Fremantle’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Mad hatter tea party

With all the hoo har over the amalgamation since the weekend I have had a stream of people sending my articles and stories about have you seen this or that, quick listen to 6PR or the ABC radio this.

Firstly to all those who send me links and info thank you, I appreciate it, one for the time you take to send it but also it makes me look at things from different points of view, which is always good in a democracy, so thank you.

One of the articles was a comment piece on the WAtoday site. It was an article by Larry Graham a once Labour MP in the Pilbara, then independent. He makes some very interesting analogizes on both local government and the poll we have just had in some suburbs. I have cut and pasted a piece of it so you get his critique of the system.

Quote for article piece………

“Council costs increase because councillors, mayors and shire presidents are now paid professional politicians and neither their imposed pay and allowances, nor the executive salary packages of their CEOs and staff reflect any capability of a shire to afford them. 

The local government structures designed in the century before last compound the increases in rates and spiraling red tape and make the case for change powerful.

And at the same as the cost of local government increases, state bureaucracies are encroaching on their responsibilities.

Councils no longer do traffic patrols to enforce road rules; centralist planning bodies and administrative tribunals have had their powers increased over zoning and developments. National building codes, standards and regulations have also reduced council’s regulatory power and workloads.

Government needs to revisit local government reform on a much wider focus than some magical number of metropolitan councils, the cost, role, function, powers and responsibilities of these intrusive but unaccountable local bureaucracies are of far greater importance to ratepayers than boundaries are.

It is clear that if our system of local government is to reclaim some legitimacy, it needs compulsory voting, the return of all its planning powers, forced amalgamations and a genuine focus on accountability to its electors.

mad hatter

In Alice In Wonderland, the Mad Hatter said:

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.  Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.”

Claiming public legitimacy without a commensurate level of voter support clearly fits the Mad Hatter’s world view.

I think the one critical point I have made many times myself and I believe the reform board also recommended to the minister office of DLG, is that voting in local elections should be compulsory. This one line ….”It is clear that if our system of local government is to reclaim some legitimacy, it needs compulsory voting, the return of all its planning powers, forced amalgamations and a genuine focus on accountability to its electors.” Clearly sums up Fremantle and quite likely the reason East Freo residents voted against the amalgamation with Fremantle was the fear of joining our Mad Hatters Tea Party.

Now I have heard people speak about elected members spruiking their mandate from the last election. With only approx. 35% of the eligible electorate voting, which is laughable, their representations of speaking for the silent majority, believable? I’m sure I have heard Mayor Brad talk about his mandate from the last election, what was his slogan “let’s finish what we started”?

Imagine for a second a council where compulsory voting took place. Does anyone believe that Fremantle (elected members) council would exist in its current form, imagine a council free of ideology, just true representation? A song worthy of a certain John.

What we do have looks like it may be the Mad Hatters Tea Party?

mad hatter 1

Fremantles Battle For The Burbs


Yesterday the Premier announced that he agreed the amalgamation have failed and would not seek to force council together unless they both agreed to them. Which in some ways is great as it shows the Premier is finally listening to what the community wants and needs. I wonder how long it will take for that sort of epiphany, to reach elected members in local government?

Then at the bottom of that article we see our Mayor Brad, reported as saying “Mr Pettitt said Fremantle would still want to take Hamilton Hill and North Coogee from Cockburn, plus Palmyra and Bicton from Melville.” Note that’s take not agree!

Sadly it makes no mention of our suburbs that where going to Melville, so it looks like our Mayor is happy to cut lose Samson and parts of O’Conner, suburbs that have been part of the Freo community for decades.

The battle will come for all the merger planned areas to and from Fremantle’s borders, will Melville give up Pt Walter, I can’t see that happening, a very unpopular move in the mind of Melville residents, will the Cockburn Council allow Freo to take all of Hammie Hill, why cut a community in 1/2 in an area that has been a community for decades?

Then there is the North Coogee bit and the North Freo re-aliment, also in the air. I can’t see Cockburn wanting to let Hammie go, especially after the back room deals between some councils that left Cockburn on the chopping block while Melville and Freo carved off chunks to suit themselves, I bet that has left a sour tastes in many mouths?

