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2016 Local Government Election wrap up

The takeaways from the the 2016 Council elections are as follows:

  • This is a cycle for incumbents, however, weak first term incumbents were vulnerable (particularly in 1-1 races)
  • Undivided Councils provide higher turnover of Councillors then divided ones in this cycle
  • Economically depressed councils in CQ (Mackay and Gladstone) had major changes.
  • Changing dynamics of Councils will be determined by new Councillors that have won vacant seats
  • Teams can't win without strong Mayoral and Council candidates to win the divisions/wards.
  • Late runners don't beat incumbents.
  • 2020 will see major changes in some major regions.


For this we show the fact that in Cairns Division 9, Greg Fennell has lost his seat to an independent (Brett Olds) and not to the Cairns Connect team candidate which has come a disappointing 3rd in this race. The Cairns Connect Team which is backed by the Cairns Labor/Greens movements has failed to win a single seat on the Council and only secured 33.5% of the Mayoral vote.

The Cairns Connect team did take Cr. Jessie Richardson's margin down to 395 votes.

We are also still waiting for a declaration in Division 1 which is a tight race between Independent Sandra Charlton and Unity's Brett Moller. If Division 1 comes in for Moller, it is widely predicted that Mayor Bob Manning will try and install Moller in as Deputy Mayor and try and run Brett Moller as a Mayoral Candidate in 2020.

The GravisPolitics team did pick the tight races in Division 1 and 8 and we also picked the easy win for Mayor Bob Manning.

We predict in 2020, if Moller wins, that we will see a Mayoral race between Brett Moller and Richie Bates. However, also don't rule out runs from popular conservative independent Linda Cooper (Division 6) and/or Cathy Zeiger (Division 3). Despite the fact that these two are not Unity, they are both nominally conservative Councillors. The question will be, who can form teams (Cairns elects Mayors with teams in modern times) and what type of campaign can be waged in the divisions.

You can't win a city without winning the divisions (Something the BCC Labor Campaign forgot!)


The GravisPolitics team predicted on election day that Jenny Hill would win in a coronation and she did scoring 59.52% of the primary vote against Jayne Arlett who scored 35.23% of the primary vote.

All of Jenny Hill's team candidates are easily ahead in all of the divisions bar one (Division 8) which gives Mayor Hill a major mandate to govern.


Mayor Bill Ludwig was predicted by the GravisPolitics team to win in a coronation and he did. However, to add to the vote of confidence in the Mayor, all of the Councillors have also been returned in a 0 change election from the de-amalgamation election of two years ago.


This has got to be one of the strangest elections in this cycle of local elections. Largely unpopular Mayor Strelow has got back reasonably comfortably seeing off a challenger from inside the ALP (Michael McMillan) and from repeat (nominally conservative) candidates in Dominic Doblo, Lea Taylor (Former Mayor) and Bruce Diamond.

The first thing we noticed was the bad graphic designs in this race.

Between the striking similarities between the Team McMillan advertising and Dan Murphys ads, the out of date advertising of Lea Taylor and some absolutely shocking ads from Dominic Doblo - there are many examples to see of what not to do in political advertising.

In terms of videos, the case in point is this video that was put on Facebook by Dominic Doblo.

The Council results also show what can happen when good Council candidates link themselves to poor Mayoral candidates and who should reconsider running as independents in 2020.

The first of these is Tory Acton, Team McMillan Candidate for Division 2. Tory is the daughter of the late Graeme Acton who was incredibly well known right across Central Queensland. Now, running against long time incumbent, Neil Fisher is always going to be a tough ask. However losing 58-42 on 2CP is not good enough for someone of this pedigree. One can only think that untied from McMillan, Tory could do a lot better.

The second is Leyland Barnett who was the Lea Taylor (Regional Independents) candidate for Division 5. Firstly the artwork for Leyland and Lea was not good. Also the short run of both campaigns meant that despite the quality candidate, the result was poor with Leyland only scoring 6% of the vote and coming 3rd after Cr. Cherie Rutherford and Bob Pleash of Team McMillan.

The big winner of the elections in Rocky was Cr. Rose Swadling who was returned easily in Division 1 (as predicted by the GravisPolitics) team. This is a division that Team McMillan challenged in and scored 24.13%. This is a race that exemplifies also the power that incumbents also have had in split races (eg. where an incumbent faced more then one challenger).


The GravisPolitics team predicted that Gail Sellers would lose the Mayoralty and she did so comfortably. In an angry electorate, there was no way that the Gladstone Regional Council would not see major changes.

With the election of Matt Burnett into the Mayoralty, we see someone who represented change with experience to an angry electorate and despite being the Mayor's deputy, won easily.

With major changes in this Council the GravisPolitics team saw that Natalia Muszkat, Kahn Goodluck and Desley O'Grady as a group would see a winner from in. In fact, this group saw two winners with Kahn Goodluck and Desley O'Grady both winning.

We also note 2 time federal ALP loser Chris Trevor winning a seat easily.

Natalia Muszkat has ultimately lost because her campaign was too short and not well enough funded to mount a big enough campaign. The Gravis2020 tip: Natalia will be a lot more of a serious contender in 2020 with a longer campaign.


