Disgraced former Palmerston mayor leading polls for top job at Palmerston council
Disgraced former Palmerston mayor Robert Macleod is leading the polls for the city’s top job, but voters could be waiting more than a week for the final result.
Voters took to the ballot box on Saturday, almost two months after the NT Government dumped the council over concerns around poor governance.
It had been suspended some six months prior, pending a investigation into potential breaches of the Local Government Act.
Eight candidates were named in the race for mayor, including a “misunderstood genius” roadside rubbish sculptor, the former Member for Solomon and two former mayors.
With more than 60 per cent of the first preference votes counted, former mayor Robert Macleod is in front for the top job, with former alderman Athina Pascoe-Bell close behind.
Mr Macleod gained notoriety in 2012, after he assaulted a neighbour with a golf club during a dispute over their dogs.
He was jailed for 10 days over the attack and was forced to step down from the position after serving five years as mayor, and 12 with the council.
“I did my time and I’ve paid my dues to society,” he told ABC Radio Darwin last year.
“I’ve moved on and hopefully the community has as well.”
Drawn out election coming to an end
Ms Pascoe-Bell said it would be a tight race, and likely to come down to preferences.
“A lot of people said it would definitely be between myself and Robert, and that’s how it’s looking,” she said.
“Making sure [the council is transparent] is essential to the new council succeeding and winning the confidence of the people.”
Seventeen people will go head-to-head to secure one of seven alderman positions.
The former Member for Solomon Damian Hale is leading the count, with Ms Pascoe-Bell and candidate Lucy Buhr trailing closely.
The election was originally slated to take place last weekend, but was postponed after Tropical Cyclone Marcus crossed the coast on Saturday.
Northern Territory electoral commissioner Iain Loganathan said the final results would not be known until Tuesday week, allowing for the Easter weekend disruption to the arrival of postal votes.
“We’ve had 7,500 cast an early vote … and we’ve had a thousand people apply for postal vote so we’ll have to see what the final numbers are,” Mr Loganathan said.
“We have to wait to determine the quota, and we can’t determine the quota until we have all the postal votes in.
“Postal votes can actually be accepted until Tuesday week because of the Easter break so we’re not going to have a final result until that time.”