Category: Gold News

Complaints of long queues and wait times at polling stations as Queenslanders vote in local government elections

With another potential “Greenslide” in Brisbane, numerous mayors running unopposed, and big pre-poll numbers — voting in local government elections has just officially closed across Queensland. 

More than 1.8 million votes have been cast today so far, according to the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ), amid reports of long wait times at many polling stations.

There have been complaints about long queues to vote at polling booths across Brisbane, Logan, Ipswich and the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

Many voters told the ABC that the ECQ appeared to be understaffed at many polling stations, with some people saying they had decided to give up and “cop the fine”.

Voters queue at the Brisbane City Council election.(ABC News)

The ABC has been told some polling booths also ran out of ballot papers.

An ECQ spokesperson said queuing times varied “with most queue times reported to be 15 minutes or less”.

“Our team has confirmed we were required to replenish ballot papers at two polling booths this afternoon, and that ballot papers were securely delivered before stock was depleted at a small number of other booths,” the spokesperson said.

“Staffing is allocated to each booth according to expected voter turnout, which is analysed using data from recent Queensland and federal elections.”

But Sunshine Coast locals said the wait time was about an hour at Mooloolaba State School polling booth for most of the day. 

Gold Coast resident David Curran said he waited just over an hour to cast his vote at Burleigh Waters at Caningeraba State School this afternoon.

At 5.55pm, the queue was still estimated to be at least 45 minutes long. People who arrived before 6pm were still allowed to vote after the official closing time.

Sunshine Coast Council mayoral candidate John Connolly said the stream of voters had been constant. 

“I’ve been here since six o’clock this morning — it’s been flat out all day.”

Meanwhile, Gold Coast resident David Curran said he waited just over an hour to cast his vote at Burleigh Waters at Caningeraba State School this afternoon.

Mr Curran said it was the longest he’s ever had to wait to vote. 

“I think the system needs to change, that’s just way too long — it started to rain,” he said.

Live updates

When will we know who won the council elections?

By Bridget Judd

Polling booths close at 6pm, and the results will trickle in shortly after. According to Queensland’s electoral commissioner Pat Vidgen, that’s when the “unofficial count” begins.

“Where just the first preferences are looked at and counted and we would expect that by around 7pm, on our website, the votes will start being shown on that and being published.”

That’ll happen through the night until about 11pm, which Mr Vidgen says “will give a good indication on where the first preferences are falling.”

There’s been long lines to vote throughout the day.(ABC News: Jessica Lamb)

That’s where we’ll leave today’s live coverage, but before we go, I can see some of your questions coming in…

In suspense

Will there be a live results page/blog like the federal/state elections? After all BCC alone has a comparative population!

There surely is — you can follow the live electoral results on the ABC Queensland homepage from 6pm.

You can also subscribe to Queensland mobile alerts to get the latest news sent straight to your phones.

Labor and the Greens are hoping to snatch Enogerra from the LNP

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By Bridget Judd

Alex Brewster is at Newmarket in Brisbane’s north-west in the ward of Enogerra.

ABC reporter Alex Brewster has the latest on Queensland’s council election from Enoggera.

Alex: It’s held by the LNP’s Andrew Wines, who has done so since 2008.

However, his margin was reduced to just 1.8% at the last election, that’s why Labor and the Greens especially believe they’ve got a real shot at snatching it.

If Councillor Wines’s primary vote was to fall, his chances at retaining the ward are slim, even with optional preferential voting.

Rising cost of living, crime and housing front and centre for voters in Townsville

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By Bridget Judd

Rachael Merritt is in Townsville, where long-serving mayor Jenny Hill is hoping for her fourth term in office.

Rachael: The rising cost of living, crime and housing shortages are the main issues on the minds of voters in Townsville as they head to the polls today.

Long-serving Mayor Jenny Hill is hoping for her fourth term in office, and she’s feeling confident she has the support of the community to return her to the role.

She’s facing competition from two independents, Troy Thompson and Harry Patel.

The other issues on the minds of voters today is road quality, ensuring parks and recreational spaces are preserved, and reinvigorating Townsville CBD.

It’s shaping up to be an interesting race in Logan in the state’s south-east

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By Bridget Judd

Arianna Levy has been out at Park Ridge State High, where hundreds of people have been filtering in and out to cast their vote.

ABC report Arianna Levy has the latest on the Queensland council elections from Logan.

Arianna: They’re voting for their local mayor, as well as their local councillors — and it is an interesting race, it’s between John Raven and Brett Raguse.

Now, John Raven has run on a platform of social media, advocating for the fact that he is one of the youngest mayors to be in this race. He says that he’s a young mayor for a young city.

Logan [is] one of the fastest growing most diverse and youngest population across the country.

So what are some of the issues front and centre for voters in the council electorate?

One voter, Hayley, says crime and facilities are key issues for her in the council election.

“Basically the stigma of the crime, the facilities provided and just the reputation basically,” one voter, Hayley, says.

“Logan can do better and hopefully it will.”

Our reporters across Queensland will join us with the latest on the council elections

Bridget Judd profile image

By Bridget Judd

As we’ve heard today, more than 1.8 million Queenslanders have cast their votes in today’s local government elections, with polls set to close at 6pm (AEST).

