By Jeremy Sollars
The Palaszczuk Government says it is “forging ahead with a COVID-safe plan to ensure Queenslanders can vote safely at the State Election in October”.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath says the COVID-safe plan will “build on the successful Local Government elections held in March, which resulted in no new cases of COVID-19 linked to the election”.
Her statement all but rules out the use of full postal voting which had been tipped as a possibility.
The State election will be held on Saturday 31 October, Queenland’s first fixed-date election, and the start of fixed four-year terms for state governments in Queensland.
“The Statement of Principles Governing the Conduct of the COVID-Safe Queensland General Election, tabled in State Parliament, includes a range of measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of voters and polling staff during the election period,” Ms D’Ath said.
“This year’s State Election will see Queensland have an election period, not just an election day.
“It will mean more pre-poll locations, longer pre-poll hours and more pre-poll voting days in the two weeks prior to polling day.
“We’re also making every effort to ensure that come election day, Queenslanders can get out to their local school or community hall to safely cast their vote.
“We want to see Queenslanders enjoying a democracy sausage and voting in person where it’s safe to do so.
“Our preparations will be guided by the advice of the Chief Health Officer and Queenslanders can be confident we’re on track for a COVID-safe election.”
The Attorney-General said the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) would have the capacity to accept telephone votes from vulnerable voters.
“While Queensland has smashed the curve of COVID-19, we need to be vigilant and prepared for any eventuality,” she said.
“In extreme circumstances, such as a localised outbreak, this could include the ECQ delivering the election to some electorates as a total postal vote.
“We have a COVID-safe election plan to help Queensland unite and recover in October and beyond.”
So far the following candidates have announced they’re standing for our local State electorate of Southern Downs –
• James Lister MP (sitting member – LNP)
• Rosemary Moulden – Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
• Joel Richters – ALP