Listening to the ABC this morning the minister is reported to be saying it’s still to be decided, if Governors orders are to be revoked, if not the whole process would leave a suburb like Cockburn considerably smaller than they started the process at, does that make sense, does it?

Leaving us the community wondering what’s next, on one hand we read the Premier says he will not force the councils to give communities up, unless they agree, yet on the other hand we read that Freo’s Mayor Brad still wants, Hammie Hill, Palmyra, Bicton, Point Walter and North Coogee, I can’t see any of those residents wanting to come to Freo, especially with the clear message that East Freo sent on Saturdays Polls. H sayse doesn’t want to force the East Freo issue possibly as he got well and truly canned there. But he seems to be happy to force suburbs from Cockburn and Melville to come to Freo while kicking some existing areas of Freo to the gutter, seem contradictory to anyone?

On 6pr we hear this morning, WALGA president Troy Pickard told 6PR the sector had moved too far from the original objectives and had become “flawed beyond repair”.

Tonight our Freo council is looking to drive along policies for suburbs that may or may not be part of Future Freo, and have had no input to such policies, is this good governance? Yet another council saga continues, funnily I saw Roels Blog this morning about rubbish left for weeks at the Round House yet again. So we have a council struggling to supply basic amenity to our city and a mayor who wants to add to their woes by making it bigger.


Fremantle Rubbish and its Waste

jet polution

Last year our mayor flew to Japan with entourage to look at incinerators to burn rubbish.

After the rubbish junket there was also a meeting at the council building to hear all the proposals on about our fab new save the environment rubbish incinerator. That was the last I’ve heard of it.

Till now I have not heard anything from council on our new system or timeline. Put into that Brad told us we were getting a 3 bin system as well, some trial I have not heard any more on this either,

Each week you put out two bins:

  • The organics bin (lime green bin) is the main service and is collected weekly.
  • Rubbish bins (red or dark green lid) are collected fortnightly on the opposite week to recycling.
  • Recycling bins (yellow lid) are collected fortnightly on the opposite week to rubbish.

Well that’s how it works in other suburbs

So as a city we invested in time, flights, hotels, general expenses to look at a system we have no real plans to implement, I hope I’m wrong, otherwise just another waste of rate payer funds. I’m sure the sushi was good but any info you needed to get on this system was surely online.

I don’t know if Tokyo is a good place to view such a system as its input of rubbish would not be comparable to a country like Australia as the amount and type of rubbish we generate is different in both type and volume.

Currently I have bugger all in my green lid when it is collected weekly unless it’s a lot of garden rubbish I can’t put in my compost. So council sends a truck to my house each week to collect bugger all, if you are recycling correctly I don’t see how you can have that much rubbish for the green bin.

The Facebook link to see how our supposed green council runs its rubbish system. Interesting reading see the impact our rubbish has on others.

Facebook link 2

Strange also that a council that wants to ban plastic bags, to save the environment has another issue with its SMRC compost. Which I believe still has a problem being full of shards of plastic and glass through the compost, due to separation issues. So while we are banning plastic bags on one hand on the other it looks like COF are paying someone to spread little bits of plastic all over our environment? The spin just goes on and on. Further due to the fact we pay SMRC to take rubbish excess or waste is another thing we the rate payers fund. I’m sure compost full of glass and plastic does not get a good return, so that loss of revenue is an increase in cost to us the rate payers.

It’s reported that Brad wants the state government to take over waste management, so why was it necessary to go Japan for something he wants the State Government to run. As the council were not investing, building, or running this new incinerator I wonder why a trips to Japan was necessary at all, as all the city will really do is tell the truck drivers to go to different address. I wonder how many trip our councillors take on our behalf and what we spend on such trips over the years? What does the rate payer actually get out of it. Considering their concern for the environment and the impact we have on it, I wonder if they factor in the carbon impact with the flights they use?

I read an interesting site a while back which got me thinking what happen to all talk at council about our new garbage system. No burn, it had an interesting heading, Incineration is not sustainable.  A quote from the site,

“In Brescia, Italy, they spent about $400,000,000 building an incinerator and have created just 80 full-time jobs. While Nova Scotia, a province of Canada, after rejecting an incinerator, has created over 3000 jobs in the handling of the discarded resources and in the industries using these secondary materials.

