There wasn’t much chance of catching COVID-19 from the queues outside the polling booth at St John’s Lutheran School in Kingaroy on Saturday

March 29, 2020

Results are starting to trickle in from Saturday’s local government elections in Queensland after “technical issues” prevented the Electoral Commission of Queensland from updating its website until late last night.

Similar issues plagued the counting at the 2016 poll (see our reports: “Mayor Calls For Commissioner’s Sacking” and “ECQ Slammed In Post-Election Report“)

If early trends continue, three out of the four local councils that straddle our region will have new mayors – although it should be noted that postal votes have another 10 days to reach the ECQ and preferences have not been distributed.

In the South Burnett, accountant Brett Otto is maintaining a lead over incumbent Keith Campbell, although his margin had narrowed on Sunday morning from the first results posted on Saturday evening.

In Cherbourg, Elvie Sandow had a clear lead over incumbent Arnold Murray.

In Gympie, Glenn Hartwig also looked to be well ahead on primary votes over sitting mayor Mick Curran.

However, Mayor Paul Antonio was bucking the trend in Toowoomba, with voters clearly happy with his performance over the past eight years as mayor.

Polling booths throughout the South Burnett were deserted on Saturday with local residents choosing to either pre-poll, phone or postal vote or risk a fine.

Many were scared of catching COVID-19 while at the booths.

On social media, people blamed everyone from the candidates themselves to the Prime Minister for the State Government not delaying the poll, with many people saying they were going to stay at home:

“We take the fine, cheaper than funeral” 

But others noticed the irony that there were more people at the local supermarkets on Saturday than at the polling booths:

“Just been and voted and mum and I were the only ones there. More people still at the shops”

“I think it is strange that people are complaining about voting but no one is saying that keeping supermarkets open is irresponsible… seems like a double standard to me”

Opposition Leader and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington called on the State Government to waive all fines for people who declined to vote and urged that the government consider the option of 100 per cent postal voting for the October 31 State Election.

“I want to thank Queenslanders for voting over the past few weeks under difficult circumstances,” Mrs Frecklington said.

“The results of these elections will not be known until all the votes are counted, including the many postal votes.

“It is clear many people didn’t want to risk voting because they were anxious about catching coronavirus.

“I am calling on the Palaszczuk Labor Government to respond to this in two ways.

“Firstly, anyone who didn’t vote should not be fined. Secondly, the ECQ should start preparing so the State Election in October can be conducted using a full postal vote.

“People shouldn’t be worried about their health when they vote.

“Postal votes are safer than attending a polling booth.”

The scene outside the usually busy Taabinga State School at lunchtime on Saturday … no candidates, no supporters handing out how-to-vote cards, but no voters either

* * *

South Burnett Regional Council

Unofficial Primary Count at 4:15pm, Friday:

Mayor – 72.31 per cent counted

*Keith Campbell – 5920
Abigail Andersson – 2410
Brett Otto – 6440
Toni Ralph – 1361
Informal – 505

Division 3 – 71.82 per cent counted

Rhonda Trivett – 700
*Danita Potter – 2097
Informal – 121

Division 4 – 73.43 per cent

Kirstie Schumacher – 1999
*Terry Fleischfresser – 821
Informal – 48

Division 5 – 73.63 per cent

Colleen Bird – 396
*Kathy Duff – 2313
Informal – 38

Division 6 – 81.24 per cent

*Ros Heit – 1493
Scott Henschen – 1479
Informal – 89

* Sitting councillors

* * *

Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council

Unofficial Primary Count at 7:00pm, Thursday:

Mayor – 76.76 per cent counted

Sylvia McGregor – 31
*Arnold Murray – 28
Gordon Wragge – 54
Elvie Sandow – 119
Elgan Leedie – 33
Katrina Watson – 25
Max Conlon – 68
Lillian Gray – 11
Informal – 1

Councillors – 75.10 per cent counted (four to be elected)

Bronwyn Douglas – 216
Leighton Costello – 213
Fred Cobbo – 212
Norm Hegarty – 113
*Tom Langton – 242
Lynette Brown – 133
Eric Law Snr – 141
*James Saltner – 166
Informal – 12

* Sitting councillors

* * *

Gympie Regional Council

Unofficial Primary Count at 4:15pm, Friday:

Mayor – 73.44 per cent counted

Glen Hartwig – 13,524
*Mick Curran – 8903
Tim Jerome – 4032
Informal – 997

Division 6 – 71.94 per cent counted

*Hilary Smerdon – 1844
Brian Thomas – 766
Mikki Lawson – 6327
Informal – 147

* Sitting councillors

* * *

Toowoomba Regional Council

Unofficial Primary Count at 4:15pm, Friday:

Mayor – 69.79 per cent counted

Douglas Doelle – 6364
*Paul Antonio – 56,053
Chris Meibusch – 14,851
Informal – 3103

Councillors  – 64.83 per cent counted (10 to be elected)

*Bill Cahill – 39,239
David King – 10,649
*Nancy Sommerfield – 38,057
Lindy Eising – 12,423
Carol McCabe – 16,797
Petria Grabham – 17,128
Chelle McIntyre – 14,326
Michael Truskinger – 19,196
Warren Midgley – 16,053
Rita Clarke – 11,847
Robert Relvas – 8391
Lizzie Adams – 21,595
*Megan O’Hara Sullivan – 41,140
Kirsten Smolenski – 16,710
Michael Flanigan – 17,821
*Geoff McDonald – 42,443
*James O’Shea – 39,645
Kevin Flanagan – 21,107
Rob Berry – 11,798
Tim Entwistle – 19,078
Garry Humphries – 21,359
Ben Apsey – 19,545
Melissa Taylor – 34,335
David Campbell – 21,430
Aaron Goldie – 13,219
Kerry Shine – 29,093
Alyce Nelligan – 9892
Joy Mingay – 21,577
*Carol Taylor – 40,616
Eakraj Adhikari – 9350
Tim McMahon – 27,844
Rebecca Vonhoff – 44,709
Informal – 8137

* Sitting councillors

[UPDATED]


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One Response to "Mood For Change Sweeps Councils"

  1. Totally Disillusioned  March 29, 2020

    I think nonsense is becoming the new viral infection.

    If people can prove that they:
    – Did not go online in the past 2 weeks,
    – Did not go to a shopping centre in the last 2 weeks,
    – Did not use a phone in the last 2 weeks
    – Did not interact socially in the last 2 weeks
    Then yes, by all means consider waiving their fine.

    For everyone else, there was plenty of warning and plenty of ways to complete their legal responsibilities.

    To do anything else is 2 faced.

    Why bother having laws when politicians turn around and ask to waive them?

    It’s a bit worrying when elected officials want to go against the laws they were elected under.

    Reply

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