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.
Fremantle resident Andrew Luobikis will be running for the WA State Election/Upper House in the South Metro Region for the new Julie Matheson for Western Australia Party.
Andrew is very committed to Freo and unsuccessfully stood for South and Beaconsfield Ward, and that gives us something in common as I was also unsuccessful standing for Beacy Ward.
While Andrew and I are probably miles apart politically I believe he deserves a plug on Freo’s View because of his passion for our city. Here is what Andrew Luobikis has to say about his candidacy:
Why am I running:
After several years of exposure to local government politics and seeing how the system is not only manipulated by the major political parties it is also very much broken. Reflecting on the lost economic opportunities for WA, especially during the mining boom it was clear that our wonderful state was not getting its fair share. Our state has been held to economic ransom by the political parties from the East. While WA digs up every mineral and harvests every inch of arable land, the rest of Australia lives on GST welfare generated and paid for by hard working Western Australians.
I could see that reform is necessary on many issues and the only way to enact real change is from the State level.
Having met Julie Matheson during the last Beaconsfield Council By-Election I was drawn to the fact the Julie Matheson For Western Australia Party is the only party that represents the interests of Western Australia and its people, not political parties from the Eastern States. The party’s policies stood out in that they reflected many of the issues I was standing for locally and knew it would be an easy transition for me to get behind and support.
It was obvious to me running as an independent at local government level that if I were to be successful in effecting any real change I would require the support of a team with values similar to that of mine. It is a team of real people standing up on the real issues for WA and especially the South Metropolitan Region.
I am a member of Western Australia’s only party that puts Western Australia’s interests FIRST. The other parties seeking your vote are controlled by politicians from the East. These politicians want to control WA’s parliament for their own political gain and continue the GST welfare system for the benefit of other states. It’s our GST, a ‘State tax’ and it belongs in WA.
I also decided to run to help elect our Party’s candidate for Fremantle Janetia Knapp. Janetia works tirelessly in the Fremantle community to include Aboriginal culture in mainstream day to day living. She promotes the loving and caring of people and the land on which we all live. Fremantle will be a better place to live with Janetia Knapp as our elected member of parliament.
We have a great candidate for Fremantle in the Lower House – Janitia Knapp. When we met, we just gelled and I could see that a great team was forming that could exert influence and make some fantastic systemic changes for the betterment of the local community.
Fremantle Councillor Sam Wainwright and City of Melville Councillor Tim Barling were arrested at the Roe 8 site today after chaining themselves to fences to stop bulldozers from entering the site and destroying precious wetlands.
It is a risky business for Councillors to do this kind of non-violent protest because if they get convicted it could mean they are no longer eligible to be on local council.
Good on them for standing up for what is right and for protesting against the destruction of the Beeliar Wetlands!
2016 has been a big year for Fremantle, so I want to reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly.
A few things stand out for me and the first one is the national exposure of the Australia Day changes the City of Fremantle made. I believe it is positive that there is now a national debate if January 26 is the appropriate date to celebrate Australia.
The most positive change in Fremantle is seeing so many substantial building sites in the CBD after our city had been in the development desert for decades. The news that state government departments will be moving into Kings Square is huge for Fremantle and so are the Liv, Heirloom, Hilton Doubletree, Quest, Spotlight and other major developments. However, the most disappointing aspect of all the Fremantle development is the mediocrity of most buildings. It’s a shame that planning laws are not stronger and more specific in that regard.
A great win for the community was the rejection by the WA Planning Commission and the State Administrative Tribunal of the proposed tavern at J Shed, but Sunset Events still has a 25-year-lease so we’ll need to wait till July to see if they will take that up and what they will be proposing this time.
Not so positive is the attempt to make historic Arthur Head into the Bathers Beach Arts Precinct. The eviction of residents at Captain’s Lane has resulted in the verandas and backyards of the cottages being used by homeless people at night and most of he new artists studios have done little to activate the area, and neither has the Walyalup Aboriginal Centre which has been a costly failure.
Absolutely fantastic to see the historic Warders and Gunners cottages restored and people living in them again. It has been a long battle by Fremantle City and the community to stop the neglect and we finally got outstanding results.
