Mid West shire elections throw up interesting results

Edward Scown & Elise Van AkenMidwest Times
Mount Magnet shire office.
Camera IconMount Magnet shire office. Credit: Midwest Times

A tie, some trounced incumbents, tight contests and new faces joining the fold — local government elections across the Mid West and Gascoyne threw up some interesting results over the weekend.

The Shire of Cue was the only local government in the State with a tied result, with returning councillor Ian Dennis and Peter Tegg each garnering 51 votes.

Rather than send the voters back to the polls, Cr Dennis was re-elected through a system Shire president Ross Pigdon described as a lottery.

“You give each of them a number, put it in a barrel, spin it up, and that’s how it’s decided,” he said.

“It’s in the hands of the electoral commission.”

“We just play by their rules.”

Incumbents Jason Clarke, Ann Eyre and Rob Shanhun were re-elected to the Shire of Dandaragan behind newcomers Rosemary Glasfurd and Maddi McDonald, who received the vast majority of votes at 21.13 and 20.26 per cent respectively.

Darren Slyns missed out on a seat, receiving the least amount of votes at 12.38 per cent, after eight years on the council.

Controversial former shire president Turk Shales came just 12 votes shy of returning to the Shire of Exmouth council.

Mr Shales was president during a 2016 Corruption and Crime Commission investigation into then-CEO Bill Price’s signing of a $1 million contract for the Ningaloo Centre aquarium without going to tender.

At the conclusion of the CCC inquiry, Mr Shales, along with the rest of the council, resigned after being warned another would be launched.

Speaking to Seven West Media ahead of the election, Mr Shales said he was “very happy there are four candidates which means it has to go to a ballot so the people will speak”.

Cr James McGorman, Cr Jason Homewood, Shire president Jorgen Jenson, right, and Cr Karen Morrissey were all re-elected to the Shire of Mount Magnet after being challenged by six new candidates, including vocal council critics Karen Williams and Monica Watson.

Cr Jensen not only retained his seat, but also his position as president. He said despite the stiff competition, the race was run is good spirit and the focus of the council would be to continue where it had left off.

Perenjori incumbent Phillip Logue received just 7.94 per cent of the vote, while 17 votes separated the four nominees who were successfully elected, each receiving more than 20 per cent.

Andrew Fraser will serve a two-year term, while Cr Leslie Hepworth, Cr Coling Bryant and Dael Sparkman will serve four years.

Crs Hepworth, Bryant and Phillip Logue were elected at an extraordinary election last year for one-year terms.

The Shire of Perenjori council was dissolved in 2019 when it could no longer make a quorum after the resignation of five councillors because of conflict between the elected members and administration. Sandra Stock-Standen will return to her Northampton seat, joined by Robert Horstman, who moved to the area in 2019. Jessica Booth failed in her bid to return to the council after resigning in 2013.

Stewart Smith retained his seat in the Kalbarri ward, with former WAFL umpire Trevor Gibbs taking up the second available seat.

Tourism operator Elyce Tunbridge had a convincing victory in her bid for a seat on the Shire of Irwin council, taking 25.46 per cent of the vote.

Her closest competition, incumbent Barry Wyse, fell 5.07 per cent — or 188 votes — short, with two other returning councillors Isabelle Scott and Mark Leonard following close behind.

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