ELECTION DAY: Acting Mayor Paul Tully (left) with wife Liza votes at Augustine Heights in the mayoral by-election on Saturday.
ELECTION DAY: Acting Mayor Paul Tully (left) with wife Liza votes at Augustine Heights in the mayoral by-election on Saturday. Contributed

Why mayoral election came two weeks too late for Tully

THE Ipswich mayoral by-election came two weeks too late for Acting Mayor Paul Tully.

A fortnight ago Cr Tully was on 36% and Cr Andrew Antoniolli 30%, according to a Galaxy poll.

At the close of the count yesterday Cr Tully was on 28,789 votes (30.86%), trailing Cr Antoniolli on 32,354 (34.67%).

Postal votes are still to be counted and preferences, many of which will exhaust, to be allocated, but the margin is too great for Cr Tully to make up.


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Cr Tully, who has congratulated Cr Antoniolli on his win, has not received any assistance from candidates on their how-to-vote cards.

The last two weeks Cr Tully was under attack from most of the other 10 candidates at a variety of hostile public forums.

More alleged scandals surrounding former mayor Paul Pisasale have constantly been making headlines.

Despite Cr Tully reinforcing that he knew nothing of Mr Pisasale's alleged extra curricular activities, he had the finger pointed in his direction.

The Four Corners program on NSW trucks dumping their rubbish in Ipswich landfill sites also dominated the media cycle.

Cr Tully went on the front foot to demand Queensland reinstitute a waste levy and that the NSW Government enforce their own laws but once again there was plenty of finger pointing.

As acting mayor trying to run a mayoral campaign and his own Division 2 office he was under siege when he needed some clear air.

Political analyst Dr Williams said the ReachTEL poll, which revealed 41% of those surveyed wanted fresh blood for Ipswich mayor, counted against Cr Tully.

"That poll revealed that huge numbers of the electorate were looking for a fresh start and as soon as I saw it I knew he had a problem on his hands," he said.

"It seemed to be a long campaign and from an outsider's perspective there was a sense, from Brisbane, that Tully was the underdog.

"He is not the underdog in the sense that he is acting mayor and has a high profile.

"But that can count against that type of candidate, and in that sense he did have an uphill struggle.

"He had the dump. He had his own long-term incumbency (as councillor for 38 years) and a field of candidates who were out to get him.

"If Pisasale had retired through ill-health and there was no alleged scandal, and if there wasn't any dump story, I am sure that Tully's vote would have been a lot better.

"I think the dump stuff was huge. It played into a whole lot of narratives of NSW dumping in Queensland's backyard and it goes to the heart of local identity and how 'we have been treated with disdain'.

"The Pisasale stuff is obviously hanging around. No-one is going to say that Tully was close to Pisasale but the mere fact that he was the deputy to him would have been enough for some people.

"Had the election been a much shorter campaign I am sure it would have played more favourably for Tully. If it had gone on another two weeks it probably would have worn him down further.

"But I don't think you can underestimate this sense in Ipswich that there was a funny smell hanging over council and it was time to start again."

Cr Tully campaigned as the experienced leader who could provide stability into the future for Ipswich after the recent turmoil after Mr Pisasale's resignation.

Cr Antoniolli projected himself as an agent for change, a revolutionary insider, which saw him avoid much of the flak being thrown Cr Tully's way.

"That was very clever," Dr Williams said of Cr Antoniolli's strategy.

"The insider who plays the outsider hand can be very successful in politics. We saw that with Donald Trump. Pauline Hanson is a wealthy woman, well connected and has access to a lot of levers of power but still projects herself as the down-trodden woman on the outside."

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