Monday 29 October 2007

Robert Pyne leaves Cairns 1st

In a dramatic development, Robert Pyne, vocal advocate against Cairns Mayor Byrne, and son of former Mayor Tom Pyne, is walking away from the Cairns 1st team and supporting Val Schier.

"I joined Cairns 1st as an independent, and now find it's largely a group of Labor party members," Robert Pyne said to CairnsBlog today.

"I'm a strong supporter of the communities of the south of Cairns, however cannot continue to feel restrained and restricted about the issues I want to raise the affect my local community."

"I also feel there is little value in being associated with Val Schier's and the Cairns 1st alliance brand," says Robert Pyne.

"I think people who know me, know that I have a lot of energy and passion to contribute as their local Councillor, but I can't have everything I want to say restricted by what they think I should and shouldn't say. That's what a local representative is all about, speaking out on matters that are of concern."

In a heated meeting with Cairns 1st candidates over the weekend, Jason O'Brien confronted Robert and said "Well, are you with us or not?" This was in reference to Robert independent style and a flamboyance for proactive communication with his local residents, something that has caused concerns within the Cairns 1st camp..

Jason O'Brien, State Member for Cook and former Cairns City Councillor, is heading the Cairns 1st team as their campaign director.

Robert is infamous with sending out newsletters and information to thousands of locals every month. He's an excelent communicator and with his restrictive physical access, he's maximised the art of getting his word out and around the community.

"Well, he certainly speaks his mind and that's something I like," said Joanne Harrison of Mt Sheridan. "Robert is a colourful character and engenders humour too, something the current Council doesn't do at all. I know he'll get my vote come March next year," she said. '

"We've had a Council for 8 years now that rarely works at communicating properly with it's residents and ratepayers. I'm delighted that Robert's running and he's made it his business to get to know you. I've seen him at many local events."

Wheelchair-bound Robert Pyne, who has never made an issue with his disability, has ventured into almost every street in Division 3 where he will contest the March 2008 Council election as an independent.

"I can tolerate a vigorous debate however I didn't sign up with Cairns 1st to be railroaded or censored as is now clearly the case," said Robert.

Mark Buttrose and Richie Bates of the Cairns 1st team, seems to have shown a degree of concern about losing Robert Pyne's enthusiasm in the team. It is clear he is an asset to the overall campaign, and is probably the most well-known candidate running for Council. Arguably, Robert has better name recognition than Val Schier, certainly in the southern suburbs, where he has proactively engaged his audience on several key matters that concern local residents.

"I guess that Val doesn't like it when I promote myself and exclude her from my newsletters," he says. "I genuinely believe that there is no added benefit to be part of the Val Schier group or the Cairns 1st banner any longer, and that is why I will be an independent."

"When elected to council, I will make sure I'm a strong voice for local issues. I'm sure that's what people want from their councillor, not to sell out on hillslopes and development that they can't have a say in."

Member for Cook, Jason O'Brien was so concerned with Robert's intention and damage to their campaign that he telephoned Robert's father, who is now in his 80's, in an effort to change his mind.

Cairns 1st candidates all contribute over $6,000 each to the campaign fund for joint marketing and advertising promotion. Now Robert's $1,500 deposit is in question.

"I clearly want my money back, now that I'm not running with them," Robert said today.
"I telephoned Val but she was not prepared to discuss it with me."

With little solidarity of the Mayor's former Unity team than ran in 2004, due to many who have ceased supporting Kevin Byrne, and now the current disarray of the Cairns 1st opposition, it will allow other groupings to emerge.

One possible camp could be led Cr Alan Blake, with the support of Cr Margaret Cochrane, both of which don't enjoy a positive relationship with the current mayor.

The latest turn of events with Robert Pyne's departure will do little to enhance Cairns 1st's support. Whilst there's a strong move to dump the incumbent mayor and his 8 year reign, there will need to be a credible alternative that ratepayers can feel confident to support.

Many community residents' associations have have sub-standard Council representation and relationships on issues over the last four years of the current Council's tenure. These associations hold a lot of weight and voice in the community and will no doubt play a strong role over the next few months in this local body election campaign.

Robert is a former president of James Cook University - Cairns Student Association; a member of the Bentley Park Parents & Citizens; and member of the Forest Gardens Neighbourhood Watch.

Following his accident in 1991, he completed a Bachelor of Arts in History and Politics at JCU and a Law Degree at QUT. He works in disability access services at James Cook University.


