Aldridge and Mayor go head to head

Aldridge and Mayor go head to head

Canning Mayor Patrick Hall apologised to council on March 15.

The result of the City of Canning’s 2021 local government election has been put to rest, after Shelly ratepayer Richard Aldridge withdrew his court action to have the election result overturned.

Mr Aldridge lodged a section 4.80 application before the Court of Disputed Returns, alleging that the endorsement of several candidates by City of Canning Mayor Patrick Hall breached the role of Mayor as defined in s2.8 of the Local Government Act (LGA) 1995.

During the election, Mr Hall used his Facebook page Mayor Patrick Hall – City of Canning to endorse candidates Hardeep Singh, Steve Parkinson and Paul Tucek.

All three candidates were subsequently successful in their election campaigns.

Mr Aldridge contended that by using his page tagged as Mayor, Mr Hall had unfairly influenced the democratic process.

However on February 7, Mr Aldridge appeared before the Court of Disputed Returns and formally withdrew his complaint.

Mr Hall said he believed that the City of Canning’s 2021 local government election was conducted fairly, was robust and well run.

“In my opinion the action taken by Mr Aldridge was ill-informed given that the endorsement of candidates is common place across all levels of government,” he said.

“We are a democracy after all.

“I am disappointed that Mr Aldridge has taken every available opportunity to publicly espouse his unfounded claim that the election result should be set aside, and continued to air the allegations despite ample evidence available to the contrary.

“It is not my place to question the motive behind the court action taken by him, but I am pleased that the dismissal of the matter by the Court of Disputed Returns has finally put this unnecessary matter to bed.”

However Mr Aldridge said Mr Hall had misrepresented his reason for withdrawing the application.

“It’s not quite accurate,” he said.

“I made an application to change the complainant from Richard Aldridge through to the Resident’s Association, and it was outside the 28-day timeframe, they could not accept the new application.

“I came to the realisation that if it was Richard Aldridge versus the City of Canning, it would probably cost me $50 to $100,00, I’m just a ratepayer, I’m not willing to do that.

“So it was dead in the water, not because of a lack of a case, but because of a lack of finances.

“If it happens again, if the public office of Mayor is used for private political use, I’ll be making my application with the Court of Disputed Returns through an Association.”

The October 2021 election resulted in 17,629 electors voting for their preferred candidate, representing 31.49 per cent of the population.

Seats contested were in Bannister, Beeliar, Beelo, Mason and Nicholson wards.