Also great that historically significant Cantonment Hill will be developed into an attraction for locals and visitors and the old Signal Station being used again by Fremantle Sea Rescue.
Disappointing is the corporate greed of the Fremantle Dockers football club who are demanding a large million-dollar payout from the City of Fremantle to relinquish their long-term lease on Fremantle Oval.
Community negativity has been a disappointing feature of the year and social media is frequently showing the nasty face of keyboard heroes, who often are uninformed and make comments and judgements based on ignorance. I like a good debate and engaging with people who have different opinions, but the nastiness and name-calling is distasteful, unnecessary and inappropriate.
Good community consultation and information is still lacking and makes the interaction between Council and the community often negative. There is too much inconsistency and tokenism. Community engagement happens too late in the process where it inevitably becomes reactive and negative. That needs to improve!
There is no doubt that there is a lot of room for improvement, especially at the basic levels of city maintenance and cleaning, and WA Police need to do a whole lot better addressing the anti-social and crime issues in Fremantle.
The City of Fremantle also needs to start getting serious about the ageing population in Australia and our city and needs to find a better balance between youth interest and that of older people in town.
City expenditure is at a dangerous level and that has to become the number one priority in 2017 for Fremantle Council. There needs to be a more realistic financial approach to what the city can afford because it is following dangerously into the footsteps of the State Government of over-spending.
Fremantle needs to have a debate on what good development for our city is and how we can stop the glut of ugliness we are getting in the the city. The fact that Fremantle Council gets overruled by Joint Development Assessment Panels and State Administrative Tribunal is a worry as we need to retain the unique character of Freo because that is why tourists come here.
Tourism needs to be more appreciated and looked after with more than 60 cruiseliners visiting Freo this summer. The visitors’ numbers at the Roundhouse are significantly up this year, so we need to have more attractions to keep the tourists in town longer. I would like to see a real physical interpretation of the former Whaling Station at Bathers Beach and also a migrant museum.
A mere $ 10,000 for power into the Roundhouse so that a $ 200,000 new display project can be undertaken should be supported by Fremantle City. It’s the sum of money the City has given for a solar parklet in Wray Avenue that will not attract even 1% of the 135,000 visitors the Roundhouse gets.
The selection of candidates for the federal election was a bit of a farce with Liberal candidate Sherry Sufi pulling out, to be replaced by equally unknown Pierrette Kelly, while Labor engaged in the unnecessary and unfair humiliation of Chris Brown who was replaced by former Freo Deputy Mayor, and my preferred candidate, Josh Wilson. Josh is our new MP in Canberra.
A possible swap at McGabe Street in North Fremantle where parts would go to Mosman Park is interesting in the context of the failed local government reform. It looks to me like piecemeal governance.
The sale of Fremantle Port and the building of the Perth Freight Link will not eventuate should the Labor party form government after the March 2017 election, so it is disappointing that the Barnett government is fast tracking the Roe 8 Highway extension and the destruction of the wetlands instead of waiting for the election outcome.
Heritage protection remains critical and needs to remain a priority for Fremantle Council. It is not necessary to compromise heritage to appease developers. There are many other locations outside the West End that are better suited for higher density and building height. Community vigilance is essential to keep inappropriate development out of the inner city.
I love living in Fremantle and I love engaging with the community. It disappoints me that there is so much negativity in this great city and that so few people participate in the democratic local government process, and I hope that will change in 2017.
We all can make a positive difference to our city and be part of the solution when we respectfully engage with the Elected Members and CoF staff, and they with the community. That is my wish for the New Year. Have a very happy one!
The Fremantle Inner City Residents Association-FICRA has joined the Fremantle Society in their criticism of City Ward Councillor Simon Naber.
The Society last month asked Naber to stand down, which he refused to do, and now FICRA in a letter in the Fremantle Herald says that “His attendance record is patchy and his record of effective advocacy totally non-existent.
As a mate of Simon Naber I too am disappointed with his performance at council where he rarely speaks at public meetings and if he does his opinions are shallow and appear not well-informed. For that reason I asked him last year if he would resign before the October election so I could stand for City Ward where sitting member Rachel Pemberton’s seat was contested, but he decided against doing that.
