UPDATE: Candidates begin hunt for pre-poll, postal votes

Key dates for council election

  • Close of nominations: 12noon, Tuesday, February 16
  • Ballot draw: 10am, Wednesday, February 17
  • In person pre-poll commences: 9am, Monday, March 7
  • Pre-poll postal vote applications close: 7pm, Wednesday, March 16
  • Pre-poll postal vote applications close: 6pm, Friday, March 18
  • Polling day: Saturday, March 19
  • Return of postal ballot material: 6pm, Tuesday, March 29
  • Disclosure return day: Monday, July 4

A COUNCIL voting system where voters don't need an excuse to use pre-poll means candidates are busy trying to win your vote now.

A Queensland Electoral Commission spokeswoman said it is trialing opening pre-poll to everyone this year.

Previously, voters needed a excuse for not turning up on Election Day, such as a disability or proof that they would be out of town.

And head of professional communication program at CQ University Dr Celeste Lawson said candidates are using social media to win over voters early in the race.

She said voters can expect to "see intense campaigns for longer" playing out online, either through the 24 hour media cycle or social media.

Hunting for votes will begin next week when the Queensland Electoral Commission mails postal votes on Wednesday, and then it will further intensify when pre-poll opens on March 7.

She said the battle will unfold online, saying social media and the 24/7 media cycle are today's equivalent of the so-called "stump speech" where politicians stood on a stump to advertise their position. 

"Politicians are at a point where they're campaigning all the time. The traditional campaign time period is getting longer."

But she also said the intensity of the election campaign was changing how constituents vote.

"There are a lot more swinging voters now than there have been previously," she said.

"So what means is that people are less aligned with a political party than they have in the past.

"People are swinging from side to side for the issues that affect them."


Council nominations officially closed as of noon today, with just two last minute nominations taking the total of nominee count to 21. 

Jody McMullen and Chris Trevor are the new additions in the race. 

But it will remain a three horse race for mayor. 

Where the names of nominees will sit on the ballot paper will be decided in a ballot draw at 10am tomorrow.


Officially nominated at 5pm of day 6:

  • Michelle Wagner (for mayor)
  • Glenn Churchill (for councillor)
  • Christopher Cameron (for councillor)
  • Charles Thompson (for councillor)
  • Matt Burnett (for mayor)
  • Peter Masters (for councillor)
  • Peter Powell (for councillor)
  • Alex Staines (for councillor)
  • Helena Sant (for councillor)
  • Cindi Bush (for councillor)
  • Edward Couch (for councillor)
  • PJ Sobhanian (for councillor)
  • Kahn Goodluck (for councillor)
  • Karen Porter (for councillor)
  • James Walker (for councillor)
  • Lynette Dahl (for councillor)
  • Rick Hansen (for councillor)
  • Ren Lanzon (for councillor)
  • Amanda McRae (for councillor)
  • Natalia Muszkat (for councillor)
  • Gail Sellers (for mayor)
  • Desley O'Grady (for councillor)

*We'll update this list at the end of each day

>> When you nominate send us a photo or short video, or you can tweet us @the_observer_

UPDATE Monday 6pm

MICHELLE Wagner has thrown her hat into the ring to be Gladstone's next mayor by nominating for the March 19 election today.

The former council communications and marketing employee will be up against two people she knows well, current mayor Gail Sellers and deputy mayor Matt Burnett.

Three others also nominated today but for a position on the council. They were Glenn Churchill, Charles Thompson and Christopher Cameron.

Michelle Wagner. - Intending Candidates Seminar at the Gladstone Council Office. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer
Michelle Wagner. - Intending Candidates Seminar at the Gladstone Council Office. Photo Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven

EARLIER Friday 5pm

Cr Burnett's nomination means current mayor Gail Sellers will have some competition.

Four other people nominated for the election on March 19 but for the councillor positions.

These people were Alex Staines, Peter Masters, Peter Powell and Helena Sant.

EARLIER Thursday 5pm

Mayor Gail Sellers is still the only person to nominate for the mayor position.

Electoral Commission Queensland returning officer Mark Larney said he expected another half a dozen nominations for council tomorrow.

Three more council hopefuls, including two incumbents, have lodged their official nomination with the electoral commission today.

Electoral Commission Queensland returning officer Mark Larney said he had not handed out any more forms for mayoral candidates today but said he was expected at least three more council position nominations to be lodged tomorrow.

>> Got an issue you want to put to the council nominees? Text it to the editor on 0438 537 194 or tweet @rowanhunnam or @the_observer_

UPDATE: Tuesday 5pm

MAYOR Gail Sellers is still the only mayoral candidate for the upcoming local government election after day two of enrolments.

But Desley O'Grady has some company for the councillor positions with Amanda McRae and Natalia Muszkat handing in their applications late this afternoon. 

Electoral Commission Queensland returning officer Mark Larney said Amanda McRae got her application in first.

"She just snuck it in before Natalia," he said.

He also said he had handed out two forms for mayor, one to Cr Sellers and one to another person who hasn't returned it yet.


EARLIER: Tuesday 11.45am

TWO applications hang on the board inside the Electoral Commission Queensland office on Hanson Rd after the first day of enrolments.

The board confirmed it has the applications of incumbent Gail Sellers for mayor and Calliope businesswoman Desley O'Grady.

The ECQ office opened yesterday; online applications opened on Saturday.

>> When you nominate feel free to send us a photo or short video, or you can tweet us @the_observer_


ECQ returning officer Mark Larney said he had a number of people begin the application online and some had grabbed forms off him.

"There are about 15 people who have started the process online or come in for hard copies," he said.

"We are looking at having two mayoral candidates at this stage including Gail Sellers."

He said it wasn't unusual for people to take a few days to hand in the applications.

>> READ MORE: PICTURES: See who turned up to council election info meeting

"They need six nominees to sign their applications," he said.

"I expect we will have a few more by tomorrow morning."

Applications close at midday next Tuesday. The election will be held on March 19.

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