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Byron Shire
January 23, 2022

The seven councillors for the new Tweed Shire Council announced

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Candidate Meredith Dennis with Tweed Council election returning officer Lisa Murray, Rosemary Munro, and Lisa Elm pressing the button to calculate the votes and preferences to determine who was elected. Photo Aslan Shand

At 11am this morning the button was pressed to calculate the votes and preferences of Tweed Shire voters and determine who the lucky seven councillors would be who were elected to represent them for the next two years. 

First position unsurprisingly went to Liberal candidate and former councillor James Owen who had brought in over 25 per cent of the primary vote.

Tweed Shire Council elections results. Photo Aslan Shand

The second candidate elected was former Independent Mayor Chris Cherry followed by Independent Merideth Dennis. 

Update: The candidates elected after the election of Ms Dennis were all elected at the same time and are then listed in order they were listed on the ballot paper.

The second candidate on James Owen’s ticket, and his partner, Rhiannon Brinsmead, one of those along with former Conservative councillor Warren Polglase. Greens lead candidate Dr Nola Firth, and former Labor councillor Reece Byrnes. 

‘It was a surprise result,’ said Mr Owen.

‘Rhiannon is honoured to be elected and is looking forward to representing the community,’ he said.

‘The majority of councillors are from major parties.’

This leaves Ms Cherry and Ms Dennis as the two Independent councillors.

‘I’m absolutely thrilled to be representing the Tweed Shire community,’ Ms Dennis told The Echo

‘There have been four women elected to Tweed Council which really demonstrates the change of demographic in the region. The electoral commission ran a program encouraging more women to stand.

‘I decided to run when I was listening to the radio and they were talking about decisions the Tweed Council were making that I didn’t agree with. There is no point complaining about things if you are not prepared to get up and do something about it.

‘We got our campaign t-shirts and hats from the op-shop and a creative nurse I know hand-painted one a night and we put laminated cards on our hats. We ran a really grass roots campaign.’

Elected councillor Meredith Dennis, Tweed Council election returning officer Lisa Murray and elected councillor James Owen. Photo Aslan Shand

Who gets Mayor?

Mr Owen has said that he will put his hand up for Mayor. The Tweed Shire mayor is elected by the councillors for a two year term and the Deputy Mayor is nominated for a one year term. 

‘With over 25 per cent of the vote you might think there is a mandate from those who voted for me,’ Mr Owen told The Echo.

‘I want to work with all councillors rather than the block voting from the previous council. We need a proper debate not predetermined decisions along political lines.’

First council meeting

The new councillors now have an intense induction process to go through and will have their first meeting in the new year at Tweed Heads.

‘The new councillors will meet on January 11 to be sworn in and for the Mayor and Deputy Mayor to be elected,’ Tweed Shire Council media spokesperson told The Echo.

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  1. Is Meredith Dennis pressing buttons when she says:
    ‘I decided to run when I was listening to the radio and they were talking about decisions the Tweed Council were making that I didn’t agree with. There is no point complaining about things if you are not prepared to get up and do something about it.

  2. INCORRECT !! Please read the official results and correct the article.

    The final four places were decided on the 54th count when Letitia Kelly’s preferences were distributed. The last place was taken by Greens Nola Firth with only 5007 votes after preferences ( 80 percent quota). Recce Byrnes was comfortably ahead in fifth place with 5,954 votes on 95 percent of quota. Warren Polglase was just one vote ahead of Firth. However you look at it, Byrnes was well ahead of both of them on just his primary vote even after the other two received their preferences.

    However, next in line to be eliminated, conservative candidate, Pryce Allsop’s preferences were not distributed because it would not have changed the outcome. Had they been distributed, Polglase would have moved far ahead of Firth. He only needed forty percent of Allsop’s second preferences to reach a quota, which he would have likely archived since Allsop had preferenced him on his How To Vote. That is without considering any other flows from already eliminated candidates who had preferenced Allsop and may have followed with Polglase. He would definitely be miles ahead of Firth.

    Rhiannon Brinsmead already had 99 percent of quota and would have easily gotten a quota too had Allsop’s preference been distributed.

    As a Green, Firth would be unlikely to receive very many preferences from Allsop at all so would have tailed far behind the rest of the field. What a swing against the Greens. Last election Katie Milne topped the poll and carried Cherry in on her spare preferences. Those who like to say that Labor gets in on Green preferences had better think again, as there were no Green preferences to be distributed.

