Freo's View

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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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.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME FREO!

Posted in australia, australia day, city of fremantle, immigration, Uncategorized by freoview on March 13, 2018

 

Today March 13 is my personal Australia Day. It is the day I migrated to Australia and arrived in Sydney 36 years ago in 1982.

The promised start at a Sydney newspaper did not eventuate because we happened to arrive when Australia was in a recession, so slogging as kitchenhand, cook and waiter was the start of my Aussie life.

Trying to deal with the culture shock and learning to understand cricket, Aussie Rules and rugby was harder than learning to accept cask wine, blue skies and sunshine.

Looking back it is amazing how much I have achieved in a country where I knew nobody. Coming to Perth in September 1985 and starting my own corporate/industrial photography business without having the support of friends or family, or having the right private school tie, was probably more youthful naivety than sound planning.

But from the very start I felt a real love for this country, even more so in Western Australia and especially Fremantle. When I first drove through the Pilbarra and Kimberley I had a real sense of home coming and that I belonged, and Freo has always been like that for me.

Even in my darkest hours I have never regretted I migrated to Australia and I have always felt a commitment that I need to make a positive contribution to my community and leave Freo an even better place than it is for future generations, when my time is up sooner than later.

I have met so many great people and have made really good friends. I love the Freo passion and that we are all so bloody opinionated, and I love it that most of us don’t take themselves too serious.

Thanks for having me, Freo!

Roel Loopers

FREO’S SAM KERR YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

Posted in aboriginal, australia, australia day, city of fremantle, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on January 26, 2018

 

Congratulations to our wonderful Fremantle role model Sam Kerr for being awarded YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR.

The young super soccer player is so delightfully down to earth that many so-called sports stars should follow her lead and let go off their over-inflated egos. (A certain misbehaving tennis player with a Greek name comes to mind).

Sam Kerr is a real pleasure to watch on the soccer pitches of the world and is a real ambassador for women’s soccer.

Roel Loopers

 

MARRIAGE EQUALITY IN THE LETTER BOX

Posted in family, fremantle, Uncategorized by freoview on September 13, 2017

 

yes 1

yes 2

 

I just received my Marriage Equality ballot paper in the letterbox, so make sure to tick the YES box and put it in the mail fast.

I vote YES because I believe everyone should have the right to make an official commitment to love.

 

Roel Loopers

VOTE ROEL FOR CITY WARD!

COLOURFUL FREO RAINBOW YES RALLY

Posted in city of fremantle, family, Uncategorized by freoview on August 25, 2017

 

yes

 

 

What a delightful Fremantle MARRIAGE EQUALITY YES! rally it was late this afternoon with many hundreds of people turning up.

There were a lot of families, some dogs, and all the colours of the rainbow.

The rally was organised by Labor federal MP Josh Wilson and supported by Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt.

My personal highlight was to see the Mayor’s oh so cute little baby daughter Aiofe at her first political rally with mum Emma.

 

Roel Loopers

P.S. community groups please feel free to use these photos. Just drag and drop them. A photo credit will be appreciated!

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DUAL CITIZENSHIP SAGA FREO CONNECTION

Posted in democracy, elections, fremantle, fremantle herald, Uncategorized by freoview on August 25, 2017

 

There is a Fremantle connection with the Federal Parliament dual-citizenhip fiasco, with the West Australian reporting today that former Fremantle Herald sub-editor and now MP for Lyons in Tasmania, might have been an Irish national when elected.

It is beyond me that there are no stricter rules and balances in place in Canberra in this matter. Surely some department should be responsible for checking the citizenship status for all members before they are sworn in, or when nominating, as self checks quite clearly don’t work.

This is a huge waste of time and now money for courts costs and lawyers, and in the meantime we might have a case where government decisions could be challenged because ineligible politicians voted.

Should those who unlawfully were in parliament pay back their wages, and should those who came second in the ballot now have a claim for loss of income?

If anyone thought that the UTOPIA series on ABC TV is a satire, think again. This is how our governments operate and that is a very serious worry!

 

Roel Loopers

AUSTRALIA DAY THREAT TO LOCAL COUNCILS

Posted in aboriginal, australia day, city of fremantle, local government, Uncategorized by freoview on August 15, 2017

 

Australia Day smoking ceremony in the Fremantle Roundhouse

 

According to a report in the West Australian today the Federal Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has written to all 547 local councils in Australia, and warned them that they will be stripped off their right to hold citizenship ceremonies, if there are politically motivated attacks on Australia Day.

Fremantle Council this year stopped the Australia Day firework on January 26 and instead had a One Day event on the Esplanade on the 28th.

The fireworks still went ahead and were paid for by the Fishing Boat Harbour traders.

I am not sure that I consider the now national discussion about a more appropriate date to celebrate Australia Day as political motivated. It is only genuine consideration for Australia’s indigenous people, who consider January 26 as invasion day.

 

Roel Loopers

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

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