AS the local government election approaches, ‘transparency’ seems to be the word of the moment.
But are candidates really becoming more transparent, or is it just lip service?
Unfortunately, existing rules don’t require candidates to disclose likely or potential conflicts of interest before being elected.
By the time we hear about them, it’s too late for people to change their votes.
As a candidate for South Ward in the city of Bayswater, I recently decided to disclose (on my Facebook page “Improving Maylands”) essential information about me that I think every voter has the right to know before the election.
This information includes the suburb where I live, how many properties I own in the city, what I do for living, and my membership of any local groups.
I also declared any connections to local businesses, financial donations received, and support from existing councillors, politicians or political parties that might have me owing them favours in return.
Making such a disclosure was quite easy, as I don’t have anything to hide and little to declare.
I was hoping that other candidates would follow suit, to set a new bar for the forthcoming election.
Sadly, no other candidate has done so.
We all crave for a cleaner kind of politics.
But when so many interests are at play and collaboration occurs behind the scenes, it appears that most candidates will not share such information voluntarily.
For real change to happen, people will need to demand it.
Kelvin Street, Maylands
I WANTED to publicly thank councillor John Rifici for his service to Maylands, South Ward and the city of Bayswater.
He has been a visionary and served the community well.
Setting up Rifo’s Café in 1999 with excellent food and coffee was the beginning of life as we know it in Maylands.
I believe that we can thank him for the thriving culture that exists today.
Then four years ago he took on the public duty of being the councillor for South Ward.
I have been privileged to see him work for our community on many levels and was very proud of his vote for divestment, getting this important decision across the line.
Now as he leaves council, I wanted to sincerely thank him for his contribution to Maylands and the city of Bayswater.
His service to the community by serving on council is significant.
Central Avenue, Maylands
Ed note: Robyn Walsh is a candidate for Bayswater’s south ward.
Congratulations, Elli Petersen-Pik! You’ve won our letter of the week competition and a $50 lunch voucher from The Terrace Hotel Restaurant, 237 St Georges Terrace. If you would like to be in the running for letter of the week, make sure you email us your ripper at email@example.com.