Please listen to us 

IS democracy in reality only an urban myth?

Greens MLC and former Freo mayor Brad Pettitt expressed his frustration about being largely ignored by the McGowan government, and that his sensible suggestions for small changes to legislations were being dismissed.

We in the community know all about the frustration of not being heard and of so-called community consultation which is just tokenism. Has democracy become autocracy, where those in power predominantly do what they want and ignore our wishes?

They must have a good laugh about us suckers at the Main Roads department. 

You want a more creative new Fremantle Traffic Bridge? 

Get a life, you’re going to get a stretch of boring, but functional, concrete that spans the Swan River.

The Swan River Crossings PR people do not want town hall meetings with the community, because those meetings are too powerful and with too much passion, and too difficult for them to control. 

Instead they put a few information boards on streets, without letting the community know they are doing it. The fewer people who comment on the proposal, the less negative feedback they’ll be getting, and that will make it easier to claim that only a minority of people are against their plans.

You want a pedestrian light on Hampton Road near the Beaconsfield Primary School? 

You must be kidding. It would slow down traffic by about 10 seconds, so it can’t be done. What does the life of a child matter?

Many of us will remember the massive town hall meeting in protest against the proposed tavern and live music venue at J Shed. We spoke passionately and we pleaded, but Fremantle council still went ahead with it, until it was stopped by the WA government.

I remember coming very frustrated out of meetings at the City, saying it felt like running head on into a concrete wall, because no one was really listening.

We hear councillors assuring us that they listened to our concerns, but that they came to a different conclusion.

We get less and less say about has eroded local government power, and major developments are now decided by JDAP, SAT or the WA Planning Commission.

In East Fremantle the community is in uproar about the lack of information and communication about the big Woodside development plans.

At every local, state and federal election we get promises of transparency, inclusiveness and accountability, but that is largely forgotten when they are in power, and believe they can get away with just about anything. 

Is it true democracy that the community becomes powerless once we have voted?

I am not big on conspiracy and don’t believe that, especially in local government, there is a lot of corruption, if any at all, but power somehow corrupts and feeds egos. 

Egos that get bloated and stop the brain from working properly, hence the political brain farts we are subjected to. 

Common sense disappears, politicians listen but no longer hear, and we in the community feel powerless, taken for granted and ignored. 

Is it a surprise at all that so many of us are cynical about government, and that innuendo, conspiracy and rumours are abound?

Is it a surprise that when the community feels disrespected, we respond with disrespect for those we elected to govern?

Roel Loopers

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