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When will we know who wins the seat of Brisbane in the federal election? Will Pauline Hanson win a Queensland Senate seat?

Liberal MP Trevor Evans, Greens candidate Stephen Bates and Labor candidate Madonna Jarrett are all in the race for the seat of Brisbane. (ABC News)

While democracy sausages are a distant memory for most, those in the inner-city electorate of Brisbane are still waiting to find out who will represent them in the next federal parliament.

It is one of only four seats in Australia still in doubt, and Queensland's last seat to be called.

By the raw numbers, sitting LNP member Trevor Evans is ahead on first preferences, while the Greens and Labor have shared time in second place throughout the week.

But the ABC's election guru Antony Green expects it will fall to the Greens in the end, based on preferences.

What is unusual about the seat of Brisbane is that the Greens are sitting third in the first preference count, and a win for Greens candidate Stephen Bates would be the first time a third-placed candidate would have won in Australia in more than a decade.

How is this possible?

You can thank Australia's preferential voting system, which has been around for more than 100 years.

Basically, it means that even though the Mr Evans is leading the first-preference count, the combined votes of the Labor and Greens candidates equate to more than 50 per cent of the vote.

LNP Brisbane sitting member Trevor Evans is ahead on first preferences. (ABC News: Lexy Hamilton-Smith)

Here's how ABC's election guru Antony Green explains it:

"The LNP vote is down substantially, so Trevor Evans, the LNP member, is defeated — there's no doubt about that," he says.

"The Labor Party and the Greens are a really close contest to finish second and third, and there's four candidates below them.

"The information we have on the exclusion of those candidates, as those preferences favour the LNP, which doesn't affect the result – they then favour the Greens over Labor.

"That flow of preferences means that the Labor Party first preferences must be substantially ahead of the Greens on that first preference count to stay ahead during the distribution of preferences."

So basically, the unsuccessful candidates' – One Nation, United Australia, Liberal Democrats and Animal Justice Party – voters preferred Greens over Labor, hence Green's confident Greens forecast.

Is it common to win from second place?

Actually, yes. But from third is unusual. Read on.

Green says in about one in 10 electorates, a candidate coming second in first preferences will win in the end due to preferences.

Greens candidate Stephen Bates is expected to win the seat due to preferential voting. (ABC News: Alice Pavlovic)

We saw it about 15 times this election, and a lot this time in the so-called 'teal' seats, such as Kooyong and Wentworth.

But it will be significant if the Greens claim Brisbane from third.

"It's pretty unusual."

The last time it happened was in 2010, when independent Andrew Wilkie won Denison in Tasmania.

When will we know who wins the seat of Brisbane?

Absent votes are being counted today as the Electoral Commission work to confirm preference votes. (ABC News: Matt Garrick)

A final result could still be a week away, Green reckons.

The vote count continues, with absentee votes being counted on Friday.

He said the result will be confirmed when preferences are formally distributed.

"Which will be in about a week's time … that's the point where it's clear, who gets knocked out during the distribution of preferences – Labor or the Greens," Green said.

"But I think we should be able to work that out from the counts we've got available before then."

Madonna Jarrett, pictured with Anthony Albanese, is hoping to be the next MP for Brisbane. (Supplied)

What about Queensland's final seat in the Senate?

It has been a close race for the state's final Senate seat, and there was doubt cast earlier in the week about whether One Nation leader Pauline Hanson – who is currently sidelined with a bout COVID-19 – would get back in.

But now it's looking like she will.

Green says her fiercest rival was the LNP, which has already claimed two of the six seats, but that she would likely come out ahead based on preferences.

"She's well positioned to win a seat," he says.

"The race is then probably on between the third LNP member and Hanson for the final seat, maybe Legalise Cannabis but more likely, and based on analysis of the last seven election preferences from excluded candidates who favour Hanson over the LNP," he said.

He said the Senate count is less advanced than the lower house.

With the electoral commission focused on finalising the House of Representatives, we could be waiting until early July for a formal result.

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