My name is Bret Busby, and I have lived in Armadale, WA, for 11 years (as at September 2004).
If you live in the Armadale state electorate, and are eligible to vote in the 2005 state election, in the lower house seat of Armadale, you may have read the many letters to the editors of the local newspapers that I have written, trying to improve conditions for the people who live in Armadale and the people who work in Armadale. You may also have seen me at the water forum that was held in Armadale, and seen me on television, relating to that forum. You may also be aware of me, from the campaign which included a Special Meeting of Electors in Armadale, in trying to save the parks in Armadale from being sold off by the city council. And, you may have seen me in the shopping centre, or on the streets of Armadale, because I live in Armadale, and have lived in Armadale for over ten years.
If you are interested in local issues, and/or if you are a voter in the electorate of Armadale in the 2005 state election, please read all of this document. Whilst it is long, it contains many things. And, the more of it you read, the more informed you will be about me and my policies, and whether you agree or disagree with them.
I have created this web page, to publish political material relating to Armadale in Western Australia. The opinions expressed on this page, are my own. I am not a member of any political party, and I am not affiliated to any political party.
This web page is new, and I will be working on it as time goes on.
Please come back (daily, during the election campaign, if you have the time, or, at least, for a last read before voting on voting day, 26 February), as I will be updating this web page, as things happen.
If you have read all of the material on this web page, at some time, then, if you page down through the web page, and read the headings, you can find material that has been added since the last time that you read the document.
If you are only interested in particular issues, similarly, if you page down through this web page, and read the headings, if the issues are mentioned, you should be able to find them that way.
Armadale in Western Australia, has many problems and issues relating to it, and these include both issues relating to the local government that is the Armadale City Council, and to the state government of Western Australia.
Some of the problems and issues, involve both levels of government.
An example, is the failure of the Armadale City Council, to keep its verge trees out of and away from the overhead electricity supply lines, and the state government regulations that exempt local governments from being required to maintain the same clearances of trees from electricity supply lines, as private property owners are required to maintain. The most glaringly obvious clearance, that does not apply to local governments in Western Australia, is the requirement for property owners (apart from local governments), to keep trees at least 2.5 metres (or 8 feet four inches) from the overhead electricity supply lines that run between power poles. As the requirement does not apply to local governments, the Armadale City Council allows its verge trees to grow into the overhead electricity supply lines, with immunity from punitive action from the state government, jeopardising both the electricity supply and public safety.
The different levels of government, as landowners, should be subject to the same rules as other landowners in Western Australia – whether the rules apply to keeping vegetation clear of power lines, or keeping vegetation low on land, to minimise fire risk, or using water for irrigation of land. And, local governments should be required to have roadside trees pruned so that they do not at any time, obscure road signs, and so that they do not otherwise obstruct the vision of people who lawfully use the roads and footpaths, such as drivers and pedestrians.
And, people, different levels of government, and government and commercial bodies, should be made responsible for their actions and property. If a person, council, state government body, or business, owns land on which a tree stands, and the tree or one of its branches, falls on electricity supply lines, breaking the lines, disrupting the electricity supply, or otherwise needing work to be done due to the tree or its branches falling on the electricity supply lines, whoever owns the tree or the land on which the tree was growing, should be liable for all costs and any damages associated with the tree or its branches falling. Similarly, where a publicly accessible facility such as a parking lot, has trees, and one of them or one of their branches, falls on a car parked properly in the parking lot, whoever owns the tree, should be held responsible for any damage that it causes. Trees are a valuable resource, and they need to be maintained, to prevent damage and injury.
But, as Armadale lacks a voice, or, proper representation, in the state parliament, there is not much that the people of Armadale can do about this, or about other problems and issues in Armadale, which could be fixed by state parliament, if anyone represented Armadale in the state parliament.
And, the state government should not be allowed to either sell off, or, break up, the electricity supply system. It was done in New Zealand, and created a third-world quality electricity system. The electricity supply system in Western Australia, is dirty and unreliable, and should not be allowed to get any worse, which is likely to happen, if it is sold off and/or broken up.
And, no more coal-fired power stations should be allowed to be built. The current coal-fired power stations should be phased out and progressively closed down.
Instead, more electricity generation in Western Australia should be created from clean, sustainable sources, such as wind-power, and solar power. New Zealand was able to create an industry manufacturing electricity generators for “wind farms”, and so should Western Australia be able to develop a manufacturing industry to manufacture wind powered turbines for electricity generation. Otherwise, they should be imported, but, they should be used, instead of burning fossil-fuels for electricity generation. And, electricity shortages are unacceptable and unforgivable.
Likewise, for Perth to have the water mismanagement problems imposed by the state government, is unacceptable and unforgivable. Ernie Bridge, a former Labor party member of the state parliament, many years ago, proposed the Ord River pipeline project, which would have taken care of Western Australia's water problems, at least for the Perth metropolitan area (which includes Armadale), and the proposal has been repeatedly rejected by the state government, whichever party has been in power. But, the political parties that have been in government, since Ernie Bridge made his proposal, have found all kinds of excuses to reject the proposal, even using illogical excuses such as power supply problems for pumping stations, without even considering sustainable, clean, power supply provision, such as wind power generation, at the pumping stations.
And, it must be remembered that C Y O'Connor, who was responsible for the Kalgoorlie pipeline being built, went through similar opposition to his proposal, with the argument that the Kalgoorlie pipeline was not practical or feasible.
We should have a water pipeline to bring water down from the Ord river, to supply Perth (and possibly other places in the south west of the state). The state has the water, the people of Armadale who attended the water forum in Armadale, wanted it, and, in the USA, open channels have been used to direct water long distances, to supply large cities in dry areas. It could have, and, should have, been done, instead of finding excuses to not do it. I was at the water forum that was held in Armadale, where the Ord River pipeline proposal was supported by that forum. The sitting member of parliament who is paid to represent Armadale in the state parliament, was also at that forum, and was aware of the support in Armadale for the pipeline proposal.
Thus, the state government has instead imposed unacceptable water mismanagement on Armadale, and has “given the finger” to the people of Armadale and of the state, by indicating that Western Australia has no water shortage, as we have so much to spare, that we can put a white water sports facility in Armadale, drawing water from the ground, as we have so much water to spare. And, the volume of water involved in that facility, is in the millions of kilolitres.
And yet, the state government has approved the expansion of the Perth metropolitan area, with new land releases and subdivisions, while telling the people of Perth, that we do not have the resources, such as electricity and water, to service the existing people of Perth.
And, of course, there is the issue of how the trains on the new Mandurah rail line are going to be powered, given that the state government has told us that we do not have enough electricity to power the existing homes and businesses in the state. Are we going to get more rolling blackouts, so that trains can run on the Mandurah rail line?
But then, perhaps, if Armadale was represented in the state parliament, Armadale would not have had an unwanted new train station imposed on Armadale, to replace what appears to be a much more acceptable train station, with which the majority of residents appear to have been satisfied. And, if public consultation had been involved instead of simply imposing the new train station, Armadale may have got a train station that would be more consistent in appearance with recognised local landmark buildings, such as the Armadale Town Hall and the Armadale Post Office, and maybe the Fire Station, all publicly owned buildings and landmarks, of similar appearance, instead of a building that further makes Armadale look like it has been put together in a haphazard manner. And, Armadale would likely have got a new train station that the local people would have felt more comfortable using, if public consultation had been involved. I am just one of a number of people, who, when using the new train station, was made to trip on the steps, due to the design of the steps required to be climbed to get to the platform for the train.
If we were to have a new train station, the people of Armadale should have had a say in the design, to make the station user-friendly and welcoming to people traveling to and from Armadale by train, and, so that the people of Armadale could say “This is our station. We had a say in its design, and we are proud of it.”, instead of the general public dissatisfaction with the train station, that has resulted from the lack of public consultation..
But then, public consultation with people affected by an action, appears to be not a high priority of either the minister responsible for the train station, or of the state government. And, unfortunately, the minister responsible for the train station, is the person paid to represent Armadale in the state parliament.
After all, on the evening of the day that the first “water forum” was held in the state, at Armadale, after the forum held at Armadale came up with a solution to the water mismanagement by the state government, in the state, the state premier went on television, and effectively said, “We (the government) don't care what the people want, we have already made up our minds, and the water forums are just an expensive public relations exercise, to try to fool the people into believing that they have a say in this state.”.
Now, further on this point of the people of Armadale having a say in the state parliament, the people of Armadale should have an equal say in parliament – with the people not being regarded as worth any less than any other people in this state.
The statistics from the Western Australian Electoral Commission show that, as at 23 December 2004, the Armadale electorate had about 28,000 registered voters, about double the number for the average country electorate. That means that, with the current voting distribution, a country elector is worth two Armadale voters, or, an Armadale voter is worth only half a country voter. If we are to have democracy in Western Australia, all electors need to have equal value, and equal representation. Thus, I believe in, and, support, the “one vote - one value” principle, as I believe in equality, especially in elections for government. The people of Armadale should not be treated as inferior, as we have been. We have as much right to be heard in parliament, as anyone else in the state, and, we should have equal voting power.
Armadale has roads that are dangerous, and that have been brought to the attention of the people who can make the roads safer, to no avail. A simple example of this, is the continued use of vertical kerbing along Armadale Road, which is now the only entry into Armadale from the freeway, now that the minister responsible has closed Forrest Road as a through road and main road between Armadale and the freeway access to Perth, with the closure being (as usual) without public consultation involving the people who would be affected by the road closure. The vertical kerbing along Armadale Road, has not been removed, even though it is already responsible for a road fatality more than a year ago, as the vertical kerbing prevents broken down motor vehicles from being safely and easily moved off the road, with Armadale Road being only a single lane in each direction, where the vertical kerbing remains. Complaints were made about the vertical kerbing, and that many people have been simply to scared to drive along that part of Armadale Road, because it is too dangerous, and the complaints have fallen on deaf ears. It would probably have taken a bulldozer or a front-end loader, less than a day, to eliminate the vertical kerbing and to create a road shoulder onto which vehicles could be safely moved in emergencies, but, that has not happened, with the road staying dangerous.
The failure to immediately remove what has been known to be a road hazard, is inexcusable.
And, Forrest Road should be reopened as a through road, so that the people who in the past, traveled along Forrest Road to travel between Armadale and Forrestdale, and, between Armadale and the southern freeway, can do so again, and, so that the businesses that are located along Forrest Road, regain the trade due to passing traffic, that was lost due to the closure of Forrest Road as a through road.
And, once again, the minister responsible for these shortcomings that are detrimental to the people of Armadale, is the person who has been paid to represent Armadale in state parliament.
And, we have a problem with road danger in this state, with the state government having issued heavy truck licences for people to drive articulated trucks, or, “semi's”, and, to drive road trains, without any testing, of either knowledge of the applicable regulations (written testing) or driving skill (driving testing). Such issuing of heavy truck licences, without proper testing, has apparently occurred in at least a thousand cases, with the state government knowingly and willingly having increased the danger on the roads in Western Australia.
And, we do not have mandatory roadworthiness testing of all motor vehicles, so that people who may genuinely believe that their motor vehicles are safe to drive on the road, might only find out otherwise, too late, if they live through the experience. Do you want for you and your family, to be justifiably confident that the motor vehicle in which you or they are traveling, or the motor vehicle coming towards you or them, is safe enough to be on the road? You don't have that in this state. Instead, you and your family, gamble with your lives, each time you travel on or alongside the roads in this state.
