A huge number of political party members are running for Vincent city council next month.
The Voice has made a point of asking all candidates if they are party members and so far everyone’s been open in declaring their affiliations.
All have said they are running independently and not as party-endorsed candidates.
Four candidates are Labor members: Cr John Carey, running for mayor, Emma Cole (north ward) and Laine McDonald (an ALP Legislative Council candidate in March) and Katrina Montaut (a former staffer for John Hyde) running for south ward.
Liberal Party member Rachel Naisbitt is running in north ward, as is Greens member Adam Duncan (a Greens senate candidate at the federal election). Communist Party president and trade unionist Vinnie Molina is running in south ward.
Independent councillor Matt Buckels, who is seeking re-election, reckons Vincent council works best when there are no more than four ALP members on it: “It’s not a criticism of the Labor party, but it’s better when it’s not stacked,” he says, while enthusiastically backing Cr Carey’s mayoral bid.
“If you’re in the ALP and somebody gives you a call from high up saying ‘we need you to vote this way’, you’re free not to, but it’s the end of your political career.”
Outgoing mayor Alannah MacTiernan says that is, “the biggest load of bollocks”.
She says unlike in NSW the ALP in WA does not endorse council candidates, nor direct members who are on councils how to vote.
Cr Carey says the party has never tried to influence his vote.
“Absolutely not,” he says.
“I am surprised that Matt Buckels has made that comment given that I’ve conducted myself with integrity and based each decision on the facts, and the statistics… there’s has been no outside influences.”
Ms MacTiernan, the new federal Labor MP for Perth who is also a former state MP and before that a Perth city councillor, says people interested in politics join parties and some of them run for council.
“It’s not a shameful thing to be a member of a political party,” she says. “People who join parties actually give a shit about government.”
by DAVID BELL