LETTERS 17.2.18

One Day­­— two accounts
I’M responding to the Thinking AllowedHopelessly Naive” (Herald, February 3, 2018) and the caption to your photo of the One Day event, which states “it is estimated that 17,000 people attended this year’s event, 2000 more than the debut event” – which I’d say, as someone  who went to both events is a “hopelessly naïve estimate” and therefore inaccurate.
It’s also interesting that the One Day event didn’t warrant a review by the Fremantle Herald? My thoughts for next year:
1. One Day event: My experience with “debut” events is people come because it’s an unknown plus a free gig to see John Butler was a big drawcard.
I’d say this year there were half as many people as the first year, possibly because it’s no longer new and possibly because the line-up wasn’t as attractive to the average punter.
I’d estimate the crowd this year at more like 5,000.
Regardless, it was a really fun afternoon with a great vibe, and very special to see so many first nations families out having fun.
Notwithstanding the cost, which I understand is significant, I’d encourage City of Fremantle to grow this event, in an inclusive way;  and finding more ways to be ”inclusive” clearly needs more focus because it clearly isn’t the way a lot of people in Fremantle feel about the event.
2. Smoking ceremony on Bathers Beach: this event, also held on January 28, the morning of the One Day event, was at the Roundhouse last year.
This was a better location and it definitely had twice as many people as the first year – that’s exciting! In particular, I thought the humour of elder Collard was a great touch, very natural.
I had always thought May 27 would be the best day to “change the date”; in doing so recognising that One Day in 1967 when the constitution was changed to recognise first nations peoples for the first time – but this year I’ve come round to a 24 hour celebration over May 25/26 is the best answer, as recommended by Noel Pearson.
3. I hope this Bathers Beach event grows and becomes a dawn service – like Anzac Day; we started at 7am this year, so why not 6am next year – no big difference? Maybe try that for next year Fremantle Council? Maybe do it twice – at dawn on January 26 and 28? If you do it on January 26 that could be both innovative and inclusive?
Sticking to the theme of a dawn service; regardless of what’s held and when, we need to continue to acknowledge our combined history of disposition, incarceration and total lack of understanding of perspectives that led to what happened after 1780 – it’s very important; it can’t be buried – but we also need to find a way to improve on the message “we are here now, in 2018, we need to find a way of growing together – not further apart – for the present and future peace of our next generations”.
Damon Hurst
Bellevue Terrace, Fremantle

Preferential voting delivers a fairer result
YOUR front page story on Liam Carter and the annoying South Ward re-election (“Carter denies deal”, Herald, Feb 3, 2018), shows a very impressive young man with an outstanding grasp of electoral matters: a refreshing and believable candour, and a very positive outlook for our city and our nation.
Let’s hope he’s just starting out on a brilliant political career.
First-past-the-post voting is reliable only when there are no more than two candidates.
As soon as there are three or more it becomes increasingly likely that the winning candidate will be elected with fewer than 50 per cent of the votes. With preferential voting you have to get more than 50 per cent of the votes to be declared elected. The majority of voters clearly want you in preference to other candidates.
Splitting votes is no longer a way of rorting or distorting the election.
In addition to preferential voting being much more certain to reflect the will of the people, and therefore fairer, it has the added delight of letting you put the candidate you least prefer in last position.
Puerile perhaps, but so satisfying.
Gerald Hitchcock
Jenkin Street, South Fremantle

Democracy?
AT the recently-held special electors’ meetings, I saw the importance the city of Melville places on our democratic style of government.
I saw the mayor, deputy mayor, CEO and senior employees seated on the stage looking down on ratepayers.
Our elected members were shoved into a corner, barred from speaking, for the full duration of the meetings.
I want to see the expressions on our elected members’ faces as they listen to the people who elected them.
I want to hear what our elected members have to say about how our city is being run and about how our ratepayers’ money is being spent.
I have heard enough from the CEO.
He does not represent the ratepayers. Let our elected members do the job we voted them in to do—to represent our interests.
Effie Nicholson
Applecross

Mao’s Melville?
I REFER to the story “Council Crackdown” (Herald, Feb 10, 2018), where it was reported that Melville city council is planning on invoking OH&S laws to muffle dissenters.
This is totally ridiculous in my opinion.
If members or employees of the council cannot stand the heat of criticism then there are two options:
1. Behave in a way that does not provoke dissent or
2. Leave the position they occupy
Do we want the Civic Square renamed Tiananmen?
Bruce Uren,
Applecross

Sequels never as good
I MUST disagree with Marija Vujcic’s statement that “the fresh by-election for South Ward is a win for all residents” (“South Ward: the rematch”, Letters, Herald, Feb 10, 2018).
It is good that she challenged the validity of one of the candidates as was seen to be correct—well done Marija Vujcic!
However, the decision of the electoral commission to call a fresh election, to correct an error that should not have occurred in the first place, is not fair on the original candidates or the residents who will have to vote again.
With local council elections being voluntary and first-past-the-post, this by-election will not be the same competition as the original election, as who votes will be different: some previous non-voters may decide to vote and previous voters may decide not to vote and remarkably the same valid candidate may win again.
Showing that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money, the additional campaign cost to candidates, and time and effort for candidate’s supporters and residents.
This debacle is a prime example of why the first-past-the-post electoral system is a waste: not only can a candidate with less than a majority of voters’ preferences win; there is no system, as in this debacle, to enable a recount.
May the best candidate win, again?
Jim Meckelburg
Davies Street, Beaconsfield

Don’t answer back!
SO Shayne Silcox, the Melville council CEO, and councillors are clamping down on criticism of any city of Melville staff, (“Council Crackdown”, Herald, Feb 10, 2018).
Complaints and criticism, even if justified, will no longer be allowed at electors’ meetings.
The reason? The city’s safe workplace is being “negatively impacted” and the city is required to “provide and maintain a working environment in which employees…are not exposed to hazards” because such complaints and criticism may affect the “psychological health and well-being” of staff.
Good grief! What a bunch of delicate snowflakes.
Rod Shaw
Bull Creek

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