Councillor vacancy provisions must be repealed urgently

Published: 10th November 2020

Local Government Association of Queensland CEO Greg Hallam has called on the Palaszczuk Government to urgently meet its commitment to Queensland councils to repeal laws mandating the automatic election of the runner up in a mayoral or councillor election if a vacancy occurs within the first 12 months of the term.

“Mayors and councillors from across Queensland have made clear their concerns; the current runner-up provisions are undemocratic and could see candidates who receive only a small percentage of the vote elevated to office,” Mr Hallam said.

“For example, in Rockhampton, the runner up for the position of Mayor received less than a third of the vote.

“In the case of the Townsville City Council, the next in line to fill the Division 10 vacancy, caused by Cr Les Walker’s election to State Parliament, received just 18.3 per cent of the vote.

“In council elections past, runner-up candidates have polled in the single digits.

“A by-election is the best way to ensure the candidates to fill these vacancies have the support of the people they will represent.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last month committed to changing the laws in the new parliamentary term so mayoral vacancies – and councillor vacancies in divided councils – will once again be filled following a by-election.

“We urge the Palaszczuk Government to repeal the runner-up provisions urgently,” Mr Hallam said.

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Vogler, Media Executive
Local Government Association of Queensland