Freo's View


Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, state government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 10, 2020


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Let’s start the week with a bit of fun and the flyers Liberal hopeful for the state seat of Fremantle, Miquela Riley has been distributing.

It is laudable that Riley  supports local jobs and local shopping, although that would have been a better campaign when standing for local government, but anyway, our local traders deserve all the support they can get.

But is Miquela Riley walking the walk and talking the talk when she urges everyone to shop local? As always it is important to read the fine print and we find out the flyers were printed at………….

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There are printers in Fremantle who could have done the job, but let’s give the wannabee politician the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Ms Riley is not aware of the electoral boundaries?

Roel Loopers



Local Government Minister David Templeman has received 65 recommendations on how to improve local councils, from an expert panel, and some of the suggestions are very interesting.

One of them is that the entire councils will be up for re-election every four years, in between state elections. I think that is a pretty good idea. At present half of the councils get elected every two years, which is a waste of money when one considers the low voting participation.

The recommendation of changing local council elections from first past the post to preferential voting would change the political landscape in Fremantle and many other councils. Some of those on councils now would not have won the election under a preferential voting system, which I believe is the fairer  and more democratic option of the two.

The next council elections are in October next year, so if Minister Templeman agrees we could have a very different election campaign in 2020 and probably a drastically changed council.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, politics, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on August 3, 2020


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Labor Member for Fremantle Minister Simone McGurk MLA will have to contest the state seat for Freo at the March election against the just announced Greens candidate. University educator Liberty Cramer of White Gum Valley has been endorsed by the party.

“I’m your Greens candidate for Fremantle because I don’t want to go ‘back to normal’, but because I believe that we can build a better normal while protecting the most vulnerable people in our society. If we can remake our society to protect us from a virus, then we can remake it to look after people and our environment. We need to tackle this economic crisis as well as the jobs, inequality and climate crises so we can set everyone up to live a good life.

“Now is the time to make the right decisions that will create hundreds of thousands of good jobs in WA and Fremantle, ensure everyone has an income they can live on, set young people up for the future and transition to a clean energy economy.




The findings of the investigation into the City of Perth council are disturbing and raise questions about how good Western Australia’s other councils are.

Already we have had retiring Liberal politician Mike Nahan calling for an investigation into Fremantle council, and of course relentless council critic and Liberal party supported John Dowson has jumped onto that bandwagon.

But councils should not be about party political issues. In my perfect, utopian and totally unrealistic world local government should be A-political, neither far to the left, nor far too the right. Fremantle Council is not going to be better by just replacing all the left leaning Councillors with right leaning Councillors. Good government is about balance.

It is a fallacy of course to believe that Liberal governments, be that at local, state or federal level, are better at financial management, as the biggest debt in WA’s history left by the Colin Barnett government shows, but Fremantle’s financial management has not exactly been something to write home about either.

Councillors are human beings, who have likes and dislikes, political, economic,  environmental and personal preferences and interests, and like all of us they are not perfect, and neither are the administrations of our local governments, so who is keeping an eye on it all?

The yearly audit of local councils appears to just be a financial one, CEO’s get judged on their performance by Councillors they work with, and often the relationship between the administration and elected members is just a bit too comfortable, and that could create problems when assessing the CEO and administration.

It is too costly to believe the WA state government could or should investigate every council to check if they could perform better and more efficiently and professionally, but the standards somehow need to be raised and there need to be more checks in place to make sure that everything is above board.

As someone who has observed and scrutinised Fremantle Council for well over a decade  I have no fear that anything untoward has happened here, but there are many things that could be improved.

For some planting 50,000 trees is more important than preserving historic and neglected Arthur’s Head and the Roundhouse, for others creating more bike paths is a priority over repairing grumbling footpaths and doing essential maintenance.

The solution lies somewhere in the middle, but that means leaving ideological blinkers at home and be a good elected administrator of council business, instead of a party pushed politician.

