Williams wins as mayor but her team loses

Karen Williams has been reelected as Mayor but voters didn’t support her team in elections for divisional councillors. While Williams got 56% of the formal vote in the mayoral election, her team of councillor candidates only got 46% of the vote across the City’s ten divisions.

Declared results confirm that the ‘Williams Team’ will have only five of the 11 votes in the newly elected council (Williams, Mitchell, Edwards, Talty and Gleeson).

Six other councillors (Boglary, Golle, Hewlett, Elliott, Huges and Bishop) will have the ability to control Redland City’s governance, policies and strategic direction over the next four years.

At the post election Council meeting, expected to be held late next week, a key decision will be election of the Deputy Mayor. The choice made will be an early indication of how the new Council is going to operate.

Councillors will be sworn in at a public Declaration of Office Ceremony at the Redland Performing Arts Centre from 5.45 pm on Wednesday 13 April.

Mayor’s margin cut significantly

In the voting for Redland City Mayor, Karen Williams won the election but with a significantly reduced majority. Four years ago she swept into office with 69.5% of the formal vote. This time her winning margin reduced by more than two thirds from 19.5% to 6.0%.

In 2012 Williams comfortably won in each of the city’s ten electoral divisions. This time, she lost three divisions (2, 3 and 4) and only won Division 1 by 27 votes. Areas where Williams lost support include Victoria Point, Thornlands and Cleveland. These are all suburbs where the rate of residential development and associated traffic congestion and environmental impacts have caused community concerns.

Williams’ failure to win a majority in Division 2 which includes Cleveland and North Stradbroke Island indicates a lack of local support for the proposed Toondah Harbour residential project.

The chart below compares Williams’ percentage of the mayoral vote in 2012 with her recent performance for each division, as well as the total city vote.

Karen Williams vote 2012 2016


Mixed results on the islands

Redlands is sometimes described as a “city of islands”. Issues like transport, tourism and sand mining present significant economic and political challenges. So how did our island folk cast their votes?

On the southern Moreton Bay islands (SMBI) Karen Williams achieved an increase in support. At polling booths on Lamb, Macleay and Russell Islands the Williams mayoral vote increased from 83% to 90%, her best result anywhere in the Redlands.

A misinformation campaign suggesting that Williams’ opponent Greg Underwood would introduce paid parking at Weinam Creek is likely to have influenced the SMBI vote.

North Stradbroke Island voters took a different tack, giving Williams only 48% of the vote in 2016 compared with 61% in 2012.

It was a similar story on Coochiemudlo where Williams’ percentage of the vote dropped 15%, from 60% in 2012 to 45% in 2016.

2012 2016 Change
Southern Moreton Bay islands 83.4% 89.8% +6.5%
North Stradbroke Island 61.3% 48.4% -12.9%
Coochiemudlo 59.6% 45.5% -15.0%

Island results are votes cast at polling booths on the islands. Some enrolled voters living on the islands may have cast their votes in other ways such as absentee votes or voting at pre-poll voting booths on the mainland.

Results of the election for Mayor are available from the Electoral Commission of Queensland website

Elections for divisional councillors

The 'Williams Team' as promoted on Karen Williams' How To Vote Card

The ‘Williams Team’ as promoted on Karen Williams’ How To Vote Card

By the time voting started the candidates for Council divided into two opposing ‘teams’, the ‘Williams Team’ endorsed on Karen Williams’ mayoral How to Vote Card and the ‘Others’ who to varying degrees supported Greg Underwood’s mayoral campaign.

With a well funded advertising campaign Williams won the mayoralty. But at the divisional councillor level where campaigning was less expensive and more personal, the Williams Team didn’t perform so well.

Final results for each division after the distribution of preferences are shown below.

Division Williams Team % Others % Winner
1 Paul Branagan 27.37% Wendy Boglary 72.63% Wendy Boglary
2 Peter Mitchell 55.28% Craig Ogilvie 44.72% Peter Mitchell*
3 Penny Donald 39.84% Paul Golle 60.16% Paul Golle*
4 James Harlin 33.76% Lance Hewlett 66.24% Lance Hewlett
5 Mark Edwards 68.13% Junita Grosvenor 31.87% Mark Edwards
6 Julie Talty 63.83 Melanie Lavelle-Maloney 36.17% Julie Talty
7 Sharyn Doolan 37.22% Murray Elliott 62.78% Murray Elliott
8 Alan Beard 48.52% Tracey Huges 51.48% Tracey Huges*
9 Paul Gleeson 58.93% Jesse McNamara 41.07% Paul Gleeson
10 Joy Stewart 29.46% Paul Bishop 70.54% Paul Bishop
All divisions 46.1%  53.9%

*In divisions 2 and 8 the results were finalised with distribution of second preferences. In Division 3 the result was determined with distribution of second and third preferences. Detailed results are available from the Electoral Commission of Queensland website.

