Former member for Wide Bay Warren Truss
Former member for Wide Bay Warren Truss Renee Albrecht

AEC policy leaves Wide Bay seat vacant

THE WIDE BAY region's federal seat will remain empty for the next few weeks thanks to a combination of electoral policy and the retirement of previous member Warren Truss.

While the common practice during the election process is for the incumbent to maintain their seat until it's officially declared, Mr Truss's resignation has resulted in the seat of Wide Bay being empty since May 9.

Llew O'Brien, who polls suggest will claim the seat, said the delay means the there is no current representative for the people to access at the moment.

"From my understanding the staff are still there, so people still have access to quality staff, but it's just a fact there's no member at the moment."

According to the AEC's Lisa Bradford, the delay is the result of a Australia Electoral Commission policy which requires the polls to remain open for an extended period after the votes are cast.

"(It's) the normal time because the ballots need to remain open until we receive all of the postals and pre-polls from other divisions, and the legislation requires us to leave that open for 13 days post polling day," she said.

"So we can't finalise the counting until after that 13th day. Following that we need to do a distribution of preferences to establish the successful candidate, and that takes approximately a week."

Gympie Times

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