CANDIDATES, COME CLEAN
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.