Unfortunately it is well known that all political parties want to push for more political power at local governments, so things will get worse, until we wake up and call the whole lot of them out at the ballot box and vote more and more for independents.

What happened at the City of Perth needs to be a wake up call for all local governments and there should be a real desire to improve greatly.

Roel Loopers





The GREENS  have pre-selected Fremantle Mayor Dr Brad Pettitt to be their candidate for the Upper House for the South Metro region of WA.

The state election is next year, so it is highly likely that Brad Pettitt will resign from Fremantle Council well before the October 2021 local government elections, and that could mean an expensive by-election, or Deputy Mayor Andrew Sullivan filling in and be in that role for at least half a year.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 17, 2019


Fremantle Council said goodbye to three Councillors last night, who did not nominate for the Local Government Election. Councillors Ingrid Waltham, Jeff McDonald and Dave Hume all attended their last council meeting as elected members and they admitted having mixed emotions about that.

Three other Councillors are fighting to retain their seat with Rachel Pemberton in City Ward, Jon Strachan in South Ward and Bryn Jones in North Ward waiting for the election results on October 19, which is this coming Saturday.

Voter participation in Fremantle has increased a bit and is now on average just over 30%, but that is still disappointingly low.

South Ward is leading with a 39.29% participation at close of business last night, and Hilton comes second with 35.97%, followed by City Ward with 33.31%.

All departing Councillors deserve a huge gratitude from the community because they were willing to step up. We might not always have agreed with the decisions they made but they made them with integrity and what is best for Fremantle at heart.

After Saturday there will be at least three new Councillors in Fremantle, but my gut feeling is that there will be at least four and probably five new ones. Time will tell and I’ll report the election results by about 8.30pm this Saturday here on Freo’s View.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 15, 2019


There is something hypocritical about people complaining about local councils, and demanding more and better community consultation, when seven out of ten people in Fremantle can’t even bother to vote at the Local Government Election, and most of them don’t come to precinct or community consultation events either.

One only has to look at what one of the two South Ward candidates is promising. She will get rid off the speedhumps along South Terrace, but they were installed after lengthy and thorough community consultation. The same candidate also promises that she will only do what the community wants, so how can she get rid of the speedhumps when traffic calming was demanded by the South Fremantle community she wants to represent?

Recent comments to this blog demand consultation about mural art on public and private buildings, but how could we even believe to get consensus on what is good and appropriate art for a building and a street when our tastes are so different? And how many people would in reality take part in that process? Probably just a handful, as history shows.

In City Ward a former Councillor wants parking fee reductions when he is well aware that this populist promise is nonsense because parking revenue is important for Fremantle. If we have less income from parking fees and fines council rates might have to be increased, and no one would want to pay higher rates so that people from out of town and Notre Dame students can park cheaper and longer.

I already mentioned the ignorant nonsense of an East Ward candidate who claims Fremantle Council has done nothing about the impact the High Street Upgrade project by Mainroads will have on the public golf course, when the fact is that the City has engaged a team of architects and golf course designers, and also will build a new clubhouse and cafe on the border with Booyeembara Park.

The disappointing fact is that the majority of people in our community are not well informed about what goes on at Fremantle Council, so they are gullible to believe just about anything, and that is why some wannabe councillors engage in negativity and make accusations not based on facts, and make promises they won’t be able to keep.

Democracy is a two-way road and if you decide not to participate in the process you really have no legs to stand on when you complain about the council you get. And don’t forget that a single candidate will not be able to change anything unless they get the support of other councillors.

Taking unrealistic promises and false accusations with a huge grain of salt is a sensible way of dealing with election campaigns.

Roel Loopers


Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on October 11, 2019


I am disappointed that the vast majority of the Fremantle community is not voting at the local government election. The numbers of the returned ballot papers is very low and the last chance to post your vote is next week Tuesday as the votes  have to be at the City by Friday October 18. Counting will start at 6pm on October 19.

