BY-ELECTION: Nominations close as ballot draw conducted
NOMINATIONS for the vacant Gladstone Region councillor position have closed and six people have put their hand up to replace Cindi Bush.
Mrs Bush resigned as a councillor on September 17 in protest at the Gladstone Mater Hospital's decision to close its maternity ward where her husband, Dr Adam Bush, was practising obstetrics.
Gladstone Regional Council had a maximum of 12 weeks to fill the position, which will be filled with one month to spare.
The by-election will be held on Saturday, November 17.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland conducted the ballot draw on Tuesday afternoon and Colin Burke snared top spot.
He will be followed on the ballot by Lynette Dahl, Mark McLachlan, Sue Beardmore, Natalia Muszkat and Pat Laws.
It's the second run at council for Ms Dahl and Ms Muszkat, who ran in the March 2016 election and received 10,874 and 10,708 votes respectively.
The electoral commission has confirmed the first-past-the-post system will apply, meaning residents can just cast a single vote for the candidate of their choice.
Pre-polling will start from 9am on November 5 and wrap up on November 16. Polling booths will operate on election day from 8am to 6pm.
Mayor Matt Burnett had signalled his preference for a postal ballot with the commission but that request was refused by acting Local Government Minister Yvette D'ath earlier this month.
Four of the six candidates - Ms Dahl, Mr McLachlan, Ms Muszkat and Mr Laws - were present at yesterday's draw and all four played down their position on the ballot paper.
Mr McLachlan, drawn third on the ballot, said any position would have been fine.
"I think for a local by-election a lot of people make up their mind when they walk through the door," he said.
"The feedback I'm getting is people don't know it's on, and they're still making their mind up.
"I don't think the ballot will have much of an impact on how people vote."
Ms Dahl hoped residents would have an idea how they would vote before heading to the booth.
"Number two is fine - the ballot number doesn't matter," she said. "If they want to know why they need to put number one next to my name I'm happy to talk to them."
Ms Muszkat said residents should know who the best candidate is for them, while Mr Laws said the by-election shaped as a big decision for voters.