Monday 21 June 2010

Racism and hatred enter public housing row on Cairns beaches

"I'm speechless. I'm really horrified," Fred Morris, president of the Regional Tenant Advisory Group told CairnsBlog as he viewed the anti-public housing graffiti at Palm Cove on the weekend.

"I really don't know what to say. It's a slur on all Australians, and they should be before the full force of the law and condemned by community. If they have leadership aspirations, may your god and my god protect us." Fred Morris said.

"What must they who fled for their lives to this country [in the 2nd World War], they must be horrified. How do I know? My wife was one of those people who fled Europe she was just that."

A 'Nazi Swastika', "Jihad" and "No Public" are among the signs sprayed onto the Palm Cove eight-unit public housing complex, that is being constructed on the corner of Harpa and Oliva Streets, just two blocks from the beachside.
Public housing is about unifying a community, Fred Morris says, and is shocked at how misplaced this graffiti is.
Morris says that the first public housing was built in 1942, as the government was getting ready for soldiers coming home from war.
"This included migrants, from Scotland, Ireland and Italy. Of course back then we had down in Bunda Street, we had 1,800 called wharfies, those who worked in timber mills, railway and the brewery. It was alive and well. They took people out of it."

Morris believes that a Howard government would never have done put such substantial investment in public housing.
"Not under a conservative government. There has been only one person from that side who has stood up and put something in writing, and that is Senator Russell Trood," Fred Morris says. "He came out and supported it. He said there's a very big role for public housing as a stop-gap between the ability to buy your own home, but people in lesser need still needing a home."

"Housing is a fundamental human right," Fred Morris says. "There were red herrings like air conditioning or parking. Then they try to profile us [public housing tenants] against others that are above us in their wealth or status." Fred Morris says.
"We in public housing have had to tolerate that for 65 years. What they don't realise is that we've created a culture, we've passed onto our children, that knowledge. If you've noticed, not one of my public housing people, come out and play the NIMBY game. They stick to their facts. Fred says that the protagonists have got little idea of the housing being constructed.
"They got no idea the style of housing, what's in them. While I don't play politics, as far as I'm concerned, I'd do every possible thing I can, to get any one who runs for the LNP, not to be elected. I don't mean that out of vengeance, but the cold hard fact when you look at Warren [Entsch], when you look at Langbroek, Greg Hunt, Joe Hockey, they stood there, on the back of the truck, putting down their own Australian people. They were defining where people could live," Fred Morris says.
"They alienated us. No matter what Warren Encth and that lot do, the community that I circle within, will never forgive them for the stance they've taken," Fred Morris says. "They say that people like Steve Wettenhall didn't do anything. That's rubbish. He set up meetings with the minister. Steve's office was under constant visitation. He never turned them away."

"The other side of this argument got caught out. They said this area is too expensive, we can't have them here. They were only hiding what was behind them."

Fred said there was an under-lying racism that was often behind arguments from some angry locals.

"We needled them for weeks before one fella from Palm Cove came out and said, 'Alright, I'll tell you. It's a black thing.' "

"If you want the social housing for those that are less well-off than the rest, a conservative government will never do that. It's always a socialist government that will support this. It's a cold hard fact," Fred Morris says. "I was born in public housing. Therefore my mum was in public housing. My children have been in public housing, so we've got a generation that is built on a culture of this."

Fred Morris at Trinty Park, Bluewater - Part 1

Fred Morris at Palm Cove - Part 2


Anonymous said...

I don't like graffiti, let alone racist graffiti. However this could have been put there by anyone, not necessarily any of the locals who opposed the project. I have met a few of them and would be surprised if they were involved in anything like that.

As for Fred Morris and his Tenants Union. They blindly supported the project in Earlville, calling us bigots and snobs, even though we did not oppose a public housing project per se.

The Department of Housing now agrees with us that there are specific problems in this area and are looking at scaling down the project.

If it wasn't for Warrent Entsch's initial involvement that would never have come about.

Fred Morris and the Tenant's Union know nothing about the issues we have in Earlville and obviously don't care about them either. All they want is more public housing regardless of the consequences.

I have invited Fred Morris and the Tenant's Union several times to come and meet with us, look at the issues and help us find a workable solution. We have received no response. All the Tenant's Union has tried to do is undermine us by sending e-mails to the council urging them to ignore us and writing letters to the Cairns Post trying to vilify us.

In the end every local political representative from all parties, federal and state, has been involved in this issue and has supported us. The only ones who have remained silent are our local councillor and the Tenant's Union.

Fred's mother was in public housing, so is Fred and so is Fred's daughter.I am not sure if that is a good thing...

Years ago someone thought the massive public housing project in Mooroobool/Manoora was a great idea. We are now left with the mess they created, while they probably have moved on. Maybe Fred Morris and the Ternant's Union can move there and help us sort things out...

Jake Robertson said...

Fred Morris ... oh dear. A fantastic example of someone with a soft heart and a soft head.

For starters, I hope the person responsible for the graffiti is caught and appropriately punished. It is just as likely to be a local kid as anyone else however. It is childish behaviour.

For the record, the Howard government invested over $10billion in public housing. It is the states, run by Labor governments, who have failed to turn investment into adequate housing stock. Fred Morris is being deliberately disingenuous when he fails to recognise that fact. I seem to recall that Warren Entsch is also a product of social housing.

What Fred cannot grasp is that people might be concerned with the colossal waste of money involved in these projects at Palm Cove and Bluewater especially. The waste of taxpayer funds has been unprecedented. It is grotesque.

We had a once in a generation opportunity to spend stimulus money on something that would do great, lasting good. Instead, we spent it on doing some good (that is undeniable), and the rest was a disastrous waste of money. Think BER, insulation and yes, think public housing.

