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