Five new faces on Byron Council

Newly elected Greens councillors and supporters rallied on Saturday night at Mullum’s Poinciana Cafe celebrating the news of the big win. Photo Jeff Dawson

Newly elected Greens councillors and supporters rallied on Saturday night at Mullum’s Poinciana Cafe celebrating the news of the big win. Photo Jeff Dawson

Michael McDonald

In a remarkable change to the local political climate, five new councillors have been voted on to Byron Shire Council.

They are the Greens’ Michael Lyon, Jeanette Martin and Sarah Ndiaye, Country Labor’s Jan Hackett and Cate Coorey of Community Byron. They join Greens mayor Simon Richardson, Country Labor’s Paul Spooner, Alan Hunter of Byron Shire in Balance and Our Sustainable Future’s Basil Cameron.

The Greens group total was 6,773 votes, followed by Country Labor 3,048, Byron Shire in Balance 1,746, Our Sustainable Future 1,482, and Community Byron 630. The only other councillor seeking re-election, Rose Wanchap, picked up 613 for her group The Middle Ground.

Of the councillor candidates, Lyon was elected first on the massive preference flow from Richardson’s mayoral run, followed by Spooner, Martin, Ndiaye, Cameron, Hunter, Hackett and Coorey.

In the mayoral race, Mayor Simon Richardson achieved an ‘absolute majority’ – 50 per cent of the vote plus one vote – on the distribution of preferences last Thursday, when candidate Jack Sugarman was the first to be eliminated.

On that distribution the vote tally was Richardson 8,182, Paul Spooner 3,394, Alan Hunter 1,934, Basil Cameron 1,860, Rose Wanchap 990, Jack Sugarman 483. There were 16,474 formal votes and 741 informal votes, out of a total 24,856 electors enrolled as of August 1.

Though the Greens and Labor are likely to have differences of opinion it will probably be  a much more civil atmosphere than that generated by the argumentative 2012–16 council. Alan Hunter, a former National Party federal candidate, could be regarded as the ‘odd man out’ in ideological stances.

See the full result at

13 responses to “Five new faces on Byron Council”

  1. Harry says:

    Brilliant result for the progressives. Let this be a lesson to all councillors to actually listen to the community.

  2. Neil says:

    The Wanchap factor had a great role in the overwhelming victory of the progressives. The Greens should follow the example of the local Labor party and require that future candidates are not associated with real estate agents or developers. Reduces the chance of corruption.

  3. Willaim says:

    Progressives? Interesting description for a section of the community who want to regress a couple of 100 years. It,ll be the same as the Tasmania Green vote in the long run. Greens will be seen as well meaning “leaners” who offer nothing to society, culture or productivity and the vote will fall back to nearly zero.

  4. Ian Jones says:

    Doubt that your future gazing will eventuate Willaim, who knows?
    But rest assured what will happen is that totally inappropriate developments, perhaps ones that use terms like ‘food hubs’ or ‘rural precincts’ won’t sway incoming progressive councillors.
    Conservatives now have only one friend in council when they once had 5. Do the sums Willaim and then rejoice in the fact that what we may get now is sustainable, appropriate, environmentally sensitive, job creating developments that don’t pretend to be something that they are not.

  5. Rossco Phillips says:

    Like William says, ‘Progressives’ is not the right title … They and their supporters, like me, are actually the ‘Conservatives’, as in we’re trying to conserve what is left of our battered planet and its environment. The so-called ‘Conservatives’ should be called the ‘Radicals’ as they move away from any connectedness to our Mother Earth, the very thing that sustains us all! Yes, William, let’s go back two hundred years and have another try. Maybe we could do better ?!

  6. Joe says:

    The Greens will end up hating each other, as in Sydney. It’s in their DNA.

  7. Murray bickley says:

    I am just so glad no real estate agents or property developers were elected it shows the clarity and good judgement of everyone from the byron electorate, to elect good people with the interests of the community at heart not private or commercial interests. People who will protect our environment and our way of life. Jai ho

  8. Louis says:

    The people have spoken! Good to see the end of Rose Wanchap. I hope other real estate agents take note.

  9. larry says:

    everyone is very anti developers and real estate agents. so who’s going to develop the houses people and your kids will live in.. its not the developers who are bad its the lack of foresight by recent councils not demanding the right type of sustainable low footprint housing needed. a massive missed opportunity by the backward green movement, show me some real progressiveness, that benefits all rather than the over emotional unsubstantiated lower the drawbridge mentaility. people need to live somewhere …and the IP that could be created by thinking a little harder could be sold to the world both benefiting australia/byron and the world.

    affordable housing is an impossibility under the current green mantra. less housing supply puts upward pressure on prices as is currently the case. (or maybe thats really what they want as it feeds there political agenda).
    as the house prices soar it will not be the green that can afford it , it will be the rich investor/corporate/conservative. hence eventually you will end up with a conservative electorate by your own doing. be smarter.

    equal opportunity to all.

  10. Richard Jones says:

    Now we’ll have stable, fiscally responsible, government again.
    The Greens saved our Shire from being merged into an adjoining shire thanks to making sensible tough decisions to balance the budget.
    They will also put a halt to grossly inappropriate developments.
    We are lucky to have such an excellent team to manage our shire.

  11. Mick Marrs says:

    I still remember the front page photo and banner when Jan Barham and 6 other Greens were elected. ‘Now we will stop the development’ I thought that was an inappropriate comment for a Mayor at the time and it must have been ‘cos it is nowhere to be found now. Google it!

  12. David says:

    For what is supposed to be an open minded and enlightened community, it’s interesting to see so much judgement and stereotyping in some of the comments. Really? You can judge someone’s motives and values by their job choice? All real estate agents are corrupt? Seems pretty bigoted judgemental to me.

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