Freo's View

DON’T FORGET TO VOTE AT THE BY-ELECTION

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, federal government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on June 16, 2018

 

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If you are not on the electoral roll you can not vote at the Fremantle federal by-election next month.

You have only till Friday to get yourself registered on the roll to be able to vote on Super Saturday on July 28.

My vote will go to former Fremantle Councillor and Deputy Mayor Josh Wilson who has served our community very well and who gave some excellent speeches during his time in Canberra.

Roel Loopers

WE ALL GOT RED BLOOD AND BROWN SHIT

 

There is plenty of time for contemplation and soul searching during the cold and wet winter days and nights, so when it was suggested to me that I should try to speak at one of the new TEDx Fremantle events about Perception and Reality, I wondered what it was I would like to speak about.

My thoughts don’t comply with the TEDx Fremantle categories of; only good science, no political agenda and no religious proselytizing, so I decided to just write down my contemplations and publish it here on Freo’s View instead. Here it is:

When we talk about reality and perception we should start with the elephant in the room first, and that is that Australia is not the best country in the world. Simply because no country is! There are many great countries in the world. I lived in three of them.

Our soldiers are not braver than those from other countries, and there is nothing specifically Australian about people helping each other in a crisis. When there are floods in Bangladesh, earthquakes in Mongolia, or wars and disasters in other parts of the world, the communities rally to give a helping hand.

Australia has lived on the urban myth of being the fair go country, but how can we claim that when the British settlers mostly ignored Aboriginal culture and language and treated our indigenous people as primitive idiots. How can a fair country take children away from their parents to bring them up as Christians and does not allow them to speak their native languages, and how can a fair country allow many of these children to be abused and raped?

How can we believe to be the fair country when we ban genuine refugees from coming to Australia, but lock them up instead in camps of neighbouring countries, but want priority immigration for supposedly ‘endangered’ white South African farmers?

How can we claim that we live in the best country on earth, when tonight, like every night, 115,000 homeless Australians sleep rough in the cold and wet?

The perception of greatness has always confused the Australian identity and that’s why we are still looking for one. We are not the Akubra hat-wearing cowboys, who live in the red dirt outback, but 90% of our population lives on the coastal plains and in big cities.

You might be surprised now when I say that I really love living in Australia, and even more that I live in Fremantle. But we need to start cutting the crap and let go off the hubris, because to be able to move forward together as a community and nation we need to acknowledge the harsh reality that Australia is far from perfect and that there is a lot of room for improvement.

We at the grassroots need to insist that political debate is about issues and has substance, and is not about point-scoring and name-calling, and we need to let all politicians know that we will no longer put up with their infantile behaviour in our parliaments.

We need to stop believing in the urban myth of our own greatness and start by showing real compassion for the less well off in our society.

It is not acceptable that we spend millions of dollars on non-essential things when our pensioners are barely making ends meet, when our hospitals are over-crowded and have long waiting lists, as does social housing, and when so many suffer from serious mental health issues.

Australia joined the so-called war on terrorism, but why haven’t we begun a war on poverty, and a war on unemployment and homelessness?

We are not all equal when multinational companies don’t pay tax, but low-income earners, pensioners and people on social benefits constantly get scrutinised to the point that is causes anxiety and depression for many.

It is good to have dreams, but it is not good to live in dreamworld and ignore the pragmatic reality of Australian life. Racism is a daily experience for those who are not white, and verbal abuse is also a daily worry for Muslim women, who have become the easy targets for ignorant fools. Western Australia has the highest rate of domestic violence in the nation!

Australia is a beautiful country, and I strongly believe that most people are good, caring and tolerant, and even more so here in Fremantle, but there are also many intolerant haters, who do not positively contribute to our community.

The Australia I love was summed up pretty well one evening in the Fitzroy Crossing pub in the stunning Kimberly when a drunk and huge Aboriginal man looked down on me in the toilet and said “Isn’t it amazing brother that we both have red blood and brown shit.” Yes indeed. We have a lot more in common than what divides us!

My wish for Australia is to wake up to reality and stop claiming that this is the best country on the planet. There is a huge different between being proud of one’s nation or becoming dangerously-and unrealistically- nationalistic. We can only find Australia’s real identity when we stop the tokenism and engage in real reconciliation with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. To do that we need to use the word RESPECT more often.

To show real respect we need to acknowledge Aboriginal people in our constitution, we need to build a substantial Aboriginal cultural centre in Fremantle, so that overseas visitors can engage and learn about our indigenous history and culture, and we need a memorial on Rottnest Island telling the awful story of the inhumane Quod Aboriginal prison, where nearly 400 boys and men from all over Western Australia died.

Only with real mutual respect, and only with real, deep and soul searching honesty can we make Australia the best country in the world. Dismissing and patronising others is only holding us back.

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE BY-ELECTION ON JULY 28

Posted in city of fremantle, democracy, election, federal government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on May 24, 2018

 

Wilson family

 

The Federal by-election for the seat of Fremantle is still two months away with the Electoral Commission announcing it will be held on July 28.