If only first preference votes are considered, the overall result for the ten divisions was: Williams Team 45.9% and Others 54.1%.

Redlanders who didn’t vote

There were 103,788 people enrolled to vote in the Redlands 2016 local government elections, an increase of 11% over the number enrolled for the election four years ago.

Even though voting is compulsory, 14,830 people (14.3%) didn’t vote in the 2016 mayoral election. Of the 88,953 who bothered to vote, 4.3% voted informally.


Redlands2030 – 6 April 2016




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17 thoughts on “Williams wins as mayor but her team loses

  1. There was no misinformation. I am the editor of Bay Island News, previously the larger of the Island print media papers, now converting (slowly) to an online format.
    As such, I personally interviewed Greg Underwood and posted the interview online. In it he clearly supports paid parking at Weinam Creek, The misinformation was the exactly the opposite. A rather clever disinformation campaign, which backfired rather badly when I published the Truth, as O always have done and will always do.
    Redevelopment of my site (some 2000 pages) has caused many glitches, however here are the two links for the interview: http://www.bayislandnews.com.au/GregUnderwood1.mp4 , http://www.bayislandnews.com.au/GregUnderwood_The_second_part1.mp4
    starts at 10min:17sec
    Apologies for poor quality. I am by no means a professional cameraman, and it shows. Just a member of the community doing his bit.
    The front page is likely to change this week.

    • Yes Tim, such evidence is probably as hard to alter or ‘photoshop’ as the already mentioned signboard foolishly flaunted by a certain mainland councillor. The failure of such amateurish ‘counter-campaign’ did not only backfire at Underwood himself but also helped produce a massive swing of island votes from the opponent candidate in Div 5 to the incumbent councillor. Moral of the story? If anyone has not learnt from the previous election results, then should know by now: “Don’t mess with the Bay Islands”. Why work against us when you could work for and with us?

  2. I would like to congratulate Peter Hanson on his comments and his correct perception of the situation relating to SMBI.

    Our new Council will find it faces considerable financial challenges in future because the impression of financial health has been achieved largely by reducing capital project spending and using water business surpluses.

    Not a lot has been spent on SMBI compared with the previous administration but island residents have seen some progress with road surfacing through the much cheaper green road programme. Residents have been thoroughly and positively informed about how splendidly our last Council majority performed by the ‘friendly’ Bay Islander so it is not surprising that they have accepted the multiple-million dollar carrots that were offered by the Williams/Edwards duo.

    All the items mentioned in Mark Edwards commitments to SMBI are things that need to be achieved to raise the status of the community from it’s present depressed state. The price tag however could be anything from $15 to $30 million over the four years.

    This will raise significant financial challenges for a Council that is already facing a whole range of expenditure threats with more to come. Over the past four years Mark has enjoyed the position of being at the virtual balance of power and responsible for finance, even so, ‘anti SMBI Councillors’ have been blamed for the reductions in projects and spending. With serious focus likely in future on how Council is to achieve financial security over the next 5/10 years, the situation becomes complex.

    SMBI and most other divisions in the area need really significant investment in the next few years to stop Redlands being labelled the Cinderella City.

    The sort of financial manipulation we have seen over the last four years will not carry the weight. The problem is an immensely difficult one, let’s hope the new Council has the maturity to find a sensible way through, without leaving a huge debt for it’s successors!!

    • Robin, if Melva Hobson was such a good mayor to the SMBI, together with Barbara Townsend, why did the former need police escort on the islands (as confirmed by several local witnesses)? Why did the latter appearing at the opening of the Russell IGA ended shamefully and scandalously? Why do we see Youtube records of the community forums rallying against paid parking at Weinam Ck displaying evidence of the contrary, on the eve of the 2012 election when the previous admistration was ‘rewarded’ by a landslide defeat? There are multiple records of evidence, neither constitutes a mere standalone case.
      None of the above or alike has so far been recorded, be it either the incumbent Mayor or councillor visiting the Bay Islands.
      Meanwhile, your silence on the Elliott stunt should speak volumes…which prompts one to think that your political sympathy and apparent bias regretfully prevail over your empathy towards your fellow islanders (despite being an island resident and community leader yourself) even in the face of such blatant prejudice and discrimination from the mainland.

      • Hi Russell,

        Was something I said factually incorrect? I think you’re missing the point here with your spurious comments.

        It’s the future we are concerned with, lots to be done both on SMBI and the mainland – huge investment needed. A relatively small Council with a huge infrastructure backlog. Council has a mainly residential rate base and little by way of ability to raise significant extra revenue. A Labor State Government still in debt from it’s previous term, so little joy there – a Federal government that hardly knows we exist.

