Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, politics, western australia by freoview on September 13, 2016

I have already received one comment claiming that my demand for respectful and on topic comments to this Freo’s View blog is censorship, so let me make a few points.

First of all as the publisher of this blog I am legally responsible, so if people write defamatory comments that I publish I could end up in court, and that is not going to happen. I am only asking for self-regulation and a bit of restraint so that I don’t have to block certain comments, that’s all. Newspapers don’t publish hundreds of letters to the editor each week, while I have published 99% of comments I received over the last seven years of this blog.

Local politics is complex and not as black&white and simple as some people want us to believe. For every 5000 people who disagree with Council decisions there are 5000 who agree with the Elected Members.

Politics is as one-eyed, as supporters of sports team. One cannot see the failures of one’s own team and only criticises the other team, so that makes it hard to get balanced debate and comments because some people want to believe that everything Fremantle Council does is wrong.

In the same comments we hear that Freo Council is socialist, but does deals behind closed doors with developers. The latter is not very socialist but capitalist, so the points made become quite ridiculous.

Those who strongly support whatever the State government is doing criticise Fremantle Council for wanting to implement infill and higher density, as demanded by State government, so why is Freo Council to blame for Liberal/National party decisions?

It is wrong to believe that community groups have a larger representation than the voters who elected the Councillors and that Council should do what those vocal minority groups want. Councillors are democratically elected by those few who bother to vote in our community and it is their duty to get advise from officers, consultants and experts and make decisions.

I have on many occasions not agreed with decisions by Fremantle Council. I believed and still do that Planning Scheme Amendment 39 went too far as far as height is concerned, but I do support the strong move by Freo Council for more residential, office and retail development in the inner city. I did not believe the Youth Plaza should be built on the Esplanade, but next to it, and I did not believe a tavern at J Shed was a good decision either, to name just a few.

One of the major problems I see is the lack of good detailed communication, transparency and accountability and that has to improve, as the City is unnecessarily creating divisiveness, anger and frustration in the community, because we only get selective information through the newspapers. For example an editorial in the West Australian claimed that the City of Fremantle was banning Australia Day celebrations, which is absolutely false.

I too get very frustrated when I see things not being done, or not done properly, and when I observe inconsistent decision-making at COF, but I am trying to keep it in balance and see all sides of the story. I have in the past blown steam with angry words, and while I try to be tolerant and open-minded I have no doubt that I will snap again sometime in the future, because I am very passionate about Fremantle.

The City of Fremantle is far from perfect and that’s why it is important we keep engaging with positive suggestions and trying to be part of the solution. Council will not always do what I like, but that will please others, and we need to keep that in mind when we criticise them. Just because I don’t like it does not necessarily mean it is wrong and just because I like other decisions does not necessarily mean they are the right decisions.

While some loath the Labor, Liberal or Greens parties, others love them. That is the simple reality of politics and the way we humans are. Love it or hate it.

Feel free to comment. ; >)

Roel Loopers

6 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on September 14, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Indeed, Sue. I was never about people agreeing with what I wrote or my views and it will be exactly like that.

    Most newspapers would not have published 70% of comments I have published on FV because if the tone.

    It’s a real shame some of you are playing silly politics and are now boycotting my blog, and how hypocritical is that when you accuse me of censorship. That’s the big difference! I don’t boycott people when they say something I don’t like, but you guys do exactly that. How pathetic!!!
    There are some very funny people in Freo and my blog will live on with or without your support.


  2. suzanne said, on September 14, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    Roel your blog was brilliant. I have disagreed with you so many times but you still print me. I have disagreed with the Mayor rarely but he flicked me.
    Sad its got too hot in the kitchen, I will miss a democratic blog. We didn’t have to agree, just comment. Over for me I guess.

  3. freoview said, on September 14, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Thanks Brad. I agree and that is all I am asking for; a civilised and respectful discussion about issues that matter, not attacking the man but playing the ball. I want people to ‘censor’ their own comments and think about it before the send them to me, that is all.
    I am not going to delete comment that don’t agree with my opinion or anyone else’s opinion, I just want every comment to be to the point, on topic and not about nasty point scoring. Those who believe that is censorship will no doubt get more satisfaction on social media outlets without much substance.


  4. Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog said, on September 13, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    I think it is good you have kept comments going.

    Despite Martin’s assertion above on my blog i have published several thousand comments and blocked less than 10.

    I set up what I called Rules of engagement” for my blog:

    I love blog comments as they are good for community debate. So please let us know what you think
    The rules around this blog and comments are as follows:
    I welcome all comments positive or negative in the first instance but keep it on topic;
    Each person can only make three negative comments in a row. The next comment must at least be constructive (not necessarily positive). This is to stop trolling by those who only want to score political points but not have a civilised discussion;
    Comments critical are ok but if they are just personal attacks they may not be published. If they are critical of individuals who will are not on Council then they probably will NOT go up or will be edited to remove these aspects.
    Please use your real name. Civil discussion is about being willing to put our name too and stand behind our views.

    cheers, Brad

  5. freoview said, on September 13, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    No censorship, as explained many times, just asking for respectful dialogue, Martin. Surely that is not too much to ask. I have no intention to ‘censor’ comments I do not like or don’t approve with, but slanderous comments are just not on and it surprises me that intelligent people like yourself can’t see what I am trying to do.
    I am not stifling debate. I am not defending Fremantle Council and I am not baselessly attacking FRRA and the Fremantle Society.

    I have been publishing this blog for seven years from the good of my heart and without receiving financial benefits from all the hard work I put in and that is deliberate because I don’t want the integrity of what I write questioned.

    I resigned as member of the Fremantle Society when John Dowson became president because nothing he stands for represents my vision for Fremantle. It’s as simple as that so I don’t have to get over anythig.

    If you want to censor my blog by no longer participating that is fine but very disappointing as I prominently have published your views on the Kings Square project business plan and many other topics.


  6. martin said, on September 13, 2016 at 1:51 pm


    I agree with the sentiments of James in your earlier post.

    The Mayor censors his blog. This week the South Ward precinct has started censoring its site, and now you. A pattern is emerging…

    People who are against the Greens and Labor controlling Freo Council are not necessarily Liberal supporters. I am dead against any political party influence on Council – regardless of political persuasion. It should be locals representing locals on local issues. The start of the political parties takeover of Fremantle Council perfectly correlates with the decline we have watched unfurl in Freo over the past 8-10 years. They are not focused on us residents, but simply on their own political futures. It is ruining our City!

    You attack the Freo Society relentlessly [John Dowson won the election for President – get over it!], and now you seem to be going out of your way to attack FRRA for some reason. Both are independent community groups making a stand for things they believe in.

    Your attacks on FRRA are baseless, and the final straw for me. FRRA’s agenda is simple – improve the transparency and accountability on Council, and demand better decision making. FRRA is encouraging independents like Andrew Luobikis to get on to Council because he is independent – that is all! If he gets elected to Council, he will no longer even be eligible to be a member of FRRA! No doubt they will be encouraging other independents at next year’s Council elections too.

    Your censorship is the your choice, but I won’t be participating any further on a censored blog. I’ve really enjoyed your blog, so best of luck with it in the future. Sounds like the FRRA / Fremantle Matters website should be coming soon, so maybe another blog avenue opens?

    I’m joining James – I’m out.

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