Brave New World Begins

17th March 2008

Councils’ old guard voted out

Thirty new mayors will become the 73 leaders responsible for delivering local government to the four million residents of Queensland after the weekend’s historic council elections.

Long-standing mayors were dumped and little-known candidates claimed clear victories as many of the state’s voters were forced to choose between local leaders in their newly amalgamated councils.

In Brisbane, Lord Mayor Campbell Newman claimed a crushing victory over Labour rival Greg Rowell and voters delivered him the Liberal majority he sought.

The victory puts Australia’s largest local government authority under Liberal control for the first time in 17 years and cements Cr Newman as the nation’s most powerful Liberal. 

However, on the Gold Coast the Liberals suffered a thumping defeat, failing to pick up a single division and managing third spot in the mayoral race.

Development proved to be a decisive issue for voter, leading to the victories of Val Schier (Cairns), Bob Abbot (Sunshine Coast), Melva Hobson (Redland) and likely Gold Coast winner Ron Clarke.

Regional candidates also triumphed over their city counterparts in many councils.

The most high-profile loser was Townsville’s Tony Mooney, who led the northern city for 19 years but was beaten by Thuringowa’s similarly long-serving Les Tyrell.

Former Redcliffe mayor Allan Sutherland looks set to clinch victory in Moreton, while long-serving Logan councillor Pam Parker and Ipswich incumbent Paul Pisasale both easily prevailed.

In Brisbane the Liberals could boost their 15-ward haul when counting resumes today as three wards – including Central held, by Labour’s former deputy mayor David Hinchliffe remain in contention.

Emma Chalmers
Rosanne Barrett

The Courier Mail