So we have many people driving big trucks with trailers, for which they have never been tested, and, vehicles are not all regularly tested for roadworthiness, so, traveling on the roads in Western Australia, is nowhere as safe as it should be, and is quite a big gamble.
And, the minister responsible for these shortcomings, is the member of parliament paid to represent Armadale in the state parliament.
And, we have the issue (across the state, and, across the country), of reckless driving. Reckless driving can take many forms, be it doing something like racing on the road, doing “burnouts” (as encouraged by the state government sponsored speedway events that involve such activities), excessively dangerous speeding, or, drunken driving. Reckless driving should be an offence for which a person gets arrested, and has to be remanded on bail (if bail is judged to be appropriate), or remanded in custody, until trial, and, if convicted of reckless driving, the penalty should mandatorily include cancellation of the person's licence – not suspension, but cancellation, so that the person, after a set period of time as sentenced by the judge at the trial, is required to start again from scratch, going for a learner's permit, and sitting all driving tests for each class of driver's licence, and, going through the relevant probationary periods for each class of licence. Any instance of exceeding the set speed limit by 30km/hr or more, should fall under this category, with a ban of one year, from driving any motor vehicle as a learner driver or otherwise, and from holding a motor driver's licence for that same period, for each ten kilometres per hour by which the person exceeded the speed limit by more than twenty kilometres per hour. Thus, if a person is convicted for exceeding the speed limit by 30 kilometres per hour, cancellation of the person's driver's licence (all classes), and, a ban from driving or holding any class of driver's licence, for a year. If the offence is exceeding the speed limit by 40 kilometres per hour, then the person's licence should be cancelled, and the bans from driving or holding all classes of driver's licence, for two years. And, the penalty should be doubled, for each time that the person commits the offence of reckless driving.
And, if a person knowingly drives while disqualified, the sentence should mandatorily involve imprisonment.
And, so that people cannot get away with this by having a drivers' licence that is not from Western Australia, any driver who does not have a Western Australian driver's licence, and who is convicted of reckless driving or any other traffic offence that in Western Australia should cause disqualification from driving, should have to serve a term of imprisonment, with the length of the term proportional to the length of disqualification that would apply if the person has a Western Australian drivers licence. This is because Western Australia cannot take away a drivers' licence that is not from this state. So, a person who should not be driving in this state, due to convictions for traffic offences, should be stopped from driving in this state. And, where a person who is driving on a drivers' licence that is not from Western Australia, is stopped for a driving offence, such as speeding or drink driving, or careless or reckless driving, the person should be arrested and be required to post bail in cash before being released, to avoid the person leaving to avoid being tried or serving any penalty that applies for the driving offence.
Further relating to road safety, I note that the new school on Forrest Road, for which the local member of parliament has taken credit, in keeping with state government policy for roads, does not have proper footpath and cycleways going alongside the road to the school, and, does not have proper, safe, clear, road shoulders along the sides of the road, to and from the school. But then, the current state government apparently does not regard road safety as something of significance, and, the minister responsible, also the local member of parliament, has previously effectively said in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper, that such things as road safety, are luxuries of low importance. Any new school, especially close to a built-up area, should necessarily have cycle tracks and footpaths along the road close to the school, and, the road leading to the school, should have proper safe and clear shoulders on the road approaching the school. The state's schoolchildren are the state's heritage of the future, and, should be protected, and, traveling to and from school, should be safe, and not a dangerous adventure.
All authorised schools should have proper footpaths and cycle paths for at least a couple of hundred metres on both sides of the road, going in both directions along the road on which the school is located.
And, another issue that affects this state, and, in late January 2005, especially the area in and around Armadale, is the issue of arson, which needs to start to be taken seriously by the state and federal governments. In the fires in late January, that were apparently deliberately lit, about 20,000 to 25,000 hectares of state forest was burnt out, and firefighters were apparently required to work in excess of 30 hours without sleep or appropriate rest breaks, with firefighters and resources having to be brought in from hundreds of kilometres away, with those areas put at great risk, in the event of fires, with lessened resources to fight fires at those places.
And, while the firefighters were fighting the deliberately lit fires about 12 kilometres from Armadale, an arsonist apparently deliberately started a fire that burnt out a couple of acres in a park that burnt close to (about 20 metres from) many houses in a built up part of Armadale, at the Selby Street Reserve. That meant that people who could have been fighting the bushfire, had to fight yet another deliberately lit fire, designed to further strain already strained resources, and, designed to cause even more terror and risk to human life. And, children's playground equipment was in the middle of the fire.
Now, really, aren't these arsonists, terrorists? Should they not be treated as terrorists? Should they not be charged for the environmental damage that they cause? If a farmer unlawfully clears land, the farmer can suffer far greater penalties than an arsonist who clears the same amount of land. And, what of the probably about a million assaults, on the people of Perth, and, especially, of the (about 55,000) people of Armadale, who were forced to breathe in the foul air, causing respiratory problems for many? And, it was reported in the television news, than many people in Perth, had had to visit their medical practitioners, with problems caused by the smoke. The arsonists then also caused willful financial loss to those people, apart from assaulting them, as, as we know in Armadale, doctors who do not charge more than the Medicare fees, are few and far between. Some say that the arsonists should be burnt to death. I simply say that they should be charged for what they have done and what they have caused, and, if convicted, they should be appropriately imprisoned. And, for each person who dies as a result of a fire started by an arsonist, the arsonist should be charged with that person's murder, as an unlawful killing, caused by the committing of (what should be) a felony.
And, appropriate imprisonment is something that needs to be implemented in this state – replacement of “concurrent sentencing”, with cumulative sentencing. I realise that Australia is a country borne of crime, and that its origins are in crime, but, convicted criminals should not be awarded discounts for volume. If a person is convicted of offences where the penalties involve fines, the person does not get a discount that increases as the number of offences increases. If a person commits offences where the penalty for each is imprisonment, then the person should serve separate terms of imprisonment for each crime. “Why stop at one murder, when you can commit two or more, for the price of one?” This is a ridiculous situation, and probably explains why WA is a state of lawlessness, with far too many crimes being committed.
But then, we need police to enforce the law, and, Western Australia is hopelessly understaffed, in terms of the police force. This is an issue that affects, but is not limited to, Armadale. We need a far greater police force, and I believe that a state government should be looking at increasing the police force by at least 50% during a term of office (we probably need double the numbers of active police officers that we currently have, and, we definitely need many more police on the road, but, a 50% increase during a term of office for a state government, is a start).
We keep getting told of new developments in law enforcement – the requirement to wear cycle helmets (which has gone by the way) – the “anti-hoon” legislation, that is not worth the paper on which it is written – the “if you commit burglary, we will use DNA and hunt you down” advertisements, and the “if you commit a traffic offence, you WILL get caught” advertisements. But, there are simply not enough police, to carry out all of these hollow threats (and, that is effectively, all they are) of law enforcement. The advertisements, and new laws increasing law enforcement, are a simple waste of time and money, if we do not have the police to apply them.
We have also seen policy announcements, planning to have minimum prison sentences for crimes of violence against particular groups of people, such as police and the elderly. Crimes of violence are not acceptable in any circumstances, and the penalties should reflect this, same penalties should apply, whether it is a crime of domestic violence, violence against a police officer, or violence against an elderly person.
Yet another issue that directly affects Armadale, apart from the issues of lawlessness above, is the issue of trading hours. For years, if people who live in Armadale, and, who work shift work, or work six days a week, or, for whatever reason, want to buy household items outside hours dictated by the state government, they have had to travel to places that the state government has favoured with extended trading hours. Not deregulated trading hours, but extended trading hours. Now, for a number of years, the member of the lower house of state parliament, who has been paid to represent Armadale, has been a minister of the state government, and, in all of that time, Armadale has been a victim of restricted trading practices of the state government, which has not allowed “extended trading hours” for all Armadale traders. It is a restrictive trading practice, pure and simple, and directly disadvantages Armadale and its people. And, the state premier has previously said that trading hours will not be extended.
Retailers should be allowed to choose to open for whatever hours they choose to trade, and pressure from landlords for retailers to trade outside those hours, should be outlawed, to protect the retailers. And, people should be allowed to shop when they want, and, when they need to shop.
I have written to the Australian Consumers' Association (ACA), asking for the stance of the ACA, regarding deregulation of trading hours, and stating that I am standing as an Independent Candidate in this state election, and that I support deregulation of trading hours, and with reference to this web page, and the response that I received from the ACA is this:
"I think it is fair to say that ACA is in favour of deregulation, but not in any total and absolute sense. We think there are still certain forms of regulation that are useful and should remain – e.g restrictions on sales of alcohol, cigarettes, knives and aerosol paint, drugs, etc. And there are I think certain other matters such as public holidays where it may be appropriate to apply certain controls. However, in the main, I would say that ACA thinks there should not be restrictions on opening shops in relation to their size, location number of employees, time of day, day of the week."
I note and emphasise that I have permission to publish that passage here, but the permission and the policy of the ACA, are not an endorsement of me as a candidate, but are simply the policy of the ACA, regarding deregulation of trading hours.
It is an unfortunate reflection on the people of a state, when, at any hour of the day or night, the people can buy booze, can go to a casino and gamble, or can hire a prostitute, but the people cannot go to their supermarket to buy milk or meat and fresh vegetables, cannot go to a bookshop to buy a book, and cannot buy electrical goods, such as clocks, radios, or televisions, or buy clothing. Those are just some examples of household necessities, that the state government regards as being of lower necessity than gambling, booze and prostitution.
It kind of makes me wonder about the priorities of the members of the major parties of the state parliament.
And, a significant aspect of deregulating trading hours, apart from reducing discrimination against Armadale, and, apart from the benefits of the people who live in Armadale or work in Armadale, being able to shop when they want, rather than being told when they are allowed to shop, is the prospect of the greater demand for employees, as more people would be needed to be hired to staff the shops with deregulated trading hours, and that would benefit Armadale, through higher employment in Armadale, which would strengthen the local economy. And, that would benefit some of these small businesses who falsely complain that they would necessarily be worse off, with extended trading hours.
If we have deregulated trading hours, for consumers who do not want the extended trading hours, they would not be compelled to shop outside the existing trading hours. But, they would be given the choice of when they shop, which we do not have now.
People have complained that, if we have deregulated trading hours, small businesses will go broke and disappear.
That is completely wrong.
If you examine places where trading hours are deregulated, whether in other states in Australia, or in overseas countries like New Zealand, small businesses and corner shops still exist.
And, if you examine shopping centres, small businesses, with 10 employees or less, still exist, both inside and outside the shopping centres.
And, has having shops like Bunnings, allowed to be open on Sundays and late shopping nights, resulted in smaller hardware shops and lawnmower shops, that do not open for the same longer hours, disappearing? No.
Look around Armadale. We have, in the shopping centre, a newsagent that is open for the hours of the shopping centre. Is that a larger business, with more than 10 employees? I doubt it. It survives. Outside the shopping centre, in the Jull Street Mall, is another newsagent, that is not open on Thursday nights, or for hours as long as the shopping centre is open. That newsagent survives.