  3. Interestingly the Liberal bloke speaks on behalf of the Liberal female who also was elected. Hmmmm Sign of things to come??? On the other hand, the majority of councillors are women. Chris Cherry has been an excellent Mayor. While James Owen (Liberal) has been big noting himself on the social media – and media in general (read Sky News), Mayor Cherry has been focussing on representing the community.

    • James Owen was doing what people expected someone in his position to do and he was rewarded for meeting that expectation. Perhaps you might consider the fact that he received more than twice the votes of any other candidate.

      Chris Cherry was fluffing about pretending to represent the community when she was actually pandering to the delusions of a tiny minority who believed that retaining a decrepit railway track running parallel to the least trafficked main road in the whole shire would lead to a public transport solution. Hopefully she will put that behind her now and get on with representing what the people of Tweed actually voted for.

      Curiously, when push came to shove, Cherry didn’t mention the railway in her advertising, leaving that role for Bill Fenelon who was crushed by the electorate. Still I guess it paid off for Cherry with Fenelon’s preferences putting her over the line when he was excluded.

  4. Fact check. We clearly have three independents on the new Council and there clearly is no Conservative Party representation on the new Council.

  5. So pleased to see the Results for James Owen. He has served Tweed Heads so well in this so confusing time of COVID. Always a Gentleman and never not answered questions that were heaped upon him at every turn. Do wish him well as a Candidate for Mayor . He would greatly be an Asset to Tweed Heads Community as Has shown his dedication in the position he has held. congratulations to all the other elected Councilors x. Well done xRegards. Jan Milne x

  6. While there is much concern in the community on the tens of thousands of dollars used to bankroll the James Owe’n Blocks advertising blitzkrieg, with a Palmer like sucker punch to many politically unaware voters, hook line and sinker, “as it does”. We should remember that 75% of voters rejected the big money backed corporate councillor from Sydney now based in Casuarina. Why would these people spend so much money just for a local Govt councillor position, that should be the real question hanging over this election? We have been watching the results since the election on Antony Green’s web site and it was clearly Councilor Polg-last that came in last, on first preference votes. The only conclusion one can see is that the now solitary National Party “Independent” Polg-last and the and extremely cashed up Liberals Owe’n block are massively fractured and their vote has gone nowhere. The Tweed Shire Community residents progressives, the “Rainbow block” as the corporate councillor like to tag them, have had another massive win, with Cherry and Byrne expected to remain as Mayor and deputy with the newly elected Firth and Baxter to carry on, looking after the Tweed Shire for another 4 years.

    • Insulting voters who disagree with your choice is not the basis for an argument. Name calling is childish. Much of the rest of your post makes no sense.

      Note that the Polglase group was only 196 votes behind The Greens on primaries. That is less than a five percent difference. The others in the so called “progressives” (more aptly named “regressives”) Kelly, and particularly Fenelon, (both recently resigned Greens members) polled poorly. It was a terrible result for the Greens compared to previous elections. Firth was last after preferences were distributed.

      You are the second person I have heard refer to Meredith Dennis as “Baxter”. (Or perhaps I now know who you are?) How much attention were you really paying to the results if you can’t even get her name right.?

      • The selling out of our democracy to the highest bidder is a terrible blight on our commonwealth. Shades of Tweed Directions? No insults, just the facts, deal with it? Yes, I was distracted, my mistake Dennis not Baxter! I have assisted in large fund raising for Wedge tail, so I hope I am forgiven?

        • Fact. You resorted to childish and insulting name-calling. You cannot claim you didn’t use insults because they there in black and white in your post.

          Apparently your preferred candidate wasn’t elected and you are bitter about it. They didn’t get in either because they didn’t run an effective campaign to communicate their policies and directions or the voters didn’t like what they proposed. For example, Letitia Kelly was almost invisible in the lead up to the election.

  7. Well I hope they clean up and weed kill the Tweed and with immediate removal of graffiti. How long has the M1 exit to Fingal Road been full of rubbish, disgusting to drive past… pull your finger out Council and clean up the Tweed. All I ever hear from snobby Gold Coast friends is “Affluent to the North, and effluent to the South”. Time to make a difference Tweed Council.


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