Liberal candidate James Owen is supported by NSW Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack at the Pottsville Beach polling booth
Liberal candidate James Owen is supported by NSW Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack at the Pottsville Beach polling booth Nikki Todd

Parties the big winner: sticking to known brands

POLITICAL parties look set to be the winners from Saturday's council election with strong showings from candidates nailing their colours to the mast.

Three of the top four contenders at Saturday's poll were endorsed party candidates, including the Greens' Katie Milne, the Liberals' James Owen and Labor's Reece Byrnes.

Well known National Party candidate Warren Polglase - whose election material was posted in the party's green and yellow colours - came in second.

The Liberal's James Owen, an unknown newcomer to the Tweed who looks likely to secure the third position with 9.3% of the vote (as of Sunday, 3.30pm), attributed his success to his party branding and the fact he had no political baggage.

"People understand what the party brand stands for, whether its Labor, Liberal or Greens,” Mr Owen said.

"Hiding behind an independent banner when people know they are affiliated to a party, I think people are really sick of that.

"The electorate would rather see people nail their colours to the mast and say who they stand for. You might not agree with Liberal Party beliefs and values but at least you know what you are going to get.”

Labour candidate for the Tweed Shire Council Reece Byrne had support from Richmond MP Justine Elliot on election day.
Labour candidate for the Tweed Shire Council Reece Byrne had support from Richmond MP Justine Elliot on election day. Aisling Brennan

Labor's Reece Byrnes, a staffer in Federal MP Justine Elliot's Tweed office, has secured 8.8% of the vote so far, despite running a fairly low-profile campaign.

"I thought there was definitely a mood out there that people wanted to support Labor, people were wanting a progressive, middle-of-the-road council who will actually do a job and not fight,” Mr Byrnes said.

In keeping with Nationals' policy on local government elections, Cr Polglase ran as an independent in the poll, copping a fair amount of cricitism for it. It is understood this long-standing policy is under review within the National Party hierarchy.

Tweed Shire Council general manager Troy Green said there appeared to be a move towards the parties.

"I think what is clear from this election is that people are going to the parties that they know, there seems to be a greater move to party politics,” he said.

"I think if people are not 100% sure of a candidate, they tend to vote for the parties that they know. But there are some great independents out there too who have put their hands forward.”

Party results (as of Sunday, 3.30pm)

  • Greens (Katie Milne) - 12.9%
  • Independent / National (Warren Polglase) - 11.3%
  • Liberal (James Owen) - 9.3%
  • Labor (Reece Byrnes) - 8.8%


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