SLOW PROGRESS: As counting continues, there is frustration that the Electoral Commission of Queensland is being too slow in declaring obvious victories around CQ in the local government election.
SLOW PROGRESS: As counting continues, there is frustration that the Electoral Commission of Queensland is being too slow in declaring obvious victories around CQ in the local government election.

CQ in frustrating limbo awaiting election declarations

THE woes created by the unprecedented COVID-19 disruption to this year’s Local Government Election are continuing with clear-cut election results around CQ remaining stubbornly undeclared by the Electoral Commission of Queensland.

Set to be returned by a landslide of 14,789 votes ahead of her challenger with three quarters of votes counted, Rockhampton Region mayor Margaret Strelow has articulated her frustration with ECQ’s failure to officially name obvious winners.

“The maths is really simple. As the Premier said, ‘they had one job’,” Cr Strelow said.

“The normal process after an election is that once it is clear that there is a winning candidate

then that candidate is announced as having been elected.

“My understanding is that for both myself and all councillors the numbers are already known.”

Incumbent RRC mayor Margaret Strelow will remain in charge until she is officially declared winner in the local government election.
Incumbent RRC mayor Margaret Strelow will remain in charge until she is officially declared winner in the local government election.

The veteran of multiple election campaigns said under normal circumstances they would have already been declared elected and until that declaration took place, council couldn’t meet.

“It seems as though the Brisbane based ECQ have decided that they will wait until all postal votes are in this time,” she said.

“Even though there aren’t enough outstanding postal votes to make a difference to the result.

“I find it funny that the website is saying that they have counted 73.73 per cent of eligible voters but only 68.53 per cent of the preferences.

“Given that it was a two horse race I wonder how they think they can count preferences.”

According to her scrutineers, there were only a few thousand postal votes yet to come in.

Cr Strelow said things would remain on hold until the ECQ decided to declare the new Rockhampton Regional Council elected.

“Until that declaration the former council is still in force so I am acting as Mayor on the basis that I was elected in 2016,” she said.

“That means that Bill Ludwig is still Mayor of Livingstone Shire too.”

Soon to be confirmed councillor for Division 7 Donna Kirkland said she was still waiting for a call from the ECQ to confirm her victory.

Once this was done, Ms Kirkland revealed she would be sworn in as a councillor over the phone by RRC Chief Executive Evan Pardon.

IN LIMBO: Winning RRC Councillor candidate for Division 7 Donna Kirkland is still waiting for a call from ECQ to officially declare the winner in the local government election.
IN LIMBO: Winning RRC Councillor candidate for Division 7 Donna Kirkland is still waiting for a call from ECQ to officially declare the winner in the local government election.

In a statement, an ECQ spokesperson said they would not declare results in individual elections until the formal count showed that it was mathematically impossible for any other candidate to be successful.

“Once the preliminary count is conducted, each vote is counted again in the formal count. The ECQ will declare successful candidates progressively once the formal count indicates that no other candidate can be successful,” the spokesperson said.

“The finalisation of results and declarations of elections for all councils generally takes more than two weeks from the election date.

“This may be some time after candidates themselves declare or concede, particularly where the count is close.”

In close contests, Returning Officers may need to wait for the receipt of postal votes, which can be returned to the ECQ by 5pm, April 7.

“Elections rely on checks and balances to ensure that the result is accurate. Those check and balances, which can take a bit of time, apply even in cases where the result appears clear cut,” they said.

The ECQ said elected mayors or councillors could not take up their positions until the results of the elections for both mayor and councillors in each local government area were formally declared by them.

“Until that happens, councils remain in caretaker mode,” they said.

“Mayoral declarations may be made separately to councillor declarations for all councils, depending on the timing of results.”

The return and scrutiny of the about 570,000 postal votes from the local government elections was ongoing.

To date, almost 314,000 postal votes have been returned, scrutinised and either admitted to or rejected from the count.

The deadline for return of postal votes is Tuesday, 7 April 2020.

