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Report of the Inquiry into the Lord Mayor .pdf



Original filename: Report-of-the-Inquiry-into-the-Lord-Mayor.pdf
Title: Report of the inquiry into the Lord Mayor of the City of Perth
Author: Department of Local Government and Communities ( DLGC )

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Report of the Inquiry
into the Lord Mayor of the
City of Perth Ms Lisa Scaffidi
Authorised Inquiry under Part 8 Division 1 of
the Local Government Act 1995 (WA)
May 2016

Contents
1. Introduction .......................................................................................................... 1
2. Relevant Statutory Obligations ........................................................................... 3
2.1. Lodging Annual Returns and declaring gifts and contributions to travel .......... 3
2.2. Prohibited gifts ................................................................................................. 4
2.3. Disclosure of interests ..................................................................................... 5
2.4. Minor Breaches................................................................................................ 5
2.5. List of incidents of travel .................................................................................. 6
2.5.1. 2008 .......................................................................................................... 6
2.5.2. 2009 .......................................................................................................... 8
2.5.3. 2010 .......................................................................................................... 9
2.5.4. 2011 ........................................................................................................ 11
2.5.5. 2012 ........................................................................................................ 12
2.5.6. 2013 ........................................................................................................ 13
2.5.7. 2014 ........................................................................................................ 14
2.5.8. Australian Press Council ......................................................................... 15
2.6. Other matters ................................................................................................. 16
2.6.1. Late submission of Annual Return .......................................................... 16
2.7. Consideration of responses ........................................................................... 16
2.8. Public Interest Factors ................................................................................... 17
3. Conclusion and recommendation..................................................................... 19
Schedule of Alleged Breaches .............................................................................. 20

1. Introduction
1.

Section 8.3 of the Local Government Act 1995 (WA) (“the Act”) gives the
Director General of the Department of Local Government and Communities
(“the Department”) the authority to inquire into all local governments and their
operations and affairs.

2.

The Director General may, by written authorisation, authorise a person to
inquire into and report on any aspect of a local government or its operations
or affairs.

3.

On 26 November 2015 the Director General authorised an inquiry in
accordance with section 8.3(2) of the Act:
“to inquire into and report on whether the Lord Mayor of the City of
Perth, Ms Lisa Scaffidi, complied with Division 6 of Part 5 of the Act
and regulations 11 and 12 of the Local Government (Rules of Conduct)
Regulations 2007 (WA) in relation to:
a)

each gift received by Ms Scaffidi; and

b)

each financial or other contribution that was made to any
travel undertaken by Ms Scaffidi, including
accommodation incidental to a journey,

between 1 January 2008 and 12 October 2015 (inclusive of both those
dates).”
4.

This report on the outcome of the inquiry has been compiled in accordance
with section 8.13 of the Act by the three officers of the Department who were
authorised to conduct the inquiry ("the authorised persons").

5.

In order to perform their functions, the authorised persons issued three
directions to the City of Perth ("the City") under section 8.5 of the Act to
provide documents, information or property. The City complied with each of
those directions.

6.

On 16 February 2016, the authorised persons extended an invitation through
her solicitors to the Lord Mayor of the City of Perth, Ms Lisa Scaffidi ("Mayor
Scaffidi"), to attend a voluntary interview at the Department's offices. On
24 February 2016, Mayor Scaffidi's solicitors informed the authorised persons
that Mayor Scaffidi had declined that invitation.

Report of the Inquiry into the Lord Mayor of The City of Perth Ms Lisa Scaffidi – Page 1

7.

Mayor Scaffidi was also given the opportunity to comment on this report in
draft form before it was finalised, and provided written submissions. Those
submissions were considered by the authorised persons and form part of this
report.

8.

Within the period falling within the terms of reference ("the inquiry period"), the
authorised persons identified:
(a)

Sixty-five (65) instances of overseas travel by Mayor Scaffidi; and

(b)

Forty-seven (47) instances of domestic intrastate and interstate travel
by Mayor Scaffidi,

comprising of one hundred and twelve (112) instances of travel in total.
9.

10.

Of those instances, all but thirty three (33):
(a)

were funded solely by Mayor Scaffidi; or

(b)

involved a contribution made to travel from Commonwealth, State or
local government funds which did not need to be disclosed under
section 5.83 of the Act; or

(c)

were disclosed by Mayor Scaffidi in accordance with the Act.

This report addresses the remaining 33 instances of travel and some other
gifts in the context of Mayor Scaffidi’s obligations:
(a)

to disclose gifts and contributions to travel;

(b)

to refrain from accepting prohibited gifts;

(c)

to disclose interests affecting impartiality; and

(d)

to lodge her Annual Returns on time.

11.

Notice was given by the authorised persons under section 8.4(2) of the Act in
respect of the last two of those matters.

12.

The instances of travel and other gifts are addressed in chronological order,
with the exception of the Australian Press Council matters.

13.

In this report, all references to statutory provisions are references to the Act
unless otherwise stated.

