Party pooper

VETERAN Stirling councillor Terry Tyzack says he’s concerned and disappointed by the “significant involvement of both major political parties” in the local government elections at Stirling and Bayswater.

“…councillors cannot serve two masters and this is a retrograde step reminiscent of the practices of the Burke era,” he says.

“The introduction of political agendas into local government decision making is not in the best interests of ratepayers.”

There’s a fair few Liberal and Labor party-aligned candidates running this time round, and the Liberal party’s Perth Division recently put out a newsletter to members urging them to support Team Blue candidates in Stirling (Jeremy Quinn), Bayswater (Ben Reale-Cornel, Michelle Sutherland and Mark Whitehouse) and Perth (Keith Yong, Judy McEvoy, Michael Sutherland and Natasha Tang).

But Bayswater councillor and Liberal party member Brent Fleeton says he’s fed up with the insinuation that political party membership is a negative thing.

“I reckon this broad subject is too often cast in a negative light, with some disgruntled suspects throwing shade at any active local who dares enter the arena after raising their colours as a member of a political party,” he wrote in a post on his councillor Facebook page.

He’s not up for election this year but he said he was sick of “passive digs in the local paper and on Facebook aimed at people who are members of a political party”.

Cr Fleeton says party membership can make you better at the job and only through “getting the help from our state and federal representatives of both political persuasions do we have any hope at all of solving some pretty serious issues we have locally”.

He says “We are linked with state politics due to the very nature of our job. We are governed by state legislation, our operations and costs are subject to changes in state legislation, and we often rely heavily on state funds. In turn, our state is heavily reliant on the swings in federal politics and of course the money from Canberra.

“If you think political parties and the politics that comes with them have no place in our council chamber, you need to realise the only way your local government can get anything serious done is through the major parties.

“It might be highlighting that a certain suburb may be missing out on its fair share of love in the budget, it might be inviting a federal MP to attend a sporting club so the volunteers can show firsthand if they had some extra funding from Canberra they could get more local kids involved in sport, or it might be an idea to reform the way the city operates in its basic service delivery to reduce costs to make rate capping achievable.”

by DAVID BELL

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