Anonymous said...

Robert Pyne is a genuine and committed independent candidate who deserves our support, and I expect he'll win a seat on Council. I hope so.

Does anyone else here remember when Jason "Don't call me a Nazi" O'Brien unceremoniously dumped Val Schier and the Team '04 Cairns as soon as he got a chance to put his bum on the green leather seats of the Queensland Parliament.

I guess now that he has his safe seat, and doesn't have to waste time doing any real work, Jason feels entitled to mess around with local government issues again.

I like Val Schier, but if she's going to be bound by the advice of cretins like Jason, she'll find it very hard to dislodge kevin Byrne.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Jason O'Brien has so much spare time on his hands - despite representing the vast State electorate of Cook - that he moonlights as campaign co-coordinator for Val Shier's Team.

And there was me, thinking he must have a really big job already. How silly! Obviously some folk are so competent they multitask as a matter of routine.

Mr O'Brien does strike me as an odd choice to coordinate a democractic alternative to Byrnes & co.

Wasn't it Jason O'Brien who pointed out, a few months ago, that holding a referendum over Douglas Shire amalgamation was pointless - as it was already obvious most of the Shire's community opposed it?

It must be the most audacious argument against democracy I've ever heard.

But why does Mr O'Brien have so much spare time on his hands?

Is it because all is well in the seat of Cook? No real need for a State member, perhaps. It just runs fine on autopilot?

I have a modest stake in Mr O'Brien's performance, as I live on the southern boundary of his electorate. The Barron River is the boundary. Just a couple of local issues spring to my mind in just this tiny corner of the electorate of Cook.

First, while it has taken a long time to extract answers to clear questions from the relevant State Government agencies, it is now apparent that there is no register of pesticides released into the Barron - pollutants that eventually flow into the Coral Sea. There is no monitoring of the river for pesticides.

I'd call this the "hope for the best" approach to environmental management.

If it's any indication of the style of management north of the Barron River boundary, perhaps the electorate does need a full time Member of Parliament after all.

Then there's Mona Mona, just up the road...

A long-suffering community, utterly betrayed by the latest twists in State-Federal indigenous policy. The issue needs a separate article. Suffice it to say here that if the current State policy stands, we risk blowing a major opportunity for reconciliation in this area between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

It would be nice if Mr O'Brien could get out of Cairns for a day (when his frantic schedule permits) and take a look for himself?

Given his astonishing capacity for hard work, he may be able to fix both of these problems in a few hours and be back home in time for tea.

Anonymous said...

After campaigning with Val Schier for six months, the most you could accuse Robert Pyne of is being a slow learner.

Fiscal Fred

Anonymous said...

Robert, I think you have made a very sensible decision.
The more I see of Val Schier, the more I know she wont be the new Mayor.

Anonymous said...

I am not a labor voter, but it does not concern me if Val Schiers team may be predominantly labor people. The main issue locally is still that the future of Cairns is commercialism, development, arrogance, underhand and closed door deals and lack of community needs under Byrne and the current council. Developers have paid for his campaign each time which has managed to scrape him over the line at elections. Labor or not, Val Schiers policies and plans for the future of Cairns are fantastic. Sustainable development which actually suits the area, community ideas, climate and environmentally aware, which will all relate to Cairns truly being a city both locals and tourists can be proud of. All of this I believe will be of further economic benefit than anything Byrne is doing. No, I am not a campaign person on Vals team either. I am simply a local who's sick to death of that power driven leech Byrne, who couldn't give a stuff about Cairns, and, as he has now said a number of times, will be out of here if he is ever voted out. Does that sound like someone who truly loves this town and want to oversee the best for it? No, in it for the money and the power only, and when that ends, I'm gone. Thats our current mayor. So labor or not, Val Schier has brilliant ideas and deeply cares for this town. I urge any of you out there who hate Byrne, yet are not convinced of Val to read up on her policies. You may be surprised. Don't vote Byrne again just because 'i didn't know enough about the opposition', as many many locals did last time. Oust Byrne! The chance is in March, don't let it go to waste.

Anonymous said...

The three comments posted by anons are all potentially of interest, but unfortunately the fact they are anonymous mean they're of little value, at least to me.

For all I know, I'm witnessing a debate between the two campaign HQs.

It's Michael's privelege, of course, to run this fine blog as he sees fit, but I for one would be happy to see the end of anon comments.

