Letters 27.5.23


ON Sunday April 30, our town came to life through arguably Australia’s oldest and continuous tradition – organised labour. 

No doubt, there are traces of the international within the movement; among these influences is the Red Rose attributed to the Chicago Haymarket Affair of 1886. 

The humanitarian message there remained the same here: 8 hours work, 8 hours play, 8 hours rest – a call for the recognition of the universal dignity of all humans. 

A tapestry of meaning found in the streets of our town, where above old Trades Hall on Collie Street there are three large eights emboldened onto the façade. 

As the cacophony of drums, trumpets, and chants filled the streets, we were reminded that our remaining social democratic institutions originated from the Australian labour movement’s values, politics, and practises. 

Through patience and persistence, we predate the Commonwealth itself – it is profound to consider an egalitarian formation of politics preceding our nation’s founding. 

I say we, for indeed I am a proud unionist, and I know were it not for the efforts of my fellow unionists Australia would not be the country it is today. 

Certainly, our history is complex, and we must be honest about it. 

We must ruthlessly criticise our failures while celebrating our successes, never forgetting the fallibility of humanity. 

I feel humbled and enlivened by May Day, for as they say, the workers united will never be defeated. 

Daniel Elias
Historian & Unionist

Fired up 

THE overwhelming evidence as presented by a large gathering of experts at the recent Fire and Air Forum at the University of WA, is that there is no reliable evidence that prescribed burning, as currently carried out extensively in the southwest of WA, prevents wildfires. 

Noongar custodians, farmers, small business owners, peer-reviewed scientists, medical practitioners and researchers covered traditional practices, fire behavior, biodiversity impacts, and the smoke hazard health consequences of frequent landscape fires, particularly “fuel reduction burning”. 

These experts met to bring the facts and evidence to the attention of the almost capacity audience that gathered for a full day to listen and learn. 

It is indeed time to take on board the latest scientific inquiry into prescribed burning policies and practices. Time to judge, via the in-depth studies and photographic evidence, time to recognise the differences beteeen burning facts and burning myths. 

This is not about attempts to control nature but to recognise the wisdom of the connection to the land, and caring for Country, as traditionally practised by First Nations peoples who burnt to supplement their lifestyles, at low temperatures, on a small scale, in the appropriate season. 

Never burning large tracts of forest and bearing no resemblance to the incendiary bombing over thousands of hectares that we see as practiced by government departments today. 

Dr Carole Peters
Forum Convenor 

No blue here 

IN relation to the article “Seeing red over purple petition” (Herald, Saturday May 6, 2023), I am not “in a spat” with Cr Pazzoli over trees in Applecross. 

In fact, I’ve had no representation from Cr Pazzoli on the trees at all. 

My focus is on representing my community and protecting these iconic trees. 

My letter to mayor George Gear (publicly available on my website), was an invitation for council to use the mechanisms available to the City of Melville to demonstrate their support for the trees. 

As context, the council was at the time considering the draft Canning Bridge Activity Centre Plan (CBACP) and could have removed the reference to the road widening in that plan. My letter states: “I have written to the Minister for Planning, the Hon. Rita Saffioti MLA, seeking her support about what the State Government can do to protect these trees.”

This statement clearly shows I am asking for State Government support. I am unclear as to how Cr Pazzoli arrived at a different conclusion. My voice in parliament is made stronger by the support of the community I represent, and more than 2,000 locals have signed the petition to protect the verge trees in Applecross.

In response to this, Minister Saffioti has acknowledged the views of the community and has asked her agencies to review the need for the road widening. This is democracy in action, and a win that should be celebrated, not derided. I

make no apology for engaging with or representing my community. Since my election I have phoned or door-knocked thousands of residents to seek their view on a range of issues. Some may call that a “political manoeuvre” – I call it doing my job. In the context of an upcoming mayoral election, I’ll leave it to others to decide who it is that is doing the ‘political manoeuvring’.

Kim Giddens
Member for Bateman
United Last week’s story said Ms Giddens didn’t respond to the Herald’s questions before deadline, however we’ve since discovered there was a glitch and she didn’t receive them. Our apologies to Ms Giddens. 

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