Jeff Smith will patiently wait to have his shot at becoming a councillor.
Jeff Smith will patiently wait to have his shot at becoming a councillor.

‘Umpire’ makes the tough call on council elections

DEMOCRATIC rights have been the latest casualty of the coronavirus pandemic as council elections are canned.

Yesterday the Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock announced the 2020 local government elections, due to be held in September, would be postponed for a year.

Ms Hancock said the decision was not taken lightly and was necessary to ensure the health and safety of voters, the NSW Electoral Commission staff and candidates.

“Current councillors and popularly elected mayors will continue to hold their civic offices until the rescheduled local government elections are held,” she said.

“The postponement of the next elections will not change the future schedule of council elections, and the subsequent elections will still proceed in September 2024.”

The Clarence Valley could have a new mayor however, as the two-year term for those elected in 2018 ends in September.

The Minister made it clear mayoral elections (by councillors) would still be held.

As the only confirmed candidate not already serving on the current council, Jeff Smith was circumspect about the situation and said he was a bit disappointed they called it so early.

Mr Smith said while he would have liked the electoral commission to embrace new technologies like online voting, he accepted it was the “umpires call”.

“Ill wait, I’m a patient man,” he said.

“But you have to listen to the umpire and they say another 12 months.

“This was a long term operation and we are in for the long haul.”

The postponement did give Mr Smith plenty more time to focus and the I-Scream owner said it was an opportunity to understand more community issues and familiarise himself with council procedures.

“I’ll keep building the case, canvassing and talking to people,” he said.

“It is going to be like those US election campaigns – it just goes on forever.”



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