Letters 28.5.22

Just too much

SOMETIMES it goes without saying … less is more?

Am I going to be the only Fremantle resident to address this elephant in our room? 

The terrazzo tiled barrier walls going along adjacent sections of Stirling Highway and Leach Highway in Fremantle, are too much!

These terrazzo tiles display a vast variety of patterns and colours and are individually stunning pieces of art that boast Fremantle’s unique style and culture.

However, collectively, they create a piece of art that lacks rhythm, balance, and unity. 

As a resident living near the site of its construction, it was frustrating to see that after all the pedestrian detours and machinery noise the construction had produced, barrier walls only presenting colourful chaos were the result.

They cause discomfort when looking at them as your eye struggles to find harmony between the changing patterns as well as content focus because of the overwhelming use of colour.

As someone who holds a license and drives along these highways regularly, they in fact cause distraction when driving past. 

I believe that the barrier walls would have lived up to their full potential if the responsible artist/designer considered the saying ‘less is more’ and hence decorated them with fewer types of terrazzo tiles. 

This way the viewer wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed by all different coloured patterns and therefore be able to focus with greater ease on them to enjoy their magnificence. 

It’s a huge shame because all this would have involved was less effort, money and time that has already been spent. 

Regardless, what has been done is done and I don’t see my concern having a possibility of being addressed anytime soon. 

Considering that these barrier walls are relatively new to the scene of Fremantle, I hope that at some point in time they will grow upon me so that I can enjoy them for what they are. 

However, for the meantime, it seems like they have a lot of growing to do.


National disgrace

WELL done Peter Dowding for his effort to raise public awareness of the shameful four-year secret trial of lawyer Bernard Collaery (“Dowding calls for commission,” Herald. May 21, 2022).

Collaery’s “crime” was to reveal the illegal bugging of the Timor-Leste Cabinet rdoom, in the course of representing one of the ASIS agents involved – Witness K – a man of conscience, who had earlier revealed the matter to Collaery.

Collaery’s and Witness K’s alleged breaches of national security laws are a farce – countless publications in Australia and programs such as Four Corners have subsequently openly published details of the bugging (which occurred in 2004) without being prosecuted.

So why Witness K and Collaery? 

As Peter Dowding correctly states – it’s a political trial (and in my view largely motivated by the former Government wanting to warn off other potential whistle-blowers, in this and other matters which the government wishes to keep secret).

The prosecution was commenced in 2018 following approval by Christian Porter soon after becoming attorney general. 

Porter thereafter consistently promoted the fiction (as his successor Michaelia Cash did) that the prosecution was entirely a legal matter, independent of government and untouched by politics. 

This was despite the fact that not only did it require his approval; his predecessor as attorney general, George Brandis, had declined to prosecute, and did so for more than two years after the Commonwealth director of public prosecutions recommended he do so. 

His refusal to prosecute continued until he resigned from Parliament.

On the same day as the publication of the Herald article (nice timing!) the Labor Party won office. So there is now a chance to bring this cruel travesty of justice to an end.

It is to be applauded that almost immediately after Albanese declared victory, Mark Dreyfus, who had been shadow attorney general, announced he will call for an urgent briefing on the case if he is appointed attorney general.

Whilst concerned about aspects of the former government’s prosecution of the case, Mark Dreyfus did not, however, give any indication that he would support the prosecution being terminated.

This may be related to Labor’s complicity in the matter.

For example in 2012 Julia Gillard denied to the Timor-Leste government that any bugging had occurred, despite irrefutable evidence to the contrary and Dreyfus, as then attorney general, later had Collaery placed under surveillance and authorised the bugging of Collaery’s law offices.

The prosecution of Bernard Collaery should be terminated immediately and Collaery, who has lost his law practice and incurred huge legal expenses, whilst fighting his protracted prosecution, awarded costs.

The royal commission which Peter Dowding calls for should then be established. 

The commission’s terms of reference should allow it to examine all related matters, including the illegal bugging (imagine the outcry in Australia if a foreign power was found to have bugged the Australian government’s Cabinet room), who was responsible and who benefitted (Woodside Petroleum was one beneficiary and it is of great interest Woodside went on to employ Alexander Downer after he retired from politics). 

The commission should also consider all aspects of the prosecutions of Witness K and Bernard Collaery and the issue of compensation for these two men of conscience should also be addressed.

Stuart Wearne
East Fremantle


FROM Saturday May 28 to Sunday June 5, Art Marx Gallery on High Street in the West End will be exhibiting collectable artworks from famous Australian artists such as Charles Blackman, Elizabeth Durack, John Olsen, Brett Whiteley, John Coburn, Emanuel Raft, John Wolseley, Robert Birch, Sieglinde Battley and more.

Stars of the exhibition include a rare print by Pablo Picasso, one of the most famous artists in the world. Another rare print from the ‘godfather’ of Art Deco – Erte, will also be available. Modern artists like Charles Blackman, Brett Whiteley, John Olsen and John Coburn are well know icons in our Australian culture.

Each of the pieces on display are part of the extraordinary life moments in these artists’ lives. 

They have come from private collections, making a rare appearance with some for sale.

Morris Owner

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