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30 March, 2020

Incumbents hold on in local elections

Due to technical difficulties the results of the 2020 local elections may not be known for some time.

By Phil Brandel

THE 2020 local council elections have been described as a farce due to technical malfunctions, social distancing misinformation and a low voter turnout.

At one stage the ECQ website claimed that 1600% of the votes had been counted.

Queensland's electoral commissioner says the technical issues experienced during the count for the local government elections are “unacceptable.”
Pat Vidgen said more than 1,000,000 votes were counted on Saturday, but problems with the “data feed” meant votes were not uploaded to the Electoral Commission of Queensland website in real-time. “We're very disappointed with that outcome,” he said.
“The counting happened and the counting was accurate.
“I can assure you all the votes that were received yesterday were counted... it was a data feed issue unfortunately which meant the website didn't display them.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was “pretty disappointed” by the bungle. “They've got one job... to make sure they can run an election,” she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said it was not clear what went wrong but promised it would be investigated. “I'll get a full briefing on Monday but there will be a full review into it,” she said.


The Mareeba Shire Council (MSC) won't have too many new faces sitting around the table when the new council is sworn in.

As of Monday, March 30 the three incumbent Councillors – Lenore Wyatt, Kevin Davies and Mary Graham all looked safe at retaining their positions.

One of the new faces to be sitting at the table is newcomer and first-time runner Locky Bensted who snagged 12.63% of the vote, with 83.29% of the vote counted.

This makes Mr Bensted the second most popular person voted for at the MSC elections behind councillor Mary Graham.

Mr Bensted said he was happy with the results and put it down to residents looking for a new face. “I think some people are looking for some new young blood and energy to come through.”

He also acknowledged the work that the councillors that won't be back for 2020 have put in. “The last four years have seen a very successful and stable MSC,” he said,

“It’s good to see the incumbent councillors coming back, with everything that is going on I think it’s good to see some stability and familiar faces at the table.”

As of Monday morning, the top six results with 83.29% counted were:

Mary Graham – 12.81%,

Locky Bensted – 12.63%,

Lenore Wyatt – 12.09%

Kevin Davies – 11.90%

Danny Bird– 9.27%

and Mario Mlikota – 8.93%.


Tablelands Regional Council recorded similar results for their incumbent Councillors.

Division 1. At the time of printing, the ECQ website claimed that only 4.5% of the vote counted for Division 1, with incumbent Councillor Kate Eden on 41.27% trailing Kevin Cardew on 58.73%

Division 2: Incumbent TRC councillor Annette Hayden was leading with 45.46% over Gavin Wright 39.24% and Garth Dunford on 15.30% with 34.42% counted.

Division 3: Current TRC Councillor Dave Bilney has a fight on his hands with 43.72% against Shane Teehan on 40.80%, and Tansy Gleed on 15.49% with 61.28% counted.

Division 4: Another TRC incumbent also looks to have a fight on their hands. Samantha Banks had 38.93%, against David Clifton who is currently sitting on 35.62%. Bringing up
the tail is Micheal Hodgkins with 25.45% with only 13.58% counted.

Division 5: Was left vacant by Deputy Mayor Katrina Mellick running for the position of Mayor. Peter Hodge looks to be the new councillor with 55.21% over Ray Stewart Grandcourt on
44.79% with 11.18% counted.

Division 6: Was vacated by Councillor Owen Byrnes not returning and only had two runners with Bernie Wilce leading Darryl Drury 66.52% over 33.48% respectively, with 17.04% counted.


All results were correct at time of publication

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