We have Mazeega's, that trades 7 days a week. Does that have 10 or less employees? No. We have Colli's, that trades 7 days a week. We have, not too far away, Bunnings at Kenwick, that trades 7 days a week. Does that have 10 or less employees? No. Bunnings is part of one of the largest corporations in Australia – Wesfarmers. Now, these hardware shops sell, amongst other things, lawnmowers and chainsaws and other gardening machinery. So does K-Mart, in the Armadale Shopping centre. Does this mean that no small shop that sells these things, can survive in the area? No. Look at Armadale Mower World, that trades for less hours, than those larger shops. Armadale Mower World, survives. So do other similar shops, such as Roberts Lawnmower Centre. Now, those previously mentioned shops that are open on Sundays and Thursday nights, also sell hardware. So does K-Mart sell hardware, with the shopping centre hours. Has that driven Armadale Hardware, on Commerce Avenue, out of business? No. It survives. And, in the shopping centre, are all of the businesses, open for all of the hours of the shopping centre? No. Yet, they survive. And, are all of the businesses in the shopping centre, employing more than 10 staff? No. The small businesses still survive, and, they are able to survive, trading for the hours that THEY choose. Wander around the shopping centre. Look at how many staff are working in each of the shops. many have less than 10 staff. and, they survive, with the trading hours for which the shopping centre is open. And, go in there on a Thursday night. Are all of the shops open until 9pm? No. But, the shops that are not open until 9pm on the Thursday night, still survive.
And, are these existing trading hours, limited to "shops with 10 or less employees"? No look at Bunnings. Look at some of the Mitre 10 shops. And, are all of the shops in the Perth CBD, in Fremantle, in Rockingham and Mandurah, etc, that are presently allowed to open on Sundays, shops "employing 10 or less staff"? No. Why, then, are they allowed to trade, when shops in other locations are not? The answer is simple. Restrictive trading practices, directly disadvantaging Armadale.
It is really a question of whether we are to retain restrictive trading practices, that I had understood to be unlawful under the federal Trade Practices Act, with Armadale being a victim of this, and, whether we are to have an economy and workforce, made optimal, or whether the Armadale local economy and the Armadale workforce are to continue to be deliberately stifled.
And, given that the Armadale shopping centre is to be expanded, and Woolworths expanded, with Big W being brought to Armadale, would it not be more worthwhile, if trading hours are deregulated, to make the best use of the shopping centre, and, to strengthen the local economy, and, to increase employment in Armadale?
Or, should Armadale continue to be punished for being Armadale, by having restrictive trading practices continuing to be imposed on Armadale, with the people of Armadale continuing to be victim of the restrictive trading practices?
We have the local member of parliament, claiming credit for all of this development and expansion of shops in Armadale. But, she and her government still deny us deregulated trading hours, and, if you want to shop outside the existing allowed trading hours, you are required to travel elsewhere, away from Armadale, to boost businesses OUTSIDE Armadale. And, that is the policy of the current state government.
Now, the state government has instituted a referendum, relating to trading hours. The referendum has a number of serious problems. The first is that the state government has denied the people of Armadale, and of Western Australia, the option of deregulated trading hours, which would allow retailers to trade whenever THEY want, and denying the people of Armadale, to shop when THEY want. The second, is that, whilst voting in the referendum is compulsory, the referendum is not binding on the state government. That means that you have to vote in the referendum, providing you are eligible to vote, but your vote in the referendum does not matter, as the government can simply disregard the outcome of the referendum.
And, importantly, what has happened about the charges laid against various Harvey Norman franchisees, for trading on a Sunday? My understanding is that the Harvey Norman franchisees traded on a Sunday, to serve the public and to gauge public reaction to it, and got prosecuted for their action. The state government has remained conspicuously quiet on whether it had dropped those prosecutions.
If those prosecutions have not been eliminated, then the state government is clearly acting in bad faith, in having this referendum about trading hours, with the government pretending to find whether people want the “extended trading hours”, and prosecuting traders for doing what the people want. And, did the people of Armadale, show their opposition to the Sunday trading, by the Harvey Norman shops in Armadale, being empty on the day that it was done? No. The shops had many people, and, from what I understand, got many signatures on a petition in support of the trading. The government response to trying to serve the people of Armadale, and, trying to increase employment in Armadale? Prosecution.
Now, ask yourself; who of the candidates standing for the seat of Armadale, in the current state election, really want things to improve in Armadale – who wants employment and the local economy, strengthened in Armadale, and, who wants discrimination against Armadale, reduced, by seeking deregulation of trading hours, which will have great benefits for Armadale, in spite of the false arguments against deregulated trading hours?
And, it should be remembered that, if we have deregulated, or, even the miserable “extended”, trading hours, that are “offered” by the referendum, which are still unnecessarily restrictive, in Armadale, the extra jobs that would be created, would mean that local people would have more money to spend, and, if Armadale would have the same trading hours as anywhere else, the extra money to be spent, could be spent in Armadale itself, and, with the strengthening of the local economy and the local employment for Armadale people, it would mean that these “small retailers”, who are going to great lengths to keep their unfair trading advantage, would be far better off, with increased trade from the extra money available to be spent in Armadale.
Unless, of course, the “small retailers” really want to do no better than they are already doing, and, that seems to be part of their campaign – they appear to want to do no better in their businesses, and harm everyone else in the process.
See below, for more information, and, for some more truth about what has been published about the trading hours situation.
Referendums should be binding on the state government, and we should have citizen initiated referendums, so that, if something like 5% of the number of all eligible voters in the state, lodges a requisition for a referendum, to put a question to the people of Western Australia, the state government should have to have the referendum, as soon as possible after the requisition is lodged, or during an election, if one is not too far away. After all, government is supposed to be FOR the people, and by the people, not just of the people.
And, in terms of business, we have the issue of the payroll tax. That tax should have been abolished years ago. What kind of government seeks to stifle employment, by taxing it? A government should be trying to increase employment, and should not tax it, with such an evil thing as a payroll tax, which is inexcusable, and given that government should be (or so I believe) for the people, the government should be trying to increase employment of the people, not inhibiting employment by retaining payroll tax. The payroll tax should go immediately. It should never have been imposed.
And, speaking of government for the people, we have the issue of the Armadale public hospital, and, the state government, in redeveloping the Armadale public hospital site, deciding to make some money out of it, by making part of the development, a private hospital, against the wishes of the people of Armadale, against (apparently) the wishes of the people who granted the land to the state government for a public hospital, and, by not restricting the redevelopment to a bigger and more useful public hospital, causing waiting lists for Armadale and the surrounding areas, to be artificially high, due to the lack of public hospital resources for Armadale. And, now that we have an election, the state government has suddenly decided to waste public money in buying the private hospital that it caused to be built on the land that had been for a public hospital, when the state government could have, and should have, had a bigger and better resourced public hospital expansion on the site, which would have been cheaper in the long term, and would have better served the people of Armadale, and, would have cut the waiting lists as soon as the hospital expansion had occurred previously. Instead, we now have unnecessarily long waiting lists, and wastage of public money for health, due solely to the state government's defiance of the people of Armadale, by putting a private hospital where a public hospital expansion should have been.
And, in terms of health, I support the Liberal Party's proposal for the nurses, with the proposed pay increase and the extra funding for improving the employment conditions of nurses. The state government says we can't afford to do it. I say that we cannot afford not to do it. Nurses have not been treated fairly, for far too long. It is about time that nurses are recognised for their work, and that more people are encouraged to take up nursing, as long as they are appropriate.
And, the nurses who live in Armadale, and the nurses who work at the Armadale public hospital, are further justification for deregulated trading hours. As shiftworkers who provide essential services, they should be able to shop when they like, in Armadale.
We also now have the issue of the state government's new proposal to cut the bus fees for school students, in a clear vote-buying exercise.
The question that must be asked is, given that the state government has been in power for four years (a bit more, apparently, as the state government failed to call an election on time, instead choosing to run over time), why was this not done years earlier? Why now, in the midst of an election, when it should have been done years earlier.
The news as of 2 February 2005, is that the state government has suddenly, during the election campaign, found that it has so much money, that it now plans “if re-elected to government”, to cut car registration fees, in a clear vote-buying exercise.
Surely, it would be far better, and, far safer for the people of the state, to instead include mandatory roadworthiness examinations as part of the process of registering, and renewing registration of, motor vehicles, with the requirement for all registered motor vehicles to pass roadworthiness examinations, in order to be registered.
After all, isn't it more important to be justifiably confident that the motor vehicle that you are in, and, the other motor vehicles on the road, are safe to be driven on the road? Other states and other countries, have mandatory, regular, roadworthiness testing. Why should traveling the roads in WA, be less safe?
Now, yet another issue that affects Armadale, relating to the priorities of the members of the major parties of state parliament, is social services – public health, recreation, and heritage.
Armadale each year, holds the Armadale Highland Gathering, which is an event for (primarily) Scottish activities and interests. The event is convened by the Armadale City Council. For an organisation to apply for a stand at the event, the organisation must absolve the Armadale City Council from any public liability relating to the organisation's stand. This effectively means that any organisation taking part in the event, needs its own public liability insurance, or a significant amount of confidence (a gamble), that nothing will go wrong at the event, and that the organisation will not be held liable for any damages. Now, public liability insurance for small, non-profit organisations, is prohibitively expensive. I know of one small Celtic heritage organisation, where to have obtained public liability insurance, so as to be able to confidently attend the Armadale Highland Gathering, and maybe one or two similar events, would cave cost more than double the organisation's income from membership fees. To have a stand at the Armadale Highland Gathering, to have public exposure, and to hand out information to the public and have a display of the heritage to which the organisation relates, is classed by the Armadale City Council, as a low-risk activity (in terms of risks for public liability). The organisation to which I referred, like other similar organisations, is a small, incorporated non-profit organisation, registered with the state government, which needs the extra public presence, to increase its membership, but, cannot afford to take part in the event, due to the problem of public liability. The organisation does not engage in high-risk activities, like sword-fights, or wrestling, and so, the risks of damage and injury are low.
Now, in the Comment News (free local newspaper delivered in Armadale), dated 18 January 2005, on page 35, is an article about the state government providing government funding worth 27 million AUD, to the sports of football (Australian Rules), netball, and hockey.
But, the state government does not provide indemnity against public liability, for non-profit organisations who want to take part in festivals, by having a display stand, to encourage membership, and involvement in cultural and heritage activities, and to raise awareness of such things. Because of this failure of the state government to provide indemnity to incorporated, non-profit organisations for taking part in such events, the organisations cannot afford to take part, the memberships do not increase as much as they could, and people are disappointed in what they see at the events, which have decreasing participation by the organisations around which the events are supposed to revolve. So, the organisations do not fare as well as they could, and neither do the festivals and public events. And why? Because the state government can put money into high profile sports, such as football (Australian Rules), netball and hockey, but the state government will not fund the lower profile activities that involve our culture and heritage, which would increase participation both in the public events and festivals, and, in the organisations themselves, and would increase knowledge and education about our heritage.
And, participation in these events, would involve, and, benefit ALL people, not just elitist sportspeople.
And, I would think that indemnifying the registered, incorporated, non-profit organisations for public liability, for having display stands (and for providing and accepting membership material), at public events and festivals, would cost far less than the 27 million AUD being channeled into the high-profile sports, and, the state government providing indemnification for public liability for the non-profit organisations to have display stands at events, could lead to greater public participation in both the organisations and in the public events where the organisations could then take part, greater knowledge of our heritage, and, getting more people attending and taking part in events like the Armadale Highland Gathering, and, the more active that people are, the better their health, and the less strain on the health system.
Similarly, with the Minnawarra Festival, also held each year, which could also have participation increased, by the state government indemnifying non-profit organisations against public liability, for low-risk display stands.
