A FORMER City of Perth councillor has pulled out of the running for October’s elections after getting caught out by red tape.
Steve Hasluck served from October 2017 until the council was suspended in March 2018 and had flagged his intention to run again this year, but a day before nominations opened he revealed he’d been advised he was not qualified to stand.
“There was a form I omitted to complete by a critical date; this was my fault and I blame only myself for this error. We live and learn as they say,” Mr Hasluck said.
“There is nothing I can do for 2020 but I will be standing for council in October of 2021.”
Mr Hasluck ran at the last election as a resident, but he’s since bought another house in Mt Lawley and was unaware changing his primary residence automatically took him off the City of Perth roll.
He still owns the home within the City of Perth boundary, but needed to sign a separate form 50 days before the election to qualify to run as a property owner.
The Voice understands at least one other person who’d wanted to nominate is in the same predicament.
Mr Hasluck said he thought electoral officers might have raised that issue with him when he wrote to them about his nomination, but says he’s not about to start pointing the finger.
“The rules are the rules. They’re rules I’ve followed in my, so far, very short local government career. They’re there for a reason.
“I had come out of that inquiry clean as a whistle, there were no adverse findings against me,” he said of the Power inquiry into the City of Perth.
Mr Hasluck and two other sources told the Voice there were several candidates for this year’s election who had only signed leases in the last couple of days.
“That really is a flawed system that has to change. You can’t have people signing a lease on a Thursday and then qualifying to run for council on the Friday,” he said.
The Local Government Act requires those renters to have a right to occupy the rental properties “for at least the next three months”, but doesn’t set a minimum time for how long they’ve had to be there.
The Power inquiry criticised former councillors Keith Jong and Rob Butler for signing “sham leases” on offices they never intended to occupy but which entitled them to run for office. The council has since tightened up the rules to ensure it views all leases from prospective candidates.
by DAVID BELL