Harley rides into top slot

• Reece Harley and girlfriend Rebeka Major shortly after seeing he’d won top spot in the first count.

• Reece Harley and girlfriend Rebeka Major shortly after seeing he’d won top spot in the first count.

Newcomer Reece Harley has topped the field at the Perth city council elections, beating even seasoned veterans to nab the most votes and the first of four council seats up for grabs.

Mr Harley, 26, scored 17.68 per cent (1782 votes), followed by Cr Judy McEvoy, re-elected with 16.19 per cent (1632 votes), Cr James Limnios (14.42 per cent and 1453 votes) and another newcomer, Keith Yong (12.68 per cent, 1278 votes).

In the eight-horse race incumbent councillor Lyndon Rodgers—often a lone voice on the PCC—came seventh, well out of contention with 9.64 per cent (972 votes).

Cr Harley, a heritage buff who started the Crawley Rotary branch, is the second-youngest councillor to win office at the PCC (the first was Chas Hopkins who also started at 26 but was a few months younger. He went on to become lord mayor). 

Cr Harley credited his strong result to grassroots campaigning: Letterboxing flyers and personally doorknocking just about every house he could get to, including public housing tenants.

He says he’d grown up in a Homeswest property and was able to share his story with constituents, some of whom said they’d never had a political candidate knock on their door before (although one remembered Julie Bishop dropping by at a previous federal election). 

Cr Harley believes the changing demographics of the capital also helped his vote.

“We’re seeing more and more residents moving into the city and increasingly they’re my age demographic.”

He says campaigning is an expensive process: “I”m not a rich man, I’m probably your average joe when it comes to statistics. I’m a young guy and I’m not earning a lot of money… the costs are quite high, but obviously it’s worth it because now I’ve got this great opportunity to be able to contribute to the city and get involved in decision-making.”

Cr Harley’s mum Ros is a councillor across the border at Vincent, where she was elected deputy mayor on Tuesday, beating out Cr John Pintabona.

by DAVID BELL

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