Divisions fester as voters keep status quo

LOGAN HOWLETT has easily won a fourth term as Cockburn’s mayor with 44 per cent of the vote, with very little change in the council’s make-up despite a recent inquiry which exposed deep divisions.

Mr Howlett was up against three sitting councillors, with Chontelle Stone coming closest with 17 per cent, Philip Eva on 16.2 per cent and Michael Separovich on 10.75 per cent.

Chris Davies’ first foray into local politics saw him attract 11.6 per cent of the vote.

In the other wards, Crs Stone, Eva and Separovich were all returned, along with the veteran Kevin Allen, while Tarun Dewan is the only new face, taking East Ward in his third attempt.

Despite his recent regular appearances before the Local Government Standards Panel, Cr Separovich increased his 

ward vote this time around. He’ll also be buoyed by the fact that earlier this month the powerful State Administrative Tribunal overturned a swag of findings against him.

The SAT ruled that a number of social media posts which had offended community members were about events unrelated to council business, such as Black Lives Matter protests in the US, while his Facebook account was personal and not linked to his role on council.

But the lack of movement on council presents a problem for Mr Howlett, as several councillors have told the Herald the divisions that led to the inquiry are as deep as ever, with some councillors not on speaking terms.

by STEVE GRANT

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