        So where are the multiple millions going to come from without leaving a huge debt for future generations?

  3. what a classic tale of pity and blame gaming ….the only ones that are responsible for the islands being pro Williams and Pro Edwards was the good work and great community input by both Williams council and especially Mark Edwards . The sad thing is the BS and anti island rhetoric that has been a feature by past councillors and their cronies thought they could sway the other electorates as well . The memory of the council prior to Williams with it’s financial bullying of the island ratepayers is still being felt today even with the brilliant handling of our revenue since Williams/Edwards came in keeping the rates at CPI …..Toni we have never forgiven the rates rises you voted in on 17th June 2008 and the 100% increases yearly that Underwood wrote and you moved ,to inflict on the community of the SMBI , while keeping all your many investments on a lower scale of rates and the debacle of his then plan to bring in paid parking ,of which he confirmed once in a video interview and a second time in a special meeting on Macleay as part of his campaign …witnessed by all those in attendance …I also believe 2 extremely frail 75 and 77 year old ladies from the islands were set upon by Murray Elliot with signs written with lies and derogatory comments about the islands , (that you may know something about ???)that also contributed greatly to the islands finding your type of campaign on the nose ….and for these and the put downs about the islands “they chose to live there “…..taking our rates for years to pork barrel other divisions ,and the rates rorts starting with the SMBI rating categories of which you know so much about is why Underwood and Junita had little chance on the islands . We the rate payers of the SMBI are not as gullible nor easily deluded , nor easily groomed as the rest of the city and have much history of abuse to rely on

  4. The best thing could only happen if the Bay Islands are taken for what they are, ‘jewels of the Redlands’. There are a few mantras and stereotypes that should be banished from this new Council’s dictionary to prevent such antagonised campaign at the next election. These islands do pay a heck of a lot of rates considering the little infrastructure they get in return. Make no mistake – Bay Island residents are not second-class citizens of a mere ‘lifestyle choice’. For many it may be the last resort to buy outright or with a rational amount of debt without a lifelong burden of mortgage or crippling rates as on the mainland in many areas. Having said that, the Queensland Government has once subdivided these island blocks as residential so regardless whose jurisdiction they fall under, they should be under equal footing with the mainland. The fact that the incumbent Mayor and Councillor got in with such a confident advantage is due to the fact that these islands are sick of the unfair nonsense thrown at them from the mainland, regardless of how slowly the infrastructure may trickle over to ‘offshore’ Redlands (speaking of ‘offshore’, would not it be far more practical to deposit money at such close offshore locations than faraway lands such as the Cayman Islands, by the way?) They are also sick of seeing mayoral and councillor candidates quietly condoning such parochial, narrow-minded attitude. As an island resident I can only hope the new council can realise that and not act as a damper or break on infrastructure and investment that has been long due for the rates of these islands. The lesson should be clear from these recent elections.

    • I can’t believe they thought spending
      $940k on a bike and horse track was more important than sealed roads, sewerage or better parking for the islands?

      • Well, priorities, priorities…I, for one, would be happy if the footpath along the main road was finally completed, down to Sandy Beach, first.

    • Sam Delawarr fails to mention as she always does when giving her glowing reports on the Williams/Edwards council team is the lack of SMBI infrastructure spending by this duo and SMBI levied rates being used to pay down council debts instead. The levied rates were brought in by mayor Melva Hobson in the 2008 council with a guarantee all the additional revenue this raised will be spent directly on the SMBI infrastructure as promised as can be seen as true when reading the figures in the annual council reports of that period. This situation dramatically changed when Williams and her team won control of council in 2012 with the same high rates still levied on SMBI ratepayers but less than a third of these funds returned to the SMBI on desperately needed infrastructure still sadly lacking today, this can also be seen in the council annual reports currently. These islanders have been asking for additional transport options and relief on the very high freight costs imposed on everyone living and working on the SMBI that directly causes the degraded living standards we see to this day. These very issues were given positive commitment by the Mayoral candidate Greg Underwood for additional cable barge connections to help with transport costs and 24 hour connections but Sam Delawarr was hell bent on spreading misinformation to island residents through social media and the local Island paper to reject Greg Underwood and any possibility of improving the lives of SMBI residents for many years to come. I hope the SMBI residents remember the name of this person, Sam Delawarr, who does not even live in the Redlands but seeks to control the political outcomes we all have to live with as residents in our city.

