Calling out a Bureaucrat for Freedom’s Sake.

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.”

Zappabolic Phil live for men (and women) past and present. Playing for life. Playing with joy.

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

More Questions for Mayor Zakharov

For three years I have been driven towards suicide by the misuse of police services against me from within Maribyrnong City Council and the Australian Labor Party in 2016. A horrific part of this trauma for me has been the complete failure of anyone within either organisation to adequately address the questions raised by what was done to me. Only you have tried, Mr Mayor. You havent done enough to answer the questions, but you have at least made an attempt.

On June 18 2016 I sent an email, to one of your ALP colleagues in Maribyrnong beginning with this sentence, “i believe there is an undeniable presence of gender bigotry and demonisation of men in our society including in Maribyrnong” Two days later police were at my home with a warrant ready to arrest me for communicating with this politician. Is sticking up for mens rights a crime in Maribyrnong?

On July 29th, 2016, I asked this question in an email of you and all other Maribyrnong councillors, “Does Maribyrnong City Council practice gender equity with respect to physical and psychological health issues or does Maribyrnong City Council discriminate too strongly in favor of women?” On July 5th i was arrested by the police for communicating with one of the councillors to whom this question had been addressed. The question is still unanswered. I now add this question: Is Maribyrnong City Councils expenditure addressing suicide, which claims 8 lives a day, 56 times greater than its expenditure addressing domestic violence against women which you have told me several times, as memory serves, claims one woman’s life every week?

On November 18 last year I asked you early in your term as mayor, “How many men have committed suicide in Maribyrnong in the past decade and in each of the past five years and what are the equivalent figures for women in Maribyrnong?” On January 8 you responded, “I don’t have Maribyrnong figures, but nationally I believe it’s roughly the opposite of domestic violence deaths – more than twice as many men as women dying from suicide.” I dont think this is a very good answer, but it is better than none at all.

I believe, using my instincts as a Registered Midwife of 31 years standing and based on what I have seen in quite a few artistic interactions with you, you have inherited many fine qualities from your mother Senator Olive Zakharov, a pioneer in opening up the issue of domestic violence. But now it is time for those qualities to be turned to addressing the needs of men. Too many men are choosing to die and too many Australians ignore the questions which we need to ask to address this difficult problem.

Can you make a start on this and show some leadership by becoming a Mayor who is on top of the suicide figures and trends in his own municipality and who does not duck the hard questions that need to be answered if the problem is to be addressed?

Geoff Fox, Maribyrnong, May 29, 2019

PS John F Kennedy, who was born 102 years ago today, said this five months and eleven days before his death in 1963, “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” Do you, Martin Zakharov, care about the implications, for the rights of all men in Maribyrnong, of what was done to me from within your organisation in 2016?

Questions For Mayor Zakharov

These questions are addressed to Martin Zakharov, whose current role as Mayor makes him the principal spokeperson for Maribyrnong City Council. This petition constitutes a recent expression of my long standing vision for the unused 127 hectare Explosive Factory Maribyrnong site: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/a-green-freedom-park-for-maribyrnong.

Mayor Zakharov, why was my initial lobbying related to the future of this site labelled as “harassment”? Why did police come round to my home ready to arrest me in 2016 two days after I warned the labeller that I would extend and renew my formal complaints about her if she did not engage in dialogue with me to seek a resolution? Why did police come back to my home two weeks later and arrest me on the basis of the same warrant for the “crime” of sending too many electronic messages? When I asked the senior sergeant “How any electronic messages is too many?” he couldn’t tell me. Can you?

One Australian artist, who also wants to see the Explosives Factory Maribyrnong site preserved as a National Park, writes, “I think Geoff Fox is a victim of a terrible injustice.”

Jordan on the Screen from the UK writes: “This makes me angry because the cause was truly noble. An honest request to honour our Heroes yet a politician responded with explicit and implicit denigration of Geoff Fox. These people really are the Devil’s backside.”

