Disclaimer: reading of this article may be dangerous to anyone suffering allergies to sarcasm, satire, or overpaid bureaucrats.
Open letter on Matargarup to the general public and Gary Stevenson CEO of the City of Perth legal fiction
As some of you may be aware, GFM recently shared a meme about events at Matargarup homeless refugee camp that garnered widespread attention via several hundred shares on social media, reaching thousands of people.
It featured an image of Gary Stevenson yelling at Swan Valley Noongar Elder Herbert Bropho during a verbal confrontation that occurred during the most recent (fourth!) police raid of the Heirisson Island homeless refugee site. This fourth heartless raid included the open THEFT of tents, generators, lights, personal belongings, bedding, even food, by police (you know those people who are supposed to PREVENT crime?). (You can understand why Herbert was upset, especially knowing how he and his sister Bella were forced from their homes by the WA government twelve years ago, and how they and their people continue even now to be victimised by the City of Perth. See GFM Media episode 36.) The meme also included Gary’s contact details, which are publicly listed as he is acting in his public capacity as CEO, and (theoretically) a “public servant.” (Admittedly, Gary seems unclear of the meaning of this latter term…)
Unfortunately, our meme has led to Mr Stevenson receiving many phone calls from irate members of the public expressing their displeasure with the unlawful, predatory and criminal practices of the Perth police, rangers, and others acting under his direction. Just last night he had to “en[d]ure the relentless abusive and threatening calls caused by [our] reckless posting.”
We deeply regret the inconvenience caused to Gary through the disruption of his peaceful night’s sleep, and realise in hindsight that taking a stand for the beleaguered, homeless, and/or poverty-stricken refugees who’ve now been raided and thieved from by agents acting for the City of Perth (CEO Gary Stevenson) for the FOURTH time is unconscionable and has caused a grievous inconvenience to at LEAST one member of the white collar world on a paltry SIX FIGURE salary (and VERY generous TRP/total rewards package). We never intended for our actions to cause any harm at all, and we never do. Period. We operate purely out of compassion, love, and the need for truth to be shared. We never intended for our actions to result in inconvenient phone calls or lost sleep. We apologise unequivocally.
(Please donate generously to the Gary Stevenson Tiny Violin CEO Sleep Enhancement Campaign #tinyviolin)
As a measure of goodwill, we took down the meme from the GFM page, which Gary felt was “defamatory” and ad hominem (because, you know, stealing from the homeless and confiscating personal property to erase evidence of criminal conduct is a trifling impersonal matter compared to a Facebook meme, if you think about it), and hope this goes some way to repairing our treasured relationship with the paper-based legal fiction City of Perth, which finds the plight of the living men and women on Heirisson Island to be such an inconvenience. (Why can’t those annoying originals who’ve been on the land for hundreds of thousands of years just stop “camping” here already!?)
We also trust that the police who stole the tents and other personal items are putting them to good use, and also resting peacefully at night, comfortable in the knowledge that a bunch of tents, bedding, generators, and other meager belongings won’t be misused by greedy members of the homeless refugee community (at least until they are replaced AGAIN by misguided members of the public who compassionately donate these basics to the camp). I definitely feel safer knowing the police won’t back down from these vicious homeless terrorists (a.k.a. “terroriginals”).
On behalf of the human rights activists who filmed and/or photographed WA police while they broke the law (in multiple ways) and stole vital supplies from the homeless refugee camp, we apologise for the inconvenience caused to the police officers who felt compelled to unlawfully remove items such as cameras and mobile phones without consent. We regret the inconvenience caused to at least one officer who sadly “had” to go into J….’s phone to delete a photograph of an officer shoving one of the female original elders in the back. This is an elderly woman who had the gall to use her walking frame to stand up straight. (We at GFM do not condone unlicensed travel by walking frame.) Reportedly the officer who deleted the incriminating image is now battling to recover from repetitive strain injury from furiously pushing the phone buttons in an effort to shield the public from images of the elderly lady’s “assault” on the defenceless officer who at the time was only younger, bigger, stronger, and armed with a gun, taser, and whatever else they issue these pillars of the community with to “protect” the public these days.
Gerry Georgatos wrote of the fourth raid in the last eight weeks on The Stringer:
The conduct of the Council in their handling of the Matargarup homeless precinct appears a throwback to the 1940s. On Thursday scores of police in militia formation marched into Matargarup escorting scores of City of Perth workers led by their CEO, Gary Stephenson who was wearing a hard hat directing the show. It was sad sight.
Police were unusually aggressive in their responses – six move on notices (I was one of them) and three arrests – two Aboriginal Elders – Yamatji Elder Julie Dwyer and Nyungah Elder Bella Bropho.
The police issued me with a move on notice for speaking up (loudly).1
Next time Stevenson’s lackeys raid the homeless camp we may just have to arrange to livestream all of the unlawful acts committed by the legal fictions (crown agents) of the City of Perth and the WA police. This way, there is no need to sprain any digits or strain any eyes in sorting through iPhones and cameras to delete incriminating evidence, as it will all be instantaneously uploaded to the internet for the world to see and witness Australia’s ongoing shame. Too easy!