Many of them are crude an/or very crass. The ones that aren't, such as the three anons in this thread, can't be easily assessed for credibility. It's like watching TV 'news' interlaced (perhaps) with unacknowledged advertorials.

Anonymous said...

Hello anonymous. I'm not very concerned either about the ALP per se. I'm much more concerned about Jason O'Brien specifically, and the anti-democratic values he brings to everything he does.

I agree that Val says many of the right things, but she’s a newcomer to political roles and it’s hard to find evidence – not only that she’s genuine in what she says, but that she has the capacity to actually put them in place.

Is Val able to stand up to the financial and legal pressures that developers can impose on local government.

If we look at a project like Bluewater (canal estate at Trinity Park), the state Labor government, through the agency of ex-parliamentarian Mike Kaiser, imposed a special piece of legislation to over-ride the Coastal Protection Management Act, and the only reason it ever gave was fear of a compensation payout.

In my experience Mike Kaiser and Jason O’Brien are the same kind of political operator – self interested, ruthless, and careless of community standards.

How can Val Schier maintain her credibility as a community-based politician when she lets Jason O’Brien drive away a genuine community representative like Robert Pyne?

What other deals will he do in the smokey back-rooms, with developers, before the election? What will Val owe to “pragmatic politics” if she becomes Mayor?

Cairns 1st may be many things, but with Jason O’Brien involved it will not be democratic.

Anonymous said...

Come on guys, no point whinging about what everyone knows already - Jason O'Brien is utterly useless.

Anonymous said...

Mike Moore and Rob Pyne, What's wrong with you blokes? You say you want to get rid of Kevin Byrne and then you go on to attack Val Schier who is a very credible alternative.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. Or is this just about your own egos and big noting yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Anonymity allows some people to get a particular point of view, or let people say something they othermight not!

Poo bum titties, tutrle juice flashdance.

Aaah. I've been meaning to thet that out for quote some time...

Anonymous said...

> Anonymity allows some people to get a particular point of view, or let people say something they othermight not!

Dear Sir/Madam,

FYI, you can get a point of view without anonymity.

Until you do, what's the use of sharing it with the rest of us?

Anonymous said...

>J. Sylvester wrote:

> Mike Moore and Rob Pyne, What's wrong with you blokes? You say you want to get rid of Kevin Byrne and then you go on to attack Val Schier who is a very credible alternative.

> You should be ashamed of yourselves. Or is this just about your own egos and big noting yourselves.

I'm guessing here, because I don't know Michael personally, but perhaps he holds quaint and archaic views about the value of free, rational and non-partisan debate?

Incidentally, which attacks on Val Schier by Michael Moore and Robert Pyne are you referring to?

I must have missed them.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say this presages what we're all in for in the very near future - domination of Australian government at all levels by Labor apparatchiks. It's going to be hell.

What's wrong with you people?

Anonymous said...

lol i red on tha internet that labor is poo. so is dis tru?

Anonymous said...

The problem for Val Shiers team is not just that it's a Labor front, but that it also seems to draw exclusively from the left faction of the local branches so lacks a broad base?

There are plenty of Labor opponents in Cairns who are also not admirers of Kevin Byrne and would like to see the end of him. Will they be able to support Val Shiers team with any enthusiasm and confidence? Jason O'Brien is possibly the crudest political animal around who appears to have never had any other life beyond playing politics.

It would be wonderful to have a more broadly based team of competent local people for our Council. Voter turnout and the informal vote may be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Val is no credible alternative, if the outburst with Rob Pyne is any example....she is just another KB!

My way or the highway is both of their catchcries!

Could we please have someone strong and democratic stand up for the upcoming mayors job.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said "It would be wonderful to have a more broadly based team of competent local people for our Council. Voter turnout and the informal vote may be interesting".

Indeed it would. It seems Cairns 1st set out with such aspirations, and some of their candidates fit the bill. I expect that such candidates will do quite well.

Richie Bates, Paul Matthews, and Mark Buttrose seem genuine community-based candidates. Rob Pyne was definitely so.

Still, with Jason O'Brien on board now there ought be no shortage of mediacre hacks to fill the spare seats.

Anonymous said...

Mark Buttrose lost all credibility with the City Place entertainment space debacle. I'm still not sure there has been any adequate explanation for why what is there differed from the expectation?

Anonymous said...

Margaret Pestorius Here Well I don't know about all that.

