Murder accused campaigns for council re-election

Savannah Meacham |

Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden says he has been endorsed by the state government and community to stand again.
Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden says he has been endorsed by the state government and community to stand again.

A Gold Coast councillor charged with murder has defended his decision to run for re-election after a state MP described his candidacy as “completely irresponsible”.

Ryan Bayldon-Lumsden is accused of murdering his 58-year-old stepfather at the family’s Arundel home on August 23, 2023.

After being charged, the councillor he was released on bail before being suspended from the Gold Coast City Council six months ago.

But that hasn’t stopped the 32-year-old from campaigning for re-election as an independent, rather than the LNP, in the council’s Division 7 electorate ahead of the local government poll on Saturday.

Wearing an ankle monitor concealed by his trousers, he was seen smiling, shaking hands and hugging voters outside an early polling centre at Runaway Bay on Friday.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden said his run for re-election had been endorsed by the state government and local community.

“I know the community has their say, that’s the point of an election and they’ll make the right decision whatever the outcome is,” he told AAP.

“That’s the point of democracy.

“It’s up to the voters now who they want as their representative.”

Sam O'Connor
State MP Sam O’Connor says Mr Bayldon-Lumsden should not run for re-election. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

State MP Sam O’Connor said if the incumbent councillor truly cared about his community, he would not have put his hand up for re-election.

“It’s completely irresponsible,” the LNP MP for the nearby seat of Bonney told AAP.

“I don’t want this to be what our area is known for. It is not what something that someone who cared about people would do.

“I’ve seen first-hand the impact of (the suspension) as we haven’t had anyone advocating within the council and have been missing out the last six months.”

But Mr Bayldon-Lumsden said the now-Queensland premier told him that he could run for re-election.

His local community has been without representation since he was suspended with pay in September 2023 by then local government minister Steven Miles, who is now premier.

Mr Miles said Mr Bayldon-Lumsden would likely be suspended again if re-elected.

“The (local government) minister will have to consider all of the appropriate factors in determining whether to suspend him again,” he told reporters on Friday.

“But my view, having been the minister who last made this decision, is that he would need to be suspended given the circumstances.”

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden did not comment on the possibility of further suspension if he was to be re-elected.

“Democracy should be the priority so when people have their say that should be respected,” he said.

Several voters told AAP they were unaware Mr Bayldon-Lumsden had been charged with murder.

But those who did said he was “innocent until proven guilty” and endorsed his candidacy.

Joe Wilkinson
Rival candidate Joe Wilkinson says voters need to know about Mr Bayldon-Lumsden’s murder charge. (Savannah Meacham/AAP PHOTOS)

Rivals were quick to alert voters of the murder charge and suspension on Friday.

“There is a big elephant in the room that people need to be aware of, so I’m trying to make sure, respectfully, that people know that,” candidate Joe Wilkinson said.

Another candidate, Jenna Schroeder, criticised her rival’s decision to run again, saying the community had been without representation for months.

“I understand why people want to support Ryan as a person but as a candidate, I don’t think it is worth risking our representation,” she said.

Mr Bayldon-Lumsden became the youngest-ever Gold Coast councillor when was elected at age 27 in 2020.

More than 3.5 million Queenslanders are enrolled to vote in Saturday’s local government poll.

Mayors and councillors are up for election across Queensland’s 77 local governments.