Whitsunday Regional Council candidates were not allowed to attend polling booths.
Whitsunday Regional Council candidates were not allowed to attend polling booths.

Candidates weigh in on polling booth ban

THOUSANDS of residents were due to hit the polls today, but one trend seems to be apparent at several booths across the region – it’s incredibly quiet.

With extra measures in place to help curb the spread of coronavirus, candidates and their helpers were banned from attending the polls.

Candidates had mixed feelings about the move, with some saying it was important to protect the health of the public while others say the whole election should have been called off.

Take a look at what the hopefuls in your division said.

DIVISION 1

Jan Clifford, Jess Kelly and Mark Yore are running for the Division 1 seat.
Jan Clifford, Jess Kelly and Mark Yore are running for the Division 1 seat.

JAN CLIFFORD

“Considering the current circumstances, I don’t think there was any other choice but not to be pressing to flesh, so to speak.

“It’s in the public interest to not be crowded and swamped and spoken to by people … and it goes both ways

“It’s disappointing because I quite like election days but it is what it is.”

JESS KELLY

“I don’t know any different because it’s the first time I’ve had a cut at it.

“I think with the levels of safety the ECQ had in place, you were much safer voting than you were shopping, and there were still people shopping.

“(The election) needed to be done or else it would have cost the taxpayers a fortune to do it again.

“I agree with it being pushed through.”

MARK YORE

“This is possibly the worst managed election I’ve ever been involved in.

“You miss the opportunity for voters to say hi to their candidates, to introduce themselves and to ask them any last-minute questions.

“I think every single councillor has made themselves available … but for a lot of people who only make up their mind on the day that opportunity to say hi to council candidates is sadly lacking.”

DIVISION 2

Lachlan Queenan, Al Grundy and Heidi Ward are vying for the Division 2 seat.
Lachlan Queenan, Al Grundy and Heidi Ward are vying for the Division 2 seat.

HEIDI WARD

“My bottom line is that I’m really glad that we are not in people’s faces, we’re giving them the opportunity to make decisions for themselves without being ambushed.

“I think as far as the rules for the government is that if you’ve got half a brain you’ll stay inside.

“I’m doing the right thing on behalf of other people (by staying inside) … please stay at home.”

AL GRUNDY

“I would love to have met every voter who had a question or wanted to get a better understanding of who I’m am and what I hope to achieve.

“The entire process through the pre-poll has been challenging, from the antics of some candidates through to the stress that the community is currently going through.

“I only hope that the successful candidates are ready and capable to provide the leadership that is required now, during the recovery phase and over the longer term. Rebuilding community, businesses and the workforce to be the best we can possibly be is a task that only a united region can achieve.”

LACHLAN QUEENAN

“If the candidates aren’t allowed to be there then the public shouldn’t be there.

“We’ve got a national crisis in our country, an international crisis with this pandemic, we’re trying to keep people safe and well but Queensland State Government has proceeded to run with this election.

“We knew before the polls were open that a crisis was escalating … it’s going to be interesting to see if we get a spike in cases here in Queensland due to the election being carried out.”

DIVISION 3

Brian Skead and John Collins are running for the Division 3 seat.
Brian Skead and John Collins are running for the Division 3 seat.

JOHN COLLINS

“Fortunately, we had a full week last week meeting with residents taking the opportunity to pre-poll and I had a great time saying g’day to a lot of them. As those that know me would tell you that I’m always good for a yarn or two.

“I was really looking forward to election day to meet and have a chat to everyone. However, it is a good move and it’s actually really smart that this decision was made.

“In the interest of the public’s health and safety, it’s common sense. I’m in total support of the ban.”

BRIAN SKEAD

“The rules of the day are equal for all and shouldn’t give an advantage to anyone.

“It allows the public to vote in peace.”

DIVISION 4

Michelle Wright, Peter Lawton and Brett Murphy are vying for the Division 4 seat.
Michelle Wright, Peter Lawton and Brett Murphy are vying for the Division 4 seat.

PETER LAWTON

“To be honest I really think it’s the fairest way

“When you have four or five people putting pamphlets in your face it’s a bit disconcerting.

“I wouldn’t be unhappy if that was brought in as mandatory.

I think it’s very fair people get the opportunity to walk in and take their time and have a think about it.”

BRETT MURPHY

“I think it’s quite good.

“I totally agree with it. We’ve got to limit (contact) as much as we can.

“I’ve got a 92-year-old mother and we’re social distancing, imagine how many people I’d talk to during the day and then go and see her, so it’s a good thing.”

MICHELLE WRIGHT

“I’m disappointed I can’t experience the election day vibe and be part of the whole process and meet people, that’s probably the biggest thing, just meeting people.

“But it’s for the best I think, we’re just trying to look after all our people and our community, and I think that’s the most important thing.

“At the end of the day it’s the health and wellbeing off community that comes first and that’s why we’re here.”

DIVISION 5

Dave Clark and Gary Simpson are running for the Division 5 seat.
Dave Clark and Gary Simpson are running for the Division 5 seat.

DAVE CLARK

“In these times you’ve got to take every precaution you can take.

“It’s not ideal but we’re in uncharted waters with this virus.

“I don’t blame them for doing what they did … they made the calls they had to make and I believe it’s in the best interest of the community.”

GARY SIMPSON

“As much as it would be good to be there to meet people and talk to them, it’s just common sense.

“Numerous people have been on to me about phone voting, they’re in self-isolation and they can’t get through

“There’s been a few people not been able to vote … the (ECQ) could have extended the voting (over the phone) and not published the votes from the polls (until everyone had voted).”


We’ve got reno fever as thousands chase $25,000 cash offer

premium_icon We’ve got reno fever as thousands chase $25,000 cash offer

HomeBuilder website records 100,000 hits in a day

Reno dreams collapse under tough stimulus hurdle

premium_icon Reno dreams collapse under tough stimulus hurdle

Mackay renovators and home builders are struggling to access a $25,000 Home...

Farewell freshy: Bowen Golf Course croc to be rehomed

premium_icon Farewell freshy: Bowen Golf Course croc to be rehomed

Bowen Golf Course will farewell its resident freshwater crocodile, moving him to a...