Freo's View

GREENS SELECT FEDERAL CANDIDATE FOR FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, federal government, greens, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on January 4, 2019

 

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High school teacher Jesse Hutchison has announced that he will be the Greens candidate for the Federal seat of Fremantle at this year’s election in May.

Hutchinson grew up in Fremantle and is the father of two young girls.

I am sure we’ll hear more about Hutchinson’s ideas at the candidates forums in five months time.

Roel Loopers

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IT HAS BEEN A VERY BIG YEAR FOR FREO’S FUTURE

 

I have been contemplating what the memorable moments in Fremantle were for me this year, so let’s make a start.

  • The Kings Square Redevelopment Project is no doubt the most significant one in decades for our city, so I walk by daily to have a look.
  • The Heart of Beacy project could positively change and modernise the suburb and provide much-needed urban infill.
  •  Andrew-Twiggy- Forrest showing faith in Freo’s future by investing in property here is significant.
  •  The Woolstores hotel development finally approved and two other hotels in Henderson Street as well.
  • If it is environmentally safe the South Fremantle solar farm will be a good development.
  • No more single-use plastic bags.
  • The tavern proposal by Sunset Events for J Shed was finally given the boot by the WAPC.
  • The removal of the stunning Felice Varini yellow art work is a major headache for the city and property owners in High Street.
  • Traffic calming in South Fremantle looks great and so does the Hilton Town centre.
  • Destination Marketing planning for Freo is under way, so let’s wait and see.
  • By-election for South Fremantle won by Andrew Sullivan-again.
  • The Long Table Dinner is huge, great and very Freo.
  •  Age Friendly City working group established.
  • Highrise proposal for Royal George Hotel in East Fremantle stopped.

It has been a big year for Fremantle and next year is going to be similar when many of the approved developments will start and the FOMO retail concept opens at Kings Square before Christmas 2019.

And at the risk of some people accusing me of sucking up, I want to express my thanks to Freo’s very diligent councillors. I do not always like their decisions, but they make them with care and after long deliberations, as I witnessed myself by going to about 80 per cent of council and council committee meetings this year, to see first hand how our grassroots democracy works.

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

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FREMANTLE COUNCIL NEEDS MICROPHONE ETIQUETTE

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, health, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 13, 2018

 

There is nothing more annoying for me than sitting in the public gallery at Fremantle Council and Council Committee meetings and not being able to hear everything the Councillors are saying.

I admit that I am an old fella whose hearing is no longer as good as it was when I tried to pretend I had not heard my parents, and later on when I grew up, my gorgeous partners, when they told me off, but I just wished the elected members would take my less than 20/20 hearing into account and actually speak INTO the microphones supplied to them.

Councillors Ingrid Waltham and  Jenny Archibald have the softest voices of all elected members, but they keep the microphone somewhere left or right of a shoulder so I find it very difficult to hear their valuable contributions to the debates.

Other Councillors do have the microphone in front of them but then turn their head away to address the Mayor and that makes the mike rather useless, and it makes my life pretty frustrating when I do my very best to get a proper and fair account of the debate, so I can report it on Freo’s View.

Thank you so much for your consideration Councillors! Should I wish for hearing aids for Christmas?

Roel Loopers

DON’T GAG LOCAL COUNCILLORS FROM BEING TRANSPARENT

 

The alleged attempts to silence local councillors and stop them from commenting on social media raise serious concerns about our democracy, although Fremantle councillors are very-almost too- restraint in their use of social media to publish facts to combat the often ridiculous and uninformed comments made by members of the public.

While I understand that Mayors should be the official spokespeople for local councils, it should not stop the other elected members from participating in social media. They are after all our local parliament, so gagging them is like denying a state or federal minister from commenting, because the PM and Premiers are the official spokespeople.

Our Fremantle councillors comment now and then on Facebook and Freo Massive but rarely here on Freo’s View, unless it is local government election time and they want another four years, so they us this platform to increase their public profile. It might well be Fremantle Council policy that only the Mayor can comment on this blog.

I believe the Fremantle community would welcome more engagement on social media with their councillors, as it helps transparency and to clarify issues people might not understand or are not well enough informed about. One should not just leave that to the Mayor and the City of Fremantle’s media people.

It is definitely not up to our State Government to dictate how the elected local members communicate with their community and sensor or gag our councillors. We elected them to govern our city and they are accountable to explain to us why and how.

Roel Loopers

 

 

Roel Loopers

DON’T FENCE ME IN

Posted in architecture, city of fremantle, crime, democracy, development, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on December 6, 2018

 

The only thing missing last night at Councillor Jeff McDonald’s slide show about fences in Hilton was the Don’t Fence Me In soundtrack by Bing Crosby.

McDonald had done a photographic survey of compliant and non-compliant fences in the garden suburb because there were three items about fences on the Fremantle Planning Committee agenda. It was all about height and permeability of the fences that needed retrospective approval, or refusal, from our elected members.

Like McDonald, a member of the public had also surveyed the Hilton fences and stated that at least half of them were non-compliant, but Councillor Ingrid Waltham rightly pointed out that the fact that there are many non-compliant fences did not mean council should approve another one. Too true! Just because most motorists ignore road rules does not mean we should all ignore them.

Mayor Brad Pettitt is a big picture thinker and was probably influenced by the French riots and fearing a Fence Revolution in Fremantle when he said that it would undermine good process to approve non-compliant fences. Where would it leave us if we don’t have any rules?

It was all about some of the fences being too high or not permeable, and public speakers rambled on far too long to show they had done their home work until the early hours and googled everything about planning rules, legislations and loopholes, of which Councillors and staff are obviously aware, so making a few succinct points only would have been much better, much faster, and less boring.

