LETTERS 23.1.16


It’s our land
JOHN ROBERSON in his Thinking Allowed article (Herald, January 16, 2016)) says “what few people realise is that land currently used as the carpark for the dog beach is actually Fremantle Sailing Club land”.
This is not strictly correct. The land (and all the FSC) is public land that is leased to the FSC. Presumably, local government has ultimate control over what can be done with the leased land and, if necessary, can even alter or end the lease once the lease expires. Hopefully the greater good of the public will always prevail.
Joe Loss
Hampton Rd, Fremantle
The Ed says: Not sure the council has any real say, Joe: that side of Marine Terrace is pretty much under the control of Marine and Harbours (part of the WA transport department).

Half-baked and hysterical
YOUR front-page article “Silence greets rights breaches” (Herald, January 16, 2016) sets a new low for the Herald, which has recently been affilicted by hysterical, half-baked reporting, and opinion dressed up as journalism.
The statement in the lead is unattributed, so we must assume it is now your reporter’s opinion. He’s obviously been convinced by Professor Gerber. Lack of comment from the Human Rights Commission and federal community services minister Christian Porter doesn’t automatically make Professor Gerber’s argument more valid.
Perhaps the HRC believes a baby’s right to life is more important than conspiracy theories which stand tall on the internet but collapse under the weight of proper facts.
Your newspaper has completely missed the point.
If the UN Convention states, “children must not be punished for the beliefs or actions of their parents”, doesn’t this mean they should be immunised? Especially when all available statistical and medical evidence supports the concept?
Surely it follows that the ill-founded suspicions of their parents are potentially endangering the lives of their children — and others. What about the rights of those too young to be immunised?
The welfare issue is arguably a non-starter. A bit of research (figures are published regularly) shows that the falling away in immunisation rates is in well-to-do suburbs of the cities, where people are unlikely to be on welfare anyway (or if they are they shouldn’t be).
The government’s concern is the same as that of the medical fraternity; herd immunity could be affected and infant mortality will rise. If more babies die, you can be sure that governments will cop the blame, whoever is in power.
The argument breathlessly pushed on your front page is being used by the anti-vaxxers to back their loopy cause, which is in no way based in science, rather in wilful blindness, and irrational fear.
David Weber
North Fremantle
The Ed says: The story was not about whether children should be immunised — the science on that matter is clear. We don’t need convincing about the merits of vaccination and the need for herd immunity. What we’d like to hear is someone present a cogent legal argument that withholding payments from families with unvaccinated children does not breach the UN convention on the rights of the child. Any human rights lawyers out there willing to give it a crack, because from where we sit, Professor Gerber’s analysis looks pretty compelling (and we note, again, she is a strong supporter of vaccination). Perhaps the human rights commission might like to break its silence and offer an opinion?

Hands off!
TO the four gentlemen whose photograph appeared on the front page last week (Herald, January 16, 2016) I just want to say one thing: keep your hands off Hamilton Hill.
When the government was intent on changing boundaries not one person I spoke to who lives in Hamilton Hill wanted to belong to Fremantle. The majority live just south of Winterfold Road and most said they never go into Fremantle for anything.
They don’t all use Cockburn Central for that matter but find there are sufficient amenities in our area not to need to make the trip into Fremantle.
One big plus is the number of facilities for the elderly in Cockburn. We are in out mid-80s and would be lost without Cockburn Care whose help enables us to stay in our own home.
It seems three of the said gentlemen live in North Coogee, so perhaps get enough signatures for that suburb to be included in Fremantle and leave Hamilton Hill alone.
Name withheld by request
Joyce Ave, Hamilton Hill
The Ed says: The Greater Fremantlians got this message loud and clear at Thursday’s public meeting.

Mixed Masters
WOOLWORTHS decision to sell or close its Masters operation gives me mixed feelings.
Having been a customer of Bunning Bros. timber and hardware store in Norma Road, Booragoon in the 1960s — and after it was later being taken over by another local company, Wesfarmers — I have continued to give it my support.
However, in recent years I have noticed many iconic, locally made products such as the David Gray range of insecticides made in O’Connor being replaced by east coast products.
This contempt for WA supplierswho assisted Bunnings to expand to national operations coincided with its purchasing office being transferred to Melbourne – a bit too far away for WA suppliers to regularly take the purchasing officers out to lunch.  Should the Masters operation fold, I fear the added strength of Bunnings will see prices rise on many products as there aren’t many small hardware stores left to keep it honest. Clearly, Bunnings now has no allegiance to its traditional supporter base nor a wide range of its original suppliers.
The appropriate regulatory authority will have to keep a close eye on what develops.
Daryl Binning
Norton Ridge, Winthrop

No jab policy is spot on
I HAVE to respond to the front page article (Herald, January 16, 2016) regarding Professor Gerber’s comments on the federal government’s approach of withdrawing benefits to parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.
According to Professor Gerber, the policy of “no jab, no pay” breaches the rights of the child under the UN’s convention. Surely, this policy is actually looking after the rights of children by ensuring they are vaccinated and protected from illness.
The parents’ rights are being breached and, as they are behaving in a reckless and irresponsible manner towards their children and the rest of the community, the government is spot on with its policy on this.
I find it really disturbing and frustrating that we pay people like Professor Gerber a lot of money to continually come up with rubbish like this. It’s funny that other newspapers have ignored this nonsense and you have chosen to put it on your front page, but that is probably because Fremantle has one of the largest percentages of parents refusing to vaccinate their children, potentially causing harm to the rest of the community.
It has been proven in many studies that there is no medical link between vaccines and conditions such as autism and Professor Gerber would serve the community far better by concentrating on protecting children’s rights by highlighting this point, rather than trying to suggest their rights to money had been breached!
Janet Maguire
Weir Pl, Bateman
The Ed says: Professor Gerber made it clear she strongly supports vaccination but are you suggesting she should simply remain silent when there is a strong prima facie case that withholding payments from those who do not breaches treaties Australia has signed?

A teenage exchange
IN July 1989 my daughter Terrane Hall, as a 16-year-old, was fortunate to represent the City of Fremantle on an exchange to the City of Yokosuka in Japan, with two other students.
During this visit Terrane became firm friends with one of the host families’ daughter, Nozomi Tanaka. In December of that year Nozomi visited us over the Christmas holidays.
Prior to this exchange, Terrane knew almost no Japanese, but her interest in Japanese culture was ignited and she included Japanese units in her studies at Curtin University.
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Since 1997 she has been enthusiastically teaching Japanese in primary schools, currently at Riverton primary and Banksia Park primary in Leeming with great success.
Over the past 26 years Nozomi and Terrane have kept in contact through letters, emails and more recently Facebook. Terrane has visited Japan three more times, spending some time with Nozomi on two of those visits (the last when she took 12 students on a visit to Hyogo prefecture).
On December 22 Nozomi (now Nozomi Tada), her two young sons and her parents visited us for 26 days.
The reason for this letter is to thank Fremantle council for the great opportunity you gave Terrane in 1989, and to let the council know how successful this exchange was, and that it led to a great international friendship between two young girls who are now 42-year-old women.
Sue Hall
Tidewater Way, Ascot

• Nozomi Tanaka and Terrane Hall at Gloucester Tree in 1990 and Christmas 2015: a 25-year friendship that started with Terrane’s Fremantle council-sponsored exhange trip to Japan.

• Nozomi Tanaka and Terrane Hall at Gloucester Tree in 1990 and Christmas 2015: a 25-year friendship that started with Terrane’s Fremantle council-sponsored exhange trip to Japan.

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