PHIL Youngblutt, whose name last week joined the honour roll as Tweed's Deputy Mayor.
PHIL Youngblutt, whose name last week joined the honour roll as Tweed's Deputy Mayor. Craig Sadler/ Tweed Daily News

Tweed voters 'a bunch of morons'

TWEED'S new deputy mayor Phil Youngblutt has hit out at the shire's voters, describing many of them as “morons” who have no idea how their council operates.

Cr Youngblutt, who won the position of deputy mayor in a lucky-dip draw last week after a tied, three-all vote by councillors, made the frank assessment of voters while revealing he has no intention of standing again at the next council election in 2012.

Cr Youngblutt's own position and that of Mayor Warren Polglase was decided by a chance draw of names from a cardboard recycling box after the tied vote which could again be repeated next September.

But he says voters could not be trusted if the system is changed to allow them to directly choose a mayor at election time every four years.

Earlier this week Cr Barry Longland, who lost in both the draw for the mayoralty and the deputy's job, suggested it might be time to hold a referendum on changing the system to allow for a popularly elected mayor as in Byron, Lismore and the Gold Coast.

“That would be a disaster,” said Cr Youngblutt.

“Generally there's a bunch of morons out there voting most of the time.

“They have no idea of how the council runs and some of them are business people, let alone the dropouts and the greenies.

“They are not really interested.

“When councillors vote it's usually for the best two out of the group. If the people elected the best person for mayor it would be sheer blind chance.”

Cr Youngblutt said had the system for voters directly electing the mayor been in place at the last council election, Greens Party councillor Katie Milne who received the most votes of any councillor, would have been mayor.

Cr Youngblutt, who was until earlier this year president of the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber, has often been frank with his words.

His outspokenness also has him in hot water with Cr Longland, who says he is considering legal action over a statement Cr Youngblutt made on radio describing him as a “Labor councillor”.

Cr Youngblutt has refused to apologise.

“I had heard he was,” said Cr Youngblutt, who added it would be “bloody stupid” for Cr Longland to talk about legal action.

“If he's not Labor, all he has to say is: 'I'm not Labor'.

“You can be called lots worse than that, although with the current NSW Government it probably is pretty derogatory.”

Cr Longland said he had never been a member of any political party, and although the fourth- listed candidate on his council election ticket Laurie Ganter was an ALP member, the third candidate Cath Lynch was a Liberal Party member.

“He described me as a Labor councillor. My reputation is at stake with a statement like that and I guard that reputation quite strongly,” Cr Longland said.

“It was clearly an attempt to confuse the electorate and a deliberate attempt to impinge on my reputation.”

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