Voter numbers up as former State politicians enjoy mixed success in local government elections

Voter numbers up as former State politicians enjoy mixed success in local government elections

MORE: Big spike in voter turnout in Perth local government elections

PERTH citizens are becoming increasingly involved in their local communities, with voter turnout up across the board in this year’s local government elections.

During the campaign we urged all voters to play their part and you have responded admirably, with voter turnout up throughout Perth.

The average participation rate for metropolitan councils at the 2015 local government elections was 25.9 per cent.

This year that figure should be considerably higher, with some metro local government areas recording jumps of more than 10 per cent.

The Western Australian Electoral Commission conducted elections for 89 of the State’s local councils, with an overall participation rate of approximately 34.5 per cent – up from 27.5 per cent two years ago.

“While I would like to see the rate go up even more, this is a pleasing increase on recent elections,” Electoral Commissioner David Kerslake said.

“Local Governments continue to play a very important role and it is great to see more electors getting out to have their say in who governs their local community.”

The City of Fremantle recorded a massive spike in voter participation, with 46.8 per cent of eligible voters having their say compared to 30.9 at the 2015 elections.

Dr Martin Drum, a senior lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Notre Dame, credited the increased Fremantle turnout to discourse on contentious issues this year.

“I think the turnout reflected the heat of debate around local issues,” Dr Drum said.

“So much of local government is predicated on what is being debated.

“In Fremantle, which had the second-highest (turnout) across the whole state, there was that debate over Australia day – the current council being under the gun for it (changing the date).

“The main mayoral contender promised to reverse that decision.

“So there was a fairly stark choice for voters.

“Fremantle has also had fairly fierce debate over the future of business, issues of development.”

The City of Fremantle re-elected incumbent mayor Brad Pettitt.

The elections delivered some big surprises elsewhere.

In the City of Swan, mayor Mick Wainwright lost his council seat to Shalom House founder Peter Lyndon-James, who made some startling admissions on his Facebook page during his campaign.

“I have spent 26 years of my life in and out of jails and institutions starting from the age of nine, and had a criminal record longer than most,” he wrote.

Other mayors to fall included Marina Vergone in Mandurah, losing out to Rhys Williams, while in Mosman Park Ron Norris lost to Brett Pollock.

In Stirling, former Mayor Adam Spagnolo was returned to the council.

Former state politicians made much of the news in the lead-up to the election and enjoyed mixed fortunes.

Former Liberal MP Albert Jacob is the new mayor of Joondalup, beating another former Lib in Rob Johnson.

Peter Abetz was elected to City of Gosnells council and, nine years after leaving Wanneroo council to become a State MP, former Wanneroo MLA Paul Miles was returned.

But there was less joy for Michael Sutherland, Frank Alban and Chris Hatton – all former MPs who failed on Saturday.

Dr Drum said he had been interested to see how the former state politicians had fared.

“Really, they had a mixed bag in terms of their outcomes,” Dr Drum said.

“It’s a really good chance to see how personally popular these politicians are – because they’re running previously under the party banner and the fortunes were tied to the fortunes of their party.”

This year also saw the election of some young councillors, with 19-year-old law student Jason Russell elected in Mundaring’s West ward.

And in Mosman Park, 21-year-old Georgie Carey was elected to council.

Read Community News’ extensive coverage of the Perth local government elections below:

ARMADALE: Mix of returning and new councillors in City of Armadale

BASSENDEAN: City of Bayswater mayor McKenna returned

BAYSWATER: Bassendean voters opt for big changes

BELMONT: Incumbents re-elected in City of Belmont local government election

CANNING: Voter turn out up in City of Canning, as just 4 votes separate council candidates in Beeloo ward

CLAREMONT: Respected Mayor Jock Barker returned for third term

COCKBURN: Two new faces join council in local government elections

EAST FREMANTLE: Mayor Jim O’Neill to return for another term

COTTESLOE: Philip Angers defeats Sandra Boulter for Mayoral position

FREMANTLE: Brad Pettitt re-elected as Freo mayor

GOSNELLS: Former State Liberal MP Abetz elected to City of Gosnells council

JOONDALUP: Former Ocean Reef MLA Albert Jacob elected Joondalup mayor

KALAMUNDA: City of Kalamunda Mayor Andrew Waddell booted

MANDURAH: City of Mandurah election: Williams wins Mayor

MELVILLE: Two new faces to grace City of Melville council

MOSMAN PARK: Georgie Carey (21) breaks the mould with election to council

MUNDARING: Shire of Mundaring president David Lavell returned, while 19-year-old Jason Russell also elected

MURRAY: Incumbent president Maree Reid only sitting Shire of Murray councillor returned in election

PERTH: Lisa Scaffidi lets fly at WA Labor critics

ROCKINGHAM: Rockingham council elections: Four out of five councillors keep seats

SOUTH PERTH: Three new councillors elected to City of South Perth council

STIRLING: End of an era at City of Stirling with Terry Tyzack out after more than 40 years on council

STIRLING: Former Stirling mayor Adam Spagnolo returned to council

SUBIACO: City of Subiaco: Penny Taylor becomes mayor after winning election

SWAN: Shalom House boss Peter Lyndon-James ousts City of Swan mayor Mick Wainright in council election

VICTORIA PARK: Female representation doubles in Town of Victoria Park following council election

VINCENT: Women outnumber men after local government election

WANNEROO: Two new faces elected to City of Wanneroo council