This is just one of the things that could be done by the state government, to encourage ALL people to be more active and to get out more, and it is far less elitist than funding high-profile sports at the neglect of activities for all.
The above was last updated on 20 February, 2005, at 1050 WST.
Due to the major parties making policies on the fly during the election campaign, and circumstances that arise during the campaign, I will add responses to the extra policies, below this point.
I believe that the people of Armadale have a right to know who are their candidates in the election, and for what they stand.
Thus, I believe that the local media should publish brief profiles of the candidates, and/or policy statements of the candidates, to inform the public in Armadale, so that the awareness of the public, of who are their candidates, and, for what they stand, is not based solely on the advertising revenue that the local media gains from the particular candidates. This I believe as a member of the public in Armadale, quite apart from my personal interest as a candidate, in which capacity I could benefit from balanced coverage by the local media.
The local media in Armadale, involves three different institutions – the local radio station, the Comment News newspaper, and the Armadale Examiner.
Those of you who were aware of the provision of broadcasting of speeches by local candidates by the local radio station, and that I did not make such a broadcast, may wonder why I did not take advantage of the opportunity. On Saturday 19 February, I received a telephone call from a person at the local radio station, giving me about an hour's notice of an opportunity to prepare for broadcast, a speech of up to 5 minutes long, and to travel to the radio station to make the speech on air. The person told me that it was the second weekend that the broadcasts were being done. At that time, I was in the midst of working on this web page at the time, and, with updates to the web page, and without my completing the task, the web page was not fit to stay published, due to its appearance. When I arrived at the radio station, after travelling for about half an hour, the show host was still on air, and was not informed of my arrival, and I was told that I needed to wait until he came out of the studio, to speak to him. By the time that he came out of the studio, the show was over, and the opportunity was removed. Lobby groups had managed to contact me at least a week earlier, by postal mail. The provision of the broadcasts of the speeches by local candidates, had not been publicised in the local newspapers, and I was unaware of the broadcasts, and of the opportunity, until I was given the hour's notice to prepare the speech and to travel to the radio station. I was advised that the sitting member for Armadale, had had sufficient notice, as to be able to have made a pre-recorded speech, which was broadcast on air.
As I had not been contacted, as a candidate in the election, by 17 February 2005, by the Comment News, I sent an email message, stating that I had not been contacted by the newspaper, with an invitation as a candidate to submit for publication, a photo and profile or policy statement, and I stated that it had been done in the past for local candidates in state elections, and that it would be a good idea to do it again for the issue of the newspaper that was due to be published on 22 February 20005, as the last issue immediately before the voting day of 26 February 2005, as a public service, to inform the local public of their candidates, so that awareness of local candidates would not be based solely on the size of advertising expenditure The response that I received that day, from the Comment News, was that the newspaper would not be publishing candidate profiles or policy statements. I note that, in the issue of the Comment News, dated 22 February 2005, is a special, 8-page wraparound, to do with the referendum. That wraparound conspicuously has statements from the government, and from the Greens party representing the Liberal Party (?), relating to the referendum, and, NOT from any local candidate who is not from the ALP or the Greens/Liberal coalition. It is also notable that, in recent articles in the Comment News, relating to local issues, for example, the article on page 5 of the issue of the Comment News, dated 15 February 2005, that is election material relating to the ALP and the Liberal party, only the two local candidates from those two parties are mentioned, and their policies relating to the Armadale hospital, which is the subject of the article. There is no reference to any other local candidate, or to any other local candidate's policy, regarding the hospital, in that article. And, in the Letters to the Editor, on page 24 of that issue, is an election material item as a letter from the sitting member for Armadale, I believe lacking the proper references as required by the Electoral Act, which letter includes a significant misrepresentation relating to the train station. A letter from me, to correct and query that misrepresentation, was conspicuously not published in the issue dated 22 February 2005, the last issue of the newspaper before the voting day, so the misrepresentation stands, assisting her election prospects.
So, the coverage of the election and the candidates, by the Comment News, appears to be dependent on having spent tens of thousands of dollars on advertising with the Comment News, as the three parties mentioned, have each taken out advertisements at least half a page in size, on more than one occasion, with the favoured ALP and Liberal candidates having taken out full page advertisements on numerous occasions.
The message here from the Comment News, appears to be that the people of Armadale have no right to know of any candidates other than those with massive advertising expenditure with the Comment News, and no other candidate should be heard.
On 17 February 2005, after the response from the Comment News, I sent an email to the Armadale Examiner, similar to the message sent to the Comment News, to see whether the Armadale Examiner is any more inclined to inform the public of Armadale about the local candidates, and whether the election coverage by the Armadale Examiner, would be made more balanced by publishing candidate photo's and profile/policy statements. As at 1330 on 22 February 2005, I have not even received an acknowledgement of my email to the Examiner, from the Examiner. The Examiner had one more issue to come out before the voting day – the issue due out on 24 February 2005, in which it could have included photo's and profile/policy statements of the local candidates, for the benefit of the voting public in Armadale, quite apart from the benefit to the local candidates.
It thus appears that the coverage of the election and of the election candidates for Armadale, by the local media, depends exclusively on the amount of money that each spends with the local media, and that the policy of the local media, is that the people of Armadale have no right to be aware of who are the local candidates, and for what they stand, other than for those candidates who spend massive amounts of money on advertising with the local media.
In case you think that I am just being bitter as a local candidate who did not get a free profile/policy statement published, have a look through the local newspapers, and see who are mentioned in the articles in the last month or so, and, look at the size of their advertisements. And, ask yourself whether you have a right, as a member of the public, to know of the other candidates, and, what are their policies regarding the issues discussed in the articles. And, ask yourself why the local radio station was unable to give more than an hour's notice to a local election candidate, to prepare a speech and to travel for half an hour to the radio station, to make the speech, and, why a local candidate had to wait, unannounced, until the show was over, to be told that the show was over and that it was too late to have the speech broadcast.
I am greatly disappointed in the lack of balanced election coverage by the local media, both as a local candidate, and, as a member of the voting public, who the local media appears to be unimportant in the election, with no right to be informed about the local election candidates or for what they stand.
Regarding the above, and with the emphasis given by some local media to advertising over local interest issues, and, given that an increasing number of people have Internet access, I have decided that I will likely continue to publish a web site that refers to news and current affairs affecting Armadale, and, also, that I will support publication of candidates' profiles and photographs, for future elections, by website(s), if not by printed publication.
On 23 February 2005, I have found the web site at http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/onlinefocus/elections/seats.asp?e=2&id=533 , which provides for candidates to publish profiles and policy statements, and I have published an entry there, on the web page provided for me. Unfortunately, I was not previously aware of that web site, and I do not know how many of the candidates, or of the voting public, will be aware of it, before the voting day, Saturday 26 February 2005. I thank the publishers of that web site for the opportunity to have published an election profile on that web site, on an equal footing with the other candidates.
If I am elected, I will take action to ensure that in at least the next election, a similar web site is published, providing an equal opportunity for candidates to publish photo's, profile statements and policy statements, hopefully in a similar format to that web site, and, that it is publicly promoted, to try to ensure public awareness of the site, to allow the voting public to have access to information that can help the voting public to gain balanced awareness of who are the local candidates, and what they are about, to make informed decisions when voting, and not being influenced by the amount of advertising money spent by candidates.
Candidates have “How to vote” publications, indicating how they want you to mark your preferences for the best advantage for them.
I support “first past the post” voting, where a person simply marks the box beside whatever candidate the person wants to be elected. If elected, I would support a move to replace the current preferential voting system with first past the post voting, and, to provide postal voting for everyone in state elections, so that they would be run the same way as the elections for the local governments that have selected the use of postal voting for their elections. If it is good enough for local government elections, it should be good enough for state government elections. First past the post voting makes voting simple - you only vote for who you want to vote, and are not required to vote for anyone else, and the person who gets the most votes for them, wins the election. Counting is made simpler and faster. Preferential voting is messy and dirty, and means that the person who wins, is not necessarily the person who gets the most votes for them, but is instead won by the person who gets the less votes against them, which, to me, is anti-democratic and nasty.
Now, I have sought advice about a term that is “exhausting preferences” (yes, to me, voting by preferential voting, IS an exhausting procedure).
The response is below.
“In responding to your question I refer to the two relevant sections of the Electoral Act 1907, sections 140A and 191A(2), copies of which appear below.
140A. Some ballot papers with non-consecutive preferences can be formal
(1) Where a ballot paper in an election in which there are more than 2 candidates - (a) has the numeral "1" in the square opposite the name of a candidate; (b) has other numerals in the squares opposite the names of the remaining candidates or all but one of the remaining candidates; and (c) but for this subsection, would be informal under section 139(d), then - (d) the ballot paper shall not be informal under section 139(d); (e) the numeral "1" shall be taken to express the elector's first preference; (f) where numerals in squares opposite the names of candidates are in a sequence of consecutive numbers beginning with the numeral "1", the elector shall be taken to have expressed a preference by the other numeral, or to have expressed preferences by the other numerals, in that sequence; and (g) the elector shall not be taken to have expressed any other preference. (2) In considering, for the purposes of subsection (1), whether numerals are in a sequence of consecutive numerals, any numeral that is repeated shall be disregarded. (3) If a ballot paper does not have a numeral in the square opposite the name of a candidate but a preference for that candidate is marked on the ballot paper in some other manner that clearly indicates the elector's intention, the ballot paper shall be regarded, for the purposes of this section, as having the numeral appropriate to that preference marked in the square opposite the name of that candidate. The above section deems votes cast using the method you referred to, although informal in the first instance, as formal and counted to the extent that consecutive numbers appear on the ballot paper. When there are no longer consecutive numbers (e.g. if there were the numeral two beside all other candidates as you suggested) the ballot paper would be formal for the first preference but would be considered 'exhausted' thereafter. This is where the general reference to exhausted votes originates from. There is also reference in some cases in voting methods to 'exhaustive preferences', which merely refers to the marking of preferences for all candidates. Section 191A(2) of the Act makes it an offence to produce a representation or purported representation of a ballot paper that is likely to induce an elector to vote other than in accordance with the instructions on the ballot paper (see below). This is why you will not find reference on our web site to suggest the above method as a voting option. 191A. Misleading or deceptive publications, etc. (2) A person shall not, during the relevant period in relation to an election, print, publish or distribute, or cause, permit or authorise to be printed, published or distributed, an advertisement, handbill, pamphlet or notice that contains a representation or purported representation of a ballot paper for use in that election that is likely to induce an elector to mark his ballot paper otherwise than in accordance with the directions on the ballot paper. Penalty: $1 000.”
Now, my understanding from the above, is that, if a person wants to vote first past the post, for example, marking the box beside the only candidate for whom the voter wants to vote, with a “1”, and, marks the boxes for all of the other candidates with a “2”, the voter's vote will be valid for the person in whose box the voter marked the “1”, and not for anyone else. Similarly, if the voter marks the boxes beside a series of candidates, with sequential numbers (1,2,3,4,..), then, when the voter gets to the candidates for whom the candidate does NOT want to vote, the candidate can mark them all with the next number in the sequence, so that none of them get a valid vote from the voter, but the candidates with the numbers in a sequence, starting with one, do get valid votes from the voter, in the order from “1” upwards.
It is also my understanding, from the above advice, that I may legally provide you with this information, without committing an offence, as the Act specifies that it is an offence for me to publish a representation of a ballot paper, that indicates that you may vote this way. As I have not published a representation of a ballot paper, in my providing you with this information, from the advice that I have been given, I believe that it is legal for me to provide you with this information, in the way that I have provided this information.
