I have once again had an exchange on Freo’s View with one of the readers about the accusation that most Fremantle Councillors just vote with Mayor Brad Pettitt. It is an urban myth that insults and defames our Elected Members and it is not based on facts.
Anyone who has been reading this blog for the last seven years knows that I am not an apologist for Fremantle Council or its Mayor and that I strongly criticise them whenever I believe it is warranted, but it is wrong that those who never or very rarely attend council meetings make these accusations against the very hard and diligent working Freo Councillors.
To claim that Fremantle Councillors most of the time vote en-bloc with the Mayor is absolute bullshit. I specifically use this strong word because this crap has been going on for far too long!
Those who make these accusations should get off their lazy bums and attend Council and committee meetings so that they can actually witness how our Councillors perform and how well they are informed. Listen to the statements they make, the questions they ask and the amendments they put forward.
Having an opinion based on utter ignorance is nothing else than malicious political point-scoring. It’s the kind of stuff Pauline Hanson does and Donald Trump calls ‘Alternative Facts’.
There is no doubt that Freo Councillors not always get it right and that some residents believe they are not listened to. It is a worry to me sometimes that there seems to be a priority on One Planet issues when money could be spent better elsewhere, but after decades of stagnation we finally see significant development happening in the CBD that will make a huge positive long-term economic difference to our city and help our traders.
I too get frustrated and annoyed when Council is inconsistent and when the administration is slack, but the one thing I know absolutely for sure is that all the thirteen Elected Members make up their own mind on how they are going to vote and that the vast majority of them are very well-informed and do their home work. They deserve credit for that, instead of the nasty innuendo that they are mere puppets of the Mayor.
There has been some confusion about the day of the Fremantle WA State Election Forum, so just to confirm that it is Tuesday February 28 at 6.30 pm.
It is as always at the Tannock Hall of the University of Notre Dame on the corner of Cliff and Croke streets.
All candidates have been invited, but it is a bit of a tradition for the Liberal candidate not to turn up, so let’s wait and see.
The WA state election campaign is heating up with lots of promises, so time to get rid of the ‘fake facts’ and grill the candidates to see what they will be doing, or promise to do, for Fremantle.
The traditional election forum will be held on Tuesday February 28 from 6.pm at the Notre Dame University Tannock Hall on the corner of Cliff and Croke streets, so dot it down in your diary.
The annual Electors Meeting of the City of Fremantle was an interesting one with public questions about the financial report and assets sales by concerned members of Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Fremantle Society who are worried about the financial health of Fremantle.
There was also strong public support for the One Day in Fremantle event on January 28 next year.
The Electors Meeting became farcical though when Claudia Green for FRRA and FS put a motion of no confidence in Council, arguing that because the elected members only received votes from the wards they get voted by they do not represent the Fremantle people.
This is not a City of Fremantle issue but should be addressed with the State Government and the Minister for Local Government, as at present the democratic process for the Fremantle local government is that two people per ward get elected on council. If community groups want to change that they need to lobby the State Government.
The FRRA/FS spokes person also claimed the two groups represented many people, without giving evidence of the number of people who have signed up with them. I doubt the combined numbers of FRRA and FS would be anywhere near the combined number of votes Fremantle councillors received at elections. An indication of that is that FRRA and FS did not even manage to get enough people in the public gallery to support the two motions they put up and were both defeated.
Fact is that just about 30% of eligible voters vote at local council elections, so that is the challenge community groups should be addressing, instead of making unsubstantiated claims that they represent a majority.
In general I do agree though that community consultation needs to be improved by the City of Fremantle, but to question the validity of decisions made by Fremantle Council because supposedly they do not have the numbers to represent the electorate is……, well……., because we are close to Christmas, let’s just call it interesting instead of a much stronger word.
Facebook likes to rub it in and reminded me today that this leaflet was dropped in letterboxes in the Fremantle Beaconsfield Ward last October, when I attempted to become the next Beacy Councillor, but sitting member Dave Hume won comfortably.
As it turned out I became Beacy’s Biggest Loser and received the fewest votes of all three candidates, so just a little support from me for the three Beacy candidates who did not win the council election last Friday, when Hannah Fitzhardinge took the trophy.
Good on you Andrew Luobikis, Fedele Camarda and Peter Cruikshank for putting your hand up. You did yourself, your family and your community proud for showing your willingness to step up.
There is no shame whatsoever in not winning. Well done to you all and a big thank you from me!!
Hannah Fitzhardinge today won the Beaconsfield by-election of the City of Fremantle and will the the third female on Fremantle Council.
Only 35.7 per cent of eligible people elected to vote so only a total of 1267 votes were posted.
Hannah Fitzhardinge received 534 votes, Fedele Camarda 363 votes, Andrew Luobikis 279 votes and Peter Cruikshank 91 votes.
The clear message here is that the Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association and Fremantle Society, who supported Luobikis, don’t have the support of the community they claim to have, as even Fedele Camarda, who did it all on his own, received more votes than Luobikis.
It will be nice to have another voice of reason and balance on Freo Council and nice to have a female for Beacy next to that macho bloke Dave Hume. ; >)
Congratulations to Hannah Fitzhardinge and the three other candidates. Your passion for Fremantle is laudable!
