Social media has changed the game for local govt elections, says City of Melville mayor

Mandurah MLADavid Templeman has called for more to be done for gender equality.
Mandurah MLADavid Templeman has called for more to be done for gender equality.

A TENSE build-up to Saturday’s council elections has prompted a review from the State Government.

Local Government Minister David Templeman said he had been shocked by reports of online bullying and a lack of respect by both candidates and community members.

“I am currently working on a review of the Local Government Act, which includes a code of conduct, but that will only apply to elected members,” he said in a statement.

“The behaviour of candidates and community members is something which everyone must work together to improve.”

Mr Templeman has also called a round-table meeting with the Western Australian Local Government Association, the Western Australian Electoral Commission and the Minister for Electoral Affairs to discuss the recent local government election campaigns.

“There are some states that have successfully introduced reforms, which have reduced the types of behaviour we have seen in the lead- up to these council elections and I am looking to pursue those further,” he said.

Melville Mayor Russell Aubrey – personally involved in six council election campaigns – said social media had changed the game, offering anyone a forum.

“Right now candidates can make suggestions and accusations and elected members just have to wear them,” he said.

A record number of candidates – 1388 – nominated for this year’s local government elections, but Mr Templeman said he was disappointed only 481 were female.

Just seven of the 46 candidates for popularly elected mayor or president positions were women.

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