Now, after all of that, whilst I believe in first past the post voting, and, support first past the post voting, this is an election that involves preferential voting, which does not exclude first past the post voting, as I have stated. As I have stated, candidates in the election, have “How to vote” publications that tell YOU how THEY want YOU to vote, for their advantage. I do not do this. I say, vote “according to your heart, and according to your conscience”.
If you want to vote against me, then, put me last in the order of numbers, or, number me the same as someone else, if you want, numbering others in a sequence starting with the number “1”. If you want to vote for me and only me, put a “1” in the box beside my name, and the number “2” in the boxes beside all of the other names. If you want to vote for me and then some other candidate, or the other way around, do it. But, do not do as others tell you that they want you to vote, unless YOU want to vote that way. VOTE ACCORDING TO YOUR HEART, AND ACCORDING TO YOUR CONSCIENCE.
Now, here's yet another ALP policy
to be concerned about - on Sunday 6 February, it was announced that
Geoff Gallop will pay parents $200 per year that their children
attend the years 11 and 12 of secondary school, and, $400 if they
attend TAFE. The conclusion is simple – Geoff Gallop intends to
pay parents $200 per year for their children to drop out of the last
two years of high school and instead go to TAFE. Obviously, the ALP
wants to downgrade secondary schooling in WA, and, to eliminate
university education in WA.
As Colin Barnett said, it would be far better, for the money to instead be spent on eliminating school fees.
Now, on 21 February 2005, we have another policy on the run, from the ALP, which is also of concern. On 20 February 2005, The ABC online news web site reported that Geoff Gallop has stated that “ a re-elected government would force year 10 and 11 students to complete 20 hours of community service, before being allowed to graduate.”. Now the ALP is going to further punish students who commit the crime of trying to finish secondary school and possibly go to university, with community service orders, and, without the students having been tried by a court for the offence.
And, all of this is with the summary rejection by the state minister of education, of the proposal by the Brendan Nelson, to introduce national standard assessment exams for year 12 students, showing that the state government appears to regard this state as some hick state, where the secondary students are simply not up to scratch, compared with the rest of the country.
We need for secondary education in
this state, to be taken seriously by whoever is elected, to give
people who come out of secondary school in this state, a fair chance
in life, and, to be taken seriously as having obtained a reasonable
standard of education. It is no wonder that some schools offer their
secondary school students, international secondary education
qualifications, when the state government has an apparent policy of
downgrading secondary education in WA.
Due to issues recently raised about the trading hours problem, and the lies and misinformation that have been published in order to prevent trading hours being extended for all traders in WA, I have been pushed into raising the following.
The first is a point that a so-called environmentally-friendly party has clearly indicated that it wants the current trading hours restrictions to remain. An effect of that, apart from the issues that I have mentioned above, is that for a person in Armadale to buy household necessities and basic household goods, outside the currently allowed trading hours for Armadale the person is required to drive to Perth, Fremantle, Rockingham or whenever, if the person needs to buy the goods on a Sunday, for example. That means that a car or other motor vehicle is required to be driven around 60-80km more than it would otherwise be driven, that much fuel used up, and the corresponding pollutants pumped into the atmosphere, due to the policy of the self-professed environmentally-friendly party, that in fact seeks to harm the environment, by causing motor vehicles to be used more than they should need to be used.
The second, is that I have heard the cry “we are small businesses, and we do not have the advantage of the buying power of these bigger companies, so we will be disadvantaged if the companies with the bigger buying power, are allowed to open the same hours that we are.”.
I seemed to remember that the supplier of these “small businesses” which are mostly the small supermarkets, that are complaining, are generally supplied by Foodland; FAL, which had sought to buy out Woolworths in New Zealand, so, in searching on the Internet, using FAL and Woolworths,, together as search words, I found a web page, with the following information.
From the web page at http://www.fal.com.au/fal/std_content.jsp?ident=TWG1ORNU8YFFAC8NJ40V5EF1TEVJYK , on 19 February 2005:
This text was last updated
inNovember 2004. The Company's announcements to the ASX since then
provide additional information
Structure of the Business
Foodland Associated Limited (FAL) is a supermarket operator and grocery wholesaler trading in Western Australia,Queensland, northern New South Wales and New Zealand.
During the 2004 financial year, 39.6% of FAL’s sales revenues from continuing operations were derived in Australia and 60.4% were derived in New Zealand
Action Supermarkets is FAL’s Australian supermarket operator. At the end of November 2004, Action operated 44 supermarkets in Queensland and northern New South Wales and 37 in Western Australia.
FAL’s New Zealand supermarket division is Progressive Enterprises which, at the end of November 2004, operated 150 supermarkets. These comprised 57 Countdown, 30 Foodtown and 53 Woolworths stores.
Franchise & Supply
FAL is a grocery wholesaler to all Western Australian independent supermarket operators including FAL’s own franchise banner group Dewsons, Supa Valu and Eziway.
FAL’s three Cash & Carry warehouses supply up to 34,000 separate grocery and general merchandise lines to retailers and small business operators seeking to purchase less than full carton quantities.
FAL’s food service division, FoodLink supplies about 6,600 lines to nearly 1,700 customers, comprising caterers, hotels, restaurants, cafes, institutions, schools and mine sites throughout the State. Management believes that FoodLink is Western Australia ’s largest food service operator.
In New Zealand, Progressive is also a grocery wholesaler supplying banner franchise groups Fresh Choice and SuperValue mainly in the South Island.
History of the Business
FAL was incorporated in the State of Western Australia in 1926. Its origins were in the amalgamation of a number of Western Australian grocery co-operatives and other unincorporated businesses. The Company was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange on 29 March 1990 and at 22 November 2004, on the basis of market capitalisation, was ranked 76 of companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, excluding suspended and illiquid companies.
Action became a wholly owned controlled entity of FAL in June 1993, prior to which FAL had owned 50% of Action, then a listed company.
During the second half of calendar 2001, FAL acquired 40 of the east coast stores together with a dedicated distribution centre of 47,000 square metres and support office facility, in the Brisbane suburb of Richlands. The stores commenced trading under the Action banner in March 2002.
Progressive is a supermarket operator and grocery wholesaler and trades throughout New Zealand. Progressive has been a member of the FAL since 1993 and a wholly owned Group member since August 1999.
In 1992 FAL acquired the Countdown group of stores from Magnum Corporation Ltd. It also acquired the Rattrays Wholesale Cash & Carry and Food Service businesses, which have subsequently been sold.
In July 1993, FAL acquired a 38.6% stake in Progressive, then a listed New Zealand company, following a tender sale by the previous owner. By arrangement with Progressive, FAL then sold to Progressive its Countdown and Rattrays businesses in exchange for further shares in Progressive, moving FAL's ownership of Progressive to 57.04%. Subsequent ownership percentage increases occurred as a consequence of FAL's participation in Progressive's dividend reinvestment plan.
During the 1999 financial year FAL increased its ownership of Progressive through on market purchases. By August 1999 all of Progressive's remaining minority shareholders had accepted a bid of NZ$3.00 per share announced in June that year and Progressive became a wholly owned Group subsidiary. The bid placed a value on Progressive's businesses, excluding property holdings, of NZ$500 million.
In June 2002, Progressive acquired Woolworths (New Zealand), a supermarket operator then trading through 85 supermarkets under the Woolworths, Big Fresh and Price Chopper banners and through 26 outlets supplying groceries and petrol. The price paid was equivalent to an enterprise value for the business of NZ$690 million. ”
So, these “small, independent retailers” are associated with a massive international company, with massive buying power, and they want only to preserve their unfair trading advantage, that was provided to them, by a broken agreement.
It is unfortunate that these “small independent retailers”, that “cannot compete with the big companies”, as they “do not have the buying power of big companies”, could not at least be honest about who they are, and what they are, and, their real status.
I have been advised by what I believe to be a reliable source, that an agreement was made in the 1990's, that it would happen, “that shop owners should be allowed to decide when they open and close and to be free to respond to customers' needs.” , and that “the government of the day said that it needed to be phased in so smaller businesses had time to adjust. That freedom was given to smaller retailers , but never extended to the larger traders, hence we have seen some “privately owned grocery groups” boom in the absence of competition “after hours”. They are the chief opponents of other businesses being allowed to trade on weeknights and Sundays.”
Thus, a Western Australian state government had already agreed to deregulate trading hours in Western Australia, and that agreement was broken, to “protect” small traders, who have exploited the breaking of that agreement, and have sought to do whatever it takes, to prevent that agreement from being implemented, and to prevent consumers having the freedom of choice, and, in the case of Armadale, to harm Armadale, due to the effects mentioned above.
So, what guarantee do we have, that either major party, in government, will implement the outcome of the referendum on trading hours, when both sides have already said that trading hours will NOT be extended?
An example of the dishonesty and misrepresentation that has been used in the campaign against extending trading hours for all retailers, has come in a supermarket catalogue that we received today, Saturday 19 February 2005, from a local supermarket, with an advertisement opposing extending trading hours.
The advertisement to say no to extended trading hours, apart from not indicating who had authorised the misinformation, included the following statements.
“Our kids need real parents not casual carers. Whats (sic) happening at home when parents are forced to work longer hours?”
“We work to live – NOT live to work! Let's keep some time to enjoy life.”
“Our local centres will be battered by longer hours and big malls. NO gain – plenty of pain.”
More is less. Week nights and Sunday trading steals players and volunteers from our community.”
Longer hours in Perth will steam roll country WA. Everybody loses.”
What the advertisement fails to include, apart from whoever it is that authorised the deception and misrepresentation, is that the supermarket responsible for the advertisement, is a medium sized supermarket, probably employing at least the ten staff, and, its hours are “Open 7 days 8.00AM – 10.00PM”. Do its “less than 10 employees”, if it REALLY does have less than 10 employees, work 7 days a week, 14 hours a day? So, what about the effect of the trading hours of that supermarket, on its employees? And, where is the supermarket located? In a shopping centre, where the supermarket is the main trader. The supermarket is in Armadale, a suburb of Perth. Does it intend to stop trading in the evenings and on Sundays, for the reasons that it has published that shops should not be allowed to trade those hours? You've got to be joking.
The supermarket, like the other traders that oppose extending trading hours, simply wants to keep the unfair trading advantage that it has, and will make major misrepresentations, and, harm Armadale, and do whatever else it takes, to keep its unfair trading advantage.
So, the supermarket clearly does not believe in any of the reasons that it gives for preventing the extension of trading hours, and, is clearly using misrepresentation, to maintain its unfair advantage over other local retailers, and to cause harm to Armadale.
Once again, it is unfortunate that these people are not honest about the issues in the trading hours situation. I would not like to shop at those places. I prefer buying from someone that I can reasonably trust.
From the ABC online news web site, on 15 February 2005 - “The Western Australian Premier has sent a strong message that his state remains off-limits for uranium mining, after federal Labor leader Kim Beazley gave in-principle support for an export deal. The Federal Government is trying to negotiate a deal to export uranium to China. Kim Beazley says Australia and China would need to establish very firm guidelines for the use of the uranium. "If all those agreements are put in place, then it is a market for us," Mr Beazley said. The State Government is yet to fulfill a promise to introduce legislation banning the mining of uranium in Western Australia. ”
Also, from the ABC online news web site, on 15 February 2005 - “However, Greens MP Robin Chapple says Dr Gallop's promise means little because he has failed to fulfil an election promise to ban uranium mining in the state. "He said we were going to have a nuclear-free state [but] he didn't introduce legislation," he said. "When we introduced legislation which mirrored his commitments, he rejected it and voted against that legislation.” ”.
