Freo's View

LOCAL GOVERNMENT IS NOT JUST (ABOUT) RUBBISH

Posted in australia day, city of fremantle, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on July 31, 2017

 

With the Fremanle local government election just two months and three weeks away I have been contemplating what the role of local government actually is.

Some people in our community believe it is all about delivering services, collecting rubbish, cleaning streets, etc. but is there a bigger picture our Elected Members should also be involved in?

I personally believe there is because local politicians are the closest to grassroots democracy and should inspire state and federal governments.

I asked Dr. Martin Drum, Professor of Politics and International Relations and Chief of Staff of the Vice Chancellor at Fremantle Notre Dame University and this was his reply:

“Elected representatives have both a deliberative and representative function. We focus a lot on the deliberative part, where our MPs and councillors are empowered to make decisions on our behalf. They decide what proposed developments can and cant proceed, they decide what does and doesn’t get funded. Some people argue that this is all our elected representatives should do.

But our representatives are also expected to represent the community which elects them. In electing them, we have authorised them to do this. Representation is arguably even more important than deliberation because it helps shape the identity of a community. Our councillors are the voice of the people they represent. If you ask me, its especially important for elected representatives to speak up for people who dont have the capacity to represent themselves.

Fremantle is a special part of Western Australia. It’s a little different to other areas. Local representatives need to speak to this difference. That is why the council, the sum body of local representatives in Fremantle, should feel free to speak up about the date of Australia Day, especially if their community has communicated this to them.

Elected representatives get judged not only by the decisions they make but also by how effective they are at representing people.

Whether a particular policy position is a good or bad one (such as moving Australia Day, opposing Roe 8, banning plastic bags) is up to the Fremantle community to judge, but there is no doubt that elected representatives are entitled to speak about them. We expect that people we elect become a voice of the people they represent, so they should speak up.

Those who are running as alternatives should likewise feel free to express their views on these issues. Competition for political office is healthy and should be welcomed. We then expect the public to judge them on that come the next election. That’s why I think being accountable and transparent is important.

Personally I always hope that debate focuses on the issues rather than the person, but that’s a pretty idealistic position these days.”

There is no doubt though that Council needs to have its priorities right and that people in the community rightly complain when basic maintenance is not done. One has to consider and acknowledge though that the day to day running of the City of Fremantle is done by the administration.

There is also an absolute and non-negotiable need for excellent community consultation, which was lacking on the Australia Day changes. This should have been handled much better as it polarised the community and became a political, and sadly sometimes racist, debate.

The positive thing about the initiative of Fremantle Council is that the Australia Day date and plastic bags ban now have become a national debate and that looks like pretty healthy democracy to me.

I agree with Dr Martin Drum that the debate should focus on issues rather than on the person. Respectful dialogue is essential to move forward together, and I especially am aware that it is not always easy to keep that in mind when one has a passion for Freo.

 

Roel Loopers

GREENS ABILITY TO SHINE IN CANBERRA

Posted in fremantle, greens, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on July 28, 2017

 

Isn’t it interesting how difficult it appears to be to walk the talk, no matter if one is on the right or left side of politics.

According to the West Australian today the WA Greens are in a bit of turmoil after the dual-citizenship resignation of Senator Scott Ludlam.

The person who came second on the ballot has got the right to step into Ludlam’s position and go to Canberra, but that person is 22-year-old Jordon Steele-John.

Not only is Jordon just 22 but he is also disabled, so now the Greens are lamenting that it should be decided by the grassroots members of the party who will follow Scott Ludlam.

I have witnessed Jordon Steele-John a few times during community forums and he is a very intelligent young man who speaks very well and is really likeable, so why not give him the go he deserves?

It is not as if there are a lot of good breaks in life for disabled people, and if we talk about quotas in politics disabled people are rarely mentioned.

Jordon would be a breath of fresh air in the Canberra Senate and has the intelligence to grow into the job and become an excellent representative for Fremantle.

 

Roel Loopers

BE PART OF FREMANTLE’S BRIGHT FUTURE

Posted in city of fremantle, development, politics, property, Uncategorized by freoview on July 17, 2017

 

property-council

 

There is a lot of hot air in politics, and one-eyed blinkered judging of the other’s failures and one’s own greatness. In local politics one can add parochial polemic to it that is not helpful to get a balanced view of the facts.

