whilst most voters follow the "How To Vote" card, making it relatively easy to predict how the transfers will go - and for the media to call the seat in advance - some do make the effort to assemble their own order of preferences, or just number in the order the candidates appear on the ballot paper - a "donkey vote". In a knife-edge marginal it makes the normal methods of prediction more vulnerable.

But Fran Baily is hardly a Gerry Malone equivalent. This recount is the equivalent of a UK constituency being recounted on the night before the Returning Officer declares anything, not a challenge to the official declaration after it has been made.

(However if Labor candidate Rob Mitchell challenges the result in the High Court he will be doing a Gerry Malone.)

We will see how good a job Steve Brine is doing in next May's 1/3rd Winchester elections.

At the moment the Lib Dems are very active.

Yes, Gerry Malone had quite an impressive record of electoral disaster.

It's a good job she was re-elected after all, as she had already voted in the Liberal leadership election.

Brendan Nelson's narrow victory over Malcom Turnbull would look even more dodgy is she had lost her seat.

Pity John Howard won't squeak back the same way.....

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