Stirling council rejects revealing political party ties

City of Stirling's council office.
City of Stirling's council office.

STIRLING councillors have rejected a call to publicly disclose political party affiliations.

More than half of the councillors at Tuesday night’s meeting declared impartial interests as they were members of a political party – mayor Mark Irwin and Crs David Lagan, Karlo Perkov, Joe Ferrante, Elizabeth Re and Suzanne Migdale.

However, Cr Stephanie Proud failed to get majority support for her motion, which would have required councillors to reveal if they were a member of a political party and which one.

The motion also sought to require councillors to disclose if they were employed by a party or elected representative, an immediate family member was an elected member or had union membership, with admissions listed on the City of Stirling’s website.

It aimed to change the City’s code of conduct before the October 2019 local government elections

Cr Re argued councillors without party membership could still be aligned while Cr Migdale said her job was to advocate for residents no matter what political party they supported and believed knowledge of her personal beliefs would not benefit them.

The motion also drew strong opposition from Cr Karlo Perkov, who said it would politicise local government and did not think councillors’ party affiliations were relevant.

“We don’t need this. It’s taking us in the wrong direction,” he said.

Cr Adam Spagnolo said it was outside the City’s scope and too late in the process of the State Government’s Local Government Act review.

“All you’re doing is making our lives a lot more difficult,” he said.

But Cr Proud argued it was “nothing sinister” and would help increase transparency.

“If it’s out there, then no one can accuse you of anything,” she said.

Cr Giovanni Italiano agreed party affiliations should be made public.

“We as councillors should have nothing to hide,” he said.

“Politics shouldn’t really be involved in what we do.”

Only Crs Keith Sargent, Proud and Italiano supported the proposal, though Cr Ferrante agreed union memberships should be disclosed.

Politicians who started as local government councillors include Premier Mark McGowan, Perth MLA John Carey, Balcatta MLA David Michael and Moore MHR Ian Goodenough, while Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob was elected after losing his seat in the 2017 State Election.

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