Mayor pulls out of Labor hopeful’s gig

Cr criticises party politics in local govt.

BAYSWATER mayor Filomena Piffaretti has cancelled an appearance at a state Labor membership drive, while a fellow councillor has raised concerns about ongoing ‘politicisation’ of the mayoral role.

Cr Piffaretti, a Labor party member, was featured in a flyer advertising “A Dinner Dance for Marino Salinas’ WA Labor Membership Drive” held November 27 at the Filipino Australian Club of Perth, an effort to get member numbers up to support Mr Salinas’ bid to enter state politics.

VIP speakers were state Labor MPs Michelle Roberts, Margaret Quirk, and Cr Piffaretti, billed as “Filomena Pfaretti [sic], mayor, City of Bayswater”. 

Cr Elli Petersen-Pik raised concerns in a social media post on November 23, writing: “It is my general view that the mayor’s position, as well as all councillors’ positions, should not be used 

for party-political purpose. The position of mayor is a public role, paid for by the ratepayers, and its permitted functions are clear in the Local Government Act.

“I’ve been speaking about the politicisation of local governments and the involvement of state politics for several years now, which can sometimes include the promotion of state and federal politicians via municipal channels. 

“Most residents might not even notice it. 

“As an independent councillor, this concerns me a lot as I can see the possible influence on decision making (which is always something very hard to prove).”

Cr Piffaretti told the Voice via email: “Of course I get invited to Labor party events, I’m a member of the Labor party. 

“I didn’t attend the function – however, I always encourage everyone in our community, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, to participate fully in our civic, cultural and political life and I hope all my council colleagues would do the same.” 

Cr Piffaretti wouldn’t say why she pulled out or whether it was in response to Cr Petersen-Pik’s post. 

However internal correspond-ence obtained by the Voice shows Cr Piffaretti claiming “that event was misrepresented to me and as a result I am not attending”.

The cancelled event isn’t the first time Cr Piffaretti has been billed as mayor at a Labor event. In August she was listed as a VIP speaker at the launch of Mr Salinas’ campaign, again listed as “mayor of Bayswater city council” and speaking alongside Ms Roberts.

Cr Petersen-Pik said a member of the public had first raised concern with him over the mayor speaking at the membership drive, and he’s informally referred it to the council CEO for consideration.

by DAVID BELL

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