Tarwin Valley candidate, now councillor John Schelling was the only one to win a seat off his own first preferences with the other eight seats going to a preference count.


ONE thing is clear from the South Gippsland Shire Council elections last week, the voters made their choices count.

Less than 4 per cent of the votes cast were ruled informal and the voters made their own decision on who they “preferred” to get elected if their first choice didn’t get up.

With the exception of John Schelling in Tarwin Valley Ward, no other candidate won their seat on their own first preference votes with eight of the nine positions going deep into preference distribution before the result was known on Tuesday morning, November 9.

In the end, none of the candidates who were members of the dismissed council of 2019 were elected; Andrew McEwen, Frank Hirst, Don Hill Rosemary Cousin.

However, while Andrew McEwen and Frank Hirst were quickly despatched during the count in Strzelecki Ward, Don Hill and Rosemary Cousin stayed in the count in Tarwin Valley right to the end, with Hill being the last eliminated and Rosemary Cousin taking Adrian Darakai right to the finish line.

In the end, only the nine winners get mentioned, but as the preference count shows, several other candidates went close, demonstrating how important it was for voters to get their 1, 2, 3, 4, etc against their preferred candidates.

Here is a summary of the election results, ward by ward:

Coastal Promontory

Coastal-Promontory Ward (3 vacancies)

Results for the election for the South Gippsland Shire Council’s Coastal Promontory Ward have now been finalised and the following candidates were declared elected.

  • Sarah GILLIGAN (1st elected)
  • Scott RAE (2nd elected)
  • Mohya Davies (3rd elected)

Enrolment: 7949

Formal votes: 6027

Informal votes: 161 (2.60% of the total votes)

Voter turnout: 6188 (77.85% of the total enrolment)

Quota: 1507

Analysis: The first person eliminated from the count in Coastal Promontory was Anda Banikos (318 votes). Her voters favoured Mat Morgan 101, Sue Plowright 78 and Sarah Gilligan 35 with their second preferences but Scott Rae 25, Mohya Davies 45 and David Liebelt 34 also enjoyed support as well.

David Liebelt (771) was next eliminated and interestingly, the bulk of his preferences went to Sarah Gilligan 286, Scott Rae 177 and Mohya Davies 134, while Mat Morgan 110 and Sue Plowright 64 slipped further away from the leading group of three.

Even when environmental candidate Sue Plowright (763) was eliminated, the votes flowed out fairly evenly to the remaining candidates, when you thought they may have favoured like-minded candidates Mat Morgan (170) and Sarah Gilligan (257) more. Anti-veganism candidate Scott Rae picked up 144 of Ms Plowright’s preferences, Mohya Davies 192 and Mat Morgan 170 but by then Sarah Gilligan 1663, Mohya Davies 1574 and Scott Rae 1534 had passed the quota of 1507.

First preference votes

Scott Rae 1188 (19.71%), Mohya Davies 1113 (18.47%), David Liebelt 771 (12.79%), Anda Banikos 318 (5.28%), Mat Morgan 798 (13.24%), Sue Plowright 763 (12.66%) and Sarah Gilligan 1076 (17.85%).


Strzelecki Ward (3 vacancies)

Results for the South Gippsland Shire Council election in Strzelecki Ward have now been finalised. The following candidates were declared elected.

  • Jenni Keerie (1st elected)
  • Michael Felton (2nd elected)
  • Nathan Hersey (3rd elected)

Enrolment: 9860

Formal votes: 7815

Informal votes: 320 (3.93% of the total votes)

Voter turnout: 8135 (82.51% of the total enrolment)

Quota: 1954.

Analysis: Andrew McEwen (502 votes) was the first eliminated from the count with 250 of his preferences going to Frank Hirst, but not enough to keep him in the count. The rest were distributed fairly evenly. A change came over the standings however when Mr Hirst’s 525 votes were distributed, mostly to Nathan Hersey 113, Mick Felton 101 and David Amor 108, with only 75 to Jim Forbes, lifting Hersey above Forbes in the count.

When the 250 2nd preferences Frank Hirst had received from Andrew McEwen were distributed however, the difference was more marked with 129 going to David Amor, 65 to Nathan Hersey, and 41 to Mick Felton but only 15 to Jim Forbes.

It wasn’t enough to lift David Amor into a winnable position, but it was enough put Nathan Hersey in the box seat to take the 3rd Strzelecki seat.

Jim Forbes closed to within 19 votes of Nathan Hersey when David Amor’s 1003 votes were distributed but he fell behind again when Amor’s preferences from the other excluded candidates favoured Hersey over Forbes, but it was a close thing.

Forbes finished less than 100 votes from the quota of 1954 at the end.

First preference votes; David Amor 1003 (12.83%), Jim Forbes 1299 (16.62%), Michael Felton 1393 (17.82%), Frank Hirst 525 (6.72%), Andrew McEwen 502 (6.42%), Nathan Hersey 1277 (16.34%). Jenni Keerie 1816 (23.24%).

Tarwin Valley

Tarwin Valley Ward (3 vacancies)

Results for South Gippsland Shire Council election in Tarwin Valley Ward have now been finalised. The following candidates were declared elected:

  • John Schelling (1st elected)
  • Clare Williams (2nd elected)
  • Adrian Darakai (3rd elected)

Enrolment: 9567

Formal votes: 7684

Informal votes: 307 (3.84% of the total votes)

Voter turnout: 7991 (83.53% of the total enrolment)

Quota: 1922.

Analysis: The count in Tarwin Valley was all about third position after John Schelling achieved a quota (1922 votes) on his own first preferences of 2337 and Clare Williams followed him in with a healthy vote of 1672 and 249 of Schelling’s excess votes.

It was then down to a race between Jeremy Curtis, Adrian Darakai, Rosemary Cousin and Don Hill. In fact Darakai 1078 and Cousin 1079 were neck and neck when Lindsay Love dropped out of the count, with Don Hill only 135 votes behind them.

But ultimately, when Jeremy Curtis dropped out his preferences heavily favoured Adrian Darakai and he ultimately went on to claim the seat.

The final twist came when Don Hill dropped out of the count and his own first preference votes were distributed fairly evenly between Darakai 256 and Cousin 385 where you might have expected Rosemary Cousin to get the Lion’s share of Don Hill’s preferences.

First preference votes: Jeremy Curtis 410 (5.34%), Lindsay Love 423 (5.50%), Andrew Corcoran 143 (1.86%), Adrian Darakai 743 (9.67%), Rosemary Cousin 720 (9.37%), John Schelling 2337 (30.41%), Nicole Edwards-Galal 301 (3.92%), Clare Williams 1672 (21.76%), Don Hill 641 (8.34%), Leslie Harmer 294 (3.83%).