Wednesday 12 September 2007

Pssst.. it's a secret

Firstly, apologies for the delay in publishing over the last day or so.. I've been away from it all for a bit.

After last week's fun, was timely to get back to nature and nurture. I spent a couple of days and nights, at Fur & Feathers. No, it wasn't a kinky sex party. It's actually a stunning rainforest retreat at Tarzali, in the southern Tablelands Tablelands, near Millia Milla (the first 'Tablelands' was an error). Anyway, more on that late today, along with some pics for your delight.

I know I touched on the issue of the closed Local Transition Committee meetings last week, however it deserves further exposure, as this is a key style of the Byrne-led council. Secrets, secrets, secrets.

Makes you wonder what else is hidden, doesn't it? I bet there's a lot of buried bodies and lost treasure around to discover over the next few months. Hint, hint.

Anytime this Council doesn't want the public to see or hear or have reported, what's going on, the kick out everyone from the gallery, including our local media, and lock the door.

Just scroll back through the Council Minutes over the last few years. You'll see it's a regular activity.

Here's the Minutes for the 30 August 2007 meeting. Also the agenda (told you they have one!)
Open Session * Closed Session.

You'll see the types of things that are discussed in Closed sessions.. like contract approvals to spend our money:-

It's now so common for this Council to run a closed shop, that Councillors simply accept it as the normal way to do business in our town. Not until the day of the meeting are the open session reports are made accessible on the Council website. And, no surprises that this Council does not keep any record or reports for the Byrne, I mean closed sessions. Do you accept this is a fair and honest approach to manage spending your Rates?

Under a Val Schier-led Council, this undemocratic, secretive and disgusting behaviour will cease.
How very dare they (apologies to Catherine Tate) run OUR meetings like this. I don't know why the mainstream media, of which I'm not one, haven't been pursuing this for longer.

Kudos to the Cairns Post for following the LTC decision banning the public from all meetings. Media are to invited, however that will be strictly managing. Even The Cairns Post's Chief of Staff, Greg Punshon in Saturday's Post was angry at such behaviour. He aptly called this a Council in the Closet. Greg slammed the lack of transparency about the un-democratic nature of doing business this way. I'm rapt that this newspaper is holding this Council to account and will no doubt continue to do so over coming months.

Council needs a primary media outlet to call their sins to public attention.

There was common opinion around town in the past that the Post is a friend of Byrne and his antics, however I don't think one could say that any longer. They appear to report of dodgy development approvals and are quick on opinion about what they perceive is wrong in this Council. I know that the relationship between the Mayor and the Post is not at all good.

The whole issue of access to our city leaders and their decisions is where this Mayor and those that vote with him, will be held to task come next March. Imagine if State or Federal parliament did this every time they met. What do you think we would have to say?

The most important tenant of local democracy is openness and access to our local government. In Cairns, this does not happen. You should rightly feel deprived and insulted at the way you are treated as a ratepayer, like I am, and how we need this changed.

And Mr Mayor, there is no defence in saying that the LTC meetings should be closed sessions because the public will hijack them for raising issues of the Council mergers. You simply don't like the public to have their say. There is a long-established pattern in your mayoralty at community events and public engagements, where you treat people with disdain and little respect. This is shameful from the highest public official in our town.

Previous Council Minutes
26 July 2007
28 June 2007
31 May 2007
26 April 2007

Just in case you are leaving Oprah or Dr Phil for a couple of hours, here's what coming up at 145 Spence Street, com along to the next full Council meeting on:-

Thursday 27th September 2007 ~ 5.30 pm
(not really normal, nor Ordinary) Full Council Meeting
Come join me. I'll be there. You'll notice me, I'll be the one laden with boxes of chocolates.

The other meetings this month are:-

Thursday 13/09/2007 ~ 5.30 pm
Planning and Environment Committee

Monday 17/09/2007 ~ 4.00 pm
Finance & Administration Committee

Tuesday 18/09/2007 ~ 3.00 pm
Works & Service Committee
Followed By Cairns Water Committee


Anonymous said...

Look, if you have an interest, just show up to the meeting. Mike Berwick and his CEO are happy for public to attend, and I am sure commonsense will see a vote to open meetings up to the public if there is enough interest.

Rob Pyne.

Anonymous said...

I agree Rob, but people should remember to take a towel with them.

Anonymous said...

...interesting, Rob... do you really think that just by showing up to a meeting, anyone from the public will be permitted to be observers.... KB is an authoritarian... and now it seems he's got the union reps on side... fat chance!...the LTC has voted in a democratically undemocratic way to close their meetings... KB is basically thumbing his nose at us... the only aspect of governance he understands is dictatorship, autocracy, the iron fisted rule of his own laws.
I think if enough people show up with the media in tow... we'll get in.... how about a mass mobilisation for openness and transparency in government!...let's rally for DEMOCRACY!

Anonymous said...

I think Peter has the right idea here. Why dont everyone concerned all turn up to the meetings and demand to be let in. Then we will be able to see if Mr Bynes is not trying to hide something. We should also demand that the media join us. All media outlets. Lets see if they will close the doors then.