I think Val is a credible alternative because she's nice. However, I admit that is not necessarily a good criteria. Though personally respectful, I haven't found her able to to stand up for participation and inclusion - certainly a personal request to stand agains injustice coming from the Senator McLucas and the Labor party at the last election [and the beginning of an unjust war in Iraq] led me to move away from the organising team.

To me this rings loudly of most politicians her age and of her age - both Labor and Greens. The named 'better' candidates seem to be somewhat untainted because they have mainly acted as individuals and not yet had to respond to difficult conflicts around power and control: who decides what and how...

As you can see these sorts of conflicts around the unware hurtful weilding of power and control can come back to bite you on the bum [and I'm not even anonymous] years later because the conflicts and power systems are not addressed.

From what I have seen of the Labor party and the Greens in Cairns is that either you are in the IN crowd which is a small, tight, somewhat 'big brother boss' group that demands control over decision making - or you are a 'worker' bee required to do particular 'jobs' under direction.

This is old style politics and old style processes that do not have leadership development, transparency or social justice as core principles. In these systems there are no pathways to involvement beyond fundraising and handing out various types of leaflets. There is no space in the "inner sanctums" because the big boys don't trust anyone except themselves to make good decisions. Only they truly "understand" politics.[needs cynical tone]

This sort of politics bores me and seems to bore most people. [I already know how to hand out leaflets.]

Least Kevin Byrne admits the paucity of their campaigning and just gives people money to do it!

If an alternative team is to develop - it- we - would need to offer something: community perhaps,, love, fun, skill development, empowerment, inclusion in decision making, understanding about weilding power and inclusion.

Really - is Jason O'Brien the man?

Is Val Shier the woman?

I would say only if she does her own thinking and doesn't stand on the shoulders of those who have come before in Cairns politics, because Cairns politics is really steeped in some bad shit. That's no one's fault but requires new thinking and courage to move beyond. And requires some people letting go of their perceived power bases.

Come on Val - give it a go.

and P.S.
Jason and his spare time makes me think about Cape York housing. I've got a few requests to make.

Maybe we should all think of a few more requests for Jason - what do you reckon?? I'd be up for a Jason O'Brien nonviolent action.
"Get back to your real work"!!

Anonymous said...

With R.Pyne resigning from Val Schier's team,it will probably mean the end of Val's chance of toppling Byrne.Acting in tandem with O'Brien to more less oust Pyne
off the team does nothing for her
All may not be lost as an excellent
opportunity now presents itself,
voters disappointed with the Cairns
1st team should band together and attempt to bring Mike Berwick back
for a Mayoral bid.Mike with some solid independents to work with,
would stand more than a good chance
of getting rid of Byrne,as well as bringing much needed experience and
compassion to the role of Mayor.
I do not intend to vote for Val now
after what has happened.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Mike has probably had enough after all those years at the helm of Douglas, but whether or not you agree with his policies there seems little doubt that he is honest and sincere, something our whole community would benefit from. Perhaps he might consider one term while a similarly respectable alternative (Rob Pyne?) is groomed in council?

Anonymous said...

It would be a great idea for all interested people,to ring or e-mail
Mike Berwick asking him to reconsider his decision not to run for the Mayoral position,in the new Cairns Council.He would make an
excellent Mayor,even if as suggested he took on the position for a short term.If Mike does not stand their is no one on the present scene capable of handling the job,this would mean four more years of K.Byrne and his cronies.
Can you imagine the state of Cairns
in four years time if this is allowed to happen.

Anonymous said...

To Rob Pyne,

I understand you have had a disagreement with Val Schier. Fair enough. But are you now going to bag her and the Cairns 1st team with snide remarks leading into the election? I'm sure your values haven't changed, and they always were very similar to what Vals ideas anyway. I ask you to get over your current huff and continue in your quest to get rid of Byrne. You have a good name in this town, people respect you. Do you actually want KB re-elected for another 4 years, simply because of a disagreement with Cairns 1st?

Anonymous said...

Hey I think Rob now holds the record for most comments posted on CairnsBlog. Good onya Rob I think you have better ideas on what the southside of Cairns needs.

Anonymous said...

I meant everything I said - but I wish I had said none of it! Perhaps I am not CALCULATED enough for this caper.

