Freo's View


Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, western australia by freoview on September 3, 2016

There is an air of desperation in the latest blog post by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt titled Soggy Dogs, who is clearly shaken by the negative reaction to the Freo fireworks debacle.

The Mayor argues that the cancellation of the Australia Day fireworks is all about giving people a choice, and that is why presumably the Mayor and Freo Council will do a huge backflip and now consider fireworks paid for by the Fishing Boat Harbour Traders no longer culturally insensitive to our Noongar people, as it was two weeks ago when Council cancelled the City’s fireworks.

The Freo Mayor argues that it is about choice and compares it with the choice we have to either ride a bike or car into town, or the choice to buy a mansion or a small apartment, or the choice of having a soggy hotdog or baked spud at the footy.

But we always had that choice on Australia Day, Mr Mayor, as we have a choice in everything we do during our lifetime! We know that every choice we make affects other people, and it is that sensitive awareness that hopefully helps us making more good choices than bad ones.

I choose for many years to go to the Survival Concert on the Perth Esplanade on Australia Day and hang out with blackfellas. I choose to go to the Fremantle Esplanade citizenship ceremony and celebrations, but leave town before the fireworks start, but while living at Arthur Head I also organised Australia Day parties for the Fremantle Society and neighbours and friends.

We always had that choice, and as reported Noongar Elder Len Collard said he liked taking his grandchildren to the fireworks while other Noongars expressed at Council that they find them offensive.

For me fireworks are a waste of money and bad for the environment and dogs, so I choose not to attend them. I also do believe that celebrating invasion day is not very sensitive and inclusive and that January 26 is meaningless for Western Australians black and white.

But to now claim by Mayor Brad Pettitt that is is all about choice is a bit of BS because we have always had that choice!

Read my suggestions on how to celebrate our Noongar history in the article below this one!


Roel Loopers

P.S. Ignore those malicious rumours. It is not true that Fremantle Council will be invited to join the Australian gymnastics team at the Tokyo Olympics because of the biggest backflip ever performed. ; >)

9 Responses

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  1. martin said, on September 5, 2016 at 7:07 am


    Once again our Mayor is selective about printing comments on his blog. Why does he waste our time sending us his link to read and then refuse to publish comments he does not like. I hope you don’t mind me reprinting here – you are far more transparent than our Mayor, Brad Pettit.


    Jeff Kennett had a fantastic run of support as Premier of Victoria until he got so wrapped up in his own hype that he got booted out of government with such severity that he didn’t know what hit him. This ended up being great for his own long term legacy because (love him or hate him) people understand that he turned the Victorian basket case economy around. If he had stayed another term, he would have destroyed this legacy and people would have remembered what he was about to do rather than what he did achieve. Every Victorian was spared the actions of one of Australia’s biggest egos going into overdrive based on arrogant denial and a bottomless self belief.

    What you have written on your blog reminds me of those last 6 months of his term as Premier.

    To state that “The majority of the feedback we have received has been supportive…” simply reinforces the fact that either you are out of touch with the people you are supposed to be representing, or that you are so tied up in your own self belief that you cannot see beyond your own inner circle.

    You have severely misjudged this one, and I suggest that those that are advising you are equally out of touch. Go and walk the streets of Beaconsfield and find out what the residents really think of your decision. Get off Facebook and conduct some real “community consultation”, and then reflect on what you have written in your blog.

    People already had a choice – to attend the Fremantle fireworks or not – you decided to take that away from them without asking them. They are furious!

    You need to know when to stop digging the hole deeper and deeper before it is too late. Perhaps your Jeff Kennett moment is rapidly approaching, or perhaps it has already passed…

    Your advisors should be advising you to pull down your blog and reconsider your way forward


  2. Lionel said, on September 4, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    In what way are we governed by the UK?

  3. Suzanne said, on September 4, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Yes Jon, I agree wholeheartedly.
    Amazing thing is, the only publicity Fremantle ever gets outside of the City media outlets is always minimal, and such inanities like no bicycle helmets and no plastic bags and little parklets.
    I was overseas and suddenly saw the word Fremantle popping up everywhere. All about the ‘Fireworks’ decision. Of course the scribes made general uncomplimentary Aussie statements, given supposed license by using the Indigenous cultural reasoning.
    It was even mentioned in the English text Russian Daily.
    Worldwide fame for Freo at last,
    worst luck.

  4. Steve said, on September 4, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Onya Brad. The freo community’s opinion is as diverse as its population. Can’t please em all. But you can certainly find a better use of $150k than torching it in a 15 minute celebration of the arrival of a boat of convicts.

    You want something to celebrate? How bout celebrating independence from a dying empire and governance laid down from a small island on the other side of the world?
    I’ll happily light some fireworks to celebrate that.

  5. Steve said, on September 4, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Would you prefer they stop them? Wouldn’t that then incite comments about nanny state government?

    Would you prefer they go back to lighting $150k on fire in 15 minutes?

    The fireworks light up the roundhouse for 15 minutes. How many permanent lights would $150k buy?

    Maybe this is your chance to offer an alternative and get some funding.

  6. Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog said, on September 3, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    I’d encourage your readers to read my post first hand:

    My point which you seem to have missed is that we actually did NOT have some of these choices until recently.

    Until the recent investment in bike lanes you didn’t have the choice to ride into Fremantle safely. South Terrace was 50kmh with no bike lanes. When you got to Freo there used to be few places to lock up your bike – even a popular spots like the Moores Building or the Fremantle Markets had no bike racks.

    Until recently you could not live in a small dwelling legally in a backyard in Freo unless you were related to the person in the front house., Council leadership added that choice and as result more are being built.

    And until now you couldn’t attend an alternative Freo event that had the core aim of being inclusive of all Australians.

    So to say we “always had that choice” is not accurate in my view,

    Freo now offers extra and hopefully better options we can choose from and ones that reflect the strong values of this community.

    cheers, Brad

    PS This has been my approach for the many years I have been on Council so if we were training for anything I’d say it’s a marathon – as everything takes a bit longer than we would like!

  7. Jon said, on September 3, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    If the Mayor is about choice he would not be talking about canceling, as that removes any choice.
    To say fireworks are bad for whatever reason and to cancel fireworks provided by the city to drive home that statement or belief.
    Only to say a week or so later(after making Freo look like a joke internationally) that he is ok with another entity running fireworks on the same day, for the same reason it was originally held for, is quite pathetic.

    I think backflip is a given, the whole story is so twisted its hard to believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

    My real thoughts are sorry for Fremantle Residents, ratepayers and regular visitors if this is what they have for representation.

    Clearly this Mayor is about his own choice not the broader communities.

  8. freoview said, on September 3, 2016 at 11:58 am

    I believe it is a backflip to allow private businesses to do fireworks while the one the City organised is cancelled supposedly for culturally sensitive reasons.


  9. Steve said, on September 3, 2016 at 11:31 am

    A back flip would be succumbing to whinging people and reinstating the fireworks. Not allowing the business community to put on their own fireworks would be heavy handed nanny state governance. Not wasting $150k by lighting it on fire in a 15 min demonstration to celebrate a boat landing is good use of taxpayer money.

    That $150k could be spent much better than lighting it on fire in a junior event compared to Perth city’s show. Freo is a creative place and can surely come up with a better idea than some second rate fireworks. Where the city probably screwed up is by not having the alternative ready to go.

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