Do you, Mayor Zakharov, have even the remotest conception of how traumatic it has been for me to be arrested for creative patriotism?

I am still in a state of shock.

Do you even care?

Geoff Fox, Maribyrnong, 26th May, 2019

Open Letter to Maribyrnong Mayor Martin Zakharov

gender bigotry declaration

In Maribyrnong, the “thoughts, ideas and opinions” of “mothers, daughters and sisters” are “heard and respected”. My thoughts, ideas and opinions got me arrested by the police. Is this misandry? Why wasn’t my goal of a better relationship with Indonesia which I have worked towards in unique ways for 3 decades “celebrated and supported” as opposed to what happened in 2016?

 

Dear Mayor,

Thank you for your honesty in acknowledging that the police actions initiated against me from within the ALP and Maribyrnong City Council in 2016 were unnecessary and unfair.

It has broken me to be arrested as a result of trying to talk about ways I wanted to help Australia have a better relationship with Indonesia.

The resulting PTSD leaves me unable to get income and I am resigned to death because fairness for me in modern Australia looks impossible.

While I am still alive, please attempt to publicly address all the following unanswered questions ASAP.

I direct them to you, an elected representative I know, not some bureaucrat incapable of caring about me.

I do this as early in your term as Mayor as I can. My PTSD stopped me writing this last week.

I ask these questions of you because of the human decency which I, as a midwife, believe you may have inherited from your mum, Senator Olive Zakharov.

I sought answers to the first three questions in an open letter published on November 8th 2017. That’s how long it took me to recover enough from the trauma of July 2016 to be able to write publicly about it.

  1. With respect to the 2016 action against me, what are the implications for democracy when an elected representative can be up for reelection and facing the possibility of a formal complaint from a citizen voting in that round of elections and then Personal Safety laws are used by the police to threaten that voter with jail if he mentions the candidate online or contacts her?
  2. How did Personal Safety legislation and police intervention come to be a substitute for a complaints process at local government level?
  3. Why is it that in discussions with police, I was never allowed to see the full argumentation for the charges against me and the evidence for the “personal safety” concerns which were allegedly justified by my conduct, the sending of electronic communications when I lobbied an ALP politician?

Unanswered questions to Daniel Andrews from the 8th of February, 2018 redirected now to you:

  1. Premier Andrews has boasted that Victoria is the most “progressive” state in Australia. Is pre-election police protection of an ALP candidate from showing respect for patriotic lobbying what is meant by “progress” here?
  2. Will you, Martin, as the elected head of government in Maribyrnong, unequivocally support gender equality for men?

From an email of 5th March 2018, unanswered by the recipients, your predecessor as Mayor and the Maribyrnong CEO.

  1. How many women in Maribyrnong have been murdered by their partners or been the victims of domestic violence in the past decade and in each of the past five years and what are the equivalent figures for men in Maribyrnong?
  2. How many men have committed suicide in Maribyrnong in the past decade and in each of the past five years and what are the equivalent figures for women in Maribyrnong?
  3. Who makes money from suicide in the City of Maribyrnong?
  4. Does any of this money come to Council?

Democracy, civilised humanity and human rights are life or death for me now.

Your predecessor in 2015, Mayor Nam Quach, wrote that my art: “……. 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.”

As a fellow independent artist, Martin, you have made a good little contribution to 3 of my 5 art displays at places important to 4 heads of government in Indonesia, art displays where shared Austral-Indonesian history, democracy and human rights were and are vital themes.

Now, instead of us working together for Australia for those values through art, the above questions arising for me from undemocratic Maribyrnong human rights violations from within the ALP against me, must be addressed.

 

Written and authorized by Geoff Fox, Maribyrnong, if that’s what’s necessary this week.

Open Letter to the Prime Minister: AN ATTACK ON DEMOCRACY FROM WITHIN THE ALP IN MARIBYRNONG

 

Prime Minister Turnbull,

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?

sincerely,

Geoff Fox, Jakarta, Indonesia.

3rd of July, 2018

 

MAL T AND JOKOWI with caption