Latest local government election results around Central Queensland

Rockhampton Region Mayor

HOOPER, Chris - 11943 - 30.88 per cent

STRELOW, Margaret - 26732 - 69.12 per cent

73.73 per cent counted

Division 1 Councillor

LATCHAM, Shane - 2490 - 49.27 per cent

ROBERTSON, Vince - 1106 - 21.88 per cent

ASHTON, Sherrie - 1458 - 28.85 per cent

73.03 per cent counted

Division 2 Councillor

FISHER, Neil - 3586 - 61.47 per cent

SHUKER, Gavin - 2248 - 38.53 per cent

78.5 per cent counted

Division 5 Councillor

RUTHERFORD, Cherie - 3949 - 60.97 per cent

ANDERSON, Peter - 2528 - 39.03 per cent

79.24 per cent counted

Division 7 Councillor

HORAN, Noeleen - 1835 - 34.51 per cent

KIRKLAND, Donna - 3483 - 65.49 per cent

76.65 per cent counted

Livingstone Shire Mayor

IRELAND, Andy - 9251 - 46.32 per cent

LUDWIG, Bill - 8229 - 41.20 per cent

BURNS, Lynelle - 2492 - 12.48 per cent

77.78 per cent counted

Livingstone Shire Division 1 Councillor

GRICE, Leah - 8923 - 7.73 per cent

TARRATT, Scott Edward - 4950 - 4.29 per cent

KEANALLEY, Athol - 2698 - 2.34 per cent

LYNCH, Tanya Elizabeth - 9393 - 8.14 per cent

PEACH, Mathew - 5058 - 4.38 per cent

WATSON, Rhodes Jason - 9349 - 8.10 per cent

HUTTON, Nigel - 10590 - 9.17 per cent

MATHER, Glenda - 12007 - 10.4 per cent

HONEK, Leo - 5526 - 4.79 per cent

EASTWOOD, Pat - 12485 - 10.81 per cent

BIRD, Stephen - 7170 - 6.21 per cent

FRIEND, Andrea - 9811 - 8.5 per cent

DECMAN, Mike - 2414 - 2.09 per cent

BELOT, Adam - 11562 - 10.01 per cent

SULLY, Keith - 3517 - 3.05 per cent

73.65 per cent counted

Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Mayor

MURGHA, Leslie Vivian - 50 - 20.75 per cent

TOBANE, Roderick - 23 - 9.54 per cent

WEAZEL, Josh - 107 - 44.40 per cent

WILLIAMS, Adrian - 27 - 11.20 per cent

MAJOR, Kylie - 34 - 14.11 per cent

74.62 per cent counted

Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Division 1 Councillor

SIGAI, Diane - 28 - 2.58 per cent

WILLIAMS, Archie - 76 - 7.00 per cent

DOAK, Shawn - 30 - 2.76 per cent

CAMERON, Joel - 131 - 12.07 per cent

WEAZEL, Laurence - 111 - 10.23 per cent

DOYLE, Gerald K - 189 - 17.42 per cent

SAVAGE, Wagwan - 111 - 10.23 per cent

WALKER, Dellas - 147 - 13.55 per cent

GHILOTTI, Vincent - 111 - 10.23 per cent

LAWTON, Milton - 76 - 7.00 per cent

HILL, Cindy - 75 - 6.91 per cent

83.33 per cent counted

Banana Shire Division 1 Councillor

WILLIAMS, Jason Patrick - 514 - 50.15 per cent

RAMSEY, John - 511 - 49.85 per cent

63.81 per cent counted

Banana Shire Division 2 Councillor

NEVELL, Colin James - 514 - 41.12 per cent

PENDER, Judith Fay - 736 - 58.88 per cent

69.8 per cent

Central Highlands Regional Division 1 Councillor

DANIELS, Megan - 7880 - 10.61 per cent

BURKE, Kevin - 4300 - 5.79 per cent

BURNS, Joseph - 6171 - 8.31%

FRAWLEY, Bernardine - 4789 - 6.45 per cent

ROLFE, Christine - 6949 - 9.35 per cent

SYPHER, Gai - 5875 - 8.39 per cent

DEIN, Geoff - 4037 - 5.77%

WATKINS, John - 4787 - 6.84 per cent

MORIARTY, Janice - 5880 - 8.40 per cent

MCINDOE, Alan - 5138 - 7.34 per cent

BRIMBLECOMBE, Charlie - 5262 -7.52 per cent

CURTIS, Natalie (Nat) - 5528 - 7.90 per cent

CARPENTER, Anne - 5021 - 7.17 per cent

52.64 per cent counted