It is quite clear that Simon Naber, who is a really nice man and operates the very popular Moore&Moore cafe, is not passionate about and involved enough in Council business. At the two Notre Dame University community meetings about the proposed new building in High Street Naber was a noticeable absentee, although this is a huge issue for the inner city and the heritage preservation of the West End.
As a friend I suggest Simon should have a real hard look at himself and seriously question whether he is representing the inner city residents and businesses well enough, because most people in City Ward are very disappointment with his lack of commitment, some to the point where they have told me they also boycott Naber’s cafe.
Local government relies on passionate and well-informed community members to step up. If one does not have the time or passion to do that one is not the right person to be a Councillor.
It is very disappointing that Federal and State Liberal party politicians are politicising the City of Fremantle’s decision to have an Australia day event on January 28 and not on the 26th.
The claim that new citizens would be denied being sworn in on the 26th is pretty shallow, since they have only had that opportunity since 1994, the day Australia Day was introduced.
I was sworn in as an Australian citizen on December 19, 1985 and don’t feel I missed out on anything because the extreme significance of changing one’s citizenship is a whole lot bigger than the date it happens on.
Changing nationality is a huge step for anyone, and for me and my German partner it also meant we had to hand back our European passports as the Netherlands and Germany did not permit dual citizenship at that time. That’s a huge step and decision to make!
I have been going to the Fremantle citizenship ceremony for years and will attend no matter what day it is on because I know it is quite an emotional day for many who take the big step, but the importance of becoming a new citizen of this country is lost on most Australians as hardly any attend the ceremonies and mainly friends, family, colleagues and a few politicians turn up for it.
Personally I would like to see more substance at citizenship ceremonies with a prominent Fremantle migrant talking about what it means to become Australian and an Aboriginal elder explaining the significance of Walyalup and the Noongar people.
I find it disappointing that politicians who are keen on scoring cheap points before the March W.A. election believe a 22 year-old tradition is more significant than showing respect for a 50,000 year-old culture. That does not seem the right priority to me.
For Premier Colin Barnett and others to say Fremantle might ban Christmas because it would upset Muslims is absurd, ridiculous and stupid, and it shows the Premier is desperately trying to attract votes from the right wing and One Nation voters.
Christmas has been a religious celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ for hundreds of years all over the world, while Australia Day has only been celebrated for 22 years and is based on the invasion by the British of what is now New South Wales.
Those who want fireworks can still see them at the Fishing Boat Harbour on the 26th or go to Perth for the huge event there, and on January 28 we can all enjoy a great concert on the Fremantle Esplanade to celebrate our community and multiculturalism. The City of Fremantle offers us a choice!
ECOBURBIA PRESENTS! ASTROTURF WARS
Friday November 4. 7.30 pm.
The Tea Party movement has taken American politics by storm. But is this truly a populist uprising or one of the greatest feats of propaganda ever seen? Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham sets out to answer this question, finding that behind the movement’s rhetoric of “freedom” versus “socialism” lies a highly co-ordinated network of shadow groups, funded by the likes of billionaire ideologues Charles and David Koch. Are the tea party protesters really just pawns in a plan to replace government with a privatised America?
This movie will be held at Ecoburbia – 16 Livingstone Street in Beaconsfield. We will be inside MORTUNG – our community space. There are some dining chairs available but feel free to bring a folding chair if you are more comfy – or some pillows for the floor. The space is not heated so dress appropriately.
We will not be sharing food over winter, but coffee and tea will be available, and we encourage you to stay and have a debrief after the movie. The movie will start at 7.30 pm
Please walk or come by bike. If you have to drive please park at the Primary School on Hale Road, not on Beard Street. See you at Ecoburbia!
Colin Barnett remains the leader of the WA Liberal Party and Premier of the state after a spill motion was defeated and Barnett received 31 votes and challenger Dean Nalder only got 15 votes.
I hope Nalder will now try to reduce his ego and drastically improve his skills at being a politician.
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!