"Common sense has prevailed": Council candidate and former Gundagai mayor Abb McAlister

Abb McAlister says common sense has prevailed in allowing his group of five Gundagai-based council candidates to stand for the September 9 election.

Abb McAlister says common sense has prevailed in allowing his group of five Gundagai-based council candidates to stand for the September 9 election.

After getting the run-around this week over an incorrectly ticked box in the witness section of their Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council nomination, a group of five Gundagai-based candidates has earned themselves a spot on the ballot paper come election day on Saturday, September 9. 

Former Gundagai mayor and member of the candidates group Abb McAlister said common sense has prevailed in this case and he is looking forward to getting on with the election campaign. 

While the candidates roll on the Electoral Commission website does not yet reflect their intention to stand as a group, Mr McAlister has been informed their nomination has been accepted in this capacity. 

The group will consist of Mr McAlister, David Graham, Peter Gain, Penny Nicholson and Amy Turner.

A fresh ballot draws will be conducted at 2pm on Tuesday, August 15.

Cootamundra-Gundagai was not the only council area affected by apparent defects in completing the statutory declaration associated with nominating for council. 

The Local Government Areas of Orange, Newcastle and Ryde all had candidates added to their ballot paper on Friday after re-examination of their nominations. 

In a media statement issued on Friday, the commission said they has sought advice from the Crown Solicitors Office.

“In light of this advice it appears there are sufficient grounds for the rejected nominations to be re-examined,” the statement read. 

Mr McAlister had received advice the ‘Oaths Act’ provided the necessary legalities to regain acceptance on the ballot paper, and while no official answer has been given about why the Gundagai candidates were included in the end, he is putting it down to this. 

He thanked those residents, particularly of Gundagai, who put in a concerted effort on Friday to have their displeasure heard at the group being disallowed from standing. 

Mr McAlister, together with other candidates, has made no secret of being against the merger of his former council, Gundagai Shire, with Cootamundra Shire, however has stated publicly he is willing to put this aside to work for the greater good of both communities. 

Meanwhile, despite knowing it will make his wish to become elected more difficult, fellow candidate Gil Kelly has welcomed the inclusion of the group back into the race.

The inclusion of this group on the ballot paper brings the total number of candidates running for Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council to 28, including three groups and 12 individuals. 

Candidates will include Dennis Palmer, Ron Magnone, Rosalind Wight, Diane Williams, Michael Kingwill, Jennie Maslin and Peter Batey in one group, while a second group is made up of Doug Phillips, Craig Stewart, Stephen Doidge, Janet McAtear and Ian Armstrong and a final group includes Abb McAlister, David Graham, Peter Gain, Penny Nicholson and Amy Turner.  

These groups are followed by individual candidates, in ballot order, Gil Kelly, Isabel Scott, Mary Donnelly, Leigh Bowden, James Childs, Konrad Streher, David Harris, Peter Gain, Roderick Chalmers, James Slattery, John Stephens and Charlie Sheahan. 

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