THE Greens held their local state election launch at the Fremantle Art Centre last weekend—two years after the council refused permission for a candidates’ forum at the venue, claiming political events were not allowed there.
Quizzed on the apparent backflip, council CEO Graeme Mackenzie says the ban is only for council-related political events and not state or federal events.
He says “our legislation is very clear about council’s independence from the council elections process” and claims the council has “strong policies” about the use of council resources in the lead up to council elections. He did not provide details about the “legislation” or “strong policies”.
Under Mr Mackenzie’s interpretation, the Fremantle Town Hall could never be used for a council candidates’ forum because it is a council-owned building.
The event disallowed two years ago was a candidates’ forum organised by the local arts centre precinct: It was not to support any one of the three city ward candidates. The event was relocated to a nearby tennis club.
Incumbent councillor Andrew Sullivan, who chairs the council’s powerful planning committee, is the Greens candidate for Fremantle.
He had no specific recollection of the ban two years ago as he and 200-plus supporters boogied to local bands.
“It was a standard commercial transaction, totally considered by both parties,” he shrugged of his hiring of the arts centre.
“We paid the same rate everyone is charged.”
As usual, the bar was run by the centre with profits going back into its own coffers for heritage upkeep. The Chook’s mole on the dance floor spotted a range of styles from spritely lindy hoppers right through to a few funky Gangnamers.
by JENNY D’ANGER