Dei Vo­lente strips gloss from Goss

Ob­scure Lib­eral can­di­date Frank Tanti puts Mund­ing­burra on the map in 1995 with a nar­row elec­tion loss and again in 1996 with a fa­mous vic­tory

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - IAN FRAZER

LIB­ERAL Party can­di­date Frank Tanti, nick­named Mr Dei Vo­lente by church friends, put his fate in God’s hands when in­ter­viewed af­ter the 1995 Queens­land elec­tion.

Two days af­ter the elec­tion on July 15, he was just 148 votes be­hind La­bor in­cum­bent Ken Davies in the pre­vi­ously safe ALP seat of Mund­ing­burra.

The 3500 postal votes still un­counted in Mund­ing­burra looked likely to ei­ther make or break the Goss La­bor Gov­ern­ment, which re­tained a pre­car­i­ous hold on power af­ter los­ing eight seats. Mr Tanti told the Towns

ville Bul­letin that his nick­name stemmed from his habit of writ­ing DV, short for Dei Vo

lente – “God will­ing” – ev­ery day in a cor­ner of his di­ary.

He had done so when he ran un­suc­cess­fully for elec­tion to Townsville City Coun­cil in 1994.

“That’s as much as I needed to write,” he said.

“I know what it’s like to lose elec­tion to the city coun­cil by 1 per cent [ of the vote].

“[ But] with God’s will, I will know what it’s like to win Mund­ing­burra by 1 per cent.”

His con­ser­va­tive po­lit­i­cal agenda had been forged as a mem­ber of the Na­tional Party, while work­ing for Cairns­based Bjelke- Petersen Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Martin Tenni.

The count even­tu­ally fav- oured Mr Davies by 16 votes, but in De­cem­ber 1995, Jus­tice Brian Am­brose of the Court of Dis­puted Re­turns or­dered a by- elec­tion in Mund­ing­burra af­ter con­sid­er­ing Lib­eral Party al­le­ga­tions of Elec­toral Act breaches.

The ALP con­tro­ver­sially disendorsed Mr Davies for the re­run, choos­ing Townsville’s La­bor Mayor Tony Mooney. But Mr Davies dug in and ran as an in­de­pen­dent in the by- elec­tion on Fe­bru­ary 3, 1996.

Mr Tanti pre­vailed and was the toast of the Na­tional- Lib­eral Coali­tion par­ties, which re­gained power.

Lib­eral can­di­date Frank Tanti, right, con­grat­u­lates La­bor's Ken Davies on his nar­row win in Mund­ing­burra af­ter the first poll.

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