Labor dropped the ball, and Fred Morris wants to criticise everybody else but Labor. You do public housing tenants a disservice Fred. We could have got more and better housing (perhaps even with airconditioning!) with better services if only the funds hadnt been so negligently mishandled by a conga-line of rank amateurs.

Fred Morris, remove your blinkers and demand something better for the people you allegedly represent. Public housing tenants deserve better than this inadequate representation. It is time for soft hearts, and hard heads.

C. Opina said...

A typical Jake Robertson response. Google this bloke's name and you will understand where this bloke comes from. Northern Truth? More like vitriolic spew.

Ross said...

Well Fred you mention you spenT days on the beaches. Well it appears you don't contribute much to the economy or society, except praising the Labor Party. You have sporned two generations of people that have bludged off the system. You might have had an industrial accident, but that certainly doens't explain why your mother and now your children are products of the public housing system. You cant' all have had industrial accidents. You sound like you are just three generations of bludgers. You talk about the war. I bet those that lost there lives for democracy would be astounded how this Government has swung to policies they fought against. As for your comments I believe the Dept of Communities looks after you under the counter by ensuring where you live in Schule Street Edmondton is is given special privilidges and you get to choose who can and cant' live in your little complex. Get some truth in your ramblings. Go and get a job and stop bleeding the system. Your a joke and a disgrace to hard working people.

failed maths at HSC said...

Lets face it, if this government was really serious about social housing, and for the same money that you can build 18 units at Palm Cove, you could build more at Smifthfield or anywhere else with cheaper land and more services, which solution is better for the hundreds of homeless people on the waiting lists.

18 or >18, 18 or >18, 18 or >18

A no brainer really, so why are we building 18?

PaulB said...

If this was done by those who want to discredit those who oppose the project, then it makes more sense. "Jihad" though is just jumping the shark, even for provocateurs.

beach baby said...

What Fred didnt mention and what has been probably a deliberate oversight in this issue is the fact that the anger has been directed at the developer. The developers name has been sprayed with threats that if he proceeds he may "RIP". The issue here is that the developer stands to make $369,000 from this job alone, for doing pretty much - nothing!!!!!
This developer has approx $30M worth of public housing projects yet doesn't have an ABN???? Warning bells anyone????? More Bligh Govt corruption??? Funny Fred didnt photograph all of the graffiti. Maybe Turnour or Wettenhall put Fred up to this little ploy to discredit the people of Palm Cove and their valid arguments prior to the Premiers visit tomorrow. PROPAGANDA AT ITS BEST I"D SAY!!!!

Rockguitarnow said...

Housing developments are always good for the economy. :)

Cairns Resident said...

I think the govt should take Freds disability pension of him , he looks like he could finally get of his ass for something useful after 40 years of bludging of the taxpayer. Come Fred I will give you a job, it will be looking after Wettenhall and Turnour when they are both booted to Christmas Island after the respective elections. And yes come and and tell everyone the secret deals you do with the dept of communities? I have been told no Aboriginal or TSI live in your backyard.

Stick to the facts of a corrupt state ....

beach girl said...

Yes I have heard of the cosy little deal Fred has with the Dept of Indigenous people and he gets to vet everyone who moves into his little gated, no less environment. It is pretty much public knowledge that he is a hypocrite in that regard. How funny that he found out about this graffiti ...who alerted him and for what gain????

Vicki Louise Preston (via Facebook) said...

Now there's a surprise!!!!

Janice said...

What about making comment on the issue that has been reported here instead of personalising it.

It's obvious that an adult has committed this illegal act & not a local kid as Jake said. What kid writes corruption & Jihad??

...& I believe that it's actually against the law to enter property that's not your own, let alone deface it.

Anonymous said...

Well if graffiti is the issue and Fred Morris has taken it upon himself to highlight this problem , then maybe he could turn that in a full time job. There is graffiti all over the place, so why worry about this particular incident ?

Unless he had a different agenda of course....

Three generations of public housing and proud of it ! Now that's what a call a role model !!!!!

Anonymous said...

All these comments, (as well as the ones in the Cairns Post online on the subject) were copied by Fred Morris and sent to the Cairns,Tablelands and Central Coast Regional Councils.

"With our ongoing knowledge, we intend to support those who support public housing, PH tenants, those less fortunate than others, who need be housed, the choice of being able to live in any Australia’s communities

Fred Morris-Pres. FNQ-RTAG Po Box 3000 Cairns 4870 Qld Tel: 0740450500

Site: Say Yes to Public Housing and affordable housing in Cairns on www."

Fred Morris said...

With our now gathered & known knowledge, we wish to advise that we in public housing and on the wait-list intend to support those who support public housing, Public Housing tenants and those less fortunate than others, who need be housed in social housing, we will defend their choice of being able to live in any of Australians communities . We will, using our best capacity, endeavors and commitments,and certainly rock solid dedication , we will most certainly, encourage other community based groups with an interest in public and affordable housing and community members & individuals who are of the same intent in Australia to do the same and search for new supporters . We will continue to absolutely monitor this over many years & intend to pass the baton defending people that are less fortunate than our selves on to others in these organizations and communities.
Fred Morris

Anonymous said...

Fred stop crying poor. People on pensions and in subsidized housing have a better income at the moment than self-employed tradies with mortgages.

Yes, there is a need for public housing, but there are many people in public housing who should not be there and putting inappropriate developments in the wrong locations only creates more social problems.

of course people like you won't be around to deal with the consequences.

I invite you to move from your comfortable lodgings to a one bedroom apartment without aircon In Earlville, right next to the crime ridden Chinaman Creek area.

Since you have so much time on your hands, maybe you can restore some order amongst the drunks, petrol sniffers, woman bashers and muggers in the area.

The rest of us are too busy trying to make a living.