New mayor finally elected in Rockhampton

Nick Gibbs
·1-min read

Rockhampton officially has a new mayor more than two months after the Queensland government intervened in Chris 'Pineapple' Hooper's elevation to the top job.

Councillor Tony Williams was elected with about 25 per cent of first preference votes, followed by Russell Claus (15.59 per cent) and Mr Hooper (12.28 per cent).

Given the field of 17 candidates, Queensland Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said majority percentages were small and the preference count was key to the outcome.

"With Councillor Tony Williams being the successful mayoral candidate, and as he was elected unopposed at the local government elections in March, there will be a by-election as required by legislation within the next two months to fill his councillor role," he said.

"Cr Williams received approximately 25 per cent of the formal first preference vote but 58 per cent of the votes remaining in the count after exclusions and the distribution of preferences from other candidates was completed."

The Queensland government passed retrospective laws changing how council vacancies are filled after former Rockhampton mayor Margaret Strelow stood down in November and Mr Hooper was next in line.

State laws were changed last year to enable runners-up to be automatically evaluated to mayor upon a resignation in the first 12 months of a term.

The law was widely seen as aimed at deterring councillors from running for state parliament.

The rules were changed again to force a by-election following Ms Strelow's resignation.