Dear Mike Baird, Susan Ferrier, Rachel Slade and Mary Scoutas
I cannot accept your collective refusal to take up my offer to talk with you.
This is about more than money.
It is about civilised humanity. (I believe that being both a midwife and an Indonesianist over three decades has taught me more about truly civilised humanity than most people, especially Australian people, ever have the privilege to know.)
This is also about the fundamental right to freedom of speech – in this case the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas.
This is the right to communication which your bank’s negligence ignored in my case in the middle of the year. To your credit, you have apologised for that, but then perpetuated your failure to communicate by rejecting my offer to talk.
My father faced Japanese bullets for this and other rights in July 1945 and I will not betray that legacy.
I have wanted to celebrate freedom and our humanity with you.
You can. This is about what we allow ourselves to be and to grow into.
You cant know how to deal with me now, if you wont talk with me.
Not everyone dedicates themselves as I have to a life that springs from poetry. It doesnt lead to money but to unique skills with words. As Robert Bly wrote: “I have spent many years trying to recover a common language, one that can cross the distance between people.”
Real human communication and trust are indeed more than money.
I give you a choice: you CAN talk with me.
Or you can cancel my account with you and make me homeless.
Attention: Stephen Wall, CEO, Maribyrnong City Council
Today is the 74th anniversary of the start of the Second Battle of Balikpapan, the last major Battle in World War 2 (WW2). My father landed on that city’s beach back then and saw his fellow Australians die for a freedom which I more recently wished to celebrate in Maribyrnong. But instead of celebrating the allied victory over fascism in 1945 with you and your team, I now condemn you for your negligent failure to defend democratic rights and freedom of speech in accordance with your responsibility as CEO for the daily running of the Maribyrnong government.
In 2015 one of your councillors dismissed my efforts to lobby
her on WW2 commemoration as “harassment”. When I complained to you, you wrote
to me early in the morning on May 27 that year: “I am sorry that you have felt
distressed and I look forward to speaking with you soon.” and repeated later in
the morning: “I can assure you we will speak once I have had a chance to speak
with Cr. Carter.” Despite many emails from me in the intervening four years about
the events that followed you have never communicated with me again. Why did you break that promise?
In the time since then, my civic and human rights to freedom of speech and to participate in local government via elected representatives have been trashed by your team leaving me unable to survive in Australia.
Furthermore, not one of my many attempts to discuss my situation in Maribyrnong with you and your team has been fully addressed. To his credit, Martin Zakharov has attempted to address some of the issues and has admitted the unnecessary unfairness of what was done, but the fundamental questions raised about your team’s police state action against me remain unanswered.
German musician and round the world cyclist Philipp Zey describes my decision to leave Australia like this: “I met Geoff Fox in Indonesia and spent time with him in Australia. He has chosen not to suffer but to seek to live in honor, peace and respect.”
I cannot live under a government that panders to a misandry which listens to women but my male story of many fathers’ sacrifice got criminalised by the police.
I will not live in a municipality where people make money out of suicide.
I cannot live where the simple act of trying to resolve problems by discussion is ignored.
I cannot live without freedom of speech which means both being heard and getting a response.
In short, as my Indonesian friends love to say, “Merdeka
atau Mati” (Freedom or Death.)
If you had done the job you promised to do on May 27, 2015, maybe my faith in living in the country of my birth would not have been destroyed.
Shame on you.
Geoff Fox, refugee, Jawa, Indonesia, 1st July, 2019
Mr Morrison, I renounce my citizenship of the Commonwealth Of Australia.
In 2015 and 2016 my efforts to celebrate the victory over fascism in WW2 by advocating for environmentalist military heritage tree planting in Maribyrnong were labelled harassment from within the Australian Labor Party in Maribyrnong and police action was taken against me. This action violated human rights of mine under Sections 5, 8, 9, 12, 19 and 21 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
In the three years since then my efforts to get what happened addressed or even properly discussed have failed. As a result I have spent far too much of this time crippled by suicidal ideation. I do not believe I can survive in Australia.
So I now renounce my Australian citizenship, in accordance with my right under Article 15 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to change my nationality. I am 62 years old, wounded and vulnerable. Please do not throw obstacles in the way of my finding a better life elsewhere. Please help make my transition to another country as easy as possible if you can. Also please do whatever you can to see that no Australian suffers again what I have suffered.
My father faced Japanese bullets on the beach at Balikpapan in 1945 for a better Australia than the one in which I see no future for myself.
In 1986 you said: “The public interest in free speech is not just in truthful speech, in correct speech, in fair speech …… The interest is in the debate.”
My rights to freedom of speech and participation in democratic debate have been denied to me in my home of Maribyrnong by misuse of police services from within the Australian Labor Party (ALP).
Seventy three years ago, in the first week of July, 1945, over thirty thousand Australians, including my father, landed at Balikpapan, Indonesia, in the final major battle of World War Two. 229 died.
In 2015, after a series of successful tree plantings in Indonesia, I lobbied all elected members of the Maribyrnong Council about memorial tree planting and reaching out in friendliness to Indonesia.
Subsequently, I was arrested for the alleged crime of sending two many electronic communications to Councillor (Cr) Sarah Carter of the ALP. Victoria Police treated me as a potential sex criminal till December that year. I now suffer PTSD as a result.
Two open letters about this, the first written to Cr Carter last November and the second to Victorian ALP Premier Daniel Andrews this February remain unanswered. So I now write to you.
As recently as February the 2nd this year, Maribyrnong City Cr Martin Zakharov of the ALP has written to me that the action against me was “unnecessary and unjust”.
I have created art displays in Indonesian places important to four heads of governments. I wanted to share this in Maribyrnong and I was arrested by the police.
