When Fremantle councillors voted in August last year to end the Australia Day fireworks display that it had been running for the past eight years, I fully expected a conservative backlash. But even I was surprised to see the decision featured in news bulletins for months on end.
On one level the whole thing is bizarre. Local governments are not obliged to do anything special on January 26 and most of them don't.
What drove the conservative media and Coalition politicians into a frenzy was the council's reason for doing dropping the fireworks display.