DEFAULT: Chris ‘Pineapple’ Hooper could take over as the new Mayor of Rockhampton.
DEFAULT: Chris ‘Pineapple’ Hooper could take over as the new Mayor of Rockhampton.

Rocky's accidental mayor after shock resignation

CHRIS 'PINEAPPLE' Hooper could take over the role as Rockhampton Mayor following Margaret Strelow's shock resignation yesterday afternoon.

The runner-up in this year's election appears set to take the office almost immediately as leader by default - but only should he accept.

It comes after changes to state legislation were revealed in June.

The new changes state a mayor or councillor would be replaced by the next highest polling candidate if they were to die or resign in the first 12 months of their term.

A by-election would be held in the middle part of the term, (13 to 36 months) and council would appoint the replacement if it was in the last part of the term (37 months to 48 months).

The changes were to be effective from October 12, 2020.

Mr Hooper revealed only moments ago that he had been in bed asleep prior to receiving The Morning Bulletin's call informing him of the news.

Both shocked and "buggered", he went on to confirm that if offered the position he would indeed accept.

RELATED: Strelow's conduct the subject of government investigation

RELATED: What happens to Rocky if Strelow can't serve?

RELATED: What would Pineapple do if he automatically became mayor?

LEADER: Chris Hooper is now Rockhampton’s acting Mayor by default.
LEADER: Chris Hooper is now Rockhampton’s acting Mayor by default.

"I don't really know what's going on here as far as it goes. I don't mind the idea of it. Rockhampton's got to be cleaned up, there's been rumours going around for a while."

"There's people in Rockhampton that aren't represented at all. Right now, it's all about developers and the big guys."

His first port of action would be to implement a board to oversee the region's councillors - similar to what Byron Bay Council uses.

"I'd be quite happy to do it. I was saying I'd get a board of people in, like in Byron Bay council. They do that now to administer the councillors and all that stuff," he said.

"It's not up to me, you need to bring people in, a board with ideas on how to run it equally for everyone."

Both climate change and unemployment rates would also receive immediate attention.

"Climate change has to be brought into it; we need to do stuff in Rocky."

"If you've got in Rocky 49 per cent of people that are unemployed, they have no say on the things that happen."

Mr Hooper now expects tomorrow to be a far busier day than what he initially had planned.

"I've just been sitting back, and thought if something happens, it happens. Looks like it's happened."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last month promised that a re-elected Labor government would seek to roll back legislative changes and revert to filling spots through by-elections

However, State Government has given no indication as to how quickly it will move to put the laws through parliament, though it is understood the matter would be determined by the next cabinet.

The Morning Bulletin has approached the Premier's office for comment, however has not yet recieved a response.

After seeking advice, Keppel MP Brittany Lauga told The Morning Bulletin more information would come to light tomorrow.

"Mayor Strelow's misconduct finding was a decision of the independent Councillor Conduct Tribunal," she said.

"The summary of decisions and reasons will be publicly available on the Department of Local Government website from tomorrow morning.

"The CCT decision can be appealed by Mayor Strelow through QCAT."


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