17th March 2008
Almost one-third of Queenslanders did not vote in Saturday’s local government elections.
The polls, run for the first time by the Electoral Commission of Queensland, were the first since the State Government’s controversial decision to cut the number of councils in the state from 157 to 73.
Queensland Local Government Association executive director Greg Hallam revealed that “just 70 per cent of Queenslanders actually cast a vote”. “It might creep up as more come in, but that’s down from 85 per cent at the last elections”, Mr Hallam said. He said people had lost faith in the political system following discontent over the changed boundaries.
Mr Hallam also attributed the low vote to problems with the postal voting system, including voters being sent ballot papers with names of candidates running in other council areas, or return envelopes without ballot papers. “There are serious issues about the conduct of this election,” he said. “We don’t want to be alarmist, but we certainly have to have a proper, thorough review. ” There was also a lot of evidence, even on the last day, of people not being able to get through on the ECQ website.”
The Courier Mail