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Gallagher set for victory

Monday, 14th March, 2011

THE CANDIDATES: Maureen Clark, Larry Angell and Dave Gallagher outside the polling booths on Saturday. THE CANDIDATES: Maureen Clark, Larry Angell and Dave Gallagher outside the polling booths on Saturday.

Candidate's clean sweep

By Craig Brealey

Dave Gallagher has won more than half of the primary vote in the weekend's City Council by-election and looks certain to become the city's newest councillor.

Mr Gallagher was first past the post at every polling station in the city on Saturday, including the traditional Labor stronghold of South Broken Hill.

Yesterday the local sergeant of police who stood as an independent held 50.7 per cent of the votes counted.

He was followed by Labor's candidate, Maureen Clark, with 38.8 per cent and fellow independent Larry Angell on 10.4, according to the NSW Electoral Commission.

There were 13,379 people on the roll in Broken Hill and 11,279 votes have been counted, or 87.3 per cent of the total.

The by-election was called to a fill the seat left vacant by the untimely death of young City Councillor Jamie Mitchell in December.

Mr Gallagher was reluctant to claim victory when contacted by the BDT yesterday because, he said, had gone so close to winning a seat on Council at the two previous elections.

"I'm pretty happy with the primary vote. Fifty-one per cent is fairly good," he said

"I lost by a handful of votes in 2009 and in 2004 I got close but not as close.

"That made me very nervous, especially with the passing of Jamie, but this time I was very lucky because there were only two independents and one Labor candidate and that was good because we could share preferences."

Mr Gallagher said that as far as he knew, only two Council candidates had ever won at every booth in the city - the previous mayor, Ron Page, and his predecessor Peter Black.

"It has made me very proud that the people of Broken Hill came out and voted for me again and if I do get in I will do all I can for the betterment of the community.

"I think I will be able to get in in my right without having to go to preferences but we'll know by Tuesday."

Mr Gallagher had campaigned on a promise to push for more nursing home places in the city and to improve the condition and appearance of the streets.

Yesterday he said that, if elected, he would have the Council lobby the state and federal governments to make the money available for local aged care places so that people did not have to be sent away.

"We need another nursing home." Mr Gallagher said. 

"The city is ageing and we need to look after our elderly people. They have paid their dues and they should be able to spend their passing years with their family." 

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