12. 22LETTERSIt’s a complete copper-out
IN old English, a thief of metal from the roofs of churches was known as a pigeon flier. One whose speciality was removing lead was called a bluey pigeon flier.
What we now have in Fremantle (Herald, June 15, 2013) is a bronzewing pigeon flier. There is no doubt this brazen bird will soon be copped and have its wings clipped.
More important is the craven cop-out: “Council won’t replace them with copper because they risk being stolen again”. May I remind punters that John Birch, the-then  cultural affairs director, in a 1973 essay argued the special character of Fremantle stemmed from its people who had real, not plastic, roots.
Council no longer has a DCA, but it does have an assets manager, who you quote, “…plastic is nowhere near as valuable but just as functional”.
It seems copper rainwater heads have not been replaced by plastic, or anything else, so perhaps they are not functional, only decorative? And how much money has the copper saved in maintenance painting over the past 40 years?
Answering these questions in new English is called due diligence. So too are the real questions: Are these buildings properly insured and protected? If not, why not?
Rob Campbell

So uncool and heavy
THE Herald’s reporting of last week’s Labor party event in Fremantle in which I spent an hour in public conversation with the prime minister was so highly selective as to have been at best totally misleading and at worst wilfully mendacious.
I have never before in my life made public objection to a “review” (despite receiving countless stinkers over the years) but this was not a performance, it was a public event and as such a matter of public record.
The Herald complained that I broached no matters of any political or social importance, confining myself to “tepid” and “cringe worthy”  “googlies” about Game of Thrones and favourite films.
First let me point out this was not an interview. The word was “conversation” and I made it clear at the start I had no brief (nor desire) to conduct any kind of interrogation. I offered the audience nothing more than a chance to get to know our prime minister a little. Something I think they appreciated and which I would contend the media signally fail to do.
Having said that I did ask the PM about rather more than the Herald has given me credit for.
I asked whether the ALP needed reforming and how to deal with factionalism in a federated country.
I asked how best one might raise the quality of debate and understanding about the plight and motivations of boat people.
I asked about her only partially successful efforts to raise the gender issue.
I asked if the way she’d been treated as a female PM had helped or hindered the position of woman in public life.
I asked how best to improve the number of men in teaching.
I asked if one can ever hang on to the idealism of youth once burdened with the responsibilities that come with age.
I asked her why she and her government were having such trouble getting their message across.
Most importantly for me I asked her what she would wish for the Indigenous community.
Besides all that I did (as the Herald reports) enquire about the prime minister’s favourite film and her love of Game of Thrones (a show which involves a lengthy and bitter leadership struggle). We also discussed rock music and life in the lodge.
The Herald regrets that I failed to “skewer” the prime minister. What possible pleasure or value could there have been in me attempting to “skewer” the PM? Don’t you think we get enough of that?
Ben Elton
John St, North Fremantle
The Ed says: Thanks, Ben. We know it was billed as a conversation and not a Stasi-style interrogation but we think given your talents as a rapier-wit comedian and writer more could have been done to probe the PM on issues those in Labor’s Left have been choking on (and which don’t generally get an airing from a conservative media obsessed by slogan-politics). We weren’t expecting a grilling, but certainly more than a friendly tickle. Freo’s a political town and Gillard’s as tough as they come—dialing the heat up wouldn’t have hurt and it might have revealed more about the PM’s values.

Anonymous thanks
AS a Freo resident and regular at South Beach I would like to publicly thank Artists Anonymous for their great art work at the beach (Herald June 15, 2013).
The community has really enjoyed watching your work develop over the last few weeks.  Proven by all the spontaneous positive comments from passing people your generosity and world-class talent are a blessing to us all. Thank you.
I would also like to suggest to the council it support these gifted artists by giving them a paid commision on another wall in Freo. These artists have been very generous with their time, materials and talent giving us artwork that would be at home in any city around the world known for street art.
The joy and unity I have witnessed over this mural has been the greatest demonstration of community spirit I have seen in Fremantle.
Surely, they deserve some paid work for the benefit of both locals and tourists. Thanks again Artists Anonymous, great work
Sean Corr
Lefroy Rd, Beaconsfield

Good Bye Dymocks.
We will miss you,
there is no gain
only our loss
L Nichols
Fulton St, Hamilton Hill

Needless suffering
MAY I congratulate you for publishing in recent Heralds the comments of Jolly Read and Roel Loopers regarding voluntary euthanasia.
Hypocrisy in this society is palpable and widespread. At regular intervals we are being told by economists, medicos, academics and politicians that citizens will be ageing, more so when the population lives longer and is exploding.
Eventually, they claim, we will constitute a considerable burden to society. It could mean in 30 years the next lot of treasurers will not know how to pay for our aged care and medical costs. But most of us oldies have gone through hard times, know how to save and are prudent.
We realise those problems and offer a way out by thinking about the dignified way out to ascend the pearly gates. It is called voluntary euthanasia.
Together with a great part of the remaining population, almost 80 per cent polled, to support suitable legislation. It would soon improve the treasuries.
Yet, what happens?
At regular intervals we pay for costly elections where candidates promise to listen to their electors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our leaders represent their own party dogmas, vested minority interests and their party room decisions. They have allowed to put down animals inhumanely, but not their own species, homo sapiens. They have to suffer, medicated for weeks and longer.
Otto Mueller
Windelya Rd, Murdoch

‘Ellava letter
ELLA WISKIEWSKI speaks for all of us (Herald Thinking Allowed, June 15, 2013) in sharply challenging the academic credentials of Notre Dame University.
For that is precisely what NDU has called down on its own head when it sponsors John Finnis as, “one of the leading philosopher of our time”.
All reports of the utterances of Finnis show he totally ignores the vast body of academic/scientific work on the history of human gender and sexual roles, the changing patterns of rights and obligations on the long and complex path to modern society.
It is enough to go to the dictionary to expose the stupidity of NDU’s gaffe.
“Family” derives from the Latin famulus, a slave working with livestock and crops. The Latin ‘Familia” is simply the collective term for workforce.
Unlike the Roman patricians, who had wide sexual freedom, the familia lived in strict pairing marriage, required to propagate quality in the same way as the livestock.
“Husband” derives from the Greek hus, meaning household, historically having many forms including the long house of some North American Indians, many Pacific Islanders and the Anglo-Saxons of England.
Most longhouses were associated with a collective village enterprise, a number of separate groups living in separate rooms, tilling their own plots, etc, but relying on a common management of matters.
The householder was not the “boss” but more like a treasurer, somewhat less that CEO, and could even be female in some societies. Big decisions were made collectively. The survival of the word “husbandry” in modern English is the clincher.
In this period of the emergence of new, improved values and social mores, the so-called traditionalists do not have a leg to stand on.
University academic councils should be more watchful over their administrators, lest they find themselves vey shortly in poor social standing.
Ted Zeffertt
Solomon St, Fremantle

Why move in?
ISN’T it a bummer when you buy an apartment in a working port city and find you don’t like the fact the port is working.
Same as buying an apartment near an established music venue, then find that you don’t like music. Or finding out you don’t like sharing the open spaces in your community because you can’t relate to a variety of others’ type of recreation. Caveat Emptor!
Ric Aldrovandi
Farrier Lane, White Gum Valley


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