Mayoral candidate Clare Stewart and Mayor Tony Wellington have both had election signs stolen.
Mayoral candidate Clare Stewart and Mayor Tony Wellington have both had election signs stolen.

SHOCK COUNT: Tony struggling to stay as Noosa mayor

NOOSA is likely to know by Wednesday if first-time challenger Clare Stewart has defeated Tony Wellington for the prize mayoral position.

A clearly worried Tony Wellington told supporters after Friday’s sensational recount that he was 192 votes behind Ms Stewart.

In a post shared on his Facebook, Cr Wellington said: “Well the recount on the mayoral votes didn’t end up going in my favour today.

“Noosaville pre-poll, polling day booths and postal votes that had arrived up until yesterday were all given a second count. The end result is that Clare Stewart is 192 votes ahead on the recount.”

Cr Wellington said the Cooroy pre-poll and the telephone votes are still to be recounted.

“Still to be added in are the ‘declaration votes’ (around 500 votes where people turned up to booths and their details didn’t match the electoral roll – these need to be checked against the updated roll before they can be counted), plus whatever postal votes trickle in between now and Tuesday afternoon.

“I think I’ll be lucky to make up the lost ground. Not impossible, but also not likely. We won’t know the end result until next week.

“Whatever happens, it’s been a privilege to serve this community.”

When contacted this morning Cr Wellington declined to comment further as he waited for the final outcome.

HEAD TO HEAD: Noosa mayoral candidates Clare Stewart and Tony Wellington. Photo: Caitlin Zerafa
HEAD TO HEAD: Noosa mayoral candidates Clare Stewart and Tony Wellington. Photo: Caitlin Zerafa

It is believed the returning officer Jude Svensen will be revisiting the Noosaville prepolling and the Peregian Bach polling booth counts, which reportedly were significantly different the second time around.

There will be possibly no more mayoral voting today, but a mayoral result may be declared by Wednesday, a day ahead of the10-day declaration deadline.

Ms Stewart is taking nothing as a given because of the votes still outstanding, including the recount of the Cooroy early voting, the postals and the telephone vote recount.

“I think we’re in a good position, but a day is a long time in politics,” Ms Stewart said today.

“I don’t think Tony would have gone into Friday thinking that such a turn around would occur in one day, so it just shows you what can happen in a day.

‘We’ve probably got two more days (until a result). It’s been a really long process and I think its been difficult for everyone involved.

“We’re over a week out (after the March 28 vote) and we still don’t have a result. It would be good to have a result sooner than later,” Ms Stewart said.

Ms Stewart posted last Friday: “Today, I attended the formal count of the mayoral votes at Swanbourne Way, Nooasville. I was going into this recount 1 down in my calculations and 10 down according to Tony’s.

By the end of this morning, I was 192 votes ahead of Tony.”

Ms Stewart said “all in all, it was a good day for the yellow shirts (her support team colour).

“Let’s hope that it continues as we near the end of this incredibly long journey. Again, thank you for your continued support, inspiration and well wishes. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

A Wellington support posted this comment on the mayor’s Facebook: “A very divided community … who ever makes it through has a lot of work to do to join the community back together. It doesn’t seem right that an election for our council be run in such uneasy times.”

A Stewart supporter posted: “Clare I am excited to contemplate moving forward with new energy and drive. Most of us don’t want all the angst to the past few years. Your count today gave me a massive boost.”


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