So far only 19.04% have voted in East Ward, 24.21% in City Ward, 27.20% in South Ward, 20.82% in North Ward, 25.64% in Hilton and 22.33% in Beaconsfield.

So where are all those social media keyboard warriors who blast Fremantle Council so often and have quick fixes for everything? Where are all those ‘engaged’ community members who believe that Fremantle Council is called Brad, and where are all those ‘engaged’ eligible voters who too often fail to inform themselves when criticising what goes on in Fremantle?

If you want improvement you need to vote! If you want to kick out sitting members you have to vote! If you want sitting members to retain their seat on council you have to vote! Not voting is not an option.

It is not good enough to have strong opinions about your local councils in cafes and pubs and at the computer keyboard, when you can’t be bothered to fill out your ballot papers. It really is lazy and pathetic!

There will be at least three new Councillors after the election, in Hilton, Beaconsfield and East Ward, so if you want to shake up Freo Council this is a good year for it. If you are happy with the direction Fremantle Council has taken and you want to continue with a progressive council that is pro development this is also an opportunity to let them know you believe they are on the right track.

How many people around the world envy us for being allowed to vote. How many women on the planet still have no voting rights, and how privileged should we consider ourselves to live in a democracy where we have a say in the destination of our country and can vote for our local, state and federal governments.

The duty and privilege of voting should fill us with pride. Do it today!

Roel Loopers



The news in the Sunday Times today that many council positions will not be contested at the October 19 Local Government Elections in WA,  because no one nominated, is a worry, because it is essential for good government to have balance. Different view points are desirable as long as it does not become fifty/fifty votes and a Mayor has the deciding vote on most issues. That would not be healthy either.

It is believed that community apathy about local government and the relentless attacks on social media are reasons for people not to nominate for local council, so that is disappointing. Local government is grassroots democracy where our vote and involvement really can make a difference, so don’t let the trolls frustrate anyone from participating!

Many people, mostly those who don’t like the council the community elected, say that councils should only worry about rates, roads and rubbish, but I believe that local government does have a role to play in other issues, such as climate change, racism, domestic violence, homelessness, etc. as they affect all of us in some way.

Every one of us at some point in life has believed we have an easy solution, but governance is never easy and always complex, and whatever the decision by our elected members it will leave some in the community disappointed and disgruntled, believing that they have not been listened to because the decision went the opposite way of what they wanted.

Politics is a bit like footy. One-eyed fans accusing others of wearing rose-coloured glasses, and neither side can see the positive things the other sides are doing, hence we have people who claim they do not have a political agenda, although all they want is to replace left-leaning politicians with right-leaning politicians, or vice versa. I don’t believe that is having the best interest of the city, the state, or the country at heart.

We need a strong opposition in our parliaments and in our councils, to keep those in power honest and on their toes. I would be worried if Councillors saw themselves as being part of Team Fremantle where sameness and mateship is embraced but opposing views ignored.

We will have at least three new Councillors in Fremantle after the election and there could well be a few surprises in our changing political climate, and that I believe is a good thing. It is up to us, to each and everyone of us, to create the councils we want and we can only achieve that by voting.

If you want the sitting member in your ward to stay, VOTE. If you want to kick out the sitting member in your ward and replace her/him with someone you believe will do a better job, VOTE! Not voting is not an option.

Roel Loopers





Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, elections, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on September 25, 2019


For reasons that do not make much sense Fremantle City Ward is considered the jewel at the local government elections, although Councillors from all wards vote on every item at the Ordinary Council meetings and all have the same influence and power.

Anyhow, there is a City Ward Candidates Forum this Thursday September 26 at 6.30pm in Tannock Hall in Cliff Street, with sitting member Rachel Pemberton, High Street resident Julie Morgan and Fremantle Society president John Dowson, so come and ask questions and listen to what they want to do to make Fremantle an even better place.

It is a shame the forum clashes with the South Ward one which is at The Local hotel in South Fremantle at the same time and date.

Roel Loopers

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