Page 2 – Report of the Inquiry into the Lord Mayor of The City of Perth Ms Lisa Scaffidi

2. Relevant Statutory Obligations
14.

Mayor Scaffidi was first elected to the City’s Council at an extraordinary
election held on 8 July 2000. Mayor Scaffidi was later elected as Lord Mayor
of the City at the ordinary election held on 20 October 2007 and remained
Lord Mayor throughout the inquiry period.

15.

Mayor Scaffidi's statutory obligations relevantly remained the same throughout
the inquiry period. The changes made to those obligations by the City of Perth
Act 2016 (WA) sections 35 and 36 do not apply to the inquiry period.

2.1. Lodging Annual Returns and declaring gifts and
contributions to travel
16.

During the inquiry period Mayor Scaffidi was required to lodge an Annual
Return with the City's CEO by 31 August each year, in accordance with
section 5.76(1). Each of those Annual Returns was to disclose information
relevant to the year ending on 30 June, immediately before the Annual Return
was required to be lodged ("the return period").

17.

For example, in the Annual Return that Mayor Scaffidi was required to lodge
by 31 August 2014:
(a)

the disclosures in that Annual Return were to relate to the year
commencing on 1 July 2013 and ending on 30 June 2014; and

(b)

that year was the return period for that Annual Return.

18.

Under section 5.78, each Annual Return is required to disclose information
relating to various matters set out more fully in sections 5.79 to 5.86. For the
purposes of this inquiry, only sections 5.82 and 5.83 are relevant.

19.

Under section 5.82, Mayor Scaffidi was required to disclose in her Annual
Return certain information about any gift she had received during the return
period which:
(a)

exceeded $200 in value (calculated to include the value of any other
gift received from the same donor during the return period); and

(b)

was not given to her by a relative.

Report of the Inquiry into the Lord Mayor of The City of Perth Ms Lisa Scaffidi – Page 3

20.

For the purposes of section 5.82, the term "gift" is broadly defined but does
not include any financial or other contribution to travel. Contributions to travel
are the subject of section 5.83.

21.

Under section 5.83, Mayor Scaffidi was required to disclose in her Annual
Return certain information about any financial or other contribution to travel,
including accommodation incidental to a journey, received by her during the
return period and which:

22.

(a)

exceeded $200 in value (calculated to include the value of any other
contribution received from the same donor during the return period);
and

(b)

was not made to her:
(i)

from Commonwealth, State or local government funds;

(ii)

by a relative;

(iii)

in the ordinary course of an occupation of Mayor Scaffidi which
was not related to her duties as a council member; or

(iv)

by a political party of which Mayor Scaffidi was a member where
the travel was undertaken for the purpose of political activity of
the party, or to enable Mayor Scaffidi to represent the party.

Failure to lodge an Annual Return by 31 August in the relevant year, or to
disclose a gift or contribution to travel as required by the Act, was an offence
and constitutes a serious breach under sections 5.102A and 5.105(3).

2.2. Prohibited gifts
23.

Under regulation 12(1) and (2) of the Local Government (Rules of Conduct)
Regulations 2007 (WA) (“the Regulations”), Mayor Scaffidi was prohibited
from accepting a gift from a person worth $300 or more (calculated to include
the value of any other gift received from that person within a six month period)
who:
(a)

was undertaking or seeking to undertake; or

(b)

who it was reasonable to believe was intending to undertake,

an activity:
(c)

that could not be undertaken without an authorisation from the City; or

(d)

by way of a commercial dealing with the City.

Page 4 – Report of the Inquiry into the Lord Mayor of The City of Perth Ms Lisa Scaffidi

The acceptance of such a prohibited gift constituted a minor breach under
sections 5.104(1) and 5.105(1).

2.3. Disclosure of interests
24.

Under regulation 11 of the Regulations, Mayor Scaffidi was required to
disclose the nature of any interest she had in a matter to be discussed at a
council or committee meeting she attended:
(a)

that could, or could reasonably be perceived to, adversely affect her
impartiality, including an interest arising from kinship, friendship or
membership of an association; and

(b)

was not an interest referred to in section 5.60 (that is, a direct or
indirect financial interest or a proximity interest held by Mayor Scaffidi
or a person with whom she was closely associated, as those terms are
defined by sections 5.60A, 5.60B, 5.61 and 5.62),

unless:

25.

(c)

she did not know that she had an interest in the matter; or

(d)

she did not know that the matter would be discussed at the meeting
and Mayor Scaffidi declared the interest as soon as possible after the
discussion began.

The disclosure had to take place in writing to the City's CEO before the
meeting or at the meeting immediately before the matter was discussed.
Failure to make a disclosure required by regulation 11 constituted a minor
breach under sections 5.104(1) and 5.105(1).

2.4. Minor Breaches
26.

Any complaint of a minor breach must be made within two years of the minor
breach occurring: see sections 5.104(1), 5.105(1)(a), 5.107(4), 5.108(3) and
5.109(2). After that time has expired, it is no longer possible under the Act to
make a complaint about the minor breach.

Report of the Inquiry into the Lord Mayor of The City of Perth Ms Lisa Scaffidi – Page 5


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