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Gallagher in box seat

Tuesday, 15th March, 2011

Dave Gallagher Dave Gallagher

By Gina Wilson

Independent Dave Gallagher is expected to be officially announced as the new Broken Hill City Councillor today.

Counting is not due to conclude from the by-election, called following the death of Councillor Jamie Mitchell last year, until lunchtime but Mr Gallagher had yesterday received more than half of the votes counted.

While he was yesterday not prepared to declare victory, his two opponents have offered their congratulations on his winning the seat.

Results yesterday showed that from the city's 13,379 enrolled voters, Mr Gallagher had collected 5,559 votes, Labor's Maureen Clark had 4,257 and independent Larry Angell had 1,142.

Mrs Clark won 38.8 per cent of the vote and came second at each of the seven polling places, in postal votes, and the pre-poll vote.

"Judging from the results so far it looks as if ... David has won," she said.

"Naturally I'm disappointed that I could not be the successful candidate.

"I have already rung Dave to congratulate him and to wish him all the best in his endeavours."

Mrs Clark rubbished talk of a backlash against Labor. She said while Mr Gallagher won the White House polling booth in traditionally-Labor South by 86 votes, it was hardly a whitewash.

"The booths were very close," she said. "It's hardly a trampling on the Labor faithful.

"Labor traditionally doesn't have a great record of winning by-elections in Broken Hill."

Meanwhile Mr Angell, who had received 10.4 per cent of the vote, said he would have preferred the result to be different.

"Obviously I was disappointed, however the best man on the day won and I congratulate Dave for being elected," Mr Angell said.

"Commiserations to Maureen. It was a very clean-run campaign. All three candidates, we got along really well.

"I congratulate Dave and hope Dave remains true to being an independent and doesn't align himself."

Mr Angell said the 2011 Broken Hill voter was different to the 1984 voter.

"I definitely think the mood's changed a lot.

"When I was elected in 1984 I got 68 per cent of the vote on a Labor card.

"We go down to 25 years later and Broken Hill has definitely changed its way of voting.

"In the last 10 years there's been more independents elected than Labor."

He said he believed people were no longer as attached to a political party.

"I think people are now a lot better informed and they spend more time studying the field and what their policies are and not just (voting) for a political party - they shop around.

"It will be interesting to see if that happens in the State election."

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