Robert Van Der Reest – Mason Ward

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Comments as long-time observer of civic matters in Canning: 

Mr Van Der Reest’s bid for Council is something I find VERY hard to take seriously.  His mother is sitting Canning Cllr Margaret Hall, and her current husband, Michael (Mike) Hill is ALSO running for Canning council this month.

Is there a precedent for family members existing on council at the same time?  Yes, the City of Melville’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor are father and daughter – it should be noted the Mayor’s daughter, Rebecca Aubrey, a Liberal, has run for Parliament twice whilst being a councillor there.

But mum, dad/step dad and son/step son combo in Canning?  Its seems little more than crude attempts at vote splitting across two wards.

Vote splitting is an electoral effect in which the distribution of votes among multiple similar candidates reduces the chance of winning for any of the similar candidates, and increases the chance of winning for a dissimilar candidate.

Sitting Cllr Margaret Hall lives in Mason Ward, and has run and lost her bid to represent this ward several times (or her bid to be Mayor of Canning).  In 2015, in what she said would be her last shot, Ms Hall initially nominated for Mason, then removed her name and tacked it on to that of Nicholson Ward (which had fewer contestants), on the far side of Canning – a fact she avoids discussing.

I have always liked Ms Hall, but do not view her of high value to the City of Canning, nor a sophisticated political player.

I am regularly told Robert’s mum, Margaret, asks more questions [at Council] about Mason ward, specifically Bentley and the Bentley Regeneration Project, down the road from where she lives, than she does about the ward she supposedly represents.  Having her son representing the ward would be….. neato.

The commendable thing would have been for Ms Hall to try one last time to run for Mason ward (now) – instead her son, Robert Van Der Reest is offering himself up, while Ms Hall’s husband – who lives in Mason Ward with his wife – has put himself up for another ward entirely, and one where he clearly doesn’t live: Beeloo.

I don’t know of anybody who can take this sort of thing seriously, and Van Der Reest parking himself for contention in the ward his mother will not just adds to the already high number of people running for Mason, which dilutes the vote.

Worse, it is believed that Ms Hall’s fellow Cllr, Jesse Jacobs – Mason Ward’s current councillor – is also engaged in these embarrassing games, with what I believe to be his wife claiming to live in Canning Vale and now running for Nicholson Ward, instead of Mason (Jacobs and his wife and children live in East Cannington).  Jacobs wife is believed to have limited English skills (see Sherry Ai Hong Sun, Nicholson Ward), but I can’t be more sure as neither Ms Sun nor Jesse Jacobs will respond to questions – at election time!

Canning has struggled in the wake of being reinstated as a self-governing authority, after being “under administration” by the State Govt for three years – and the questionable calibre of talent and sheer number of today’s councillors on Canning who either have or will again run for Parliament, combined with a lack of experience in local govt (all have only two years’ each) can leave Canning a laughing-stock at times.  

My respects to Mr Van Der Reest for his recent recovery from serious illness, but I cannot see Canning’s desire to be seen as a modern, sophisticated Council is helped by two families attempting to control its $100m+ budget!

Even the local paper walked a middle line in this article on several members of Ms Hall’s family running for our council this month:

Note: this article actually says sitting Cllr Hall’s husband was “persuaded” to run for a ward he does not live in, so as not to compete with his wife’s son from a former marriage, Mr Van Der Reest, in this election!

Back to Mr Van Der Reest, the man who wants to represent Mason Ward, his limited electoral material (and availability thereof) gives the strong impression he has nothing additional to offer its residents.  See for yourself in the spiel that will appear on your voting package, below.

Van Der Reest as featured on postal voting papers HERE