No place for election spite

FAIR FIGHT: West Australian Local Government Minister David Templeman and Western Australian Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie have called for respect to and from candidates in the election build-up.
FAIR FIGHT: West Australian Local Government Minister David Templeman and Western Australian Local Government Association president Lynne Craigie have called for respect to and from candidates in the election build-up.

With local government elections just around the corner, there has been a concerted call for all candidates to conduct themselves in a respectful manner in the lead-up.

Residents are given an opportunity to become a community leader every two years. Local government elections will be held across Western Australia on October 19, with postal ballots sent out late last month.

However, after a spike in online bullying and harassment of candidates by their competition and other members of the public in recent elections, conduct is set to be monitored closely.

The Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) is the peak industry body for the state's councils. President Lynne Craigie said respect to and from candidates was important.

"The last local government elections in 2017 saw some pretty nasty behaviour towards potential candidates, particularly online," she said.

"I urge everyone involved to remember we are all entitled to our opinions but need to ensure conversations and debate occur in a mature and respectful way.

"Candidates for election should be able to feel safe in expressing their thoughts and positions on issues relating to their potential role - and we should all remain respectful when our views and ideas differ from others."

West Australian Local Government Minister David Templeman said he hoped for more respect this time around.

"I urge all candidates, elected members and community members to show respect during the election campaign," he said.

"Bullying and nastiness is not acceptable and should be called out. I would hope that people putting themselves forward as candidates will conduct themselves in a respectful way and always have the best interests of their community in mind."

With hundreds of hopefuls to find out their fate on October 19, Ms Craigie said the successful candidates could make a big difference.

"Being an elected member is an immensely rewarding experience and one that I have totally enjoyed," she said.

"It is, however a great responsibility and requires significant commitment, both in terms of time and application of skills and knowledge."

Mr Templeman echoed Ms Craigie's thoughts.

"If you are engaging and communicating with your community well, you will be making decisions that are in the best interests of the community you represent," he said.

"When you are elected to local government, you are helping to create a community and you will be making decisions on behalf of us all."

For more, visit the Western Australian Electoral Commission website.