by Chris Griffith
Published 4 February 1996 in The Sunday Mail
But not, initially, for Mundingburra independent candidate Sandy Warren and his minder Peter Yoeman who turned up at the Townsville City Council chambers to give acting mayor Anne Bunnell a bunch of native flowers.
The gesture was to congratulate Ms Bunnell for reopening the toilets in Hannan Park, the much talked about home of the itinerant Aboriginal park people.
But the council officers who took the flowers on Ms Bunnell's behalf were not amused. They accused the two of conducting an election publicity stunt, not realising the offering was a friendly gesture. The two previously had clashed with the regular mayor and now Mundingburra Labor candidate Tony Mooney when he had closed the toilets four months beforehand.
Fortunately the faux pas was realised, and flower power won through. Ms Bunnell later gave a media conference to publicly thank the two for their offering.
Mundingburra independent Green candidate Antony Bradshaw last week copped a caning from the Australian Women's Party from attending a supposedly anti-green rally during the election.
Publicly Mr Bradshaw said he believed candidates should attend all rallies, but privately he said the criticism may have had something to do with his decision not to direct preferences to Labor.
He said the Australian Women's Party was directing its preferences to Labor, and could be construed as in the Labor camp.
Perhaps he was right, because Wilderness Society campaign director Virginia Young also attended the rally but escaped the criticism. The Wilderness Society has backed Labor publicly throughout the by-election.
Townsville cabbies say workers leaving Labor candidate Tony Mooney's Mundingburra campaign office have been coy about revealing their identities and locations when making taxi bookings.
One cabbie said campaign workers at least five times had given their pick up point as the curry house next door to Mr Mooney's office -- a strange state of affairs as the office was universally recognised around the city.
He said some cab drivers had laughed when asked to pick up passengers at the restaurant at 8 am in the morning.
Apparently the passengers never gave their names when making bookings.
Queensland's electoral commission yesterday moved to prevent voter confusion caused by the axing of three polling booths within the Mundingburra electorate.
Returning officer Terry Tibbits said the Electoral Act prevented three polling booths normally shared with the neighbouring Townsville electorate from operating. In a by- election, all booths had to be within the electorate, he said.
As a result, regular polling booths at Currajong, the Railway Estate, and in Vincent had been axed and new booths created at other locations in Mundingburra.
The change also meant that booth-by-booth figures from previous elections could not be relied upon in assessing an early swing in the seat.
Mr Tibbits said the new booths had been advertised at the old polling places.
In a move which shocked both ALP and Liberal Party officials, independent Mundingburra candidate Ken Davies yesterday put the Labor Party last on his how-to- vote card.
Mr Davies was the former Labor candidate and sitting member for the electorate.
He placed the Liberals Frank Tanti fifth, seven preferences ahead of Tony Mooney, the man who replaced him as the ALP's endorsed candidate. His second and third preferences went to other independents.
Twelve candidates are standing at the land mark by-election. Ten are independents.
Mr Davies had about 40 volunteers handing out his how-to-vote cards at Mundingburra polling booths yesterday.
Independent Mundingburra small business candidate Tisha Crosland yesterday claimed that 4000 of her how-to-vote cards had been stolen outside polling booths.
Ms Crosland said she had dumped her cards outside the booths about 6 am yesterday but cards at two of the booths had gone when campaign workers arrived before 8 am.
Mundingburra residents were not the only Queenslanders who had to register a vote yesterday.
Charters Towers electors too were forced back to the polls following the death last year of Cr Noel Ormonde and the transfer of Cr Arthur Kenna to Townsville.
Over 5,000 voters were expected to select two replacement councillors from ten candidates.