This is another very angry electorate and an undivided Council has seen a number of Councillors and Mayor Deidre Cummerford losing. This election has not only seen Greg Williamson win with his message of restarting the Council but it has also seen his get 5 Councillors elected giving his team a majority on the Council as well.


GravisPolitics predicted it, Sportsbet had it at $1.10 and everyone expected it - Jack Dempsey won the Mayoralty in a coronation.

Sunshine Coast:

GravisPolitics predicted that Mark Jamieson would be re-elected as Mayor and he was convincingly against a very weak field of candidates and a Green push which didn't win anything but sucked up 'anti-development' votes across the Coast from better suited challengers.

GravisPolitics predicted that John Connolly would see off the Jamieson endorsed challenger Geoff Peters and husband of radio personality John Hutchinson and (at this moment, without preferences being distributed), we would predict that this prediction has come true.

GravisPolitics also predicted that the only races which would be challenges for incumbents were Division 3 and Division 9. This has come to fruition. Division 3 is likely to see Cr. Peter Cox re-elected, despite good campaigns from Steve Barclay and former Councillor Andrew Champion (both of whom scored 20%+) but preferences will need to be distributed next week.

Scott Larsen has come a comfortable second in Division 9 but Cr. Steve Robinson has been easily re-elected with a 50% primary vote. The Greens have destroyed Larsen's chances by scoring 20%+ of the primary vote and challenging Larsen for the anti-development challenger mantle in the minds of voters. Larsen has probably done enough this time to warrant a second run, however, we would be recommending a second campaign from Steve Barclay and Scott Larsen for Division 3 and Division 9.

Gravis2020 predictions: If Mark Jamieson does not re-contest the Mayoralty, see Division 8 Councillor Jason OPray run (and probably win) the Mayoralty. If the Greens want to get anti-development, environmentally friendly people elected they wont stand branded candidates. This election has shown that they have shot their cause in the foot.

Noosa Council:

The GravisPolitics team predicted that Tony Wellington and Sandy Bolton and that has come to fruition with there being less then 900 votes between the two of them on the primary vote. The GravisPolitics prediction of all of the incumbent Councillors being returned also came to fruition.

Moreton Bay Regional Council:

The GravisPolitics prediction of Mayor Sutherland winning a third MBRC term has come to fruition in a pack of poor challengers.

The empty races have seen some very 'LNP' new faces come to the table with Brooke Savige winning Division 1, Denise Sims winning Division 7 and Darren Grimwade winning Division 11.

We would also encourage Talosaga McMahon to run again in Division 7 against the newly elected Denise Sims but put together a much stronger version of a campaign then the one she put together for this election. This is an example of a good candidate that has put together a campaign that has given her last place in a 5-way.  She should be able to do a lot better then this.

The other race we wish to pass comment on is Division 5. Redistributed this is a seat that goes from Scarborough and Redcliffe through to Mueller College and up to Deception Bay. Cr. James Houghton (Cousin of Mayor Sutherland) has held this seat since amalgamation in 2008. After seeing off LNPer Jackie Bowden and former long term Councillor Peter Houston, this 2016 field was significantly weaker. If you want to beat someone with as long term links into the seat as a Houghton in Redcliffe, candidates will need to do a lot a better.

The Your Community First ticket has proven to be an absolute disaster. It has won nothing and has been run by former Mayor of Caboolture Joy Leishman. Moreton Bay is ripe for an independent ticket of candidates but it will need to stand in every seat and be a lot better put together then this attempt.

The final prediction of the night was the Division 8 was a potential boilover. Now whilst Chris Kelly will go down to Mick Gillam after being about 600 short on the primary vote count, the fact that he has come so close to such a long serving Councillor is proof of a great campaign and proof of our thesis that really you need 1 on 1s to beat Councillors with long careers in Council outside of Brisbane.

Gravis2020 tips: Koliana Winchester for Mayor! (Well our team believes she would make a great candidate for it). Also see a major tussle for Division 3, especially if Kimberley James wins it after preferences.

Brisbane City Council:

On election day we stated that this would be the coming together of a bad LNP central campaign coming together with a bad ALP ward campaign. Labor's "Harding or bust" strategy was shocking politics as was the dismal expectations management process of briefing media outlets of a closer election then what wound up transpiring.

The places GravisPolitics predicted Labor could pick up seats, they have not. However, they have picked up major swings in those seats identified. However, the calls that Labor would suffer a major swing against it in The Gabba has come to fruition (where Labor has lost) and the prediction that the LNP would hold Doboy ward has come true.

You can't win in a place like Brisbane without running a competent ward strategy across the city. The Labor strategy of resource misallocation, briefing the press of swings that didn't exist, constant message shifting and then only targeting wards in the final week don't work in Brisbane.

Gravis2020 predictions: The impact of a non-Quirk candidate for Lord Mayor will need to be handled with a lot more care then this election if the LNP want to control the administration post 2020. Look to see the ALP gun to take back Northgate, The Gabba and Doboy. These are three wards that Labor should never have lost when they did.