There are a number of aspects to this. The first, is that, without legislation, we have no certainty that we will not have uranium mining in WA, and therefore possibly no control over where or for what use, any uranium mined in WA, is put. The only solution, is to legislate to prevent mining uranium in WA. It appears that the state government (the ALP) has failed to institute legislation that it promised to institute, to ban uranium mining in WA, leaving us vulnerable to uranium mining.
The second, if the above reporting is accurate, is the issue of broken election promises from the last election. If this is a broken election promise from the last election, then, how many others exist, and, what guarantee do we have, that the ALP will not break even more election promises from this election campaign?
The third, is that Kim Beazley is the head of the federal parliamentary ALP, and is here in WA to take part in the election campaign of the state government. To what extent, do his policies influence WA state ALP policies? Does this mean that he will cause the WA state ALP to support uranium mining in WA? He is also (initially) from Western Australia. But, does he, and the state ALP, act in the interests of WA? Should we have uranium mining? Should we have a say in whether uranium is mined in WA, or, whether uranium is exported from Australia? Kim Beazley's stance, and, therefore, the stance of the ALP, appears to be that WE do not have a say in any of this; that only the parliamentary political parties should have a say, and that we should have to live with that.
I say that we should have legislation banning uranium mining in WA, or, at least, a referendum to determine whether we should have such legislation, and, with something as controversial as exporting uranium from Australia, I think that the people should decide, and, not the members of parliament.
From the ABC online news web site on 11 February 2005 - “The Western Australia Government has unveiled a $7 million promise to cut elective surgery waiting lists by more than 1,500 patients.”.
From the ABC online news web site on 14 February 2005 - “Western Australian Premier Geoff Gallop has promised to commit an additional $40 million to help cut public hospital waiting lists if Labor is re-elected.”.
So, what is the next bid? Is it going to continue to increase, by 11 million AUD per day, until the election campaign ends?
As I have mentioned elsewhere, so, what has the state government been doing, while it has been in power? Why has it not already taken care of this? Why do we now, in the midst off an election campaign, have a desperate government promising all these new things that it had not bothered to do while in power? And, it is at best, weird, that the state government is holding a bidding auction on public health and waiting lists. What is the next bid from the government?
And, it is notable, that some of the money is to be spent, at the Galliers private hospital that the state government deliberately made private, in defiance of the people of Armadale, the state government deliberately lengthening the waiting lists for public surgery, by privatising public hospital resources.
Once again, as said in the ABC online news article of 14 February, 2005, referring to Colin Barnett's reaction; “Opposition Leader Colin Barnett says Labor's promise is too little, too late. He says under Labor the number of public hospital beds has fallen by almost 80, and that is why waiting lists are unacceptably high. "This Government has done virtually nothing in health," Mr Barnett said. "For four years they've talked about it and now in the election campaign, they've suddenly discovered we've got a massive problem with waiting lists. "What has Jim McGinty and Geoff Gallop been doing for the last four years?"”.
That is the question. The state government has been in power for the last four years. What have they done, to eliminate waiting lists for the public health system medical services? And, why has the state government left it until the midst of a desperate election campaign, to make questionable election promises to improve the public health system, instead of already having done it?
Are we supposed to die before our name comes up as next to be treated, on a waiting list?
If the ALP, while it has been the state government, had not privatised part of the Armadale Hospital, and had instead better developed the Armadale public hospital, we would have better public health resources in Armadale, and, shorter waiting lists.
And, from the ABC online news web site, on 9 February 2005, in an article about the Liberal party's health policy launch; “The Opposition is also pledging to spend $5 million to tackle childhood obesity over the next term of government if it wins the election. It says childhood obesity has tripled over the last decade and it wants to increase the number of sport and recreation development officers working with schools and community groups across the State. It is also promising extra funding for sports equipment in schools.”
Do they think that that is all it takes to get rid of childhood obesity?
Have a look around your streets – the streets where you live, the streets around schools, and, the streets around Armadale. Do they all have footpaths, to encourage people to walk, rather than to drive or be driven in cars? Are the streets in your area, safe for walking?
Walking is about the cheapest form of exercise, and, is the most accessible (as in anyone who can walk, can do it – all you need, are clothes and reasonable footwear) form of exercise, and, if more people walked, the levels of obesity, at childhood and adulthood, and, in between, ages, would likely reduce.
With the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars being thrown around in this public health auction, we should have offers of interest free loans, or, grants, for local governments to build footpath networks in built-up areas, to get people out and about, and walking, for the sake of public health.
Walking can reduce obesity, can reduce diabetes, can reduce heart disease, can reduce osteoporosis and things like hip fractures, can have many health benefits, that could save spending on public health. Preventative medicine, is better than having to pay out for disease and injury caused by the lack of preventative medicine.
Footpaths are not the only cure for a public health crisis.
But, footpaths can improve public health, and lead to a reduction in the need for public health spending.
Sometimes, the simplest things in life, ARE the best.
And, from the ABC online news web site , from an article dated 11 February - “In a separate announcement, WA Premier Geoff Gallop has pledged an extra $42 million in funding for the racing industry if he is re-elected.” .. “Dr Gallop says extra grants worth $10 million will help upgrade outdated infrastructure at racing tracks around the state. "Many of those tracks were built back in the 60s and 70s," he said. "The facilities now need upgrading. "There is no doubt that if the racing industry is to be competitive in our modern society we need to have first-class facilities."”.
Now, we know why the public health system is in such a mess, and short of money. It is a question of priorities. After all, the racing industry is far more important than public health. Well, apparently according to the state government, anyway.
From the ABC online news web site, on 21 February 2005, is the following article.
“People who gain just a few extra kilograms when they reach middle age increase their risk of developing dementia later in life, a new Swedish study has found. The results from the study have been published in the Dagens Nyheter paper. Based on data collected over a 28 year period from more than 7,000 men in the south-west town of Gothenburg, the study reveals a clear link between middle age weight gain and later deterioration of intellectual faculties. "Greater overweight resulted in a higher risk for dementia, but the connection was even clear in [people] on the heavier end of their normal weight," Annika Rosengren, a researcher at the Gothenburg University and head of the study, said. While genetic makeup and age are the most important factors in determining whether a person will develop dementia, the study backs up recent research showing that a high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and diabetes also greatly impact our mental development. The study compares a subject's middle age body mass index (BMI), in which their weight in kilograms is divided by their height in metres, to later onset of dementia. While a person is not considered overweight until their BMI surpasses 25, the study shows a slightly higher risk of developing dementia with a BMI level of only 22.5. The study also showed the link between weight gain and dementia remained clear even after factors like smoking, exercise and diabetes had been taken into consideration.”
Now, as I have previously stated, the state government should be providing extra funding, through either interest free loans or grants, for local governments to increase their footpath networks and to make them safer to use, to encourage people of all ages to get out and walk, to improve their health and fitness. This could help reduce problems like dementia, through people being fitter through more exercise. Preventative medicine is a low priority for almost all levels of government that apply here, and the benefits would be great, and, would save us a lot in expenditure on public health in just fixing problems that could have, and should have, been prevented.
Similarly, as dental health has been shown to be linked to general health, and in particular to heart disease being linked to poor dental health, publicly funded dental care services for people with concession cards, should be provided, and, adequately funded to cut waiting lists right down, to no more than about three months, which should be the maximum waiting time for all public health services, and public health should be adequately funded, to shorten the waiting lists, to implement this.
I have also been advised by the Council On The Aging (WA), (COTAWA), that “Western Australia is alone amongst Australian States and Territories in failing to provide financial assistance with the purchase of continence products. This omission causes severe financial hardship to Age Pensioners and other seniors on low incomes as well as their carers.” And the COTAWA calls “on the WA government to immediately provide funding to people in receipt of a Pensions Concession Card who are assessed as requiring continence products by a Continence Advisor.” The publication that I was sent, goes on to say “It's a widespread health condition (affecting around two million Australians) and it's a factor in many – if not most – major health problems. It can hide within depression, isolating social behaviour or lowered self-esteem. It causes people to stop or cut down on healthy exercise, to leave the workforce or community and volunteer activities, can damage their relationships, or prompt withdrawal from the wider community. It affects every age group. The culprit is impaired bladder or bowel control.”.
If the COTAWA is correct that this is the only state in Australia, that does not provide financial assistance for concession card holder to purchase incontinence products, then I definitely support the call for that assistance to be provided immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, to assist people suffering from incontinence, to have as normal as possible, healthy, active lives.
I believe that we need better provision of health care for the elderly, and, better funding for public healthcare for the elderly, and I believe that the general health of the elderly, could be improved by better provision of preventative medicine, but, not only by better provision of preventative medicine. And, that includes increasing mobility and activity of all people, by making facilities more accessible, with an example of unsatisfactory accessibility, being the Armadale and other railway stations, which have steep stairs, making their use difficult and insufficiently safe.
As can be seen above, I have been contacted by the Council on the Aging (WA), (COTAWA), regarding a number of issues. I have made reference in various parts of this document, to issues relating to the elderly people.
I now mention another issue, which I have not mentioned elsewhere, in this document, but which I have mentioned to the COTAWA.
I became aware, early last year (2004), that various tourist facilities do not provide concessions to people holding Seniors or pensioner concession cards. I subsequently wrote to the WA state ministers for tourism and for seniors, respectively, about this, with the proposition that
“it seems appropriate that the state government take action to have provided for old-age pensioners, and, especially war pensioners, concessions on fares in the tourism and recreation industries. Such concessions could be voluntary concessions, funded by the organisations providing the services, or could be state government funded concessions, or, could be federal government funded concessions, due to lobbying of the federal community services minister, with the justification being to increase participation and activity, by old-age pensioners, and war pensioners, the increased participation and activity, likely to have flow-on benefits, such as probable decreased demand for medical services. Another possibility, is that, if any tourist enterprise receives any funding from the state government, it could be made dependent on the provision of concession fees at a set rate (eg, 35%), for old-age pensioners and war pensioners. Thus, I ask you both to consider implementation of concessions in fees and fares in the tourism industry, preferably at a similar if not identical rate to the concession rate for transport mentioned above; 35%, to get old-age pensioners, and war pensioners, out there and enjoying themselves some more, which would likely have benefits for the general community. And, it would be appropriate for the concessions to not be limited to residents of the state.”
I believe that holders of old-age pensioner concession cards, and war-pensioners who have similar cards, should receive concessions for tourism and recreation fees, as mentioned above, to get them out there and enjoying their lives and, to increase their activity, which should, apart from increasing their enjoyment of life, increase their quality of life, including their health. And, I believe that such concessions should not be limited to residents of this state, as long as they have recognised concession cards or can easily be recognised as being eligible for the concessions.
I have received on 22 February 2005, a mailout from Alzheimer's Australia (WA), seeking commitments relating to dementia, from me as a candidate.
Due to the time left in the election campaign, and my lack of adequate knowledge of dementia and what is needed to responsibly deal with dementia, I am unable to make any commitments, other than to say that, if I am elected I undertake to investigate this, so that I can respond as an informed person, as I believe that I am not sufficiently knowledgeable about this at present, to make any worthwhile commitment.
