CAN­DI­DATES, COME CLEAN

Eastern Reporter - - Opinion - ELLI PETERSEN-PIK MAY­LANDS

AS the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion ap­proaches, ‘trans­parency’ seems to be the word of the mo­ment.

But are can­di­dates re­ally be­com­ing more trans­par­ent, or is it just lip ser­vice?

Un­for­tu­nately, ex­ist­ing rules don’t re­quire can­di­dates to dis­close likely or po­ten­tial con­flicts of interest be­fore be­ing elected.

By the time we hear about them, it’s too late for peo­ple to change their votes.

As a can­di­date for South ward in the City of Bayswa­ter, I re­cently de­cided to dis­close (on my Face­book page “Im­prov­ing May­lands”) es­sen­tial in­for­ma­tion about me that I think ev­ery voter has the right to know be­fore the elec­tion.

This in­for­ma­tion in­cludes the sub­urb where I live, how many prop­er­ties I own in the City, what I do for liv­ing and my mem­ber­ship of any lo­cal groups.

I also de­clared any con­nec­tions to lo­cal busi­nesses, fi­nan­cial do­na­tions re­ceived and sup­port from ex­ist­ing coun­cil­lors, politi­cians or po­lit­i­cal par­ties that might have me owing them favours in re­turn.

Mak­ing such a dis­clo­sure was quite easy, as I don’t have any­thing to hide and lit­tle to de­clare.

I was hop­ing other can­di­dates would fol­low suit to set a new bar for the forth­com­ing elec­tion. Sadly, none has done so. We all crave for a cleaner kind of pol­i­tics.

But when so many in­ter­ests are at play and col­lab­o­ra­tion oc­curs be­hind the scenes, it appears that most can­di­dates will not share such in­for­ma­tion vol­un­tar­ily.

For real change to hap­pen, peo­ple will need to de­mand it.

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