Div 14 divided in by-election cliffhanger
By JADE BILOWOL
THE winner of the Division 14 by-election is likely to be unveiled today following a tense two-candidate tussle that has gone down to the wire.
When the Gold Coast Mail went to print, the primary count minus 68 postal votes had been tallied, with Chris Robbins (the sister-in-law of the late Cr Sue Robbins) leading with 3169 votes ? 24.55 per cent of the vote.
Kellie Trigger, an electoral officer for Mudgeeraba MP Dianne Reilly, was hot on the heels of Ms Robbins' lead, snaring 2693 votes ? 20.85 per cent.
Of the 18,458 people enrolled to vote in the by-election, only 12,984 turned out to the polling booths.
Division 14 Returning Officer Cec McPaul said the winner was too close to call on Tuesday and the Australia Day holiday would stall the counting of preferences.
Preferences were expected to bring the two-horse race down to the wire to make for a photo finish.
Mr McPaul said although he had not closely examined the preference votes at the time the Gold Coast Mail went to print, they seemed to favour Ms Trigger.
Almost half of the primary vote was spread amongst the remaining 11 candidates but as few as 10 per cent of voters appeared to have opted to allocate preferences.
Greens candidate Anja Light, who came third in the primary count with just over 1000 votes, will direct Greens Party preferences, which have proved vital in council, state and federal elections just over the border in NSW, to Ms Trigger.
Linda Carmody, found of Bicycle Gold Coast, came in fourth place in the primary count with just under 1000 votes.
Ms Trigger, Ms Carmody and former Channel 9 reporter James Kelly formed an alliance to direct preferences to each other.
Ms Robbins, Lyn Scammell, a founding member of the Surfrider Foundation, and John Vanzino, a Gold Coast City Council planning officer, also formed an alliance.