(ABC News)

Some people have turned out in the spirit of democracy… others just want a sausage (no judgement).

Our reporters across the state will bring you the latest shortly.

(ABC News)

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LNP wary about possible swing to Greens

In Brisbane, there are predictions of a ‘Greenslide’, with incumbent LNP Adrian Schrinner warning voters of the possibility of a Labor-Green Coalition. 

Almost 30 per cent of Queensland votes are in Brisbane — the country’s largest local government authority and the only council where party affiliations are on the ballot paper.

The Liberal National Party (LNP) has dominated Brisbane City Council for almost 20 years, currently holding 19 of the city’s 26 wards.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner is vying for a second term amid potential for the Greens to take their ward count from one to five.

In his final pitch today, Mr Schrinner asked voters to “back his team” to avoid a “Green-Labor coalition”. 

An LNP polling booth poster warning against a Labor-Greens coalition.(ABC News: Matt Eaton)

“It’s important that we keep Brisbane growing,” he said.

“And so today it’s now clear that there’s a real risk of a Labor-Green coalition or a Green-Labor coalition running City Hall after this weekend.”

The Labor party currently holds only five wards and is led by first-time candidate and lawyer Tracey Price.

Ms Price, who said she would be making a report to police after 40 of her signs were defaced, said Brisbane was “ready for change”.

“I want to restore all the essential services to the suburbs and make sure that the residents get every dollar that they deserve spent on their suburbs in and around where they are,” she said.

Labor Brisbane candidate Tracey Price, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Greens candidate Jonathan Sriranganathan(ABC News)

Former Greens councillor for the Gabba ward, Jonathan Sriranganathan, now running for Brisbane lord mayor, said he was hearing from a lot of people who will cast their first vote for the Greens today. 

“We are expecting big swings, and in a lot of wards.

“West End has always been a really safe area and will do well. But in wards like Paddington, Walter-Taylor and even Enoggera ward, the Greens support is surging like we haven’t seen before so it’s feeling pretty good.”

Councillor charged with murder makes bid for re-election

Further south on the Gold Coast, LNP councillor Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden manned the booths at Arundel State School with a GPS ankle bracelet under his jeans.

The 32-year-old — accused of killing his stepfather last August — accepted voluntary suspension with full pay from the state government and is second on the ballot. 

Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden says he plans to fight a possible suspension if re-elected. (ABC News: Mackenzie Colahan)

His lawyers have indicated he will fight the charge at trial.

“Voters always get it right, people can have their say and that’s what democracy is all about,” he said.

“The will of the people should be respected. If people decide they want me as their representative I will make sure that’s the case.”

If voters re-elect Mr Bayldon-Lumsden, Premier Steven Miles has said he would likely be suspended again.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden said he would challenge any further suspension.

“The premier is the one who advised me that I am able to run for re-election,” he said.

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said on Saturday he was “humbly buoyant” after talking to voters. 

Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate and former mayor Gary Baildon handing out how to votes at Surfers Paradise. (ABC News: Mackenzie Colahan)

“I talk to people in the line and you get a feeling,” he said.

“I make phone calls to booth capitals from all over the city and the feedback has been coming in nicely.

“I’m not getting abuse like last time. There were some weirdos last time.”

Fifteen mayors running unopposed 

Queensland has 77 councils. Residents in 15 of those council areas won’t have to vote for a mayor because their mayors are running unopposed. 

They include Moreton Bay, the third largest in the state with a population of around half a million, led by Mayor Peter Flannery.

Balonne Shire Mayor Samantha O’Toole is unopposed. 

Also unopposed is Queensland’s longest serving mayor of 33 years, John Wharton, of Richmond Shire Council, as well as Lawrence Springborg in Goondiwindi, Ramon Jayo in Hinchinbrook and Samantha O’Toole in Balonne.

Logan Mayor Darren Power has stepped down after 26 years in office, four serving as mayor, with incumbent councillor Jon Raven, former federal MP Brett Raguse and independent James Reid all vying to replace him.

Lawrence Springborg will continue on as mayor in Goondiwindi unopposed. (ABC News: Stephen Cavenagh)

The Sunshine Coast will have its first new mayor since 2012 after Mark Jamieson retired. 

Six candidates have nominated for the role, including former television news presenter Rosanna Natoli and incumbent councillor Jason O’Pray.

Controversial Redlands mayor Karen Williams has opted not to run for her fourth successive term, with former federal MP Andrew Laming, Jos Mitchell, and Cindy Corrie on the ballot to replace her.

Ipswich Mayor Theresa Harding greeting voters headed to the ballot box. (ABC News: Jemima Burt)

In Ipswich, Mayor Teresa Harding is one of six candidates for the top job, including current councillor Sheila Ireland and former councillor David Martin, who were both previously sacked from council.

Speaking at the ballot box today, she said people don’t want to go back to the “dark old days of corruption and dodgy deals”.

“We are now a council that’s the most open and transparent in Australia … so I think the people just want to make sure that we move forward.”

When will we know who won?

Polling booths opened at 8am and close at 6pm, and results will trickle in shortly after.

“Our staff go behind doors with scrutineers and start the counting process,” Queensland’s electoral commissioner Pat Vidgen said.

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