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Herbert count to continue on Saturday

AAP logoAAP 29/07/2016 By Paul Osborne, AAP Senior Political Writer

Labor has high hopes of winning the final federal seat of Herbert, where vote counting is expected to wrap up on Saturday.

The Australian Electoral Commission is conducting a full distribution of preferences in the north Queensland seat, which is the last to be determined following the July 2 election.

The last official figures put Labor candidate Cathy O'Toole 35 votes ahead of the sitting coalition MP Ewen Jones.

Acting Labor leader Tanya Plibersek, who visited Townsville on Friday for the 50th anniversary of the Lavarack Barracks, said the party was watching the count "with enormous interest".

"Our hopes are great, but of course the result hasn't yet been declared and we'll wait with interest until it is officially declared," Ms Plibersek said.

She declined to say whether Labor was concerned about a possible legal challenge by the Liberal National Party.

The LNP could seek a Court of Disputed Returns ruling to void the election result and run a fresh election.

It is claimed some soldiers from Lavarack Barracks missed out on voting while they were on Exercise Hamel in South Australia during the election campaign.

As well, a number of Townsville hospital patients are also believed not to have been given the opportunity to vote.

If Labor wins the seat, it will have 69 MPs to the coalition's 76 in the 150-seat lower house, which sits for the first time on August 30.

So far, 122 out of 150 seats have been formally declared.

Counting in the Senate continues, with the NT, ACT and Tasmania declared and more states expected to follow next week.

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