For every four tons of trash burned you get at least one ton of ash: 90% is called bottom ash (that is the ash collected under the furnace) and 10% is the very toxic fly ash.”

So strange our Mayor a sustainability educator would choose burning rubbish over recycling it or more importantly working to lower the amount we waste in the first place? I guess another trip to Japan will be needed, to see how the Japanese produce far less waste per person than we do? Then there is the issue of nano toxicology, these wonderful incinerators produce nano particles, smaller than a micron, which can cross lung membrane and enter our blood stream, that doesn’t sound very sustainable.

Why push for a system that’s bad for jobs, has a negative impact on our environment(dioxins), the only ones I see benefiting is the company that builds and operates the incinerator and its investors, so good for big business and large corporations, plus the ones who fly around looking at them.

This is a better direction than burning it, what i would sustainable. Only thing this takes real effort not spin and media bites.


Fremantle You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

homer one love

Saw a story in the herald yesterday about  350 kicking off their launch  in Freo today, click 350 and you can read more about them. Nothing new for our mayor to be launching a such group in Freo. The city had passed a motion on the issue of investment, I blogged about it just recently. “Good for the Goose, Good for the Gander, Freo style?”  Last year the COF voted to divest cities funds from the companies that make money from fossil fuels. Strange the city won’t invest in banks that deal with fossil fuel companies. Though are quite happy to pay the fossil fuel companies money directly by buying the fuel they are using to power all the city run vehicles, I imagine most of the councillors have cars that burn fossil too? Reminds me of an old GF that went vegetarian, due to animal rights concerns, can’t fault her for that but her hypocrisy was she kept buying those nice expensive leather bags.

Strangely struggled to get a parking spot on a Tuesday night in town, i thought “there must be an event on”, then as i walked around the council building saw it was the 350 group, cars need fuel, no? Sorry but that’s worth a laugh?

I looked up some of theirs campaigns, Go Fossil Free is one, this is against saving funds with finance groups that loan or deal money to fossil fuels companies. If that’s what people wish to do, sounds fine to me, their money their choice, we are lucky to live in a place where we have such freedom and rights. The strange part, the bit I question is, that Brad is launching a group that’s against using fossil fuels or investing in groups funding fossil fuels etc, one day.

Yet another day is the on the steering committee of Future Freo, the little brother of the Committee of Perth, who’s Foundation members are based around fossil fuel groups, or business i assume that does business with fossil fuel companies?

That’s a bit like a Rabbi endorsing a brand of bacon? Personally I like bacon but i’m not telling others its bad for u, while scoffing it down myself. Or the other classic i saw years ago when a doctor gave me a lecture about the evils of smoking, then pulled out a cigarette and lit up, i have a cigar once or twice a year this guy was 2pkts a day and he’s lecturing me?

When the local surf club was trying to get permission for their advertising space on the side of their own club to raise funds for their community service organization that provides water safety to thousands of local beach goers every weekend. Council was adamant that advertising could not come from groups like fast food or sugar based drinks, (so i don’t name companies) etc. Yet their Future Freo comes under a committee founded by fossil fuel companies? Does that seem hypocritical to anyone?

Don’t just listen to what a person says look at their own actions and see what they do, you may find it more true than the PR they spin?




My response to the blog post above.

46% of the vote in i guess all this is a little late.
Closing the doors after the horse has bolted, so to speak.

Clearly EF residents have organized themselves to run this campaign,
If they look at what Burt St is facing,
Issues like Jshed,
Poor community consultation
The concerns at McCabe St,
Concrete in our Parks,
Esplanade given away for events to use for free and rate payers picking up the restoration costs,
Simple things like rubbish collection at major sites a ongoing issue,
Inappropriate developments for areas.
100+ mature trees cut at Kim Beazley site.
Sale of city assets, i.e. parking?
Empty shops
$50,000,000.00 outstanding maintenance,
Anti-car attitude
Housing diversity policy
Parking Policy
Poor anti graffiti policy or even a pro graffiti policy
Encouraging CBD begging, then moving it around or banning in certain places??????
A state government that doesn’t want to invest in Freo
No public facilities and closing existing ones in and around the CBD
i could go on,

You wonder why they are concerned??


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