I miss the old Mulgrave Shire, where Labor folks like dad ran on the same ticket as conservatives, such as Ken Alley and Stan Marsh - for the best interests of the community. When they walked into a council meeting, they left their Party Politics outside the door. There were no thought police though, and there sure was some 'right wing rhetoric' from Stan Marsh, Brasch and others, but a hell of a lot of community infustructure was built, and that, after all, is what local government should be all about about!

Rob Pyne.

Anonymous said...

Should we all get behind a "Rob Pyne for Mayor" campaign?
I certainly would.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Rob, I meant the amount of people responding and posting comments about YOUR story, being a Cairnsblog record response. Not that you personally had posted the most comments.
If the blog response is any indication of the support you have.. then I'm with Mandy Moo.. Rob for Mayor

Anonymous said...

Rob sounds like a breath of fresh air in this stale Cairns local politics arena.

I think he should run for Mayor too!
We need someone who is a people person and can have open communications with constituents without the need for arrogance, intimidation, name-calling, sending rude and derogatory emails, someone who puts residents first, someone who has respect for their fellow councillors and values their opinions, someone who has a vision for this City that does not include concrete high – rises on every corner, someone who is going to enforce and improve the CairnsPlan so that residential amenity is preserved for everyone and that our natural environment is not degraded, someone whose friends are not developers and someone who is honest, and is willing to work with a group of independent like-minded people to care for this city for the next 4 years.
Is that you Rob?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree with both Rob's comment about leaving Party politics out of local govt. Also hear hear Northern Beaches Warrior.
Recently NZ had its Council elections and in Auckland 4 long term Mayors were ousted. They along with some of their "team" were supporting something that the residents did not. The electorate spoke and those Mayors and their supporting Councillors were dumped.
Nothing to do with what side of the fence you sat on. All to do with delivering what the Ratepayers and Residents want.
The one long term Mayor who retained his post leads the way in Environmental adherence. His council is popular and progressive.

Anonymous said...

Reading all these posts and the peabody stuff, makes me immediately think that ever1 here, including me old mate, Rob, needs the imitable words of KB..."take a cold shower"...(water conservation aside)... there's obviously been a feeding frenzy @ Rob's very public decision to leave Cairns 1st... and this has helped his profile, no end...however, it loses sight of the main game... remember?... yes, that's right... it's to get rid of KB & his disunity mob and to elect a bunch of progressives(not party political hax, as some of u assume)who want ecologically sustainable development, who want Cairns unique lifestyle reflected in the design of its buildings, who want water conservation in the form of increased recycling and rainwater usage, who want an integrated transport system utilising better bikeways, pathways, park'n ride facilities and eventually a light rail from Gordonvale to Redlynch... we want to be answerable to the people... we will provide open accountable, transparent governance... we need your help to get us there!
Rob has always been fiercely independent. I forgive him for his outbursts. We must refocus on the end game... the rest is pure speculation and entertainment.

Anonymous said...

Seeing as how byrne is president of the local liberals and ford is on the commitee, the only way of keeping politics out of local gov is to get rid of them and their supporters.

Anonymous said...

I applaud your faith in your
Cairns Ist team getting up at the next council election.
However you should be aware that the unfortunate treatment by Val Schier against Rob Pyne,should prove the end of the road for Val.
This all highlights the fact that there should be no room for
factions or teams in local
government.Council should consist
of independants under the leadership of an experienced Mayor
just look at what happened to the current Unity Team.The many people I have spoken to are of the same opinion.
Your best method of replacing
K.Byrne and his cronies,would be to entice Mike Berwick to change his mind and stand for Mayor,add some quality independants and cut out the team aspect.Val would have to be prepared to retire from the quest gracefully,Mike would also bring experience and compassion to the job.

Anonymous said...

Val is not even close to ever being mayor of Cairns due to her disgusting and disgraceful treatment of Rob Pyne.

Yes she should bow out gracefully, and apologise to Rob!


Anonymous said...

OMG..this morning some poor woman rang me doing a survey on what I thought about the current Mayor and who I think should run. I don't think she was local because I had to spell Pyne for her. I hope her writters cramp gets better soon.

Anonymous said...


You must have laughed your socks off !!
Thats made my day.
Fancy KB getting a telemarketing company to find out how unpopular he is....can you imagine the dummy spit when he does find out.....

Go now KB, resign gracefully, and go to China.
Im sure the Chinese need someone of your calibre and ability to steer them in their Communist ways !!
Bully boy tactics and hissy fits will work there, whereas they DONT work here anymore.