Sixty-six candidates are vying for a spot in the new administration. (ABC News: Talissa Siganto)
As millions of Queenslanders head to the polls this weekend, voters in Logan, south of Brisbane, will be faced with a tougher task than most — choosing a new council from a “collection of strangers”.
- 66 candidates are running in Logan’s local government election this weekend
- An administrator has been in charge of Logan since May, when the entire council was sacked
- Four former councillors who are not facing misconduct allegations are also running
An administrator has been in charge of the city since May last year when the entire council was sacked and the mayor and seven councillors were charged by the state’s Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).
Rod Shaw, who heads community group the Logan Ratepayers Association, said it had been “12 months too long” without elected officials.
“It’s very important that the power is back in the hands of the people … it’s overdue,” Mr Shaw said.
Sixty-six candidates are vying for a spot in the new administration, up more than 50 per cent on the last election.
Among them are four former councillors — Lisa Bradley, Darren Power, Jon Raven and Laurie Koranski — who are not facing misconduct allegations.
Former councillors (left to right) Lisa Bradley, Darren Power, Jon Raven and Laurie Koranski are running in the election. (ABC News: Josh Robertson)
Former Queensland government speaker and QUT adjunct associate professor John Mickel said the reason for the increase in candidates was clear.
“The fields are larger because there is no incumbent and therefore people think it’s worth their while to stand and put in the effort as a candidate,” Mr Mickel said.
“Their chances are vastly improved.”
Associate Professor Mickel said it was difficult to “dislodge” long-held divisions at past elections because residents generally voted based on familiarity.
“When it comes down to a known name versus a collection of unknowns, voters stick with a person they’ve seen in the community — that’s been Logan’s history,” he said.
“For people in the twice uncontested division number eight, voting for local council will be a whole new thing.”
History to be ‘remade’
More people throwing their hat in the ring has resulted in a more diverse range of candidates, that includes one of the youngest and one of the oldest in Queensland.
Jacob Heremaia, 20, said his age made him “unique” but he did not believe it would be an issue for voters.
“I think what people care about is the content of your character … locals are just sick of seeing dodgy politicians,” Mr Heremaia said.
Another candidate, South Sudanese refugee Elijah Buol, said Logan was a multicultural city and it was important that was reflected in local council.
“We need diversity in Logan,” Mr Buol said.
“People want someone to represent them on real issues that matter to them and to their community.”
Associate Professor Mickel said the higher numbers of candidates paired with the variety of backgrounds would make voting tougher.
“People are being presented with a collection of strangers in many cases, so it’s going to be dramatic for voters when they see a whole lot of names they are not familiar with,” he said.
“History this time is going to be remade.”
Mr Shaw said it would be a “very different” election this year, but maintained voters only cared about one thing.
“Doesn’t matter whether it’s a senior citizen, a young person, an ethnic from whatever background — we just want the best person for the job,” Mr Shaw said.
The number of candidates for Logan is up 50 per cent on the last election. (ABC News: Talissa Siganto)