It becomes understandable why many people don’t really now what is going on in Fremantle, because for some it is all positive while for others it is mostly negative.

I prefer facts over fake news, misinformation, and political point scoring.

It is often good to hear the opinion of out of towners and see how they assess the performance of Fremantle Council, as the promotion for a sundowner does.

According to the poster for an event of the Property Council of Australia with Mayor Brad Pettitt and Deputy Mayor Ingrid Waltham, Fremantle is undergoing its biggest revitalisation with unprecedented levels of public and private investment underway.

The PCOA also writes Most importantly, find out about the current and imminent investment opportunities. Be part of Fremantle now as its future is bright.

The Sundowner is on Friday July 28 from 3.30-5.30 pm at the Perth Convention and Entertainment Centre. It costs $ 135.00 for non-members and $ 90.00 for members.

 

Roel Loopers

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LUDLAM CASE FAILS CANBERRA CHECKS

Posted in city of fremantle, federal government, greens, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2017

 

It is too simplistic to engage in political point scoring, as a Labor party official did on TV last night, and question why the Greens could not even get the citizenship check of Senator Scott Ludlam right.

Yes, Ludlam should have checked and so should his party, but I wonder why there are no checks and balances in place at our Federal parliament to make sure even honest mistakes like this one can’t happen.

Q: Are you an Australian citizen?

Q: Are you also a citizen of another country than Australia?

Ludlam did the right thing by resigning immediately once his dual citizenship was confirmed, but surely this should not have happened and the bureaucrats in Canberra need to do better at checking the eligibility of future parliamentarians.

I believe it would be unfair to Ludlam to demand he pays back the salary he received as Senator. He did turn up for work and was very active and made a good contribution to Australia, so why would the community he served well want to force him into financial disaster.

 

Roel Loopers

FREO GREENS SENATOR SCOTT LUDLAM RESIGNS

Posted in fremantle, greens, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on July 14, 2017

Sad to hear Fremantle Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has resigned after he became aware that he has dual citizenship in Australia and New Zealand, which could be a breach of the constitution.

Ludlam did not want to go through a possible High Court challenge and decided to resign from the Senate instead. He had not realised that he had not renounced his NZ citizenship.

Scott Ludlam only recently recovered from a mental health issue and has been a very active Senator for Western Australia.

It will be interesting to see who will replace him.

Thank you for all your hard work Scott!

Roel Loopers

WE ARE LUCKY TO LIVE IN FREMANTLE!

 

SMILE!!!!!

 

Waking up this morning I thought how lucky I am to live in Fremantle. The sun is out and the sky is blue and it is a mild 23 degrees at the start of our winter.

We live in a very special and unique city but sadly there are those who only make negative comments and never see the beauty we have and the special close community we live in.

I don’t suggest for one moment that Freo is perfect and that there is not a lot of room for improvement, but I believe we are doing very well and that our city has a very positive future.

We are seeing massive unprecedented development in Fremantle, not seen in 40 long years, which means in the very near future we will have many more people living, working and staying overnight in the inner city.

That will create confidence for more developers and businesses and we’ll see new shops and bars, new hotels and more investment also from Fremantle council and state government.

But sadly there are those with a political agenda who don’t want to recognise the strategic and long-term planning our elected members have made.

The Kings Square, Fremantle Oval, Cantonment Hall, South Quay projects are huge for our city and so are the private developments of the Woolstores shopping centre, Heirloom, Liv apartments by Defence Housing and many more that are popping up around town or are planned.

Some people in Fremantle treat our democratically elected members as the enemy of the community and more often than not their criticism is based on ignorance.

Many people do not understand the separation between the councillors and administration and blame councillors when the streets are not clean or maintenance not done.

Fact is that council sets rules and regulations in place, makes policies and development approvals, but it’s up to staff to implement them. It is like a footy club where no one would consider the board of directors responsible for the players underperforming.

It is too simplistic, and unfair, to attack councillors and the mayor when it is out of their hands, and I often hear how frustrated too they are when things are not done.

There are the conspiracy people who frequently accuse council of being communists or socialists, but how ridiculous is that when the present council has done more to encourage and support capitalist development in Freo than the councils before them.

