Just three days before ANZAC Day racist fools have plastered offensive posters around the Fremantle Bathers Beach area proclaiming we should be proud to be white Australians.
It would do these ignorant idiots a whole lot of good if they read a bit about the history of Australia and the immense contribution people from all races, cultures and skin colours made to this country and help make it the great multicultural society we now are.
I am grateful to those people who scratched and removed some of the posters, so if you are around the area, bring something sharp to scratch this rubbish off. They are on the Esplanade and at Bathers.
If Australia, as the Prime Minister claims, is the most successful multicultural country on the planet then we need to embrace that multiculturalism when accepting new citizens.
Immigrants to Australia have made immense contributions to our country and many did so without ever being able to speak English to native standards. Look at the many very successful Chinese, Vietnamese, Italians and Croats. Go to Chinatown and experience that some of those who serve you in restaurants barely speak English, and there are quite a few old Italians walking around Freo who have lived here for sixty plus years whose English language skills would not be good enough to get Australian citizenship today.
Fact is that holding on to one’s language, culture, food, traditions and religion when one migrates gives a sense of belonging, safety and security in a foreign country, even more so for those who were forced to leave their countries.
But it does not matter because the actual integration starts with the children and grandchildren of the original immigrants, and see how they too are successful with many immigrant children being the top students at high schools and in universities, to the benefit of Australia because they will become our future leaders.
By introducing questions about domestic violence to obtain citizenship the government emphasises difference in culture when it should realise that people change when migrating and most of them will accept the rules and laws of their new country, because most have been brought up to be law-abiding people no matter where they live.
Christians don’t break the law and kill people because the Bible preaches and eye for an eye, so why would Muslim men break Australian laws and beat their wife because the Koran says they can?
Domestic violence is rampant in Australia where drunken men beat up their female partners. Muslims don’t drink alcohol so it is more likely that there is less domestic violence in their culture because of that.
We need to have a bit of a reality check in our country. Politicians always talk about values when often they set the standards very low themselves, and many Australians still believe the urban myth of fair go and that we are the best country in the world.
As someone who was born in the Netherlands, where I lived for 19 years, and who lived in Germany for 13 years, before migrating to Australia 35 years ago, I have often been staggered by the racism, ignorance and lack of tolerance of many Australians. There is no doubt in my mind that Australia is more racist than those two countries.
The difference between the countries is that many Australians only tolerate foreigners and different cultures while the two European countries I lived in actually accept and respect migrants for what they are. That is a big difference we in Australia still need to work on.
The cute thing about it all is that all these bogans who get drunk on Friday night and eat kebabs, curries and fish&chips don’t realise they are eating Hahal food often prepared by Muslims.
Migrants from all over the world generously contribute to Australia. They volunteer in community groups, schools, mosques, churches, sporting clubs, etc. and their respect for their new country and involvement with their community makes up for their lack of English language skills.
My own personal experience travelling the world has been that most people are good, caring, compassionate, hospitable and law-abiding, but that there are morons and criminals in every culture and religion.
Accepting and respecting difference should be one of Australia’s core values because it enriches all of us and we should welcome those who want to commit themselves to become new Australians.
Today is my personal Australia Day! Thirty-five years ago today on March 13, 1982 I landed in Australia with my then partner Brigitte to start our new life on the other side of the world, and what a journey it has been.
The decision to migrate to Australia was seen by many friends and colleagues in Germany as foolhardy and naïve, but how wrong they were.
There is no doubt that my Australian years have been the most challenging and often very difficult years of my life. I went through all the highs and all the lows, from a highly successful photography business to a financial disaster triggered by severe depressions, from beautiful houses to awful granny flats, and from great love affairs to a badly broken heart, but as the French say c’est la vie. Shit happens.
But overall it has been a wonderful adventure where I learned so much about myself and life, and at the end I came through it wiser, tougher, more considerate and more tolerant, so these are good gains and lessons.
Moving from Sydney to Perth in September 1985 was stroke of genius, and moving to Fremantle in the early 1990s was pure brilliance as I love living in our beautiful little port city.
Fremantle taught me so much about community engagement and passion and yesterday’s huge Labor election win shows that the enormous Roe 8 people power movement made a big difference and that politicians who ignore the people will be punished. There is an important message for the elected members of the City of Fremantle in that as well.
The good thing about integration in a new culture is that it does not come at the cost of losing one’s identity and culture and while I became an Australian citizen in 1985 much of me will always remain Dutch as the education I received and the values instilled in me in the Netherlands will be with me forever.
Respecting people and being compassionate was something my parents showed me daily, and that being generous and honest and standing up for people less fortunate are good things. They are beautiful values to have.
I love people and the Fremantle community is my family. They are the people I want to look after and support and while I have failed dismally on a few occasions I have always tried my best.
Fremantle has given me a deep sense of belonging and a purpose that is much more than just surviving and earning money. It has taught me that looking after the community one lives in and supporting positive change can make a real difference and that doing that is very rewarding.