To Gary: we have insider information and multiple eyewitness accounts that prove most (but not 100%) of your claims and your narrative in your email to us to be false and/or (deliberately?) misleading. We are not here to condemn you, demonise you, or incite violence towards you or anybody else. The violence is overwhelmingly emanating from policies issuing forth from state and local government – the continuation of a dark bicentennial legacy. You as CEO of City of Perth local government legal fiction are responsible for the criminal acts by your agents, underlings, lackeys, functionaries, and minions operating under your orders whether you like it or not. A few angry phone calls is a small price to pay considering the harm done by the City of Perth to the destitute people at Matargarup. Perhaps they will help you connect to the reality of the anguish and suffering you and your agents are generating beyond the confines of your comfortable well-paid lives. I’m sorry, is this “defamatory,” ad hominem, or causing “significant distress”? Is this article costing you sleep? (We’ll get that tiny violin out to you as soon as the funding is in!)
If this missive makes you uncomfortable is it because the truth cuts a little close to the bone? What about considering the flip side of the situation: you are in a position to initiate some truly vital and monumentally important positive sociopolitical change. This is a tremendous opportunity to overcome entrenched prejudices, preconceptions, and limited worldviews and do something for the people who need it most. (We believe that somewhere deep down, you know and want to do what is right.)
We are good people driven by conscience. We do not get paid for this work. Understand that it makes us truly SICK to see the way that the original mobs of these lands have been displaced, dispossessed, genocided (a.k.a. “gentrified”), and smeared over the last two centuries. You seem to fail to see the big picture, so we are here to remind you that as CEO of the City of Perth (a.k.a. a public servant), your “small picture” responsibility is to SERVE those in need, not to break up their community, their refugee camp (which is also a vital birthing site), or shunt them off to a back alley somewhere. The land belongs to the first peoples, and their lore/law surpasses all others. Nothing – no amount of paperwork – will ever change that, and the presence of that community with its solidarity and camaraderie is SAVING LIVES.
Another quote from Gerry Georgatos’ article:
Furthermore as this camp was established on Matargarup (Heirrison Island) by the Nyungah (Noongar/Bibbulmen) people it was ‘lawful’. Historically, Matargarup was a birthing site for the Nyungah/Noongar/Bibbulmen people and all around the birthing site there was camping, hunting and fishing and a meeting place. Under Western Australia’s Aboriginal Heritage Act, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs has Matargarup registered as a First Nations’ site for camping, fishing and hunting. Native Title law is supposed to override all other laws. One High Court appeal after another has upheld this intention.
Furthermore the Local Government Act, section 3.7 states, “A local law made under this Act is inoperative to the extent that it is inconsistent with this Act or any other written law.”
Therefore Local Government by-laws are overridden by established Native Title rights and the State’s Aboriginal Heritage register. In fairness to others, such as Mr Stevenson, who has experience as a Native Title practitioner, he may believe otherwise.
A pro bono lawyer for the homeless – Fremantle based Barrister, Stephen Walker – said, “That the campers are legally entitled to camp on Heirisson and it is unlawful for the campers to be moved on as Native Title overrides Local Government law.”
“It is my view that their possessions should not have been removed.”
“I would suggest that the police have no legal right to be involving themselves in this matter. I will be contacting the police about this,” said Mr Walker.1
Again, Gary, we are not here to personally judge you or incite harm or violence of ANY form, but we WILL be here to expose your distortions of truth, your and your agents’ transgressions of the law, and violations and assaults by the police against the (ab)originals, and public in general at Matargarup. You wanted the rather well-paid job of CEO and you got it. Now man up and take the public criticism on the chin. Take responsibility like you said you would in your email. You’re a father of four – what wouldn’t you do to ensure their safety and wellbeing? There are children depending on the survival of the Matargarup refugee community and you think that YOU suffered “significant distress” because of our Facebook meme and a few phone calls? My goodness. The “damage has already been done”? REALLY? I think I hear that distant violin again…!
We and our (peaceful) allies are going nowhere. On the contrary, we are growing in number and taking a stand for truth and compassion.
Will you take a good, long, hard look in the mirror and take a stand for what is right instead of what is expedient or cost-effective?
If you will not, please be aware that we will ensure that the world sees every injustice henceforth – in living colour and from multiple angles – and who is responsible.
In the meantime, we invite you to a live uncensored, video-recorded forum for discussions with Bella Bropho, Ben Taylor, Gerry Georgatos, Jenny Kaeshaegan, and our good selves. You have all the relevant contact details and we look forward to participating in such an important step forward with you soon.
Here’s to a comfortable night’s sleep indoors tonight. (At least some of us have an “indoors”, eh?)
Please support: Concert For Matagarup – Refugees On Our Homelands
Send your tiny violins, written* complaints and constructive criticisms regarding the offences committed by the City of Perth and WA Police to:
GARY STEVENSON PSM
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
City of Perth
GPO Box C120, Perth WA 6839, Australia
Ph: 08 9461 3260 Mb: 0408 777 120
*Under one of the local government acts, complaints in writing must be included in the annual report. Let’s fatten up that report, eh?