GravisPolitics predicted that Paul Pisasle would be re-elected and this has come true. We also predicted that Wayne Wendt would come back to politics and this has happened.

We also wish to note the significance of Ipswich electing Kerry Silver. Kerry is a Yugambeh woman and represents the first Indigenous Ipswich Councillor. We do however recognise that this race is subject to a challenge from Labor Left challenger Jim Dodrill and that the ECQ has not made a declaration in this race.

Gravis2020 tip: See a big challenge for Mayor if Pisasle doesn't recontest. Also see a big contest in Division 9. The impact of Springfield will be felt. Also expect to see the Labor Left, the left of the union movement through the supporters of Jo Anne Miller making another move in this part of the world.

Redland City Council

This is a race that has been dominated by Karen Williams re-election in a coronation against Greg Underwood who ran and underwhelming campaign that just didn't bite on the ground.

Also the impact of Don Brown and Andrew Laming's meddling in the election has seen major distortions in the Council votes by the divisions.

Going into the night, all the 'Williams team' had to do was hold on to everything and hold Division 3, this did not happen.

We predicted that Division 3 was a race to watch and it was. It changed hands and has been won by Paul Golle (ex-LNP/KAP, anti-development candidate) over Penny Donald (Laming staffer).

However, due to a misallocation of resources/bad planning Alan Beard was left resourceless and vulnerable and has lost his seat to former ALP Candidate for Redlands, Tracey Huges.

GravisPolitics also predicted that the Ashley Madison scandal and the scandal around the Council phone storing pictures of Craig Ogilvie would see him go down to 'Switch to Mitch' Peter Mitchell and this has happened, despite the anti-development lobby Redlands2030 standing another candidate (Tom Taranto) at the last minute.

GravisPolitics also predicted that the Laming challenger in Division 6, Stephanie Eaton would lose and she did (coming last) and Labor challenger in Division 7, Janine Healy (who we predict we wont see the last of) denying Sharyn Doolan a clean shot at Murray Elliott.

Sharyn Doolan ran an amazing campaign in one of the toughest seats in the Redlands and we hope that we have not seen the last of her in politics.

Gravis2020 predictions: There will be a new Mayor here in 2020. Karen Williams will not have a good time with a hostile Council. See Wendy Boglary as a potential Mayoral candidate. Also see Division 6 Councillor Julie Talty considered for higher level of government.

Logan City Council

GravisPolitics predicted Luke Smith would win on the back of Pam Parker's endorsement and this has happened.

The GravisPolitics team did miss the strength of Cr. Phil Pidgeon's primary vote in Division 9 (in what is further proof of the fact that challengers struggle to beat long term sitting Councillors in split fields) and how close Cr. Steve Swenson has come to losing in Division 3 winning by a margin of 7 votes.

GravisPolitics also predicted that Divisions 2, 5 and 6 where the ones to watch. Russell Lutton has been returned handily despite a solid showing from Josephine Aufai. The split field denying her the clean air in the campaign to push Lutton.

Jon Raven has been elected in Division 5 on the back of a lacklustre campaign from Mark Tookey and the withdrawal of Blaise Itabelo from the race and strong support from Labor in the seat.

Division 6 has seen former LNP MP for Waterford lose on preferences to Stacey McIntosh (running mate of Division 4 winner Laurie Koranski).

Gravis2020 tips: Cherie Daley to become Deputy Mayor. Supporters of Brett Raguse that have been elected not causing to many ructions but a year long campaign against Luke Smith in 2020. Blaise Itabelo and Josephine Aufai getting re-runs in 2020 and doing a lot better. We also predict that in a condensed field, Kathleen de Leon would, with a longer campaign push Phil Pidgeon to hold Division 9.

Gold Coast City Council

GravisPolitics predicted that Tom Tate would win the Mayoralty again in a coronation and he did. We also identified Divisions 5 and 11 as races to watch. Division 5 will probably see long term LNP staffer Felicity Stevenson lose in Division 5 but ex-Tom Tate staffer Hermann Vorster win in Division 11.

Gravis2020 tips: We would encourage Chris Walker (former Titans player) to make good on his twitter declaration and mount a campaign for Mayor in 2020.

Toowoomba Regional Council

GravisPolitics predicted that Paul Antonio would be coronated as the next Mayor of Toowoomba and this happened.

The team predicted that one of Megan O'Hara-Sullivan, Chris McGaw and Ben Apsey would be elected and Megan O'Hara-Sullivan has been elected.

Expect to see McGaw and Apsey contest the 2020 elections in a much bigger and more refined way then their campaigns in 2016.

Gravis2020 tips: Expect this to be a tumultuous time in Toowoomba when Cr. Nancy Sommerfeld seeks the LNP preselection for Toowoomba South and now Cr. Megan O'Hara-Sullivan seeks the ALP preselection for Toowoomba North.

The potential for a byelection here is high so be on alert for the need for a quick campaign.

Gravis2020 tips: Expect to see Geoff McDonald stand for Mayor, new alliances formed and the campaigns that the can best deliver the overlap between Labor and LNP voters in a 50:50 city win.