Questions ‘offend’ Searle


Mayor Owen Searle said she would have appreciated having Cr Dewhurst’s concerns raised privately first.  Picture: Jon Hewson         www.communitypix.com.au   d445398
Mayor Owen Searle said she would have appreciated having Cr Dewhurst’s concerns raised privately first. Picture: Jon Hewson        www.communitypix.com.au d445398

Councillor Glenn Dewhurst asked 11 questions in relation to the issue at an ordinary council meeting last week.

Ms Searle owns properties in Kenwick and Canning Vale. Her Canning Vale property is in the City of Canning.

She put her residence down as Kenwick but Cr Dewhurst questioned whether she had made an inappropriate mayor declaration.

He asked how much time she spent at her Canning Vale property.

Ms Searle said such attacks would not benefit ratepayers.

“I would have appreciated Cr Dewhurst’s concerns being raised quietly and privately before being aired publically in the chamber,” she said.

“Since I believe that no offence has taken place, I respect Cr Dewhurst’s right to take this issue to any higher authority where I will be given the opportunity to defend my actions.

“What I swore to in October was to fulfil the duties of the Mayor faithfully, honestly and with integrity. I will therefore, at this time, be making no further comments on this matter.”

Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie said the City did not administer the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005 and did not investigate alleged offences in relation to the Criminal Code.

“At present, there is an allegation which has been denied. Elected members do not stand down on the basis of allegations,” he said.

“The Local Government (Constitution) Regulations require elected members taking office to declare a residential address. The allegation is that this declaration was given using incorrect information.

“To provide incorrect information under oath is an offence against Section 85 of the Criminal Code.”

When asked what the consequences were if a councillor did not put their primary residence on their mayoral declaration, a spokesperson for the Department of Local Government said:

“When a matter such as this arises, it would appear there has been no breach of the Local Government Act.

“The Department of Local Government and Communities has not been made aware of this situation happening in the past.”

Cr Dewhurst said he would pursue the matter.