I am not a one-eyed supporter of Fremantle council and I don’t have the blinkers on. I also don’t care if councillors are left, right or centre of politics and I don’t socialise privately with any of them, but credit needs to be given where due and criticism handed out fairly. I have been doing that on this blog for nearly eight years and in letters to editors for over 25 years.

Whenever I talk to tourists they tell me how cute, clean, beautiful and special Fremantle is, but far too many locals I talk to only have negativity on their mind.

Many people do not engage with local government and fail to inform themselves adequately, hence there is a lot of misinformation out there and people are blaming Fremantle council for things outside their control and state responsibility.

We live in a community where people really care, where they are willing to stand up and make a difference and where many want to be part of the solution.

But the internet and social media has also created large numbers of people all over the world who are only interested in writing spiteful, nasty, insulting comments that are only meant to be personal attacks and hurt. That to me is not acceptable, hence I will speak out and defend our utterly decent and very likeable councillors, collaborate with them, put suggestions to them for improvement and show them the respect they deserve.

Fremantle is a magic and magnificent place to live. We have the stunning heritage West End, great beaches, markets, lifestyle, festivals, events and we actually care.

Be passionate about Freo, as I am, and stand up for what you believe in. I support anyone who wants to help make Freo a better place, no matter if you vote Liberal, Labor, Green or any other political colour, but please let us engage in respectful and informed dialogue and not ignorant hyperbole and hot air.

Have a brilliant week, Freo and acknowledge how green the grass is on this side of the fence!

Roel Loopers

FREMANTLE COMMUNITY GROUPS MERGER

Posted in city of fremantle, community, local government, politics, Uncategorized by freoview on May 4, 2017

 

The long-established Fremantle Society and the relatively new Fremantle Residents and Ratepayers Association have merged to combine forces for the Local Government election in October.

From what I gather FRRA will be swallowed up by FS and the groups will operate under the Fremantle Society name.

Many members would have been part of both groups, so it makes sense to reduce administration and duplications.

I hope a larger FS will make a more positive contribution to Fremantle and become part of the solution, instead of only being relentlessly negative and one-eyed about Fremantle Council.

It would be transparent if the larger Fremantle Society would now disclose how many paid members it does have, to substantiate its claims that it represents a large percentage of Fremantle residents.

Community groups are very important and can be hugely influential when they are willing to engage in respectful dialogue with Elected Members and Council staff, so I hope new Society members will push for that and stop the anti everything attitude of its president.

Roel Loopers

FREO DEPUTY MAYOR COGGIN RESIGNS

In a shock announcement City of Fremantle East Ward Councillor and Deputy Mayor Dave Coggin has resigned from council today.

Coggin has been offered a position as advisor to the new Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan and that was obviously an offer too good to refuse.

Coggin had been a Freo Councillor for seven and a half years and was due for re-election in October.

Coggin’s last meeting he’ll attend at Fremantle Council will be April 25, a good opportunity to thank him.

I believe this is a sad day for Fremantle because Dave Coggin has been an excellent and balanced Councillor who was a member of the successful team that attracted massive development in the Freo CBD. A move that will see the transformation and revitalisation of the CBD and a return to a seven-day a week retail economy.

No doubt though it will be good to have someone with a real passion for and commitment to Fremantle in the Premier’s ear and Dave’s resignation from Council might benefit our city in the long run.

I have had the pleasure of many private meetings with Dave Coggin and have observed him at Council and have been very impressed with his tireless work for our community. I would like to thank him for that. The Freo community owes you gratitude, Dave. Good luck in the new position!

Roel Loopers

SIMONE MCGURK MINISTER FOR CHILD PROTECTION

Posted in fremantle, politics, state government, western australia by freoview on March 16, 2017

 

Simone McGurk the Labor member for Fremantle has been appointed by Premier Mark McGowan to become the Minister for Child Protection, Women’s Interests, Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence and Community Services.

That’s a lot of portfolios, so good luck Simone!

Roel Loopers

FREO’S SIMONE MCGURK IN NEW WA CABINET

Posted in election, fremantle, politics, state government, western australia by freoview on March 15, 2017

Two ‘locals’ have been appointed by Labor leader Mark McGowan into the new Western Australian cabinet.

Simone McGurk and Peter Tinley will be told on Thursday by the new Premier which portfolios they will be responsible for.

Well done Simone and Peter. Now the hard yakka starts!

Roel Looper

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