Rockhampton mayoral runner-up Chris ‘Pineapple’ Hooper has been handed the vacancy notice for the council role by Electoral Commission Queensland (ECQ) and taken up the offer.
It comes after the position was made vacant by the resignation of Margaret Strelow when a Councillor Conduct Tribunal found her guilty of misconduct over a day trip to an Adani solar farm in India.
However Mr Hooper has a few steps to go before he can be declared Mayor and the State Government intends to change the law that says the vacated position should be filled by the election runner-up rather than going to a by-election.
Deputy Premier and Local Government Minister Steven Miles said the government had been very clear on its intention to ensure that Mayor or Councillor vacancies were filled through the process of a by-election.
“The former Minister outlined this intention to change the process for filling Mayor and Councillor vacancies at the official opening of the Local Government Association of Queensland conference on Tuesday 20 October 2020. This commitment was reiterated again on Tuesday 10 November 2020,” he said.
“The process for filling a Mayor or Councillor vacancy has a number of steps associated with it and in the instance of the Mayoral vacancy in Rockhampton, we are advised there are still steps to be undertaken in order for Mr Hooper to be appointed Mayor.”
He said Mr Hooper should feel free to run for the Mayoral position when a by-election is called.
The Electoral Commission of Queensland confirmed that it had provided a vacancy notice to the Rockhampton Mayoral runner-up Chris Hooper, as required under current legislation, asking him to to confirm whether he consented to be appointed and that he had provided that consent.
“Mr Hooper has provided his consent and the ECQ has notified the chief executive officer of the Rockhampton City Council,” a spokeswoman said.
“It is the Council’s responsibility to officially appoint Mr Hooper to the position.”
Posting on social media, Mr Hooper declared a win and said he was looking forward to being sworn in next Tuesday.