It looks like the Liberal/National government quite likes a depleted opposition, so we should be glad the five by-elections around the nation will be held this year. The by-elections are necessary because of dual citizenship issues.

I will back Josh Wilson, whom I like and respect as a person and as a politician. He was an excellent councillor and Deputy Mayor of Fremantle, so Josh4Freo will get my vote.

The photo above is of Josh Wilson with his wife and three children in their Fremantle home.

Roel Loopers

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VERY LONG COUNCIL MEETING TONIGHT

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on May 23, 2018

 

Anyone who believes that being a Councillor in Fremantle is just a walk in the park, should check out the agenda for tonight’s meeting.

The agenda for this evening’s Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting is a very long one and will probably attract a lot of people in the public gallery.

First agenda item is the very controversial proposal for a tavern at J Shed on Bathers Beach and the next item is about new terms of reference for the Design Advisory Committee.

There is the Overdue Debtors report, Audit and Risk update for Assets, Toy Library report, the implementation of the three waste bin FOGO (not to be confused with the FOMO retail concept for Kings Square), the lease with the South Fremantle Football Club for Fremantle Oval, request for proposals for the old Weighbridge in Phillimore Street, Sets on the Beach events at Port Beach. There will also be a motion to ban gas filled balloons in public.

The replacement for the Moreton Bay fig trees at Kings Square will also be debated. This will be a very expensive exercise, but I hear Council want to replace at least two trees with other mature Moreton Bay figs, so that will be nice in addition to the relocated London Plane trees.

The agenda is 229 pages long and there are additional agenda attachments as well, so anyone keen to read it all should download it from the City of Fremantle website.

I’ll be there at the meeting of course, so will report back to you about it tomorrow.

Roel Loopers

WAYMAN HEADS FREO DESTINATION MARKETING COMMITTEE

Posted in city of fremantle, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on May 18, 2018

 

It is very questionable if politicians ever learn from past mistakes. The appointment of Linda Wayman to head the Destination Marketing advisory committee of the City of Fremantle is controversial and will no doubt be seen as a political move by Fremantle Council.

Wayman, the former general manager of Southern Cross Austereo, is a close friend of Brian Smith, who is a close friend of and advisor to Mayor Brad Pettitt.

Wayman unsuccessfully stood for City Ward at the October local government election in Fremantle, where she was strongly supported by Brian Smith. Her appointment could be seen as giving her a public profile leading up to the next council election in 17 months from now.

Roel Loopers

NO NEED FOR CLIVE PALMER TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS

Posted in city of fremantle, politicians, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on May 17, 2018

 

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What horror to see that infamous Queensland mining millionaire Clive Palmer is back on the political scene. Make Australia Great. Yes please, but we don’t need your help Clive! Thanks.

I noticed the billboard on the left at Little Lefroy yesterday and thought it best to juxtapose it with something much more significant; Marriage Equality.

Roel Loopers

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FREMANTLE MP JOSH WILSON RESIGNS

 

Josh Wilson MP

 

Fremantle Federal MP Josh Wilson is one of three Labor members who have resigned from parliament this morning after the High Court ruling about dual citizenship.

I am devastated for Josh as he is a highly intelligent and dedicated politician who has worked very hard in Canberra and in his electorate since he got elected.

Josh Wilson was one of my favourite Fremantle Councillors because he is a very genuine and likeable person and I have been impressed with the many speeches he has given in Federal Parliament.

Josh said in a media release this morning that he will fight the by-election that now needs to be held, short before the Prime Minister will call a general federal election.

I have no doubt the Fremantle people are a bit tired of yet another election campaign, but Josh Wilson deserves a second chance as he has been a tireless worker for Fremantle for many years. He will have my support!

Roel Loopers

From Josh Wilson’s media release:

The new interpretation of the law means the question of whether a person took all ‘reasonable steps’ to renounce foreign citizenship simply doesn’t exist for dual Australian-British citizens, irrespective of the administrative delay in the process (which is generally 2-4 months). Under the new interpretation any prospective candidate must have their British citizenship deregistered before the close of nominations. In my case that was effectively impossible.

I was endorsed as a late replacement Labor candidate in Fremantle on 12 May 2016 and completed the requisite UK Home Office paperwork to renounce my British citizenship on that day. I mailed the renunciation form and attached documents on Friday, 13 May, using express registered post. I received confirmation that the documents has been received by the UK Home Office on Monday, 16 May. The processing fee for renunciation was withdrawn from my bank on 6 June. I nominated the following day, two days before the close of nominations. I received a letter from the UK Home Office dated 24 June saying that my British citizenship had been deregistered, with a copy of the renunciation form stamped 29 June 2016.

I was elected on 2 July 2016. I have not served a single day as anything other than an Australian citizen.