I don’t have all that many years left in life but as long as I can do it I will try to help make Fremantle and even better place to live and love in.
Thank you to everyone who has been part of my Aussie life so far. It has been a mind-blowing journey!
Christmas is a time of reflection and hope and with so much madness going on in the world we need to remain hopeful that we will be able to turn the destruction of the earth and oceans around and that there will be a good future for the next generations.
Humans do have the ability to stand up in adversity and make necessary changes. We have survived natural disasters and wars all over the planet many times and we can do it again if sanity prevails and if our political leaders become true leaders instead of being power hungry egos only interested in winning the next election.
It is shocking to see the destruction of Aleppo and other places of war and the plight of all these innocent people. It violates my heart to see the idiocy of terrorism and attacks on families because some fanatical criminals believe the god they believe in is better than the gods of other people.
But I remain confident about the future because my own experience with people of all different cultures and religions all over the world has shown that the vast majority of people are good and caring people who are willing to embrace and support fellow humans in need.
We cannot give up hope during the tsunami of madness that is happening and that has made 2016 such a challenging year. We cannot blame all Muslims for the actions of a small group of sadistic criminals, as we do not blame all Catholics for those priests who have abused children. Hatred will not solve anything and neither does blaming all for the crimes of some.
We need to learn the lessons of the past and become more responsible in looking after our planet because the environmental destruction is relentless above and below ground. We are suffocating our oceans while destroying our forests, because we want more and more and more, and that is not sustainable.
Innovation technology will help us to become smarter but our relentless consumerism needs to be curtailed because the environment is suffering because of it.
We need more tolerance and less judgment in our world and more acceptance of diversity. Culture, religion and the colour of someone’s skin are not reasons to reject people and we need to assess every individual on its own merits. There are bad apples in every family, in every country, in every race, religion and culture, but we must keep in mind that most people are good and caring.
I love life because I love people. I love the irreverence, the intelligence, the quirkiness and the true warmth of people and I love it that we are all so different but also so much the same. A big black fella in Fitzroy Crossing summed it all up perfectly for me one night when he looked at me and said “Isn’t it amazing brother that we both have red blood and brown shit.”
Have a very Happy Christmas. Smile at and say G’day to a stranger. Believe in yourself and all of us that we can and will create a better future for all where the poor are less poor and the rich a bit less rich. True equality will only happen if we look after each other better.
There is an interesting event on this Saturday November 19 at REPLANTS , 96 Wray Avenue, Fremantle. The Traditional Ngangkari Healers will show you the world of the Ngangkari indigenous people, and their wisdom, natural healing and cultural history.
Australia’s Aboriginal history is 50,000 years old, so there is a lot we can learn from it.
The event is on from 7-9 pm and costs $ 40.00 with light refreshments served.
As promised here some more excerpts from the very good first speech by new Fremantle MP Josh Wilson in Parliament House, Canberra on Monday. The entire speech is too long to fully publish it on Freo’s View, but you can hear it on Josh’s Facebook page.
I have the honour of being sent here to represent the mighty federal electorate of Fremantle, the place where the Swan River, or Derbarl Yerrigan, meets the Indian Ocean, in the land of the Whadjuk Noongar, the place known for thousands of years as Walyalup.
I am proud to say that I have been shaped by Fremantle, by its landscape and its culture; by its function as a place of industry and trade and the arts; a port city; a place of arrival, whose multicultural diversity and cohesion has been hard won and is precious; a place that looks out into the world and welcomes people, whether they come for a short or a long time, with open arms; a place defined by the heat and by the sea.
Representing Fremantle is a great responsibility. There is no role or task that I can imagine being more meaningful to me in this life, and I am going to pour myself into this work—at home, in my electorate, and here in this place. I relish the fact that this work spans the full range: from helping a person who has come to you when every other door is closed to working in this place to shape national laws and policy, and I think one should inform the other. If you are from WA, it is work that literally spans the continent, and I look forward to all of it. I hope I can undertake the task with energy, humility, dedication and good humour. My constituents in Freo and my children will let me know if I do not.
………..When Carmen Lawrence gave her first speech in this place in 1994 she remarked on the centenary of universal suffrage. My daughters are here today and I am glad they are able to see a parliament, especially on this side, that is replete with women who are ready to make a contribution and take their place here on merit, because women have been ready to make their contribution on that basis for a long time, and that process is not finished. Let’s remember there are 72 seats in this place that have not yet been represented by a woman.
……Good government, responsive and reforming government, is not just important, it is necessary, but there is more to be done. There is a danger, I think, when you come to participate in the work of parliament, not that you will be deluded into thinking that we happen to exist at an especially crucial moment in history but that we might be deluded instead into thinking that all the big changes have been won; that what is left is only marginal, asymptotic progress along the curve. On any reasonable assessment, that is not the case. There is in fact a great deal more to do.
