Chris Hooper claims victory, unofficially
POTENTIAL mayor Chris Hooper claimed victory on social media this evening, though Rockhampton Regional Council denied anything was official.
Mr Hooper wrote on Facebook that “Rockhampton’s beloved Pineapple is now the official mayor of his town”.
He said he was “looking forward to being sworn in on Thursday" and then went to the council chambers to make his case.
But council CEO Evan Pardon said he had not yet been given the proper documents.
“Under the Local Government Act 2009,” he said, “the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) must give a vacancy notice to the runner up and if they accept, the ECQ is required to notify me directly, which I have yet to receive.”
Mr Hooper said he had filled out the vacancy notice accepting the mayoral position and sent it back to the ECQ.
“That’s all done,” he said.
He said he was concerned the State Government would change the relevant legislation before his swearing-in.
Deputy Premier and Local Government Minister Steven Miles said the State Government had been clear that it now wanted local government vacancies to be filled using by-elections and would introduce retroactive legislation to rescind the Labor Party’s own law.
“The process for filling a mayor or councillor vacancy has a number of steps associated with it, and in the instance of the mayoral vacancy in Rockhampton, we are advised there are still steps to be undertaken in order for Mr Hooper to be appointed mayor," he said.
“Mr Hooper should feel free to run for the mayoral position when a by-election is called.”
The ECQ was unavailable for comment.