All-gal vote a first

• Bayswater council’s inadvertent women-only voting session.

BAYSWATER council made a little history on Tuesday, when an item was voted through entirely by women.

Previously the council’s never had enough women to form a quorum—the minimum number of councillors needed to hold a vote.

But on Tuesday night councillor Chris Cornish was on leave, Elli Petersen-Pik was an apology, and mayor Dan Bull and Barry McKenna had to step out of the room after declaring an interest in an item about a proposed health studio in Morley.

That left councillors Lorna Clarke, Giorgia Johnson, Catherine Ehrhardt, Filomena Piffaretti, Stephanie Grey, Sally Palmer and Michelle Sutherland to vote.

Cr Piffaretti, who chaired the item in Cr Bull’s absence, posted on Facebook the next morning: “I am very honoured to represent the city of Bayswater community, a community which is progressive, inclusive and which values women.

“In just over 12 months, female representation on the Bayswater council has more than doubled, with seven out of the 11 councillors being women, a noticeable majority. In fact, since 1897, only 14 women have represented the city of Bayswater, compared to 212 males.”

Cr Piffaretti said it was a historic moment for the city.

“At a time where the Labor party is still working towards their aspiration of 50 per cent women representation in parliament and where the Liberal party insist their dismal number of women representatives is due to ‘merit’ principles, I think our female majority is something the people in the city of Bayswater should be proud of.  We are leading the way,” she posted.

“I’d also like to highlight how the two state MPs which represent the majority of the City of Bayswater area are also women; Amber-Jade Sanderson MLA and Lisa Baker MLA. Coincidence? I think not.”

“So watch out blokes, cause in the words of Beyoncé, “Girls Run the World! “

South Ward’s Cr Ehrhardt told the Voice: “Since south ward became a part of the City of Bayswater in 1998, I have watched our council steadily grow from just one female member to now seven.

“Whilst it is a long step from a truly diverse council, it is a major step in a positive direction for women in leadership roles,” Cr Ehrhardt said.

by DAVID BELL

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