FOR the first time in more than 40 years Orange City Council could be left without a female councillor, with the fate of Greens candidate Sarah Buckingham still hanging in the balance.
The only female councillor Fiona Rossiter chose not to recontest her seat, and other female candidates failed to rate highly with voters, making Mrs Buckingham, as the highest placed female on a group ticket, the best hope of a female face on council.
The Greens group scored 9.66 per cent but with preferences still being counted leader Cr Neil Jones is uncertain whether Mrs Buckingham, wife of outgoing councillor Jeremy, will get over the line.
“It could go anywhere. It’s hard to predict below-the-line votes,” Mrs Buckingham said.
“I scrutinised last night and a lot went everywhere.”
Mrs Buckingham believes she and individual Gail Copping could still be in the running but is concerned women could be kept off the council for the first time since Margaret Stevenson was elected in 1971.
“We’re running a risk that for the first time in 41 years it could be an all-male council,” she said.
“It will come down to the wire.”
Cr Jones said it was highly likely there would be no women.
“I’m disappointed that the other groups didn’t put women higher,” he said.
“Had Jan Savage been offered a one or two position she would have been elected.
“Overall the calibre of candidates wasn’t high enough.”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding her future on council, Mrs Buckingham and Cr Jones were happy with the Greens results, although they had aimed for 10 per cent.
“The biggest disappointment is that Sarah is not going to be elected without preference distribution,” Cr Jones said.
“Some people are unable to separate local issues from federal issues ... that may have had an effect.”