Tomorrow is another historic day for Femantle with the election of the new Beaconsfield Ward Councillor, who will replace Josh Wilson who resigned to stand for the federal election and has been elected the new MP for Fremantle.
If you are among the estimated 65% of people in the ward who have not yet voted and sent in your postal votes, you can still drop them off at the Fremantle Townhall between 8am and 6 pm tomorrow-Friday!
My gut feeling is that Andrew Luobikis will win the election followed by Hannah Fitzhardinge, Fedele Camarda and Peter Cruikshank. But one never knows which section of the electorate bothers to vote and Camarda could get many votes from the Italian community in Beacy and Hilton.
There is no doubt for me that those people disgruntled with Fremantle Council will vote for Luobikis, who has been vocal over the last two years against some Council decisions. The fact that Fitzhardinge is a member of the Labor party might be seen by some that local governments are being taken over by political parties, but women might prefer a third woman on the male-dominated Fremantle Council.
Whatever the outcome, which will be announced at the Townhall just before 7 pm on Friday, we should be grateful to all candidates for putting their hand up and wanting to make a contribution to the Fremantle community, so from me a heart-felt Thank You to all four of them!
As promised here some more excerpts from the very good first speech by new Fremantle MP Josh Wilson in Parliament House, Canberra on Monday. The entire speech is too long to fully publish it on Freo’s View, but you can hear it on Josh’s Facebook page.
I have the honour of being sent here to represent the mighty federal electorate of Fremantle, the place where the Swan River, or Derbarl Yerrigan, meets the Indian Ocean, in the land of the Whadjuk Noongar, the place known for thousands of years as Walyalup.
I am proud to say that I have been shaped by Fremantle, by its landscape and its culture; by its function as a place of industry and trade and the arts; a port city; a place of arrival, whose multicultural diversity and cohesion has been hard won and is precious; a place that looks out into the world and welcomes people, whether they come for a short or a long time, with open arms; a place defined by the heat and by the sea.
Representing Fremantle is a great responsibility. There is no role or task that I can imagine being more meaningful to me in this life, and I am going to pour myself into this work—at home, in my electorate, and here in this place. I relish the fact that this work spans the full range: from helping a person who has come to you when every other door is closed to working in this place to shape national laws and policy, and I think one should inform the other. If you are from WA, it is work that literally spans the continent, and I look forward to all of it. I hope I can undertake the task with energy, humility, dedication and good humour. My constituents in Freo and my children will let me know if I do not.
………..When Carmen Lawrence gave her first speech in this place in 1994 she remarked on the centenary of universal suffrage. My daughters are here today and I am glad they are able to see a parliament, especially on this side, that is replete with women who are ready to make a contribution and take their place here on merit, because women have been ready to make their contribution on that basis for a long time, and that process is not finished. Let’s remember there are 72 seats in this place that have not yet been represented by a woman.
……Good government, responsive and reforming government, is not just important, it is necessary, but there is more to be done. There is a danger, I think, when you come to participate in the work of parliament, not that you will be deluded into thinking that we happen to exist at an especially crucial moment in history but that we might be deluded instead into thinking that all the big changes have been won; that what is left is only marginal, asymptotic progress along the curve. On any reasonable assessment, that is not the case. There is in fact a great deal more to do.
The Fremantle electorate is bound up in a number of those challenges: in the need for action on climate change and renewable energy; in the need to hasten the too-slow progress to close the gap between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians; in relation to the future of work in this country, its forms, quantity and conditions; in regional leadership and our engagement with the wider world; and in the need for smart and forward-looking urban design and planning, and the delivery of matching transport and communication infrastructure.
Granted, city planning sounds boring and technocratic, but unless we get it right we will consign families in outer metro areas to lives limited by unaffordable housing, dislocated from jobs and services and characterised by congestion in suburbs where people struggle to feel connected to their neighbours because there is no reason to walk or ride through the streets, no local shops or community centres and poor public transport. The local governments in my electorate—Cockburn, Fremantle, East Fremantle and Melville—are seized by this challenge but they are frustrated at not being met halfway by state and federal governments. There is no better example right now of that frustration than the Perth Freight Link. My community is fighting to be on the right side of a decision that divides between two very different futures.
……..One of the most distinctive things about Fremantle is its loud and proud arts and culture workforce—the ordinary, everyday presence and production of musicians, architects, artists, writers, dancers, street performers and even circus performers. Arts practitioners and businesses are the very definition of the creative economy, and you would be hard-pressed to find leaner and meaner enterprises or people and organisations that do more with less, so it is incredibly disappointing that in my electorate of Fremantle arts funding and support bodies have been subject to so much chaos in the last couple of years.
…….To bring my slightly damp first speech in this incredible place to an end—that will not make sense to people reading this in the future!—I am happy to say that I am a romantic when it comes to representative democracy. I think it is one of the best things. I do not agree with Winston Churchill; I think it is one of the best things. It deserves to be valued. It deserves to be performed with maximum effort, and cultivated with great care, with its essence and structure respected and its live parts allowed to flourish and be renewed. As a new member in this place I intend to listen and learn, to not hold back for fear of making the odd mistake or the odd joke, to participate and work hard in good spirit and good faith, to make a difference and always to apply myself in dedicated service to the people of Fremantle.