Letters 5.9.20

You want us?

BUSINESS and the government want the locals to get out and spend money in WA.

My wife and I checked out four cafes the other weekend, all at well-known recreation areas – all were closed.

If the businesses don’t wish to be open on weekends, why should they be supported at all?

Frank Cherry
Elderberry Dve, South Lake

Reason and respect

I HAVE always supported a working port in Fremantle and over my lifetime I have seen the operations of the port change considerably. 

There is further change I would like to see occur as soon as possible. For example, the end of live sheep export. I worked hard to ensure that change was a Labor policy commitment at the last federal election.

I also support proper planning for Western Australia’s future freight and transport needs.

I am glad the McGowan government has grasped the nettle of preparing for the kinds of change we can expect in the decades to come.

In addition to undertaking further detailed planning over the next four years, the McGowan government has already doubled the proportion of freight-on-rail and is delivering a range of major local transport and other community projects in Fremantle.

I am glad and not surprised that the highest-rating option to come out of the Westport process envisages a key role for the Inner Harbour into the 2040s.  

Nor am I surprised that we need to prepare for an expanded scope of operations in the Outer Harbour. It is healthy that a switched-on community like Fremantle has a diversity of views on this issue, and is prepared to discuss and debate the key questions.

But we should always do so on the basis of reason and with respect for one another.

As a starting point let’s remember that port operations have changed and will continue to change.

Fifty years ago, containers were offloaded in Fremantle for the first time.

Before that stevedoring work was very different. There are fewer jobs on the wharf now. They are higher-skilled and better-paid jobs.

We have seen that same evolution in areas like manufacturing and agriculture.

Change is never easy and as Australia continues to change we all have a part to play in choosing a course that is fair and sustainable, that protects our environment and makes good use of limited resources, and that leans unequivocally towards community not large corporations.  The Maritime Union is right to focus on the interests of current and future workers, and on the national interest when it comes to public ownership of key infrastructure and the vital role of Australian shipping.

When the representatives of working people engage constructively in managing change we get the best results.

Let us never forget that both previous Liberal governments (Court, Barnett) were intent on privatising Fremantle Port, including the Outer Harbour. I have no doubt the Liberals will return to that madness in future if given the chance, and of course the current federal Liberal government was happy for the Port of Darwin to be sold to a Chinese company.

Finally, while my respect for Helen Hewitt’s contribution 

to community life is clearly unreciprocated, in response to her letter I will only say this: in more than a decade of representative work on behalf of the people of Fremantle I have never been shifted a single inch away from the interests of this community by improper outside influence.

Any suggestion to that effect is baseless and wrong.

Of course I expect to be judged on the conduct and outcomes of my public service, and I’m happy to be judged on the basis of my principles, character, and work ethic.

Josh Wilson
Federal Member for Fremantle

Primordial prose

I WAS amazed that you gave so much editorial space to a primordial prosy of Charlie Dortsch, a man hopefully, formerly in the service of public (curator of anthropology – WA Museum) evidently lacking in a scientific attitude of open-mindedness, and scepticism to distinguish and recognise, questioning searching for meaning, searching for verification and consideration of significances.

I would be curious about the consideration on this topic by famous anthropologists like Clifford James Geertz, Jane Goodall or and Claude Levi Strauss.

Is a library not for the benefit of the “great unwashed” do we not deserve unfiltered insight and Information?

Aspects that makes libraries remarkable are developments of a deep collection, the ability to work with the public towards a facility that provides an opportunity of making available a wide range of materials and information resources?

Christa M. Long
Avid reader
The Ed says: Thanks Christa; Charlie wasn’t calling for a complete ban, just curbs such as holding it in the State Library. We thought it an interesting debate – how would people react if our libraries started holding Isis or Taliban propaganda? 

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