I have made references elsewhere in this document, to actions that can and should be taken by a state government, that can help the elderly, and that can help reduce the risk of dementia. Beyond that, at this stage, all I can do, is wait and see whether I become elected, to take more substantial action relating to dementia.
It has occurred to me, that there is a problem that directly involves each of the three above issues.
In this election, one of the candidates for the upper house East Metropolitan seat, which includes Armadale, is Helen Morton, the person responsible for the administration of the Armadale Hospital. This is from a Liberal Party election flyer, that relates to health, putting the policy that the privatised part of the Armadale hospital, should remain privatised, and that the people of Armadale should be denied the public hospital facilities to which we are entitled and, denied the public hospital facilities for which the land on which the Armadale public and private hospitals, was given to the state government.
Now, as the person responsible for the administration of the Armadale Hospital, Helen Morton's absolute priority should have been to provide the best possible public health care, via the public hospital. But, what confidence can we have, that she did not let the Liberal Party policy, using what are supposed to be resources for public hospital care in Armadale, for the benefit of profit, influence her administration of the Armadale Hospital? How do we know that the treatment of public hospital patients at the Emergency part of the public hospital component, in the corridors, WITHOUT THE EXPECTED PATIENT CONFIDENTIALITY, is not part of the campaign to impose private hospital treatment on Armadale, depriving the people of Armadale, of reasonable and proper, public hospital care? And, yes, I have witnessed patients being treated in the corridors of the Emergency part of the public hospital, discussing conditions and treatment with patients, immediately next to other patients, so that the patients all know what is wrong with the other patients, and the treatment for the conditions of the other patients. And, that was this year, 2005, not before the ALP state government developed part of the hospital as a private hospital, depriving the people of Armadale, of as good public healthcare as we should get.
It is not just the Armadale hospitals' administration and operation, which now have to be questioned, due to the person responsible for the administration, being politically active in party politics to the harm of the people of Armadale, in actively depriving us of the public health care to which we are entitled.
In a recent previous election, we had a high ranking police officer get elected to state parliament, and quickly obtain a ministry portfolio. We cannot be sure as to how much of the law enforcement for which that police officer was responsible, was influenced by the politics of the party that he represents. After all,with having gained the ministries for which he was responsible, so soon after getting elected for parliament, his time as a high ranking police officer, immediately before taking office as a member of parliament, the law enforcement for which that person was responsible as a high ranking police officer, becomes questionable.
The Western Australian constitution needs to be amended, so that no public servant or person otherwise employed by the state or federal government, can stand for parliament as a candidate in a state election, until at least a term of parliament (at this stage, four years), after the person has ceased to be employed by either the state or the federal government.
After all, we have the public health service, and law enforcement in the state, at risk, and, becoming highly questionable, in the circumstances.
And, the people have a right to better treatment. We have a right for our essential services to be above suspicion, and they are definitely not that, due to the involvement of high ranking public servants, in party politics, where party politics come before the entitlements of the people.
So, I now say that Helen Morton, standing for the Liberal Party, SHOULD NOT be elected to parliament, in the upper house East Metropolitan seat, and she should be required to resign from the public service, and, especially from the Armadale Hospital, due to her clear conflicts of interest.
I have today found published in a local newspaper, an article where the Armadale Redevelopment Authority is considering eliminating Minnawarra House. The article, once again, involves input from the two candidates who have spent tens of thousands of dollars in advertising in the newspaper, a federal member of parliament who has nothing to do with the issue, and no input from other local candidates, as the newspaper has decided that, as the other local candidates have not paid the newspaper tens of thousands of dollars, the other local candidates should not be heard on the issue.
The two local candidates in the state election who were interviewed about the issue, to the exclusion of the other candidates who had not bought their way into “news” articles in the newspaper, include the minister responsible for the ARA, and, the Liberal Party candidate, who was “shocked to learn that Minnawarra House may be demolished.” She is quoted as having said “The effect on the community will be enormous, there are not enough of these services, as it is and now for the sake of more shopping space, we are driving them away”. That is from the person who stated in the Armadale Examiner of 3 February 2005, “There is no intention that the work in progress and planned for the redevelopment of Armadale will be curtailed by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority”. The Liberal Party plans to replace the Armadale Redevelopment Authority with the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority, further removing public involvement in the development of Armadale. Her federal cohort is quoted as having said, in relation to the proposal to remove Minnawarra House, “a valuable community service had been pushed aside for the almighty dollar”. But, the Liberal Party candidate for Armadale, had already stated her support for whatever the Armadale Redevelopment Authority chooses to do to Armadale.
The article in the Armadale Examiner dated 3 February 2005, starts with the words “The priorities of the Armadale Redevelopment Authority would be protected and pursued by the Liberal Party's proposed Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority”.
The Armadale Redevelopment Authority was appointed by the ALP member of parliament for Armadale, and the ALP candidate for the lower house seat of Armadale in this election; Alannah McTiernan, and represents her, and does not represent the wishes of the people of Armadale. The Armadale Redevelopment Authority is not elected by the people of Armadale, and, the people of Armadale have no control over the decisions and policy of the Armadale Redevelopment Authority. That authority was created to take activities away from the Armadale City Council, so that the people of Armadale could not have any effective say in what goes on in Armadale, in terms of development.
Both the Liberal Party, and the ALP, have policies that prevent the people of Armadale from having a say in the development of Armadale, which is why we got the Armadale train station that was not wanted by the majority of Armadale residents, and is a safety hazard, and, is inconsistent with the appearance of the Armadale City Centre, as is also the new cinema complex, and, which is why the people of Armadale are now facing the likely elimination of part of the heritage and community facilities of Armadale; Minnawarra House, in a campaign to turn the Armadale city centre into a mishmash of inconsistent appearance, so that the people of Armadale have to put up with an unwelcoming city centre, or, do what other, long term residents have already started to do – go elsewhere, away from Armadale, to do their shopping and activities, as they are now made to feel uncomfortable in their local area.
For those who do not know, I have used Minnawarra House on a number of occasions, including through my involvement with Armadale LETS, over the years, and, Minnawarra House has played an active part in local public events held in Minnawarra Park, hosting various facilities when events such as the annual Minnawarra Festival and the annual Armadale Highland Gathering, have been held, and Minnawarra House hosts a variety of community facilities, on an ongoing basis.
I am advised that the plans for the land where Minnawarra House stands and is used, include putting a lake in the land between Minnawarra House and Armadale Road.
Apart from this reducing the open land on which residents can walk, with the effect of the proposal degrading public health through decreased open space available for walking and recreation, that land was previously used to stage a local version of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, with a major event involving multiple full Scottish Pipe Bands. Many people attended, and watched the spectacular event, and, the state government, and it agent, the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, seek to deprive the people of Armadale, of future such cultural events, by, apart from the current proposal to demolish the Minnawarra House and develop the open space, creating a situation where, due to the lack of protection of the building and of the open space, the uncertainty of the future of the land, means that it is unlikely that future similar events will be held on that land, as it is not known for how long the currently open grassed space, will remain as open grassed space.
Minnawarra House should not be removed or built around so as to interfere with its appearance or function, and the land associated with Minnawarra House, including the land between Minnawarra House and Armadale Road, should not be developed or changed in its function, unless a referendum of the people of Armadale, supports such change, as Minnawarra House and that open space, are part of the heritage of Armadale. It is the heritage of the people of Armadale, and, it has considerable community significance, and, is used in community activities and recreational activities that the state government, through the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, seek to curtail, without the people of Armadale getting to make the decisions from which we suffer.
Now, I have been advised that the Armadale Chamber of Commerce objects to my having criticised the harm that has been being done to Armadale and its people. But, when the people of Armadale are made to feel unwelcome in our own city centre, as I have been advised, and when we have buildings such as the new train station, which are reasonably described as hostile in appearance, unless it is the ambition of the Armadale Chamber of Commerce, to drive the people of Armadale away from the Armadale city centre, the Armadale chamber of commerce should be using whatever influence it has, to make Armadale be given back to the people, and, to make decision making that involves development of Armadale, decided by the people of Armadale, not people who have no interest in making Armadale a place where its residents feel welcome.
After having found that this situation exists regarding Minnawarra House, in the afternoon of Thursday 24 February, during the afternoon of 24 February 2005, I brought the matter to the attention of the local radio station, named Heritage FM, as, due to its name, it should take an active role in preserving the heritage of the area, and I also brought the matter to the attention of the West Australian Newspaper, the ABC WA state television news and current affairs, and to the attention of the three major commercial television stations in Perth – Channels 7, 9 and 10, to give them an opportunity to air the issue for public discussion, to possibly get public assurances from the major political parties in Western Australia, that Minnawarra House and its surrounding land, would be preserved for use as they have so far been used, and, protected from unwanted development.
Whether any of the media take any action to raise the issue as a matter of public interest, is yet to be seen. Given that the voting day of the election, is 26 February 2005, if the issue is to be raised, to prevent the sitting member of parliament, if re-elected, from being able to say “the information was published in the local newspaper, so my re-election shows that the people of Armadale support the removal of Minnawarra Park and the elimination of the open, grassed space around it”, it would need to be done on the day of 25 February 2005, for the electronic media, and by the morning of 26 February 2005, for the West Australian Newspaper.
Minnawarra House should be heritage listed so as to prevent its removal or development of the land.
And, the Armadale Redevelopment Authority should be replaced by a body constituted of representatives from Residents and Ratepayers' Associations of Armadale, and an authority on local history, each of whom should have voting power, so that the people of Armadale decide on the development of Armadale, and so that the heritage of Armadale is protected, at least more than it is at present.
I have received a letter and an Issues Fact Sheet, from the Caravan Industry Australia (WA), which relates to the caravan industry and caravan parks. Without being dismissive of the issues, I believe that the issues mentioned are worthy of investigation, but to properly investigate the issues and come up with a properly informed policy regarding the issues, would require more than the time left in the election campaign. I believe that whoever is elected, would have an obligation, at least moral, to investigate and deal with the issues raised, as we have a number of caravan parks in the area, and we have people in the electorate who own caravans.
From the ABC online news web site on 5 February, 2005 - “Energy Minister Eric Ripper says the Government will spend $1.8 billion improving the reliability of the state's power network. Mr Ripper says the blackouts are unacceptable. "Any fault experienced by any customer at any time is an inconvenience and sometimes worse for that customer," he said. "That's why we want a more reliable electricity network.” “.
So, what has the state government been doing while it has been in power (no pun intended :) )? Why is it left until an election campaign, when the state government is under threat of losing office due to its poor record of electricity supply, does the state government come up with this? I note that no time frame for the spending of the “$1.8 billion”, was given. If it is over four years, would that mean that, at long last, Western Power is to put the power lines, underground, at the expense of Western Power, to give us a more reliable power supply, and end the third-world nature of our power supply, giving us a more reasonable power supply?
To me, that policy is yet another desperate, hollow promise made on the run, during a desperate election campaign. If the ALP was genuine, it would have been done already, instead of the advertising campaign that tells us that we do not have enough power for the state, and “how kool” it is that Western Power is spending money on advertising, rather than fixing the power supply.
And, in terms of the “it's not our fault – it is pole top fires” excuses – so why has Western Power not spent money, and put the power lines underground?
We need proper management of the electricity supply, and the state government has shown that it is incapable of that.
From the ABC online news web site on 14 February 2005, is stated “Opposition Leader Colin Barnett used the Liberal Party's official campaign launch to announce three-year minimum jail terms for people who commit violent crimes against children, senior citizens and people with disabilities.”.
