It has been a morning of delays as candidates for local council elections have been waiting across the state for the draw to determine their position on the ballot paper.
Ian Smith is the Returning Officer who was in charge of the draw for Ballina and Byron Shire council elections and said that owing to a new way that the electoral draw was being done a technical glitch had delayed the draw.
Conservative councillor Alan Hunter was the one to get the donkey vote position, that is first position on the ballot, for the Byron Shire Mayoral race at this mornings draw. The was followed by Bruce Clarke, Independent; Current councillor Cate Coorey, Independent and only female mayoral candidate; John Anderson, Independent otherwise known as Fast Buck$; Christopher McIlrath, no party; Michael Lyon, Independent (formerly a Green); Duncan Dey, The Greens; Asren Pugh, Labor and finally Mark Swivel, Independent.
Asren Pugh told The Echo that it was ‘embarrassing that there was only one mayoral who was a woman. Labor have affirmative action policies that mean the tickets have to be 50/50.’
Mr Pugh emphasised the need to ensure that council was run ‘for everyone’ and that it was essential that decisions and discussions ensured all voice were heard.
Independent Mayoral Candidate Bruce Clarke said that one of the reasons he was standing was that this was ‘the most significant election in 20 years that I have been living here.’
He said that housing affordability and was key to the shire and that ‘the area was drifting in a different direction than most people want’.
There are seven groups running tickets for the eight councillor positions on Byron council and one independent (Pro Choice candidate Tom Barnett did not appear to have registered on time) giving the voters a choice between 31 candidates.
The Greens will be the first group on the ticket made up of Duncan Dey, Sarah Ndiaye, Matthew O’Reilly and Ian Cohen. The fourth member of the ticket Kate Coxall has had to drop from the ticket as she was unable to find a home to relocate to in the shire.
Second position was taken by Independent group led by Cate Coorey whose ticket is made up of strong female candidates Kim Goodrick, Bronwyn Morris and Delta Kay.
Third on the ticket is conservative ticket led by Alan Hunter with Susan Stirton, Bruno Filippello and Rhett Holt.
In fourth position is Mark Swivel’s team of Independents including Fran Hart, Venitia Scott, Jessica Smythe and Xavier Hanckel-spice.
Fifth position is former Greens councillor Michael Lyon’s ticket with Sama Balson, Peter Westheimer and former greens councillor Jeanette Martin.
This is followed by Labor in sixth position led by Asren Pugh with Linda Watson, Peter Doherty, current Labor councillor Jan Hackett, Melanie Franz and Kaylene Chamberlin.
The final position was taken by the Independent ticket of Bruce Clarke, Julie Meldrum, Gary Deller, and Janine Khosid.
‘This is a huge election for Byron Shire,’ Independent mayoral candidate Mark Swivel told The Echo.
‘We need a bold new council that reflects the great people doing great things in the community. The Greens are in turmoil and they’ve had their go. This is a huge opportunity for the community to forge a new council that acts in the interests of the community.
Duncan Dey, Greens mayoral candidate said ‘Today was the formal start of a process that ends in December. We now know who is running.
‘The Greens group of four has more councillor experience (11 years) than any other group, plus we have Ian’s 16 years in state parliament. And, I have more councillor experience (six years) than all other mayoral candidates bar one’.
The lone single ungrouped councillor was John Anderson formerly known as Fast Buck$.