Freo's View

ELECTION TIME IS EMPTY PROMISES TIME

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 2, 2017

 

Politicians promise us the world before elections, but often disappoint us when they get elected when they don’t honour all those promises.

The Fremantle Council elections are only a couple of months away and already we have candidates who tell us they will change this and change that and do so and so, if elected. But the basic fact is that individual candidates cannot dictatorially change anything, because every elected member has just one vote on council. That includes the Mayor, who also has the casting vote if the other 12 elected members have a hung vote.

Council process is a democratic one, so to achieve changes one needs to convince the majority of fellow councillors, and that is a pretty robust debate and often lengthy process with changes and motions made to fine tune the outcome.

It is easy to slag off on the present council, because they can rightly or wrongly be judged on past performance, while new candidates have no record. All the wannabe councillors have to do is make-often empty-promises and criticise the present members. That is a bit too simplistic for me.

I want candidates with new innovative ideas, long-term strategic planning, not just whingers who blame everything they don’t like on their local council.

Candidates blame things on Fremantle Council that are the responsibility of State Government. The moving of TAFE from Beaconsfield, the downgrading of Fremantle Hospital, crime and anti-social behaviour, the global retail downturn, etc.

The reality is that a local council can do very little about these things as law&order are police responsibility for example. The City of Fremantle has put more security rangers on the street but they don’t have the power of arrest or even giving move-on notices.

I have been scrutinising Fremantle Council and its administration for over ten years and go to 75 per cent of council and committee meetings to witness myself what goes on there. While there have been many occasions I don’t agree with the outcome I have always been impressed with the thoroughness and high standard of the debate during the process.

There is absolutely no doubt that there are many levels the City of Fremantle can improve at, and most of that is up to the administration.

Politically there will always be polarisation. Those who do or don’t agree with the Australia Day change, that was badly handled in my opinion, or if we should have higher density in the inner city, should environmental issues be a priority for a local government, is banning plastic bags tokenism, etc.etc.

As a community we often lament the perceived lack of community consultation, but the sad reality is that most people can’t be bothered to attend meetings, as the recent South Fremantle speedhump saga showed.

Far too many people to my liking base their opinion about Fremantle Council on ignorance. They are badly informed, or not at all.

Some of the stuff I hear election candidates say indicates to me that not all of them know what they are talking about either, and that is disappointing.

If we want a better council we need to do better at informing ourselves and participate in community consultation. That takes commitment and time.

If we are serious about wanting to be part of the solution and drawing up the future of Fremantle, we need to get off the couch and experience first hand how local government works.

There is a lot of unfair criticism out there that is not based on facts. Sometimes the devils we know, those with actual local government experience, are better than the devils we don’t know, but who make lots and lots of unrealistic promises. Voters beware!

 

Roel Loopers

 

2 Responses

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  1. freoview said, on August 2, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    You are not suggesting Kim Jong-un Ra, are you, Rob? ; >)

    Roel

  2. Rob Fittock said, on August 2, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    is benevolent dictatorship an option to get things done? :-0)


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