Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, community, election, local government, politics, western australia by freoview on August 31, 2016

The candidates’ forum of the Beaconsfield Ward by-election at the Hilton Bowling Club on Tuesday evening did not rock the boat but was still interesting for other reasons. One not often sees members of the Fremantle Society, FICRA and the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association at these suburban meetings and none of them were at the election forum in Beacy in October last year when I was a candidate.

That might have had to do with the fact that candidate Andrew Luobikis is a big supporter of these community groups, so they were clearly out there to support him and possibly are helping him with letterbox drops etc.

Candidate Hannah Fitzhardinge also had her Labor party supporters in the public, with even Simone McGurk turning up, as did Councillors Dave Hume, Dave Coggin and Rachel Pemberton.

The same issues always come up at these forums; crime, antisocial behaviour, maintenance, parking and shopping, communication, transparency and accountability, and rates.

It was a pretty positive forum though where Andrew Luobikis was the candidate who criticised Fremantle Council most, especially about Kings Square, poor decision-making and poor community consultation.

Fedele Camarda said Fremantle has the same problems other communities have and that he intended to consult and listen, if elected. He would be guided by people in his decision-making.

Fedele said there needed to be other forms of revenue raising for COF and it needed good budget management. He also said the ugly entry to the city for cruise ship passengers needed to be beautified.

Peter Cruickshank said the vibe and culture of Fremantle is attractive, but that the city needs to develop smart and well, and maintain its heritage. He wants better value for money for rates and tangible infrastructure. He would be asking a lot of questions and seek advise .

Peter also believes State Housing density in Fremantle needs to be reduced and spread out more. I want to do what is best for my family, Beacy and Fremantle, he said.

Andrew Luobikis said the City was giving away the family silver with the Kings Square Project and that it made poor planning decisions. The KS project will have a profound affect on the City’s finances, he claimed.

Andrew wants a fair share for Beaconsfield and rates capped at CPI. Council is accountable to its shareholders and community consultation is essential. He also said the police did little to stop crime in the area and that there was too much party politics at council level.

Hannah Fitzhardinge is the only female candidate for Beacy and she made the important point that 51% of the Fremantle popultation is female but that there are only two female Councillors. Only one in five leadership positions in Australia are taken up by women, she told us.

Hannah believes the City of Fremantle should become a more responsive organisation with real community engagement and that she would be asking the right questions at the right time. She said it was very important to find the common ground by bringing in the community early in the conversation, and I absolutely agree with her on this!

She said there needed to be a masterplan for Beaconsfield that included the so-called Bronx but also the former quarry site. Fremantle has a history of inclusiveness we need to continue.

Hannah believes that Fremantle deserves much more support and investment from State Government as it is more than just a local council because of our historic importance and tourist town. The burden for that should not be on the ratepayers alone and the State should pay its fair share.

Local government is about local people and should not be by political parties, Hannah stated.

And while all that was going on there were dancing classes and silver shoes next door. It was a very Freo and mainly positive evening where I was  especially impressed with the level headedness and positive attitude of Hannah Fitzhardinge.

Roel Loopers


9 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. martin said, on September 1, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Andrew Bolt is a strange comparison for you to use – but quite appropriate in this circumstance

  2. freoview said, on September 1, 2016 at 8:28 am

    There was no waffle or spin from Hannah Fitzhardinge, Jon. I was there. The three community groups I mentioned have become bery political and are basically anti Council and anti Greens, so I believe it is very valid to mention their support.
    Fitzhardinge was very adamant that political parties should stay out of council politics and she appeared a strong enough person to withstand pressure, and I have never found that Councillors Hume, Cogging, Wilson voted along Labor party lines at Fremantle Council, and even the Greens on Freo Council often don’t agree with one another and vote differently. It’s the community groups who have created the spin of party political influence at Fremantle Council, but I have detected none of it in the eight years I have attended council and committee meetings.
    And before you ask, no I am not a member or affiliated with the Greens.


  3. freoview said, on September 1, 2016 at 8:21 am

    As always I call it as I see it, Martin and don’t believe there is bias in my reporting. I can assure you also that no one influences what I write. I make up my own mind, try to inform myself as best as I can and summarise what I see and hear at Council and public events.
    Everyone has their own opinion on everything and I have mine and my blog will continue the way it has been published for nearly six years now, without fear or favour I think Andrew Bolt calls it.


