Potential by-election: Who plans to run for mayor?

IT STILL remains unclear if the Rockhampton community will have a by-election, however questions are being raised about who would run if one was to go ahead.

The Morning Bulletin reached out to some of the regular contenders of previous elections.

Here is what they had to say.

Dominic Doblo.
Dominic Doblo.


The outspoken Rockhampton businessman backed out of running in the 2020 Local Government Election, despite having posters around town.

He told The Morning Bulletin he made the decision to back out on the day the nominations closed and said he needed to focus on his family and business.

Mr Doblo last ran for council in 2016 and obtained 10.87 per cent of the vote with 4,686 votes and in 2012 with 6.18 per cent of the vote.

He ran in this year’s State Government election and got 2,042 votes with 6.81 per cent of the votes.

Mr Doblo spoke with The Morning Bulletin this week and would not confirm if he would run if a by-election was called.

He instead said the mess of former Mayor Margaret Strelow’s resignation needed to be sorted out.

He said the Labor government could not keep changing the laws “every time it didn’t like someone”.

He said the Labor government was only changing the laws now “because they don’t like Pineapple Hooper”.

“It’s not democracy,” he said.

“I think it’s a disgrace the way the Labor Party is treating Chris Hooper.

“I’m not interested in commenting on a by-election until this is sorted out.”

Lea Taylor in 2000
Lea Taylor in 2000


Lea Taylor was mayor of Rockhampton City Council from 1991 and 1997.

He ran in 2016 and secured 13.82 per cent of vote and in 2012 with 19.70 per cent of the vote.

The Morning Bulletin spoke with Mr Taylor, who said he has no interest in running.

Chris Hooper at the council election this year.
Chris Hooper at the council election this year.


Chris Hooper is at the crux of issue and was runner up of the 2020 local government election.

As the only other candidate, Mr Hooper won 30.91 per cent of the vote with 12,133 votes.

He also ran in 2012 and got 3.61 per cent of the vote with 1,618.

He did not run in the 2012 Rockhampton Regional Council election but did run in the 2012 state election as an independent and got 286 votes with 1.03 per cent of the vote.

Mr Hooper previously told The Morning Bulletin if a by-election was to happen, he had full intentions of running.

He has pledged he would only take a salary of $1 and has plans to implement a board to oversee the region’s councillors, address climate change and unemployment rates.

Torin O'Brien.
Torin O'Brien.


The former One Nation Rockhampton candidate for the state election last month is the only person to declare he will run in a by-election, should it happen.

Speaking to The Morning Bulletin, Mr O’Brien confidently said he would run and said there were a lot of issues he lobbied for in the state campaign which were relevant to local government.

He is passionate about adressing extreme bullying and violence in schools and has implemented an anti-bullying campaign.

He would also like to see better sporting facilities in the community so Rockhampton could host large carnivals and events, which have the potential of attracting on average 1200 to 3000 people and each person would spend $240 per day on average.

“That’s all money that comes to town,” he said.

“We miss out purely because we don’t have the facilities.”

Mr O’Brien secured 12.39 per cent of the vote from the 2020 state election with 3,714 votes.

While he was unsuccessful, this has not deterred the Commonwealth Muay Thai champion.

“No one is a winner without losing sometimes,” he said.

“The last state election we had a very strong campaign and some of the work we did remains in town.”

Mr O’Brien added his grandmother was a sitting councillor from 2004 until 2012 when she lost the election to Ellen Smith.

“I have always had an interest in local government,” Mr O’Brien said.

Leyland Barnett
Leyland Barnett


Leyland Barnett has previously run for councillor with Rockhampton Regional Council.

In 2016, he ran for division 5 and got 427 votes with 6.23 per cent of the vote and in 2012 in division 8, got 1,420 votes with 25.92 per cent of the votes.

The driving instructor told The Morning Bulletin he hadn’t given it much thought and would only run if he was sponsored by some other business as he was still recouping money from previous elections.

Tony Williams at the new North Rockhampton boat ramp in late 2017.
Tony Williams at the new North Rockhampton boat ramp in late 2017.


Tony Williams has been touted around town as a potential candidate for the mayoral position.

Mr Williams was re-elected this year as the Rockhampton region Division 3 Councillor and was uncontested.

He holds the infrastructure portfolio and is the tourism assistant.

Cr Williams began his career in council in 2004 and is now in his fourth term.

When announcing he was running again for the 2020 council election, Cr Williams’ interest was in more boat ramps, the North Rockhampton Flood Mitigation project, a walking path from Mount Archer down to the river and a war memorial at Stenhouse Park.

He is also the current chair of the Local Disaster Management Group.

When asked if he had plans to run, Cr Williams said he was unable to comment until a formal by-election had been called.

Acting Mayor Neil Fisher.
Acting Mayor Neil Fisher.


The Division 2 councillor is currently Acting Mayor, after he was voted in as Deputy Mayor when the new council formed earlier this year.

He was first elected in 2000, serving with Rockhampton City Council until 2004.

He took a break and came back in 2012 and is now in his third consecutive term.

Cr Fisher said he had not ruled out the idea of running if a by-election was called, but he needs to sit down and talk to his family about it.

Given the whirlwind of the past week, he hasn’t really had a chance to stop and think.

“My youngest is only 10 and that’s a big commitment,” he said.

“I was loving the deputy mayor role, I enjoy working with the rest of the councillors and was really enjoying working with Margaret.”

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