Caretaker councillors: Confident yet waiting
BUNDABERG’S four incumbent councillors challenged in the election appear to be returning to the council, although despite confidence in their return some are reluctant to claim definite victory.
The council remains in caretaker mode, and Mayor Jack Dempsey and councillors cannot formally take their positions until the Electoral Commission of Queensland determines the result.
It will not do that for individual results until the formal counts show it is mathematically impossible for other candidates to win, and the deadline for postal votes is next Tuesday.
Division 3 incumbent Wayne Honor, who has a 23 per cent lead ahead of the next candidate, said he would wait for ECQ to decide the outcome. “I can’t see there’s any way my opposition can beat me at this stage,” he said.
Cr Honor said the council’s swearing in process might happen as early as next Wednesday. “Once that happens we can make a decision on when our next council meeting will be,” he said.
Division 10 incumbent John Learmonth had 73 per cent of the count so far, but he would leave formalities to the ECQ.
“It’s a foregone conclusion, so I’m just waiting for the final results. I’ll let the process take its course,” he said.
Division 5 incumbent Greg Barnes said he was confident he would remain in the council, having more than 65 per cent of the votes so far. “I can’t see how I’ll be beaten, I believe postal votes will more likely be in my favour,” Cr Barnes said.
He said one of the new council’s first tasks would be to look at its budget, which had different requirements to a business.
Cr Barnes said the council’s priorities needed to be re-evaluated quickly considering the coronavirus’s “horrendous impact.”
Division 1 candidate Jason Bartels was unable to be reached for comment directly, but on Wednesday he posted on his Facebook page that data on the ECQ website was outdated.
“There is still phone voting and some more postal votes to be counted before the final figure will be known,” he said.
“I am ahead and feeling positive and hopeful, but I won’t be claiming that I have been successful until the poll has been officially declared.”