Early voting at the Rockhampton Showgrounds.
Early voting at the Rockhampton Showgrounds.

Early voting begins for next Rocky mayor

Early voting for Rockhampton’s next mayor began on Monday morning at the James Lawrence Pavilion of the Rockhampton Showgrounds and at the Gracemere Community Centre.

The candidates greeting electors and handing out flyers said queues stretched down the street when the showgrounds pavilion opened at 9am.

By 1pm, two or three were entering every minute, having passed by John Rewald, Nyree Johnson, Rob Crow, friends of Tony Williams, Cherie Rutherford, Donna Kirkland, and Shane Latcham.

“It’s been hot-cold from lunch,” Cr Kirkland said.

But on Monday morning there was a big line.

“We came down about 7.30.”

Cr Latcham recommended passers-by preference him highly: “If not one, number two’s still good,” he said.

He said it was his belief the incoming mayor “should be someone who’s experienced”.

“My personal thing is you should do at least some of the stint, if not normally a full stint, as councillor and understand what the system’s all about, build on relationships, and then aspire to be at the top of it to lead those people.”

He said those candidates who were promising a rates freeze were being unrealistic.

“Does that mean that everyone’s wages should freeze as well? Life goes on,” Cr Latcham said.

“To me it’s more about more efficient spending, better directed spending.

“It’s always going to go up, but let’s use it and get the best bang for buck.”

Candidates stationed outside the showgrounds hand out flyers.
Candidates stationed outside the showgrounds hand out flyers.

Cr Rutherford said voters were “in a fairly good frame of mind”.

“I think a lot of people have made their decision already,” she said.

“Every election we’re getting more of the early voters in.

Mr Crow chalked that up to people “taking the opportunity to get in and get it out of the way before the day.

“It’s been good,” he said.

“Nice and orderly and a real steady flow of people.”

Ms Johnson added that “everybody’s generally pretty happy to be here and floating on through there was a big line-up at the start of the day, which surprised me.

“I’ve seen people in uniforms, employee uniforms, either starting work, finishing work. I’ve seen a lot of elderly people; I’ve seen some disabled people: it’s really a good snapshot of the people that live in our region.”

Mr Rewald said there were “massive queues at quarter to 9”.

“Everybody’s cordial,” he said.

“I’ll be here until 6pm tonight.”

Both early voting venues will be open from 9am to 6pm on weekdays until Friday, January 22.