THE level of interest in the election this week was unprecedented.

It could go either way.

And we’re not talking about Trump or Biden.

It won’t be until Friday, according to the Victorian Electoral Commission, that the result in the Bass Coast Shire Council election will be known, after primary voting was finalised on Wednesday, November 4.

Brett Tessari is the only candidate to have achieved a ‘quota’ in his own right in Bunurong Ward, covering Inverloch and parts of Wonthaggi.

With 6372 of the 12,767 formal votes counted, he was getting almost half of all votes lodged, easily passing the required 3192.

Leticia Laing 2212 and Michael Nugent 1639 are next best, with sitting councillors Les Larke 1372 and Julian Brown 1217 further back.

The distribution of Brett Tessari’s second preferences and the other candidates’ preferences will decide which of Julian Brown, Les Larke or Michael Nugent takes the third spot.

However, the result in the Bunurong Ward will continue to be mired in controversy after the leaking of prejudicial information about Cr Les Larke in the days before vote packs were due to arrive.

While Cr Larke was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Local Government Inspectorate after voting had started, a cloud still hangs over the result.

Today, the Bass Coast Shire Council CEO Ali Wastie referred the alleged leaking of confidential council information to the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), issuing the following statement:

“During the 2020 Bass Coast Local Government Election period, Council received a request to investigate the alleged leaking of confidential information relating to the Local Government Inspectorate’s investigation into an alleged incident involving Councillor Larke in 2018,” said Ms Wastie.

“The alleged leaking of confidential information is a serious matter and I have referred the complaint to IBAC for investigation.

“Council will not be in a position to make any further comment until the outcome of the referral to IBAC is known.”

Other wards

Only one candidate has achieved a quota in their own right in Island Ward where the 10,106 votes have otherwise been spread around.

Sitting councillor Michael Whelan with 2544, has passed the required quota number of 2527, with David Rooks 2135 and Ron Bauer 2239 likely to win a seat on council as well.

In Western Port; Bruce Kent 3428 and first-time candidate Rochelle Halstead 2872 have already achieved a quota, above 2715, and the final position is likely to go to Clare Le Serve who has 2485 votes, more than 400 ahead of another sitting councillor Geoff Ellis who looks set to miss a position this time around.