2018 local government election update

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Initial counts were conducted yesterday and overnight and while there is still much counting to go in the bigger councils, there are already some key results and take-outs. 

Pleasingly, turnout was up to over 58 per cent state-wide (the second highest on record), reflecting strong voter interest in local government. 

Outside of Hobart, there has been some significant changes in Mayors, including the return of former Mayor and ex-Labor Minister Steve Kons in Burnie; the election of the outgoing TFGA Chief Wayne Johnson as Mayor of Meander Valley; the likely return of Albert van Zetten in Launceston; and the ousting of Glamorgan-Spring Bay Mayor Michael Kent.  

In the greater Hobart area, long-serving Mayor Tony Foster has been returned in Brighton and Doug Chipman looks likely in Clarence. In Kingborough, adviser to Labor Leader Dean Winter has won a strong victory over the incumbent. 

 

Hobart City Council to be a “purple” council? 

The high profile Hobart City Council election has thrown up some expected results, but also some surprises. 

Former Green and now independent Anna Reynolds appears set to be elected as Mayor, as predicted by Font PR Managing Director Becher Townshend when he said that “dumping the Greens and running as an independent may yet prove to be Ms Reynolds’ smartest political play” (Mercury, October 10). 

As expected, long-serving Green Alderman Helen Burnet will be comfortably elected as Deputy Mayor. Liberal Simon Beharakis polled well on his first start and will be easily elected as an Alderman. 

At the time of writing (Wednesday 31st am), and with 20 per cent of the vote counted, the likely composition of the Council is: 

Anna Reynolds, Helen Burnet, Damon Thomas, Bill Harvey, Jeff Briscoe, Marti Zucco, Simon Behrakis and Tanya Denison (also a Liberal). 

With the remaining four seats a race between Ron Christie, Peter Sexton, Chris Merridew, Holly Ewin (who resigned as a Green during the campaign), Mike Dutta and his daughter Zelinda Sherlock (a former Labor candidate who is a member of Damon Thomas’ ticket). 

Following the election of Sue Hickey to State Parliament earlier this year, there is little doubt that Hobart City Council became distinctly “green”.  

While there is still much counting to go, the retirement of Phil Cocker (Green) and long-serving Alderman Eva Ruzicka, along with the addition of at least one Liberal in Simon Behrakis has altered the balance of power on the Council slightly. 

If Liberal Chris Merridew manages to sneak across the line, it may be the Council can more accurately be described as “Purple” (a mix of Green and Blue) as opposed to the previous “Green.”

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