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Pineapple officially offered role of Mayor

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Chris ‘Pineapple’ Hooper could be Rockhampton Mayor within days after being formally offered the position. 

Mr Hooper says he won’t be passing up the opportunity to be leader - even if it's just for a few days - saying he expects to be sworn in on Tuesday.  

"As soon as I'm sworn in, they put me up in a big chair up the front, and I've got to chair the meeting, that's what a Mayor does," he tells us. 

"It looks like I might have to learn that sort of stuff, but there's a lot of people who think the Mayor can just do what they want and it's just going to go through, but that's not necessarily the show."
 
The Electoral Commission Queensland has confirmed it has written to Mr Hooper offering him the position in what is a strange turn of events following the resignation of Margaret Strelow.
 
Ms Strelow stood down on November 9 after she was found guilty of misconduct. She vehemently denies any wrongdoing. 

 

Current law applies

The ECQ has to legally offer the role to the climate change activist under recently changed state laws, paving the way for him to become Mayor by default.

The State Government is working to overturn the legislation when Parliament sits on December 1. 

But the ECQ says until amendments are made, the current law applies.

It means the position must be filled within two months, and a vacancy notice must be sent to the runner-up offering them the position.

"It's backfired on them, they've got to get rid of me because I don't fit into the mold of what they're talking about," Mr Hooper says.
 

Criticism grows

The LNP is hitting out at Labor, describing the whole situation as an embarassing debacle.

Shadow Local Government Minister Ann Leahy says it underscores the State Government’s ongoing efforts to change laws without proper scrutiny to suit its own political agenda. 

“Labor’s electoral laws should never have been introduced and were delivering farcical outcomes for Queensland,’’ Ms Leahy says. 

“I have nothing against Chris, but as an ‘accidental’ mayor he is the victim of Labor’s manipulation of the system, as are the people of Rockhampton who deserve certainty about their region’s leadership.

“The election reforms could have seen a mayor elected with just one vote – all they needed to do was come second in a two-horse race’’.