The Fremantle electorate is bound up in a number of those challenges: in the need for action on climate change and renewable energy; in the need to hasten the too-slow progress to close the gap between Indigenous and non- Indigenous Australians; in relation to the future of work in this country, its forms, quantity and conditions; in regional leadership and our engagement with the wider world; and in the need for smart and forward-looking urban design and planning, and the delivery of matching transport and communication infrastructure.
Granted, city planning sounds boring and technocratic, but unless we get it right we will consign families in outer metro areas to lives limited by unaffordable housing, dislocated from jobs and services and characterised by congestion in suburbs where people struggle to feel connected to their neighbours because there is no reason to walk or ride through the streets, no local shops or community centres and poor public transport. The local governments in my electorate—Cockburn, Fremantle, East Fremantle and Melville—are seized by this challenge but they are frustrated at not being met halfway by state and federal governments. There is no better example right now of that frustration than the Perth Freight Link. My community is fighting to be on the right side of a decision that divides between two very different futures.
……..One of the most distinctive things about Fremantle is its loud and proud arts and culture workforce—the ordinary, everyday presence and production of musicians, architects, artists, writers, dancers, street performers and even circus performers. Arts practitioners and businesses are the very definition of the creative economy, and you would be hard-pressed to find leaner and meaner enterprises or people and organisations that do more with less, so it is incredibly disappointing that in my electorate of Fremantle arts funding and support bodies have been subject to so much chaos in the last couple of years.
…….To bring my slightly damp first speech in this incredible place to an end—that will not make sense to people reading this in the future!—I am happy to say that I am a romantic when it comes to representative democracy. I think it is one of the best things. I do not agree with Winston Churchill; I think it is one of the best things. It deserves to be valued. It deserves to be performed with maximum effort, and cultivated with great care, with its essence and structure respected and its live parts allowed to flourish and be renewed. As a new member in this place I intend to listen and learn, to not hold back for fear of making the odd mistake or the odd joke, to participate and work hard in good spirit and good faith, to make a difference and always to apply myself in dedicated service to the people of Fremantle.
It is R U OK? Day today, a day where we are reminded off the very high rate of suicide and mental health problems in Australia. We even have a very high rate of youth suicide that is very disturbing.
Of suicides in Australia 75% are committed by men who in our macho society still find it hard to seek help and that needs to change, as there is no shame in admitting that one is battling the black dog.
When someone tells you they are not o.k don’t say that there are many people worse off, because it is totally irrelevant for those who are in the deepest, darkest and loneliest space in the universe in the jaws of the black dog.
Depression and anxiety is not some selfish self-indulgence and feeling sorry for oneself, so being told to stop whingeing because other people are worse off is like being told that one is a loser who should stop the poor me attitude.
Depression is a very frightening emotion where one sees no future and no way out of that huge black hole, and one believes that no one can help because no one understands. It is a deeply lonely battle where one feels absolutely abandoned by the world and all one wants is peace and to not wake up the next morning.
Committing suicide is not a selfish and coward act but one of utter desperation because one sees no other way out. It is the most awful soul-destroying feeling of aloneness that is impossible for me to put in words. It makes me shudder to even think off it.
The black dog keeps coming back in the most unexpected moments and when one believes one has won the fight. That awful pressure of anxiety in one’s chest is only made a little more bearable by hoping that it might be the start of a heart attack and that life will soon end, so that one hopefully does not have to commit suicide.
It is easy to smile and show a stiffer upper lip and to answer I am okay when people ask, but deep inside one knows one is just a little bit okay for a short while, maybe a whole day, but many evenings we go to bed and ask the universe to not let us wake up tomorrow because we are so exhausted fighting depression.
So thank you, I am okay today and will have great fun talking to many international visitors at the Roundhouse, and I sincerely wish and hope that YOU are okay as well!
I don’t often engage in Schadenfreude, but today is the day, when probably most people expected there would be a Census computer crash, but the government assured us they had been working on this for more than 4 years, tested it with even more people than the population of Australia and it was all honky dory.
So let me just give one advise to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, don’t buy your Census software at Coles because it will be Down, Down, Down!
What a censusless exercise today has been, showing dismal failure by the IT people , bureaucrats and politicians.
And don’t forget for one second that they also promised us our privacy would be protected!
Good to see that the Sail&Anchor have taken down the badly damaged Australia flag I complained about and replaced it with a new one, and rewarding to note that this Freo’s View blog makes a little difference in our Fremantle community.
At Freo’s View I care about the little details because a lot of little things make up the big picture. From little things big things grow. ; >). (Thanks Paul Kelly!)
The totally ripped Australian flag on top of the Sail&Anchor in Fremantle is not acceptable as it shows disrespect for our national flag. This surely did not happen over night, so management at the hotel needs to take more care of details such as this.
Surely the pub can afford to buy a new flag now and then, and if not they should stop flying the flag as this one looks awful.