I was born in London when my parents were on a working holiday. My mum was expecting me when they travelled to the UK, and I returned home with them at the age of one after we’d travelled in Europe for 6 months in a Kombi van. Both my parents were born in Australia. My great-great-grandfather came to Fremantle as a convict in the 1860s. I have never lived in the UK, and have only visited there twice, in 1998 and 2012, for a few weeks each time.

In any case, the High Court’s interpretation of the law has changed and I respect that ruling. That means I must resign as the Member for Fremantle and contest the forthcoming by-election.

As I said in my first speech, I can’t imagine a more meaningful kind of work than to represent the community where I’ve lived virtually all my life. Every opportunity I am given to ask the people of Fremantle to trust me with the responsibility of being their representative in the national parliament is an opportunity I will relish.

I am looking forward to once again seeking that trust and responsibility in the weeks to come, and I am happy to be considered by voters in the Fremantle electorate on the basis of my character, principles, work-ethic, and record.

BUSY EVENING AT FREMANTLE COUNCIL

Posted in city of fremantle, community, democracy, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on April 19, 2018

 

It was a busy night at the full Ordinary Council of the City of Fremantle last night.

The Destination Marketing Fremantle was on the agenda, that will probably mean the demise of BID, and it sailed through with just a few mentions that BID had done a good job connecting small businesses and that the Economic Development and Marketing Department had a gap to close with the retailers in that regard.

Councillors expressed they hoped BID would survive in a kind of precinct form so that traders would stay connected and helped as volunteers at events.

It was unanimously decided to go ahead with the new marketing concept but $ 50,000 will be allocated from the budget for the Winter Festival and the Long Table Dinner.

Also-yes still!-on the agenda was the Sunset Venues lease for the No 1 unit at J Shed.

Councillors disagreed with speakers that the operators would not get the go ahead from the Western Australian Planning Committee for a smaller tavern, as there were examples on Rottnest Island and elsewhere where hospitality venues had been allowed on A Class Reserves and in heritage precincts.

It was mentioned that it would be hard to find another business that would be willing to spend a lot of money to put all the required infrastructure in and that Fremantle would get an improved asset.

Mayor Brad Pettitt said they had taken it back to where we originally wanted it to be as a small bar/cafe and restaurant that would activate the area.

The proponents will only have 12 months to start substantial development or the lease will be terminated. Only Councillors McDonald and Jones voted against the item.

Only Councillor Strachan did not support the License Agreement with the South Fremantle Football Club for Fremantle Oval. He questioned why the city was giving the club so much financial support in difficult fiscal times for the City.

The adoption of the new Precincts Policy was also approved with Councillor Sullivan expressing that he would like a more organic precincts system where groups would be less formal.

And the Dog Exercise and Prohibited Area Policy also got the tick of approval from our elected members.

Roel Loopers

DELAY FOR SPICER SITE SETTLEMENT

 

The monthly Fremantle Ordinary Council meeting will be held this coming Wednesday at 6pm and there are some interesting and controversial items listed on the agenda, so why not observe grassroots governance first hand and attend the meeting at the North Fremantle Community Hall.

On the agenda are Destination Marketing, the tavern lease for J Shed, the South Freo Solar Farm, the license with the South Fremantle Football Club for the use of Fremantle Oval, the Strategic Planning Framework, the new Precinct Policy,  and the Dog exercise areas policy.

Surprisingly listed as a confidential item is the request by Sirona Capital for the extension of the settlement for the former Spicer site, which now is the public car park on the corner of William Street and the Henderson Street mall.

The Spicer site development is part of the Kings Square Project the City of Fremantle and Sirona Capital signed off on, and an important inner city development. Why does the Council debating the settlement extension request have to be confidential and not open to the public?

By the way, the new convenor for the South Fremantle Precinct is Sean Hefferon.

 

Roel Loopers

 

FROM THE FREO FPOL COMMITTEE

 

The Fremantle Council Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee last night approved all, but one, items on the agenda. Some of them will have to go through full council next week before being implemented though.

  • The contract for J Shed between the City of Fremantle and Sunset Venues will be changed for a smaller venue. The Director of City Business explained that is not a planning approval, so the proposed  300 patron tavern might still be stopped when and if Sunset Venues applies for it and for a liquor license.
  • The Solar Farm also got the tick of approval but Councillor Andrew Sullivan said he would have liked to see officers explore the possibility and costs of remediation of the site as it might well be profitable if it could be developed for residential living.
  • The new Precinct Policy was also adopted with Councillor Andrew Sullivan saying he never saw the need for precincts to be managed by the City, as community groups should rise and fall depending on the interest and participation of residents.
  • The contract for Fremantle Oval with the South Fremantle Football Club will also go ahead, so the footy club is getting all their Christmases at once. It appears they have been playing a bit of hard ball with CoF, so I am not sure why we so desperately need the club at the oval as it will not generate any income for the City. Not even the outgoings for power, water, etc. have reached an agreement yet. Councillor Rachel Pemberton was very worried about the big LED sign and said the City should make sure that the SFFC would not put up more of them.

Roel Loopers

 

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