      • so the white anting continues …We ,that’s you and me Peter are long term ratepayers and both have similar views of the needs of the SMBI …sadly the blinkered loyalty to a regime that caused such angst for the SMBI has tainted your views . So really we can only go on performance and the SMBI did just that ….voted on performance …and as the saying goes “” people in glass houses , shouldn’t throw stones and those that used this and other community grooming pages with misinformation and an agenda to minimize the public’s view of the best councillor and Mayor that Redlands has ever had , did exactly that …gladly that did not effect those ratepayers and residents of the islands and especially all those different community pages run by so many others …here’s an idea ! why don’t we all play nice and move forward in friendship and altruism for the betterment of all of Redland’s ratepayers and stop this undermining and white anting crap so that we have a city capable of great things

  5. I truly believe this result is the best thing to happen for the Redlands in some years. We now have a local government containing councillors that will listen to the residents and work towards helping the area grow without selling its soul and best attributes to developers.
    The simple fact that the Williams Six is no more shows that residents have seen her and her muppets for what they really were.
    Hopefully the Redlands will now have councillors that will stand up and speak for her instead of ignore her and sell her off for profit

    • Peter, it is not my job to defend Sam – I have no doubts that she is fully capable of doing that herself – but just briefly on the side: when you write, “This situation dramatically changed when Williams and her team won control of council in 2012 with the same high rates still levied on SMBI ratepayers but less than a third of these funds returned to the SMBI on desperately needed infrastructure still sadly lacking today, this can also be seen in the council annual reports currently.” Does not this latter statement imply that, contrary to what Cr Elliott was flashing boldly around at pre-polling, it was actually the very council he has been part of (both under Hobson and Williams, for that matter) that was not paying their way, NOT the SMBI?

      • Yes Russell you are correct, only Murray Elliott can give you his reason for flashing his sign around for no good reason because the SMBI have very much always paid their way by much more than the other RCC divisions. If you check the SMBI rate categories you will understand why the SMBI ratepayers are so angry as it was only under the Hobson council that they had these levied rates funds spent directly on SMBI infrastructure. The Williams led council have admitted publicly using these funds to pay down council debt to improve the budget bottom line.

  6. A few issues which had some bearing on Division 5 was the nasty and biased content and clearly defamation targated at Greg Underwood, Lance Hewlett and Craig Ogilvie by the “Friendly” Bay island magazine. Over many years local papers and magazines have lobbied to received Council financial support but each time it was refused. In the last 4 years The “Unfriendly” Bay Islander paper had been receiving funding from the Williams Council and at the 11th hour many witnessed the payback by pages of lies and misinformation. Redlands ratepayers should question why Redland City Council misuses public funds by giving this magazine financial support. Front page was Mayor Williams and her preferred team from Division, 2,4, and 5. There was much conflict at the prepolling regarding comments that Mayoral candidate Greg Underwood was supposed to have said. In the end many on the islanders that supported Greg Underwood and Junita were frightened of verbal abuse etc, and so getting genuine grassroots people to hand out How to Vote cards was very difficult. Many people felt very intimidated by some, which finally had some bearing on the vote. Sadly some felt that there should have been a presence from Greg Underwood team but local island people told us they have to live on these islands and some locals are very aggressive. A sad reflection on some, even at Russell island a woman who doesn’t even live on the islands harassed some who came to vote.
    So once again the islands lose out due to a few ill informed residents, as in four years not much has progressed other than some park infrastructure and beads and mirrors . All roads sealed were planned and budgeted for before 2012 election

  7. What is missing from this account is that the SMBI not only voted so overwhelmingly in favour of the incumbent mayor due to the so-called ‘misinformation campaign’ but also ‘thanks’ to the signboard antics of Greg Underwood’s preferred candidate for Division 7, Murray Elliott. By waving the sign “When will the Bay Islanders pay their way” around ferociously at the Cleveland pre-polling booths, Cr Elliott did, in fact, invaluable service to reduce chances by his preferred mayoral candidate, Greg Underwood as well as the Division 5 opponent Junita Grosvenor. Not only did he manage to breach the Redland councillors code of conduct by this but with a single gesture, he also helped deprive Greg Underwood and Junita Grosvenor of some crucial votes for a swing to increase forces outside the ‘Williams circle’ – two birds with one stone.

    • I owned and edited (and everything else) Bay Island News from 2010 onward.
      I was amazed and disgusted by the antics of ‘The Friendly Bay Islander’. Sadly, I was not surprised, having foolishly employed the owner for 3 months.
      I later (of course, always later) found out some hard facts. His repeated appearances on the ABC’s Mediawatch program. Blatant political bias with Mark Vaile, the then deputy National Party leader. He was The Holiday Coast Pictorial’s “Six Billion Dollar Man” all over the front page, in a Superman costume! I have the pictures of 8 web pages from Mediawatch. all plastered with political comment, all one sided. Now we get what Port Macquarie rejected..

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