A permeable fence is basically the negligee, or see-through, of fences, and legislators believe they allow passive surveillance by home owners of what happens on the street. It appears the planning gurus believe that these fences are like one-way mirrors and that burglars can’t look into the properties through these fences, especially at night when the house lights are on and the streets dark.

The tedium of council process was evident last night and while at a previous committee meeting I had at least the stunning new zebra shoes of Councillor Hannah Fitzhardinge to look at to relieve the boredom, but I had nothing last night. So note to self. Bring a tablet for the next meeting so you can play chess on the computer.

And after all that I even forgot to note if all three fences were retrospectively approved or not, but I think one of them was deferred for improvement.

By the way, the Ordinary Council meeting next Wednesday night will be held at the Fremantle Townhall, so don’t go to North Freo!

Roel Loopers

 

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IS DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS? NOTRE DAME FORUM

 

The Is Democracy in Crisis? forum organised by the Fremantle Network and politics students of Notre Dame University was interesting and attracted 60 spectators.

The event was held on Tuesday evening in the Santa Maria lecture theatre of Notre Dame, with panelists Liberal MP Ben Morton, Labor MP Josh Wilson and political journalist Jane Marwick, and facilitator Dr Martin Drum who is a political lecturer at NDA and Chief of Staff to the Vice Chancellor.

The panel agreed that democracy is not in crisis but in a bit of a mess, with Ben Morton saying that democracy should be celebrating different views, and that is has become harder to be an active citizen in our democracy as we need to work harder to keep informed, despite social media.

Jane Marwick said the media largely responded to the left/right focus in politics and that the media is far too cosy with politicians and staff. There is too much focus on personalities, not on conviction and policy. “We should all be skeptical about the media!”

Josh Wilson said that democracy was not in crisis in this part of Australia. “This room is full of people who are active at grassroots democracy.”

But he said tribalism, self-interest and self-engrandising was a problem in Canberra and that the media was focussed on conflict rather than policy.

Jane Marwick said the 24-hour media cycle left little time to fact check and get all sides of the story, but Martin Drum said it was more an opinion cycle than a news cycle.

Longer and fixed-term parliaments should be considered as the three-year term can cause instability, and is in reality only two years and four months.

Jane Marwick said that former Deputy PM John Anderson has said that trust has broken down in all our institutions. She said that meat on the bone does not get reported, only juicy stories.

Josh Wilson said it was not good democracy when the parties ran a war against their own Prime Minister and that Labor had put measures in place to stop that.

Certain journalists are having too much power and are trying to influence the behaviour of politicians. We need more women in parliament and all parties should have a quota for that, that means we need to make parliament a more attractive place to work at and accommodate women and their families better. It should not be either having children or having a career.

OPINION:

I feel disconnected with our political leaders in Canberra. I feel patronised, belittled and talked down to, and told what is good for me by them, instead of being part of the conversation.

Question Time is a disrespectful and childish session of bullying. It is about political point scoring instead of good governance, hence the public’s skepticism and lack of respect for parliament.

I wish federal, and also state parliament, would be as respectful and professional as Fremantle Council, where no personal attacks are made and no political point scoring takes place. We have a mature debate about the topics at hand in Fremantle Council. They don’t always get it it right, but at least they behave like professionals who thoroughly debate all topics, and whose main priority is  not self interest, but looking after the community and good governance.

Roel Loopers

 

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NOTRE DAME DEBATE ABOUT POLITICAL CRISIS

 

There is an interesting political forum on tomorrow night, October 30 at the Santa Maria Theatre of Notre Dame University.

IS DEMOCRACY IN CRISIS? will discuss why voters are cynical about and showing a low level of trust in our political leaders and the system.

Panel members include Labor MP Josh Wilson, Liberal Party MP Ben Morton and political journalist Jane Marwick.

It is on tomorrow from 7-8.30pm at the Santa Maria Theatre, 13 Mouat Street in Freo’s West End.

The free event is organised by the Fremantle Network and NDA politics students.

Roel Loopers

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VICTORIOUS WILSON MEETS MEDIA AT BATHERS BEACH

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, federal government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 29, 2018

 

 

Victorious Fremantle federal by-election winner Josh Wilson held a media doorstop at Bathers Beach at 1.30pm today, so I took some photos of the happy new Labor MP for Canberra.

Wilson increased his winning margin, so that is a good sign for him and the Labor party for the next federal election early next year.

Roel Loopers

JOSH WILSON RE-WINS FREMANTLE

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, federal government, Uncategorized by freoview on July 28, 2018

It is hardly a surprise that Labor party candidate Josh Wilson re-won the federal seat of Fremantle today, with the Liberal party not putting up a candidate.

It has overall been a very good day for the Labor party during this by-election day with also wins in Tasmania and Queensland.

The disappointing reality of it all is that this will be very short lived with a Federal election due early next year, so we will have to endure another long election campaign, with lots of hubris, hot air and promises from the uninspiring federal leaders of the major parties.

I am glad Josh Wilson will be going back to Canberra as he deserves it. He is a genuine person committed to and passionate about Fremantle and he has represented us well.

Congratulations Josh and all the door knocking and other volunteers who were up in the cold and rain early to meet with people on their way to work. Well done all!

 

Roel Loopers

 

 

LOCATION COUNTS EVEN AT ELECTIONS

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, federal government, Uncategorized, voting by freoview on July 28, 2018

 

voting

 

Come on Josh 4 Freo team! Surely there are better spots to promote my favourite Fremantle candidate than at a rubbish bin. We all know what some cynical people believe politics are.

I voted for Josh right here at the Beacy Primary school where there is a mean sausage sizzle and cake stall going on, and very few people voting, so no long queues.

Roel Loopers

 

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