His­tor­i­cal mo­ment for Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SARAH DEAN

Count­ing is still un­der­way in the Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil election with for­mer Urana Shire Mayor Pat Bourke and new-com­ers to lo­cal gov­ern­ment Corowa’s Shaun Whitechurch and How­long’s David Lon­g­ley the first to be voted in on the nine-mem­ber coun­cil.

The vote count started on Satur­day evening with res­i­dents able to fol­low the rolling tally via the NSW Elec­toral Com­mis­sion’s web­site.

Mr Bourke told The Free Press he was amazed at the high num­ber of first pref­er­ence votes his group re­ceived (1207), say­ing he could not have won his seat with­out the sup­port of his fel­low ticket mem­bers which num­bered ten can­di­dates.

“It’s been amaz­ing the sup­port that peo­ple have given us,” he said.

“The num­ber of votes re­flects on the great team that I had, they were a great bunch of

re­ally hard work­ers and I was just so lucky to have them.”

Mr Bourke, who owns Bil­l­abong Agri­cul­ture in Urana and Oak­lands, served four years as deputy mayor and al­most three terms as mayor of the Urana Shire Coun­cil up un­til the amal­ga­ma­tion.

He now faces a ner­vous wait to see if num­ber two on his ticket, John Doyle, joins him on coun­cil.

“He has sort of got his toe over the line and we are just wait­ing to see what hap­pens with this last lot of votes,” Mr Bourke said.

“It would be great to see him on coun­cil with me, he’s a re­ally good coun­cil­lor and has a lot to of­fer.” Mr Bourke could also be Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil’s first mayor. “I am cer­tainly keen to put my hand up given my ex­pe­ri­ence as past mayor with Urana,” he said.

Both Mr Bourke’s and Mr Whitechurch’s groups (D and A re­spec­tively) polled strongly from the out­set on Satur­day night.

Mr Whitechurch’s group re­ceived a stag­ger­ing 1351 first pref­er­ence votes and was still pinch­ing him­self on Mon­day. “I couldn’t be­lieve it,” he said. “Over 3000 peo­ple voted in Corowa and I have picked up al­most 1400 first pref­er­ence votes so that’s al­most half the town that has voted for me.

“It was lit­er­ally like that be­cause ev­ery sec­ond per­son who walked through was say­ing ‘yep, I’m vot­ing for you’.”

Mr Whitechurch, who is the op­er­a­tions man­ager at Corowa’s Fo­cus Engi­neer­ing with his boss James Webb who was also on his ticket, said he would not seek out the po­si­tion of mayor.

“I am not go­ing to put my hand up for mayor, I mean I work full-time and the mayor is al­most a full-time job it­self,” he said.

“And we still don’t know who is on the coun­cil, some of these peo­ple are pretty ner­vous sit­ting back three days af­ter the election and won­der­ing if they have got a spot and I was just pretty lucky that I got on early.”

Mean­while, David Lon­g­ley dis­cov­ered he had ce­mented his po­si­tion on coun­cil through a text mes­sage from his daugh­ter.

“I was at the polling cen­tre all day and went to the pub af­ter the polls closed and had a feed and a few beers and went home, so I didn’t stay up for the vot­ing that night,” he said.

“I went to watch the footy but I crashed and slept through the footy and ev­ery­thing else.

“My daugh­ter sent me a text mes­sage in the morn­ing con­grat­u­lat­ing me, so I had a stick­y­beak and saw that I did win well.”

The Lowe Square com­mit­tee of man­age­ment chair­man re­ceived 765 first pref­er­ence votes.

To date 6901for­mal votes have been counted and 621 in­for­mal votes as the news­pa­per went to print.

Count­ing could take sev­eral more days as pref­er­ences are taken into con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore the six re­main­ing spots on coun­cil are an­nounced.

Can­di­date Gra­ham Withers hand­ing out his ‘how to vote’ flyer.

The bar­be­cue was fired up at Corowa Public School.

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