28 March 2012

Councillors walk back in - Tully re-elected unopposed in Division 2

Cr Paul Tully
HALF of Ipswich's 10 city councillors have been elected unopposed, with Paul Tully not facing a rival for the first time in 33 years.

When nominations closed at noon yesterday, David Morrison (Division 1), Cheryl Bromage (6), Charlie Pisasale (8), Sheila Ireland (9) and Cr Tully (2) found no one else had nominated in their division.

Crs Morrison, Bromage and Pisasale were also unopposed in the last council election four years ago.

Mayor Paul Pisasale will again face Peter Luxton for the top job on April 28 after Mr Luxton got 11% of the vote in 2008.

"I have 33 years up in local government this Saturday and in 11 elections this is the first time I've been unopposed," Cr Tully said. "It's a humbling experience

knowing the people have enough confidence in me to be re-elected without opposition."

He said after securing 87% of the vote at the last election he was "gratified with the show of support from the people of Division 2".

"I was just thinking, too, it means no putting up campaign posters, no making sandwiches for morning teas, no being nice to the QT for a month," he joked.

"But on a broader perspective, half the Ipswich City Council is elected unopposed. That is a strong vote of confidence in the whole council."

Ironically, Cheryl Bromage was fighting off a virus yesterday after setting a punishing pace handing out flyers and doorknocking, not knowing if she would have a rival.

Trevor Nardi is the only councillor not to recontest his division.

Cr Tully said there was nothing untoward about having a council together for so long.

"I don't think there is any entrenched government anywhere in Australia now, only politicians who think they're invincible, that they're right and the people are wrong. They disregard what the people say," Cr Tully said.

"I serve the local community closely. I walk the streets, I go to the shopping centres, I meet and greet people around the community, I stay in touch. I don't sit in an ivory tower like some of the politicians in George St. When they get out of touch with local communities, that's when they fail those local communities.

"All the councillors understand the local government processes and budgetary system. They've got the people at heart and we always try to work together to make the right decision."

Proud to boast he is Queensland's longest-serving councillor, he said he hadn't put a time limit on how long he stayed in local government.

"I've got no plans to move on. I am more than happy to continue to serve the people of Division 2.

"They're the people who put me in there and they're the people who take me out of there," he said.

At the Australian Electoral Commission office off the Ipswich Mall, where nominations were lodged, every expense was spared.

The disused shop featured a bare concrete floor, second-hand furniture and old plastic chairs.

The draw to determine what order candidates appear on the ballot paper was meant to happen at 2.30pm, but returning officer Peter Venning said it was postponed to 8.30am today because of the dispute over failed state candidates wanting to run.

Former Bundaberg MP Rob Messenger's bid to have the laws overturned failed yesterday in the Supreme Court. Mr Messenger, who lost his seat of Burnett on Saturday, was hoping to run for mayor of Bundaberg.
Council battles
Victor Attwood (3): Daniel Donohue, Jane Dodrill.
Vacant (4): Bruce Casos, Grant Vandersee, Shawn Ingle.
Heather Morrow (5): Vicki Ash, Michael Melling, Brian Scott.
Andrew Antoniolli (7): Nicholas White.
David Pahlke (10): John Byrne.
Paul Pisasale (Mayor): Peter Luxton.

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