In 2015, the mayor of Maribyrnong, Cr Nam Quach, viewed a selection of my art works and wrote, “Thank-you for the opportunity to view your exhibition.
Having spent some time working and living in Indonesia, I can say that I found it to be a deeply rich and fascinating culture which, has been often misrepresented in decades gonepast. My impressions of your artwork was that it provided a unique expression of Indonesian humanity, history and culture, with the underlying theme of an appreciation for the Indo-Australian relationship. The Bahasa phrases used, referring to ‘kesatuan’ and ‘keragaman’, certainly reflect the strength and unity found within diversity, striking a chord to the spirit and values we share here in the City of Maribyrnong.”
Cr Quach’s political career, based on providing an independent alternative to the Australian Labor Party, came to an end some time after he “was picked up and “body slammed” to the floor and kicked, leaving him dazed and nursing a cut lip.” (Herald Sun November 18, 2015) by an angry citizen at a council meeting. I believe this attack may be what another independent Councillor was referring to when warning me not to speak up about my loss of democratic rights. This other independent said; “I know what they can stir up.” I still wonder who “stirred up” the violence which this Indonesia-literate man, Nam Quach, suffered prior to his departure from local government.
Prime Minister, can you acknowledge my patriotism better than the ALP and Maribyrnong City Council have done?
I call on you, Prime Minister, based on the civic rights of our British heritage and on the human rights the world declared universal in response to World War Two, to make sure freedom of speech and open debate are protected at all levels of government in Australia.
Bill Shorten has ignored what happened to me in Maribyrnong. In his own backyard.
Do you care more about our democracy, Mr Turnbull?
As Fathers Day and July 4th approach, I congratulate you on being the first American president to meet with North Korea’s head of state: where others feared war, you have increased the chances of peace. Such communication is essential to make a reality of Douglas MacArthur’s prophecy: “A better world shall emerge based on faith and understanding.”
I am Australian and a fan of MacArthur and the American spirit of freedom. I write to you from a new home for freedom: the Republic Of Indonesia. In this nation, leaders like Presidents Yudhoyono and Jokowi and Mike Pence’s recent White House guest Yahya Staquf Cholil strengthen democracy, fight terrorism and present a gentle face to the world.
The Indonesian nation was born in the wake of the American lead victory over Imperial Japan in 1945. During World War Two, when the attack on Pearl Harbour and subsequent Japanese imperial conquests shook up our world, Australia’s great wartime Prime Minister, Jack Curtin, said, “Australia looks to America.” We still do. Under the postwar leadership of Douglas MacArthur, Japan became a democratic ally of the West.
America inspires the world by the depth of her commitment to freedom. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” Likewise Thomas Jefferson said “Our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves.”
In words that presage the sufferings of many men in the twenty first century at the hands of misandry disguised as political correctness, George Washington declared, “If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”
During World War One, when free nations faced an existential threat, Nobel Peace Prize winner Teddy Roosevelt reasserted the profoundly American vision of the centrality of honest freedom: “I am an American and a free man. ……. Free speech, exercised both individually and through a free press, is a necessity in any country where the people are themselves free …… Nothing but the truth should be spoken …….”
In his 1941 state of the Union address, Teddy’s 5th cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, spoke of the need for continual national endeavour: “……. today’s best is not good enough for tomorrow.”
This last quote points to a strength that defines American greatness: the ability to correct mistakes and to take new paths: as Ronald Reagan said: “Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things.” That’s the spirit behind your pioneering meeting in Singapore, Mr President.
In 1961, The Gipper warned: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Protecting freedom for those who follow speaks to us now when equality and freedom are denied to far too many sons in the western world.
The election of Barak Obama and yourself were both examples of America’s capacity to redirect herself. The following wise words from Obama show great insight to social problems which became worse during his presidency: “For too many of us, it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighbourhoods or on college campuses, or places of worship or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions …….. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.”
The problem of sexist injustices towards men is getting worse across the western world. The appointment by you, Mr President, of Betsy DeVos to the crucial post of Secretary of Education may be a turning point.
In addressing injustices created by previous Title IX directions she has shown that America’s freedom-based capacity to correct problems is still alive and well. For me as a poet, her words about this are profoundly moving: they demonstrate your administration’s defence of the very best American traditions. For instance:
“There is no way to avoid the devastating reality of campus sexual misconduct: lives have been lost. Lives of victims. And lives of the accused.”
“Survivors aren’t well-served when they are re-traumatized with appeal after appeal because the failed system failed the accused.”
“And the rights of one person can never be paramount to the rights of another.”
“Schools have been compelled by Washington to enforce ambiguous and incredibly broad definitions of assault and harassment. …. But if everything is harassment, then nothing is.”
“The notion that a school must diminish due process rights to better serve the ‘victim’ only creates more victims.”
Mr President, I know of no government figure in the world to have recently made a better stand for the rights of men than your Secretary of Education. As a victim of socialist left police state tactics in in Victoria in southeast Australia, I salute your appointment of Secretary DeVos.
Current challenges to freedom are real. As the Secretary’s comments imply, people stripped of freedom will sometimes choose suicide.
American founding father Patrick Henry said “…… give me liberty or give me death!” A slogan of the Indonesian republican revolution gets this in three words: “Merdeka atau mati!” (Liberty or death!)
Where is the answer to modern injustices against men? Perhaps Douglas MacArthur’s wise words: “It must be of the spirit if we are to save the flesh.” show the way.
Much work must be done for the spirit of freedom to survive and save us.
As Thomas Jefferson put it: “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
God Bless You and God Bless Betsy DeVos, Mr President.
And God Bless the spirit of freedom with which America leads the world.