Letters 23.3.23

12 3. 12LETTERSSlippery slope
HAVING been given several hundred metres of our precious ocean shoreline, the Fremantle Sailing Club still seems to want more.
I am opposed to the club’s planned dinghy launch ramp which will need more community funds (state and federal) to be established. I have three objections:
1. Disabled people are very unlikely to use a slippery ramp which is shared with boats from the sailing club. The club already has such facilities within its harbour, so the new dinghy ramp is probably unnecessary. A universal access ramp can be built in the lee of the central groyne further south.
2. The gorgeous vista over the ocean to the west from the small park will be lost forever, and the many groups that enjoy this place, especially in hot summer evenings, will have their amenity reduced.
3. Having sailing boats weaving through swimmers from the dog beach adjacent is likely to cause trouble and possible injury.
I hope all users of this special place (park and beach) will rally together to save it from this development.
Gordon Payne
Jenkin St, South Fremantle

In confidence
WITH the final results in and tallied, the voters of Cockburn can now reflect upon the political future they have democratically chosen for themselves.
They have opted to return a time-expired, drive in-drive out, ineffectual Labor hack who is past his use-by date and will have no role in any future Labor government. This is democracy at work as we understand it.
However, what is not part of our democratic process is the puerile defacing and theft of electioneering material and the physical intimidation of candidates by a few morons of whatever persuasion that sadly occurred in the Cockburn electorate during the last weeks of the campaign.
Well may the Member for Cockburn retain full confidence in his leader, the real question is, does his leader retain full confidence in him?
Kevin Bovill
Noble Way, Success

What it means
SO we hear asylum seekers might have experienced torture and trauma, but what does it actually mean?
The reason people from countries like Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran leave everyone they know and love and a culture they also know and love is often to save their life.
I’m going to write it in the first person so you might feel it more.
As an asylum seeker you have seen all the members of your family brutally killed in front of you by an (government) authority; or you have been hung by the skin and muscle on your back from a huge hook in a gaol for hours, and the authorities do this a little bit each day; or you have your head forcibly plunged into water so that you think you will die of drowning repeatedly; or you have been badly beaten twice, to within an inch of your life with metal wire, and you are told your torturers will be back, they don’t come back for a year, but every day you wait in fear, and when they do come back you only just survive the beating, and you can do nothing but wait for the next visit because there is nowhere safe to run to; or you have been raped by 15 men for three hours in a dark room with cloth stuffed in your mouth so you can hardly breathe, and this happens on a regular basis and you cannot leave as you are a prisoner; or you come home to find your whole village has been massacred.
Or you’ve lived with planes overhead that drop bombs, dodging machine guns or dodging bombs, with shrapnel in your body that daily reminds you of the land mine that killed 11 of your friends.
So you leave your country alone, you survive the very, very dangerous boat trip to Australia—because Australia is a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees, so you think you will be safe there.
And then you are punished by being put on a desert island for coming to Australia, and your mind is going now, you are deeply, deeply depressed, no hope, no end to this torturous life, because you thought you would be safe on arrival in Australia and  you have been on Nauru or Manus or locked up in the middle of the desert  for six months, with fences around you just like a gaol, and you have no idea whether your will get a visa, whether you will be believed, whether your visa claim is in process, no-one will say what is happening, and people all around you are hanging themselves.
This is what we are talking about. Oh. . .and you are a child! The people we treat this way are people, just like me and just like you. Ninety per cent of those who come to Australia by boat (which is not illegal) are found to be refugees requiring our protection. We should not damage them more when they arrive, many have experienced the things above.
Andrea Callaghan
Collick St, Hilton

Tack off
REGARDING the controversial ramp proposal for dog beach—who runs this city? Its council and administration, or the Fremantle Sailing Club?
CE Dortch
Howard St, Fremantle

Be a constructor
THE dismissive letter against the new Fremantle G4F group (Herald, March 16, 2013) made me wonder why people express an opinion about people they know little about.
The writer attacks G4F for being baby boomers and home owners who are against development, but had he done his homework he would have found architects and business owners are part of G4F.
I have yet to meet an architect against development or a business owner who does not want to revitalise the city and attract more people. Let’s also not forget former WA premier Peter Dowding is a member. Peter was a vocal proponent for the proposed North Port Quay development which would have seen islands with massive high-rise built just off the North Mole. It does not look to me as if G4F is a loony group of anti-development yuppies who want to protect their own patch.
am all for G4F initiating more community debate and engagement. Better cities and good place-making happen when the community leads, rather than planners and bureaucrats. G4F is a welcome addition to the scene to help make Fremantle an even better place. To dismiss it as irrelevant is narrow-minded, negative and not constructive to community dialogue.
Roel Loopers
Captain’s Lane, Fremantle

Press gang
IT is difficult to believe management of The West Australian actually reads its own newspaper.
Otherwise we would not see the sustained anti-Gillard frenzy, much of which contradicts information already published.
One can understand political partisans ignoring the intrinsic merits of serious public issues in favour of challenging the authority of the other side, even if this appears odious.
But the media doing that? Surely that is nearly as bad as a partisan judiciary.
Two days ago Kerry Stokes wept on TV, “What have we done wrong?”
Well, I could give a long list of cases where freedom of the press dominated and suppressed freedom of the public.
One example: The government has not rushed the legislation to put its own agenda on media regulation. This issue has been investigated, debated, given expert testimony, plus proposals, not from politicians but from industry specialists, for six years. It is simply one of the cases where implicit bi-partisan support for policy has been sacrificed to expediency with the backing of the media.
Rather, I will remind everyone of what the entire media brigade did not do, in woeful neglect of the public interest. Both examples are centred on the USA, but were pursued in Australia in the same way.
First, a decade ago, innumerable published stories told us Saddam Hussein was militarily finished. His air armada and tank fleet had been decimated by sanctions denying replacement spare parts and by war with Iran and then the first US war in Iraq. After that, US planes flew freely above the country, and US satellites could virtually tell the Pentagon when Saddam went to the toilet.
Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) require substantial industrial backup, easily detected in such a situation.
Then came the 9/11 terrorist attack and the hysterical White House war to stop Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction”. So where was the media? Baiting and intimidating the expert international investigaters and backing the disastrous outcome for the Iraqi population, the Americans and the world. And of course, no WMD found.
Secondly, although some US media chiefs later apologised for failing to challenge the White House case, the same thing happened over Wall Street’s mad mortgage loan behaviour. This unlawful behaviour, still causing worldwide damage, was exposed by whistleblowers and given some media airing. But again the media was sucked into the euphoria.
That climate persists, so while many lesser lights have been prosecuted, convicted and punished, to date not one senior Wall Street figure has been properly investigated let alone charged, as revealed on the recent 4 Corners, based on US sources. The fallout continues around the globe and remains threatening.
These are striking examples of a trend which is extreme enough to emasculate democracy altogether.
Governments are bullied and conned out of responding to public need. Increasingly, governments are rendered impotent in the fundamental task of regulation in a global community of ever-growing complexity and interdependance.
Locally, we do not allow individuals to bury nightsoil in the backyard and a host of other requirements of living together. Globalisation just magnifies the need for mature understanding of new problems that such international togetherness throws up.
Without that maturity, we drift into more extreme dysfunction and no-one, rich or poor, can escape the severe consequences.
The tragedy is the alternative is so attractive, the potential for community creativity quite brilliant.
Ted Zeffertt
Solomon St, Fremantle

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