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
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.