Fleeton fired up

WITH Fremantle axing its Australia Day fireworks as “culturally insensitive” to indigenous people, councillor Brent Fleeton reckons Bayswater should step up and hold its own show.

Freo is planning to hold a culturally inclusive celebration on January 28 after the council consulted with elders who supported the move. Herbert Bropho told Freo councillors the crack of fireworks was like an echo of the musket shots that cut down his ancestors after British ships showed up on January 26, 1788.

Brent Fleeton, a Liberal party member who previously worked for MP Peter Katsambanis, says Baysie should take up the fireworks.

‘I love Australia’

“I love Australia,” he said in a post on his councillor Facebook page.

“I love what we have achieved together over a relatively short period of time. I think we are the luckiest, greatest and most generous country in the world.

“But I am sick of being made to feel guilty for wanting to celebrate Australia on the anniversary of the first British settlement. Not everyone likes the day for various reasons, I understand that, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us should be shamed into wearing black arm bands and apologise for being here.

“I think this is an exciting idea worth exploring. It will provide locals with a new choice; rather than the hassle of getting in and out of the CBD/South Perth, people from the eastern suburbs can come down to the river and enjoy the day locally.”

Debate on his page was polarised: Some called it “a great idea”. Others reckoned it was “divisive” and worse. Several pointed out neighbouring Bassendean already has fireworks visible from many parts of Bayswater.

Cr Fleeton plans to introduce the motion at the first council meeting next year, to see if they can get fireworks along the Swan River up and running by January 26, 2018.

by DAVID BELL

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