So, is it acceptable, to commit crimes of violence, against women? Is domestic violence acceptable? Apparently, domestic violence IS acceptable, especially when the Advertising Standards Board, approves the encouragement of domestic violence in television advertising, regarding domestic violence as “entertaining”. And, what party is responsible, as government, for the regulation of the Advertising Standards Board? The federal Liberal party.
Violence is UNACCEPTABLE, and should be regarded as such. It is no less unacceptable due to whichever particular group of people, a victim belongs.
Firebombing of Asian restaurants, is terrorism, especially as it is a racial hate crime. But, are the perpetrators, charged for committing terrorist offences? No. Why not? Because the victims are not regarded as equal with others, in Western Australian law. Apparently, also, to be a terrorist, here, you have to be Arab or a Muslim.
Whoever commits an act of terrorism, and, whoever are the intended victims, an act of terrorism should be regarded as an act of terrorism.
And, from the ABC online news web site on 5 February 2005 - “The Labor Party in Western Australia wants to introduce new legislation giving government the power to keep serial child sex offenders in prison for life. Premier Geoff Gallop says the laws would be similar to existing ones in Queensland and would apply to paedophiles with no chance of being rehabilitated. The government would apply to the courts at the end of the offender's sentence to have it extended.”
Why should this be limited to “paedophiles”? In New Zealand, a provision exists in law, for “Preventative Detention”, where, when a person habitually re-offends, and society needs to be protected from the person, the government prosecutor can apply to the appropriate court, for the person to be placed in preventative detention, basically, to be locked up indefinitely, until it can be proven that the person is no longer a threat to society. That applies to all offences where society is at risk, and an example could be when a person repeatedly drives without a licence and under the influence of alcohol, deliberately repeatedly endangering other road users, a person who repeatedly commits armed robbery, a person who repeatedly commits sex crimes or any other crime of violence, etc.
We should have provision for preventative detention, in Western Australia, and, it should not be limited to serial child molesters.
And, a bit more about law and order – where I live, we are subject to an ongoing crime wave that has been unleashed here, by a government department. Now, apart from the aspect that the particular government department and its employees should be held accountable for the crime wave that they have unleashed here, we have a serious problem with hopelessly inadequate street lighting, which encourages crime. If you “can't see someone standing in the middle of the road”, due to the inadequate street lighting, then a serious problem exists. And, it is taken advantage of, by local criminals. And, the police are aware of the hopelessly inadequate street lighting.
And, driving along the roads here at night, requires headlights to be on full beam, due to the hopelessly inadequate street lighting.
Armadale, and the rest of Western Australia, should have adequate street lighting in built-up areas. It would make the roads safer for transport, and, would decrease crime, if criminals are made more visible at night. Crime prevention is far better than trying to deal with crime, after it has occurred. And, the lack of adequate street lighting, means that the crime that would not otherwise be happening, is occurring with state government assistance.
The reference to the state government department that unleashed the local crime wave, refers to state housing, which is also known as Homeswest. Homeswest has been knowingly supplying premises for the purpose of criminal activities in the area, and has been so doing for several years. When a local resident was threatened by a state housing resident, the culprit was rewarded by being put into a then newly renovated house that residents had been told by state housing, was being renovated to be sold out of state housing. That was several years ago. The tenants at that renovated state housing property, have degraded the property, and have used it as a base for criminal activity, including home invasion, theft, burglary, making false reports to police, witness intimidation, assaults on local residents, offensive behaviour, disturbing the peace, threatening personal injury and property damage, malicious property damage, witness intimidation, and terrorism. The residents at the state housing property, have caused property values in the area, to drop, and have caused local residents to sell up and leave, due to the activities of state housing and its tenants. The response from state housing, to complaints about the criminal activities for which state housing has knowingly supplied the premises, is that “it is not our problem”. The problem of state housing knowingly supplying premises for criminal activity, and refusing to take action to end the crime for which it is responsible, is apparently not limited to the state housing rental property on Mornington Street, Armadale. The state government has failed to act, to end the local crime wave that it has unleashed here. In the past few days, incidents have occurred, involving the state housing property and attacks on local residents and their property, including unlawfully entering one property, to attack another property, and an assault in public by the registered state housing tenant, of a local resident, while the victim was walking her pre-school daughter home from the local school, as part of an ongoing crime wave from the residents at the state housing property, against the household of the victim of the assault, including an elder daughter of the victim of the assault, being apparently, repeatedly assaulted during her first year at secondary school, the school assaults apparently involving the residents of the state housing property. An incident occurred on 22 February, that involved the family threatening to destroy yet another local property, having already caused malicious damage on multiple occasions to an adjacent property, and a member of the household who is apparently on parole, going armed in public, to cause terror. Whilst the weapon was taken away from that man, by the police, the morning after that incident, that man who had gone armed in public, to cause terror, was walking free. Apart from whether he had breached his parole conditions, and should have been immediately arrested and had his parole revoked for that, it is a matter of concern, to local residents, that the man was not arrested by police for having gone armed in public to cause terror, and remanded in custody, as the man constitutes an ongoing threat to local residents, and, given that that household has been involved in witness intimidation, in an ongoing campaign of crime.
When crimes of violence are regarded as acceptable by a state government, and no substantial action is taken to protect the innocent against crimes of violence, the problem is made increasingly worse, and crime prevails.
Local residents had been repeatedly, over several years, advised by state housing, that the tenants on Mornington Street, were being evicted, but this has never happened.
And, to make this worse, we have the misleading election advertisements where the Western Australian Police Commissioner has stated in the advertisements, that people who commit crimes against property, including home invasions and burglary, will be found and convicted, using DNA analysis. The advertisements were clearly run in support of the state government, to show “that its law and order policies are working, and that criminals will get caught and convicted”.
But, in reality, as has been stated, the police DO NOT have the resources, to apply DNA analysis for criminal investigation, in the publicised crimes, or in investigating more serious crimes.
It is unfortunate that the head of the Western Australian Police Force, has become a political figure, taking part in party political advertisements, and, even more importantly, taking part in misleading advertisements. If the Western Australian Police Commissioner cannot be trusted to be honest, then the reputation of the police force as a whole, is degraded by the actions of the police commissioner, and he has been involved in bringing the police force into disrepute, due to his involvement in the misleading advertisements.
Due to my awareness of what has been going on here, I believe that where state government employees are knowingly involved in criminal activities, they should be held personally responsible for their actions, and, where any police officer, including the police commissioner, is involved in dishonest activity, such as misleading advertising, the police officer should be suspended and charged with the appropriate offences, and, in cases such as this one, when the police officer brings the police force into disrepute, should be dismissed.
Further to all of this, the police apparently are unable to reliably provide complainants with references to incidents and police records, by way of Incident Report Numbers. That applies equally to complaints to local police stations, and to calls to the 000 number.
Police procedure should be tightened up, so that, for every phone call to the police, and for every police attendance, the person who makes a complaint, is automatically provided with a form containing a written Incident Report Number. And, where a witness is interviewed regarding a matter, that witness should be given a copy of the information that the witness has provided to police, containing the Incident Report Number.
The police procedure at present, is too informal, and, too unaccountable, and, at times, it has been apparent that police lose records of incidents and of complaints.
And, law and order should start to be taken seriously, by whoever is elected, to protect a society where, as happens here, locals are too frightened to walk along the street by themselves, during daylight, due to the situation created by the state government and a police force that is prevented from protecting local residents.
Apart from other actions, if elected, I would seek an investigation into the activities of Homeswest and it staff, including the reckless endangerment by Homeswest and its staff, of residents local to its rental properties.
Now, apart from that, the minister for housing, Nick Griffiths, is an ALP member of the Legislative Council (upper house of state parliament) for the East Metropolitan Seat, which includes Armadale, and is up for re-election in this election.
If you are happy with the way that state housing has been operating, then vote for him. If not, when you vote on the Legislative Council voting form, vote against him, by numbering him last.
I have not made any mention in this document, about how to vote for the upper house candidates, apart from this reference to the particular candidate, who has been paid to represent the people of Armadale, in the upper house of state parliament, and who is also the state minister for housing, and therefore, is responsible for Homeswest and its operations.
From the ABC online news website on 14 February 2005 - “Mr Barnett has announced a Coalition government will amend the constitution, so that a referendum would have to be held before any government could introduce one vote, one value electoral laws.”
That is a disturbing development. There are a number of problems with that policy.
The first, is that the WA constitution itself, is not subject to a referendum, to be changed, so that parliament can play with the state constitution, changing it as the members of parliament want, to suit their personal interests, with the people of the state having no say in the constitution. Now, with the Liberal party policy, whether the people of WA get equal voting power, is apparently regarded as an issue far greater than the way that the state parliament operates, and far greater than the process of legislation being passed in the state, in both of which, the members of parliament have decided that we should have no say. Also, it is notable, that issues like whenever the state government decides to go into asset-stripping mode, selling off public utilities that WE OWN, we have no say in the matter. When was the referendum held, to determine whether the state gas corporation should be sold? Why should WE, as the OWNERS, not have any say, by way of a referendum, in whether what WE OWN, should be sold off? Are WE to be given a say, by way of referendum, as to whether Western Power should be sold off or broken up into a mishmash of unconnected companies? What would you do, if you owned a house that was being rented out by an estate agent, on your behalf, and the estate agent sold the house without asking you, and pocketed the money, for the use of the estate agent?
The second, is that as recent history shows, it is far to easy, for members of parliament to deny the people a real choice in referendums. In the so-called republic referendum, the federal Liberal party managed to prevent the people of Australia, from indicating whether Australia should become a republic. Was the question ever asked, “Should Australia become a republic?”? No. Why? Because the federal government did not want the people to have a say. In the coming state referendum, regarding trading hours, is the question to be put, “Should trading hours in Western Australia, be deregulated?”? No. Why? Because the state government and the members of the state parliament apparently believe that the people of Western Australia, should not have any say in the matter.
And, the state government, the ALP, has now also decided that it does not really want the people of WA to have equal voting power. Also from the ABC online news web site, on 14 February, 2005 - “The Premier says Labor will achieve a balance between equal voting rights for all Western Australians and proper representation for people in regional areas.” .
Now, either all Western Australians are equal, or they are not. There is a famous saying, from the book “Animal Farm” - “All animals are equal, and some are more equal than others”. Either we are all equal, with equal voting power, or we are not. It is that simple.
So, ask yourself, are the people of Armadale, any lesser people, than anyone else in the state? Do we deserve to have less say in the government of the state, than anyone else? Or, should we have equal voting power? I say that we are no less than anyone else in the state, and that we are entitled to equal voting power.
And, ask yourself, “who of the candidates standing for the seat of Armadale, has the policy that the people of Armadale are no lesser people than anyone else in this state, and that the people of Armadale should therefore have no less voting power than anyone else in this state?”. We are as good as anyone else in this state, and we deserve to be treated as being worth as much as anyone else in this state.
In summary, the people of Armadale should be treated better than we have been. We should have a greater say in issues that affect us, and we should not be discriminated against because we live in Armadale.
I can be contacted by email by clicking on my name at the end of this sentence - Bret .
This web page is authorised and printed by Bret Busby, 2 Pelham Street Armadale.
(Whilst the web page may be printed by someone else, I am advised that the wording in the above sentence, is required by the legislation governing the election.)
This web page was last updated on 25 February, 2005, at 1450 WST