Pick winner's name from hat



Division-four by-election candidate Bernie Hollis is calling for a random draw to determine the new councillor to replace Vivien Griffin in a move he claims will save ratepayers time and more than $35,000, and provide a trial run for the successful candidate in the lead-up the full elections next year.

The former Cairns school bus driver and driver trainer said the majority of candidates shared similar platforms ? to uphold the town plan and protect Noosa's way of life ? so a random draw would assure residents similar outcomes without the cost.

Under Mr Hollis's proposal, the ballot that would normally determine the top councillors on the ballot slip following close of nominations, would actually determine the successful councillor.

"All councillors should get together and come to an agreement that whoever is pulled out of the hat to have top-listing on the ballot, gets the position and the others withdraw," he said.

"My experience with council by-elections is that they can be quite a waste of money. This by-election will be held to find a councillor for just 12 months. Over and above the money, it's a great inconvenience to people who have to give up part of their Saturday.

"This time next year we will be doing the whole thing properly for a four-year term."

The former Cairns City Council candidate said the full Noosa elections in March next year should be run as normal, while division-four voters could use the next 12 months to test-drive the successful candidate, drawn from the hat.

"Had Vivien Griffin resigned a few days later, the replacement councillor would have been appointed by the councillors anyway," he said.

"I think the public will be the winners. The last time I saw a by-election in Cairns it cost over $30,000. Now Noosa has already spent some money because they have a returning officer, but the costs on the day are quite significant because you have all the people running the ballot boxes. This way you could save that money."

Mr Hollis said he expected his proposal would meet some opposition from voters, councillors and candidates.

"I feel that if the candidates can't pull together and work as a team in something like this then they are probably not suitable as a councillor in chambers," he said.

"Before I started, I would sign a withdrawal form and I expect everyone else to do the same, and then whoever is drawn as the top ballot, theirs is torn up and the others are handed to the returning officer after the ballot."

Mr Hollis said it was also important by-election candidates looked at short-term issues in their platforms, as they may only have 12 months to make changes.

He said if elected, he would focus on solving traffic chaos outside Sunshine Beach State School and road safety issues.

Returning officer John Kelly said the suggestion was not feasible under the Local Government Act.

"The act clearly prescribes that a by-election must be held and that includes giving every elector the right to cast a vote for the candidate of their choice," he said.


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