Freo's View

LOCAL COUNCILLOR A THANKLESS TASK

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, election, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on September 1, 2019

 

The Local Government Election is a mere seven weeks away and we already know that in Fremantle at least two Councillors, Waltham and McDonald, will not nominate to get re-elected, so a chance for some new faces on Council.

I believe that local council is the closest we get to grassroots democracy and that is probably why many people are often critical of the Elected Members and feel disenfranchised and not represented by their Council. That is not a unique issue for Fremantle as community newspapers all over the Perth region are full with letters to editors complaining about their councils.

Fact is though that the community, well, those of us who bother to vote at local government elections, elected the Council we are having and that many of our Councillors have been re-elected, which presumably is a vote of confidence for what they have been doing.

North Ward Councillor Doug Thompson is one of the longest sitting members on Fremantle Council, Mayor Brad Pettitt was elected three times, South Ward Councillors Andrew Sullivan and Jon Strachan were re-elected and so were City Ward Councillor Rachel Pemberton and Beaconsfield Ward’s Dave Hume, so it is wrong to say that our Councillors do not represent the community.

It is impossible for any government to please everyone. I often don’t agree with the Federal Liberal government, but have to accept that they were elected by the people. Those on the left of politics feel misrepresented by those on the right of politics and vice versa, that is a simple reality we all have to accept in our democracy.

I disagree with some of the decisions made at Fremantle Council and agree with others, that is the nature of us humans that we have different opinions, tastes and preferences. One only has to sit through Planning Committee meetings to realise Councillors cannot please everyone. While neighbours of a proposed development will argue about losing privacy, overshadowing, etc. the proponents will say that their plans have little impact on the neighbours, so who is right? At the end Councillors will have to abide by the rules and regulations and advise from the expert planning staff and design advisory panel. Whatever decision they make will please some and upset others, that is government for you.

Being a Councillor is a thankless task, although the community should be grateful that people stand up and are willing to do the hard yards on council. Councillors are members of our community, they are like you and me and live in Fremantle, and they also have to live like all of us with the democratic decisions made.

When I read about the shambles at the City of Perth I feel even more comfortable with the Elected Members we have in Fremantle, because all of them are there to do their very best for our community and city. They might not always get it right but they make decisions with integrity and without fear or favour, and that is what we elected them to do.

PLEASE do vote on October 19 and if you really want to make a positive contribution to our city nominate and try to become a local Councillor!

Roel Loopers

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