  4. Andrew Luobikis (Beaconsfield Ward Candidate) said, on August 31, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Roel sorry you misread my reasons for standing. Independence for me and that of a City Councillor is about not supporting or being a financial member of political parties or driving their agenda. As you indicated The Fremantle Society, Fremantle Inner City Residents Associaton FICRA and Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association FRRA are all community volunteer groups. They do what the council are not doing and that is representing the community and keeping elected representatives and the council to account. Any support of individual citizens/community members is because they feel as strong as I do about true local representation without party politics. There is nothing to hide here and I felt no reason to link these great local volunteer organisation to the grubby world of politics. The residents who also support these groups are the Families, workers, singles, ratepayers, and renters that will be voting for change in the next elections. My door knocking indicates people are fed up with council focussing on State or Federal issues and feathering their own political careers when the local suburban issues are ignored. I do not think this is what the questioner was referring to when he asked about political affiliation. Drawing a long bow here one would think.
    My integrity is sound and I hope you now see that also. Thanks for coming down and reporting on the night. Cheers Andrew

  5. martin said, on August 31, 2016 at 6:16 pm


    When people refer to Independence in the context of local government elections they are referring to being Independent from the political parties that represent us at State and Federal elections. In other words, Independent from the Liberal, Labor and Greens Parties. Last time I looked, it does not mean they cannot have friends and family and other politically Independent people from helping them handing out pamphlets.

    Independence is important because it prevents major political parties from using local Councils to push their State and Federal political agendas, and means the focus stays only on local issues. Unfortunately Fremantle Council is currently jointly controlled by the Labor and Greens parties, and let’s not pretend otherwise.

    It is obvious to anyone that has even taking a fleeting glimpse at this by-election that we have a candidate that has been put up and supported by the Labor Party. That candidate has the resources and access to data that the other three Independent candidates simply do not have. This explains why one candidate is able to mail letters to all people on the electoral roll, while the other three candidates cannot even afford to buy the mailing list, never mind post letters!

    FRRA, FICRA and The Fremantle Society are local groups focussed only on local issues, and to try to infer that Andrew is not independent because these groups turn up and support him suggests quite a degree of bias in your reporting.

    We should be striving for an apolitical Council – we have a long, long way to go in Freo!

    I feel compelled to comment that the prose and tenses used in this article are strangely varied in some places, and often quite unlike your usual writing style. Some paragraphs quite casual, others very polished. It is obviously a very biased article, and that is your prerogative as the custodian of the blog, but there is something quite curious about this one…

    C’mon Roel, the conspiracy theorists out there would suspect a ghost writer was whispering in your ear in places… ;>)

  6. Jon said, on August 31, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Roel are you asking candidates to mention every community group they are a member of?

    I think Kevin’s statement or point is more directed to find out which candidates are backed by current councillors, or are supported by political parties or worse both as some of them work for sittings politicians or work in their offices

    As I have read, it seems lots of the Councillors are members of political parties which i understand this type of membership is quite low in the general public.

    Unless the community group has a political based support group, how can it be a bad thing to be a member of a community based group.

    Its clear that many of the current Freo council have strong political ties and are using this Councillor position as a stepping stone or training ground to further themselves.
    Unfortunately it seems the community of Fremantle finds itself on the short end of the stick, as it seems many issues are based around party political issues or several businesses.
    As we have seen in the last few weeks with issues that community has expressed strong feelings yet council has gone the other way.
    Australian Day

    Clearly Fremantle, needs some representation that is not pre-tainted with party politics or the mayors agenda.

    If someone is a member of a political party, and asked straight out this question, then waffles, or doesn’t answer the question and applies spin, clearly transparency isn’t a strong point with them, not exactly what the city needs more of, it has plenty of this as it is.

  7. Suzanne said, on August 31, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I agree with you Roel. Local Government should be apolitical and only serve local constituents, and although Hannah said that, she was supported by a heavy Labor contingent and she/we would be naive to think there would not be pressure placed upon her, no matter how genuine her comments were at the meeting. Twelve Years working with Geoff Gallop is a pretty good start.
    I do not understand your comment on Andrew Luobikis and Community Groups. Surely that is a plus and certainly not political. Bouquets to these volunteers working tirelessly for the good of Fremantle. You having done so yourself. Plus you have posted previously that Andrew has been a long time participant in all things Fremantle, whereas the others (excellent Candidates all, I might add)
    have only appeared for a by-election.

  8. freoview said, on August 31, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I did not feel Hannah was evasive, but Andrew should have expressed his support for those community groups, so his I am truly independent did not really cut it for me.
    Hannah quite clearly expressed that she did not believe party politics should be part of local government.


  9. Kevin Ingham said, on August 31, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I attended the Candidates Forum, which was very well run, and thought the Candidates presented well.
    The only aspect missing from your account of the evening, that I add I found disappointing, was that Hannah seemed very evasive when the Candidates were asked about representing Lobby Groups or Political Parties.
    The other three candidates appeared truly Independent, however, it required a follow-up question from the floor for Hannah to admit that she is running as the Labor Party candidate.
    A conflict that concerns me when Labor already has solid representation and interest at State and Federal levels.
    Councils should be apolitical and only serve local constituents.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: