Friday 29 February 2008

Shitty Waters

This disgusting 250+ apartment complex at Woree, with convenient Service Station plonked in the middle of the property, is a perfectly designed ghetto, circa 2010.

GlenCorp have recently installed some finishing touches, including a new sign. This is made up of a stock image they stole from the Daintree Image and Tourist Library, along with two Frangipani flowers and a Times Roman typeface title. Udo's 3 year old must have put this logo together with crayons at kindergarten last month. I bet he's got the original stuck on his fridge door at home.

The cheek to call this "City Waters", when the previous waterway that existed on the former caravan and camping site now has around 200 ton of concrete on top of it!

The only resemblance to its name will be when the internal pathways flood.

Soon there'll be 250+ families, couples and former councillors living in this ghetto, with no natural airflow, highly dependant on air cons. What were they thinking when they approved this social experiment? I know, they were thinking that it was only a few weeks till they build the same one at Clifton Beach!

Bestowing the title "planner" on some Council staff is an insult to the English language, let alone themselves.

Shitty Waters indeed.

No free public debate

After weeks of attempts, from a number of community groups, individuals and even the Cairns 1st team, the Mayor has refused to agree to a public debate with his opponents.

Last Friday 200 turned up to the Cairns International hotel, paying $50 a pop, to hear Byrne and Schier, and what they will offer for the next four years.

I know there have been at least four attempts to co-ordinate and host a free public debate with Kevin Byrne and all mayoral candidates. Kevin Byrne has refused.

He won't be attending the "Mayoral" lunchtime debate on Monday at the Courthouse hotel that CAFNEC are organising.

He has still not responded to a request from a CairnsBlog promoted mayoral debate that we were hoping to run in the last two weeks of the campaign.

He has not agreed to the lads at Brothers League Club who wanted to host a large public debate for the Mayoral candidates.


The simple answer is that he doesn't like these types of events. They expose him and his vulnerabilities. They also expose Val's, or anyone who participates. However, they can also show the strengths of the character we want to elect as the leader of our city.

These are important opportunities for anyone, of any social economic background, to come along, make a judgement and ask questions of those seeking elected office.

It's a sad indictment that Kevin Byrne fails to engage in these important events prior to election.

He not only detests this form of democracy, he doesn't believe in community engagement. This is evidenced by the way in which he will not sanction a free public forum for anyone to attend.

And he wants your vote.

Cairns 1st campaign launch

Here's Val Schier launching her Cairns 1st campaign and her team on Wednesday to contest the Cairns Regional Council election.



Shades of Woolongong

Just in case you missed this one, here's some happy campers from today's Cairns Post.

The pretty photo is of some fabuoulsy important people being wined and dined by Conics, a new property and infastructure development company that has arrived in town.

Mayor Kevin Byrne, Council CEO Noel Briggs, General Manager City Development Peter Tabuloa, along with Manager Planning Strategies Peter Boyd, all enjoyed a slap up bash. They just love getting cosy with developer folk. It's what they do best.

This remined me of Council's PR spin chief Robyn Holmes' recent breach of the code of conduct when she was editing Mayoral and other Unity candidate profiles at her Council desk, then emailing them to the Cairns Post.

Made me wonder: how many Council staff attended the Chamber/CBWC mayoral debate on Friday and who paid for them? It was not a standard Chamber/CBWC lunch for which there might have been justification for attendance, but a political event and as such the ratepayers of Cairns ought not to have been paying for staff to attend.

Even Val Schier wasn't even regarded as a guest and had to pay the $50 to attend.

If Robyn Holmes, Noel Briggs, Gary Schofield, and who knows who else was there, they ought to have paid for themselves.

However, I bet there'd be a dirty money trail, longer than the sediment run off at False Cape.

Kuranda Highway won't happen

CairnsBlog contributer and Tablelands Regional Council candidate for Division 8, Syd Walker says the Kuranda Range 4-lane highway proposal a 'Dead Duck'

He calls on business people and environmentalists to join forces over modern rail network.

As an environmentalist, I've long opposed the proposal for a 4-lane highway between Smithfield and Kuranda.

The debate has often been portrayed in simplistic terms as a conflict between ‘progress’ and ‘the environment’. We must move beyond this fruitless dichotomy.

I believe the 4-Lane Highway (aka Kuranda Range Upgrade) will never be built, mainly because at this time in history no responsible government will spend a billion dollars or more on 7 km of transport infrastructure that will lock future generations into car dependency, not when the opposition will be loud, strong and intellectually irrefutable opposition," he says. There are better alternatives.

The Kuranda Range 4-Lane Highway Proposal was the intellectual product of an era when oil prices were predicted to remain under $50 per barrel and there was no real commitment to meeting stringent greenhouse gas emissions standards.

Times – and minds - have changed.

The only kind of development we can afford from now on – environmentally and economically – is sustainable development. Any other kind, by definition, leaves future generations with additional burdens to bear. We simply can’t afford to get our infrastructure wrong anymore on a large scale.

I believe Kevin Rudd, Peter Garrett, Anthony Albanese and Penny Wong won’t risk a long battle with the national environment movement over a project they'll learn - when fully briefed - is indefensible. Nor, I believe, will Anna Bligh or her more forward-looking Ministers. These are modern, intelligent politicians with the smarts to spot a dead duck. The Kuranda Range 4-Lane Highway proposal is a dead duck.

Syd Walker talks about the Kuranda Range Road
(Channel 7 - Tuesday 26th February)

What may attract funding from Federal / State Governments in the foreseeable future is a new, state of the art rail connection between the Cairns coastal plain and the Tablelands. Kuranda and Mareeba are already linked to Cairns via a historic but antiquated and woefully under-utilized railway line. Kuranda and Mareeba are the nearest highland village and town to Cairns. It makes sense to connect Cairns and the tablelands via Kuranda and Mareeba.

If the Chambers of Commerce of Cairns, Mareeba and Kuranda get behind modern rail, this part of the Tablelands could be joined to Cairns by a low-emissions, energy-efficient, comfortable, fast, affordable and frequent rail service.

That would provide a suitable transport backbone for future population growth on the tablelands, if there is to be growth. Whether there can and should be future population growth should be largely dependent, in my opinion, on whether we are smart enough to move quickly to a sustainable way of life. Sustainable transportation is a key part of the equation.
Transport is at the heart of a region’s economy.

FNQ can’t afford to miss out on the new opportunities created by a change of Government in Canberra and a new bipartisan consensus for serious action on greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The opportunity may be forthcoming for funding of cutting edge transport solutions that fulfill several key government objectives at once. These include switching to a low-emissions and low-energy usage way of life, moving to a nodal, medium density settlement pattern (best-serviced by rail transport) and protection of the Wet Tropics World Heritage values.

From a local perspective, modern rail would revitalize Kuranda and Mareeba – and connect small settlements in between such as Mantaka, Kowrowa, Koah, Bilwon and northern Mareeba. Commuting between Mareeba and Cairns would at last become safe and pleasant.

Modern rail would bring Kuranda many more visitations throughout the day and evening, both from locals and tourists. These would be visitors with time to spare in the village and money to spend in cafes and restaurants, pubs and entertainment, stalls and shops. It would help bring life – and a wider range of business opportunities – back into Kuranda, It would also distribute the economic benefits of high visitation numbers more broadly throughout the business community.

Clinging on to advocacy of the Kuranda Range 4-Lane Highway proposal is a loser for this region’s economy. I call on business people and their representative organizations to reconsider the best and most feasible transport infrastructure for this region, thinking laterally as well as long-term.

Better dialogue is overdue between this region’s business and environmental community. I believe there is a lot of unexplored common ground which could lead to rapid, innovative and very beneficial solutions for the entire community.

Some months ago I phoned Jeremy Blockey, currently President of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, to suggest dialogue over the best long-term transport infrastructure for the region. He kindly took the time to listen and discuss the issues in brief. We agreed to maintain dialogue. I hope we shall.

Svargo Freitag - a successful Koah businessman - has long opposed the 4-Lane Highway and has made interesting contributions to debate over alternatives. I'm sure there are other people in commerce with a passion for making this region a leader in sustainable development. If so, bringing modern rail to the tablelands in an environmentally smart way is a great project for co-operative effort.

I welcome contact from anyone in this region’s business community who’s keen to put substance into the ideal of truly sustainable development in FNQ – especially (but not only) in relation to transport infrastructure.

Environmentalists and business folk in this region have a historic responsibility to stop bickering over projects that aren’t likely to happen anyway - partly because we disagree so strongly about them – and start working together to find common ground.

Exciting and highly beneficial infrastructure projects have every chance of happening if we work together for truly sustainable development. That would be real ‘progress’.

You can read more on this from Syd Walker:

A better transport solution

Cairns Action for Sustainable Transport (CAST) is a recently formed community group.

They are encouraging community discussion and participation in developing environmentally sustainable and socially just transport systems in Cairns and our region.

CAST will hold a public meeting

Tuesday March 11th, 7 pm
Serbian Hall
Greenslopes St, Edge Hill.

Discussions on transport issues in Cairns involving the attending public will be the meeting’s main emphasis.

You can print out copies of the flyer for the meeting to help spread the word.

Initial meetings of CAST have discussed the reasons why dramatic change in transport planning is needed and many possible steps to take along the way.

It is hoped this meeting will highlight:
• Fixed rail services along the Gordonvale-Cairns-Redlynch rail corridor
(also motorrail to Kuranda and Skyrail transit access);
• Bus services;
• Role of fares;
• Bicycle network and facilities;
• Pedestrian and mobility aid access;
• Sustainable Town planning.

Anyone interested please contact Jonathan on 0431 683 088 or via email.

Despicable finger pointing

It's the show that Big Kev's been looking forward to.

A great photo op, and he didn't disappoint us.
If you wanna see first hand how our Mayor talks to residents, watch the trashy and ill-named A Current Affair on WIN TV this evening.

Tonight they're doing the 'Cory of the North' party story, about that big teenage party on the south side.
Mayor Kevin engages with one of the parents in the main street with his now infamous finger pointing shouting "Your behaviour is quite despicable!"

I've also had the wrath of Kevin Byrne's rude finger pointing. It's the way any fallen old army hack thinks it's okay to communicate with people.

If he feels that this is the way he'll gain respect and get his point across, he's on Planet Rude Bastard.

We have so few celebs up here, they even dragged 846AM's John McKenzie into this story: "They're like a plague of locusts," he claims, a line he wrote for a screenplay about wannabe TV celebrities that never got a screening.

6:30pm tonight, if you're bored or the cricket's not on.

Thursday 28 February 2008

Deirdre leaves a voicemail

This wee tale started out as he said, she said.

However, as the events unfolded during the week, Division 5 candidate Richie Bates, has indentified what really happened.

On Tuesday evening, not too long after 7pm, Councillor Deirdre Ford was witnessed removing Bates' Cairns 1st election sign on the corner of Grove and Lake streets. She then hid it in some neighbouring bushes, and replaced it with one of her own signs, in the same position.

Bates has described event by Councillor Ford as a criminal act, and has already had discussions with the police about the tampering with election signs.

The Cairns 1st candidate was astounded when it was reported to him by a Cairns Base Hospital nurse who witnessed the event on Tuesday evening, whilst on the way home from work.

"Losing signs during an election campaign seems to be par for the course lately, but for Councillor Ford to be involved in this, is absolutely disgraceful."

"It seems that the arrogance of the Unity team knows no bounds and they are prepared to break the law just get their own way." The Earlville nurse, who witnessed the malicious activity, is happy to come forward and confirm events she saw on Tuesday evening.

Bates has contacted Councillor Ford regarding the incident; however she has denied any involvement.

Bates today has released a voice mail message, exclusively to CairnsBlog in which the Councillor appears confused and agitated in recollecting the events.
"There's some controversy about me removing your signs or something. I think we're all a bit testy at the moment," Ford says in her voice mail message.

"I looked up my diary and I was nowhere near your sign at the time," says Mrs Ford.

Ford goes on to say in her long-winded and rambling message, that a couple of people have raised with her about signs "in Marytn Street, or a bit further down, that signs are on the wrong side of the road... we're just trying to get them on the right side of the road."

The tone of her telephone message appeared stressed as she attempted to defend that she was not involved in the alleged incident.

Councillor Ford said she was the Cairns Darts Club at the time of the incident, as her alibi for the evening. Sources who spoke to CairnsBlog last evening, confirmed she was at the Macnamara Street, Manoora facility for "around 5 minutes", not the entire evening.The Cairns Base Hospital nurse identified Councillor Ford from her community profile and election posters. She was also able to identify her vehicle.

I wonder what Mr & Mrs Stringbag would have to say Deirdre?

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO: Councillor Ford.mp3

Google maps Council divisions

Now this is nice. I've been hearing a lot lately, that many simply don't know what Council division they're in.

ECQ are using Google's embedded map system, which makes it a quick and easy way to see your boundaries:

I'm f@cking Ben Afffleck

In early February, a funny video was doing the rounds called I’m f**king Matt Damon.

This was all about a long-running fake ‘war’ between Matt Damon and talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. His partner Sarah Silverman and Damon constructed the video, which has been viewed 8 million times on YouTube.

Now it's Kimmel's turn with this elaborate running gag. This week on his TV show he dished out his video I’m F***ing Ben Affleck, featuring a line up of famous stars, even a gospel choir.

It seems like this fun feud is not going away anytime soon.

Enuf said. Here's the video:

Port Douglas bound

Velcro gloves and gumboots

I was forced into publishing this, and do so under duress.

The Christchurch Press reports on a North Canterbury man who has pleaded guilty to having sex with a goat.

In his defence he stated that “animals can’t talk” so he thought he would not get caught. The defence lawyer discriminates against goats also by pleading for name suppression to continue as his client only raped only a goat, not a human.

As my mate David Farrar at KiwiBlog points out, the one thing missing in the story are details of how the man got caught? Did the goat dob him in after all?

Oh well, if you can't bleat em....


A local group have recently formed called Residents Against Crime.

Residents Against Crime is a community volunteer group that brings together citizens and law enforcement, as well as Local Government departments to find solutions to community crime problems.

They have a Cairns Survey about crime in your suburb.

They are seeking:
– More law enforcement on the streets
– Quicker identification of habitual criminals
– Faster prosecution of violent crimes
– Fewer plea bargains
– Better analysis of bond setting
– A safer environment for Cairns
– Citizens to be the second eyes for police

15 Qualm

  • Because of my mayor I dwell in want

    he maketh rates to pauper me

    he leadeth developers into the beachfronts

    he restoreth my fears

    He leadeth me in the paths of national ridicule for his egos sake

    Yea though I walk through the valley of concrete and highrise, I will find no exit, for he art in office

    Thou preparest a hidden agenda in the absence of thy council

    Thy closed council meetings discomforts me

    Thou dispensations of contracts angers me

    Thy Kingly demeanour, travels, and feasts offend me

    Thou anoitest my head with oppression, intimidation and ridicule

    My money runneth out

    Surely poverty and disaster shall follow me all the days of thy term

Iconic legsilation hits parliament

Douglas Shire Councillor Rod Davis, and candidate for Division 10 in the Cairns Regional Council election, watches the iconic debate for his Shire.

The iconic legislation for Douglas and Noosa has been like a slippery, football…everyone is kicking it around, and no one can catch the ball. I’m going to take a mark, and catch the damn thing, as much as its far from perfect, its nota bad start, and in between long raves with Jason as to why we are too annoyed to accept his kind $150 donation, I was willing to hear him out on the Iconic legislation, and one of the few, and maybe the only Douglas Councillor to say, OK, I’m OK with the plan, lest give it a try.

My basic support stems from the independent process to assess development applications, something all councils everywhere should consider, as the political football that is the process of getting a DA, is second only to corrupt third world process, just rebranded in flasher suits. The mess that is Australian town planning results from councillor bending to favor the latest lobbyist pressure, whereas I argue councillors should only make town plans, not administer them.

If councillor were prevented from planning at the pub, Australia would be a better place.

Jason rhetorically asked, is this the thin of the wedge , in terms of the State having all DA’s handled independently, and he retorted with a definite yes, it is the thin end of the wedge, and I support his mad axmen, but morally and technically spot on policy. I say drive the wedge deep into crook powers of councillors, and make a clear line between those who make the law, and those who administer it. The LGAQ will disagree. Most councillors will disagree. But all good ideas are at first ridiculed. Then all of a sudden, the same idea is taken as a given.

With both Cairns and Gold Coast Councils be sponged for developer funded campaigns, there needs to be more separation of power, between those elected, and those wanting favors.
So, awkward as the iconic legislation is, it is a step in the right direction, warts and all.

Here is Jason Cook’s speech to State Parliament…

  • I rise to unreservedly support the Iconic Queensland Places Bill.

    In August 2007 the government made a commitment to prepare new legislation to give greater protection to the state’s nationally and internationally recognised natural icons located in the areas of new regional councils. This commitment addressed concerns that distinguishing characteristics of local government areas may be overlooked by larger regional councils proposed by the local government reform.

    This is an important bill that will afford strong levels of protection to the planning schemes and local laws that make places like the Douglas shire in my electorate special. Surrounded by the Wet Tropics and the Daintree rainforests, the townships of Port Douglas, Mossman and, more recently, the beach suburbs of Wonga and Cooya Beach have grown considerably and rapidly over the past 20

    years. Generally speaking, the council has handled the rapid growth well, though in Port Douglas there is a glaring exception with a large waterfront development currently nearing completion.

    The community has raised concerns about protecting the integrity of these places due to the amalgamation of councils. The Iconic Queensland Places Bill addresses those concerns by providing the opportunity to identify places that contribute substantially to Queensland’s character by their natural or built environmental qualities. One of the key components of a declaration is the

    characteristics or qualities of the place’s natural or built environment that reflect or substantially contribute to Queensland’s character. Those characteristics or qualities are known as the place’s iconic values.

    The intent of this legislation is to ensure that current councils have the opportunity to seek protection for their iconic values through specific mechanisms offered in the bill. New regional councils will be required to take iconic values of a declared iconic place into consideration in planning scheme processes, local law processes and the implementation of development decisions. However, the state

    government is not making it mandatory for local governments to pursue a declaration for an iconic place. Local governments may or may not choose to pursue a declaration. The declaration of an iconic place is only applicable to local governments affected by the amalgamations.

    Community support for the proposed declaration is an important consideration and there has been lengthy involvement by the Douglas shire community in the development of its planning schemes. Over a number of years there has been significant effort by the Douglas shire community to protect environmental interests through its planning schemes. Prior to the iconic places legislation, the state government had a lengthy involvement in this community through the development and adoption of Douglas shire’s planning schemes, and strong community interest in the protection of the environment was evident, particularly in the Daintree.

    There has been ongoing detailed engagement with the mayor of Douglas shire as the primary representative of the Douglas Shire Council since the government made its commitment to this legislation in August 2007. Engagement has extended to a range of key stakeholder community groups in the shire that have, during consultation, also indicated their support for the legislation. The Deputy

    Premier attended a community meeting in the Douglas shire to discuss the proposed iconic places legislation. This was followed with further attendance by officers from the Department of Infrastructure and Planning who assisted at a further community meeting about the proposed legislation. Clearly there

    is community support in the shire for the legislation, as evidenced by their interest and involvement in this legislation.

    The planning provisions that protect iconic values will be identified and protected through this legislation. Once a declaration of an iconic place is made, the legislation ensures that the place’s iconic values are considered in two key aspects of the planning and development assessment framework: planning scheme making and development assessment. The declaration also ensures that the place’s iconic values are considered in the local law-making framework and in general policy making by councils. The legislation ensures that in its decision making council will have regard to the iconic values of the declared place, reflecting the community’s interest.

    It is true to say that there has been some minor public criticism of the bill. We have heard some of that reflected in statements made by the member for Noosa and the opposition spokesman on the legislation. The member for Warrego labelled it ‘too bureaucratic’. I struggle to understand this line of argument given that the only practical change is that, instead of going to councillors for a decision, the development application goes to the independent assessment panel. Of course, it is a different matter to change the planning scheme or a local law, but these are generally lengthy processes anyway that require considerable public input.

    However, even if the detractors are right and the bill does add a level of complexity to the process, is that not a good thing? Are we not talking about Queensland places worthy of higher order protection? Does anyone think these places are not worth a bit of extra time to ensure their ongoing uniqueness? That is what we are trying to achieve here. The member for Warrego said that we should have a quick and easy development and assessment planning process. However, I do not know that protecting iconic values or environmental values goes hand in hand with a quick and easy development assessment process.

    There has also been some criticism of the concept of independent assessment panels. The member for Noosa echoed some of those concerns in his contribution today. Some of the criticism has also come from the LGAQ, but I have only read that in secondary sources so it may not be correct.

    Nevertheless, I think independent assessment panels are a matter that this parliament should consider in more detail at a future date.

    As a former Cairns city councillor and now as a member of this House, the more I hear about independent assessment panels the more I like the concept. I will briefly explain why I think they are an important reform.

    The reality is that the administration of public affairs in this country is achieved at a very high standard. However, there are a number of high-risk areas that require a higher level of oversight to ensure the integrity of the governing systems. One of the greatest risks at the local level is the ability of councillors to decide on and corrupt the decision-making process. No doubt we all know of examples where the local council has used a simple majority of its members to overturn its planning scheme and/or the recommendations of officers. Later it is discovered that the proponent of the development is a significant contributor to some or all of the very councillors overturning the planning scheme. It is hard to prove that there is direct corruption, but instances like that certainly smell.

    Therefore, in the long run it will be deemed appropriate for councils to set the planning scheme while independent assessment panels will decide impact assessable applications. This process will go a long way to removing the temptation, the opportunity and the perception of corruption. The reality is that

    those people who want to protect what is fantastic about their local area will be in a stronger position than if amalgamations did not proceed. The communities of Noosa and the old Douglas shire will be in a stronger position to protect their iconic values than they would have been if amalgamations did not proceed.

    There is a no guarantee that the Noosa and Douglas shire councils would not have elected pro-development councils that would not have protected the areas’ iconic values. I know that the former minister, Desley Boyle, had to bring the old Douglas Shire Council kicking and screaming to the table to protect the Daintree rainforest, which is the oldest and most biodiverse rainforest on the face of the

    planet. The Douglas Shire Council was brought to table kicking and screaming to protect that important area. There is no guarantee that on 15 March the people would not have elected, knowingly or unknowingly, a rabidly pro-development council. There would be no guarantee that the iconic values would have been protected. Now there is. Now, because of this legislation and the process

    of amalgamation, residents have a guarantee they would not have otherwise had. I think what we need to consider with Noosa and Port Douglas, and the Douglas shire in general, is that these are fantastic areas. These are areas that tourists want to flock to and that people want to migrate to because there are great opportunities there for business and work. In many ways they run the

    risk of becoming victims of their own success. Everybody wants a piece of paradise. Everybody wants a piece of the action. That puts enormous pressure on councils to approve development and to accommodate growth in those areas. I think this is a much better way of addressing those growth issues.

    The reality is that for a small council, such as the Douglas shire-and I suspect it is the same for Noosa as well-to deal with that pressure is incredibly difficult. Let us face it: the developers can afford better lawyers and better planners than what the council can afford. In places like Port Douglas, with the development that I was talking about earlier the planners have used every loophole. They have driven through the planning scheme to gain the most opportunity and the most benefit for the proponents of the development. What we are seeing on the foreshore of the Douglas shire now with the Coconut Grove development is an absolutely awful development that is completely out of character with the rest of the development that has proceeded over the last 20 years on the foreshore of Four Mile Beach. That is the difficulty that the old Douglas shire council faced: lawyers and proponents for development badger and use whatever power they have to get the council to agree to their development. We have to remember that it takes only four councillors in the Douglas shire to overturn their planning scheme and to overturn recommendations of officers based on that planning scheme.

    So what we have now under this legislation is much stronger protection than would have been afforded to those areas before. I think it is fantastic legislation. I commend the bill to the House.

Funny buggas

Election marketing collateral is littering our once beautiful 5 story-apartment-lined neighbourhoods. They are great fodder for the silliest of human behaviour that is now floating to the surface.

Yesterday Pull, Pool, I mean Paul Fleebody, Freebuddy, Feverbucky, I mean Freebody, claimed he and his family were being targeted in an organised campaign by the Russian Mafia. I don't know what's going on in his area, but Biff and Ben are obviously earning their KFC dinner packs that we've offered as a tempter.

Some of the city's hopefuls have been subject to a myriad of attacks as their public face adorns our streets.

Unity's Linda 'Coops' Cooper has had a number of her roadside election posters around Redlynch plastered with 'Lost Kittens' signs stuck on them.
"I rang the number on the flyer to ask if they had found their kittens," Linda told CairnsBlog.

"Unfortunately they haven't but are going to use more of my corflutes to get their message out!"

Linda says it's nice to see campaign signs being used in a positive manner.
Sno Bonneau has strategically positioned his signs at the main exit road. Are you trying to tell us something Councillor?

Sitting Councillor Alan Blake has been hard hit by inner city youth, determined to tag a number of his posters.

"Unfortunately we know this goes with the business of getting your message out there," Alan says.
"The best we can do is keep a look out and watch out for other signs as well."

Kevin Byrne's campaign team, both of them, must have a right sense of humour. Over the weekend they installed his corflutes under the flood indicator signs all along the Cook Highway, in what appears a weird attempt at black humour. These would look equally at home around Edmonton.

If you look closely at this photo of the Mayor's sign, you can see Councillor Margaret Cochrane's poster in the distant, just like she's still keeping a watch on what he's up too. Councillor Cochrane cut her ties with Unity sometime ago, and just last year he removed Margaret from the Sports and Culture committee.

Meanwhile, Mayoral candidate Val Schier is sporting a dashing moustache and eyebrows on the Northern Beaches.

"She's looks more manly than Kevin!" said the resident who SMS'd the photo to CairnsBlog.

Over in the southern suburbs, Deputy Mayor Terry 'Factman' James is in a two-way contest with Robert Pyne.

Their signs are at a respectful 5 meters apart.

"Well, you don't know what you might catch from them," says Robert.

Oh, there's comedy on every street corner.

What a cock up

This has to be the least surprising research ever.

Tamara McLean in the NZ Herald reports on a study of two anti-impotence drugs.

The study found that women prefer Cialis, which can keep erections going for 36 hours. Viagra works for only four hours.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

Top put-downs

The BBC has a list of the top 25 put-downs on TV...

Basil Fawlty - Fawlty Towers. To Sybil: “Oh dear, what happened? Did you get entangled in the eiderdown again? Not enough cream in your eclair? Hmm? Or did you have to talk to all your friends for so long that you didn’t have time to perm your ears?”

Mrs Merton - The Mrs Merton Show. To Debbie McGee: "So what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?"

Edmund Blackadder - Blackadder II. To Lord Percy: “The eyes are open, the mouth moves, but Mr Brain has long since departed, hasn’t he, Percy?”

Roseanne Conner - Roseanne. To husband Dan: “Your idea of romance is popping the can away from my face.”

Patsy Stone - Absolutely Fabulous. "One more facelift on this one and she'll have a beard."

Carla - Cheers. Cliff: “I’m ashamed God made me a man.” Carla: “I don’t think God’s doing a lot of bragging about it either.”

Statler and Waldorf - The Muppet Show. Statler: “Wake up, you old fool, you slept through the show.” Waldorf: “Who’s a fool? You watched it.”

JR Ewing - Dallas. “Ray never was comfortable eating with the family - we do use knives and forks.”

Dr Perry Cox - Scrubs. Dr Elliot Reid: “I don’t think you understand the severity of the situation here. I am dangerously close to giving up men altogether.” Dr Cox: “Then on behalf of men everywhere - and I do mean everywhere, including the ones in little mud huts - let me be the first to say thanks and hallelujah.”

Dr Gregory House - House. “You can think I’m wrong, but that’s no reason to stop thinking.”

Captain Mainwaring - Dad’s Army. “You stupid boy!”

CairnsBlog Media Services launched

I'm pleased to offer a new service: CairnsBlog Media Services.

This is aimed at businesses and political candidates, who want a record of a live broadcast. Our Media Service can capture public radio around the region, as well as TV segments. We can also supply a written transcript of an interview.

We will not provide copyrighted material that is not freely available in the public domain. Drop us an email for more information or your request.

Yorkeys Knob election debate

Here's the first two videos from the Yorkeys Knob mayoral and candidate's forum from Tuesday evening.




A critical election

This is the address given by Val Schier of Cairns 1st at the launch of her team yesterday at the Brothers League Club. She will contest the Cairns Regional Council election in 18 days with a team of 8.

Here's her speech in full:

  • Four years ago I stood in front of you and said that I was leading a passionate, principled, grass roots team up against a slick, well-oiled machine with all the benefits of incumbency.

    I talked about how we lived in two World Heritage areas in between the reef and the rainforest and how we needed to ensure that we moved forward with balanced, sustainable growth; that we did not destroy this region in a rush of short-term greed that benefited vested interests more than the community.

    And we didn’t win and we didn’t give up!

    For the past four years we have been determined to grow and strengthen our policies and a team to contest the Cairns Regional Council election on 15th March, only 17 days away.

    And this is a critical election . . . . make no mistake about that.

    At this election we will be deciding if we want four more years of the same.
  • Four more years of the Kevin Byrne, develop-at-any-cost approach.

    Four more years of an out of touch team that does not respect ordinary people.

    Do we want four more years? Or on March 15th do we want to vote for a new team – the Cairns 1st team that will:

    Plan for the future:
    Climate change is a reality. Cairns has been identified as one of the 5 most vulnerable places in the nation at risk of tidal surges and turbulent cyclonic events and we can’t trust this current council to mitigate and plan for the expected impacts.
    And we will plan with the state government around the infrastructure issues, the huge growth in the southern corridor, the traffic problems, the need to look at other means of transport.

    On March 15th you can choose a Cairns 1st team that will foster a strong economy: we will support industries to diversify and to take advantage of the opportunities to sell our tropical expertise, our tropical foods, use our valuable agricultural lands for other commodities as the south dries up.

    On March 15th you can choose a Cairns 1st team that will lead with honesty and integrity: we are driven by a set of values and will make open and transparent decisions that are not developer lead - like the Smithfield town centre proposal - or driven by the big end of town.

    You can choose a team that will listen to the locals; listen to your needs and aspirations when you tell us that you want to protect our character and heritage.
    We will hear the Douglas Shire people when the tell us that they mourn the loss of their more than a hundred year old shire, that they fear that they will be taken over and not heard and wonder how on earth their one councillor is going to be able to represent them.

    Listen to you when you tell us that your footpaths and kerbing and guttering are not being repaired whilst big projects in the city get all the attention.

    We will listen to and work with the whole community; everyone from Bloomfield to Bramston Beach including our Indigenous communities and the vulnerable people in our communities.

    You can choose a Cairns 1st team that will value and restore and protect our environment. The wrong sorts of development kill character and the attributes that brought us here in the first place and keep the tourists coming. We will get more economic gain out of protecting our environment than we will from trashing it; from looking after our waterways, our creeks, our hillslopes, the wildlife habitats and corridors.
    And you can choose a team that will promote the region as being a clever, active, creative place.
    A council that will support our many talented and innovative people who want live music and performing arts to be a part of our city, our towns and suburbs.
    A council that will make open decisions about which sporting clubs get support and funding; we will make sure that the needs of the BMX club and the junior soccer don’t get overlooked by the big players.
    A council that will promote good tropical design so that we don’t end up with the eyesores that assault our senses every day as we come into town.

    I would now like to introduce you to the candidates who are giving you a real choice on March 15th.

    Starting from the south:

    Jeff Martinuzzi: division 2
    Kirsten Lesina: division 4
    Richie Bates: division 5
    Mark Buttrose: division 6
    Diane Forsyth: division 7
    Paul Matthews: division 8
    Janine Aitken: division 9

    [Cairns 1st are not running a candidate in Division 1, 3, o
    r 10. They endorse Robert Pyne in 3, and Julia Leu in 10.)

    I am proud to stand here with this talented team.

    A team that has a vision that will take us into the future: a vision that our grandchildren can live in a region which has retained its character and unique tropical lifestyle, has a sense of spirit, is proud of its people, its achievements and its identity, is liveable, is clean and green.It is a team of candidates who share the principles I have stood for in public life: support for social equity, the environment, community participation, openness, transparency, accountability and sustainability.These team members will represent their divisions and vote independently in the new amalgamated council and at times this means voting differently. However, because we stand for similar values and principles and policy, our voting patterns generally align. You will know where we stand.

    I ask you to support these candidates. Leave your details, take a bumper sticker for your car. Do a stint in the campaign office. Hand out how to votes on polling day. Be a scrutineer. Talk to everyone you know about why this election is so critical.

    Help us to bring fresh faces and new leadership that will take the new Cairns Regional Council into the future. Thank you.

Val Schier, candidate for Mayor
27 February 2008

Port Douglas divided

The Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a candidates' and mayoral luncheon from 12:30 on Tuesday March 11th at the Sea Temple Golf Club, Old Port Rd, Port Douglas.

However, 13 days out from the event, it appears they are dictating who they want to include.

I made mention yesterday how two Mayoral candidates were shunned from the joint Cairns Business Woman's Club, and the Chamber of Commerce mayoral debate on Friday. Although Peter Sandercock turned up, he was not welcome at the mayoral table, nor on the stage. Attempts from Selwyn Johnston to attend and participate in the Cairns event, meet with a "No thank you."

Yesterday, I heard Ken Dobbs, the President of the Port Douglas chamber, on Port Douglas radio. He stated that he would only be inviting Val Schier and Kevin Byrne, and not the other two mayoral candidates. They have, however, extended an invitation to all eight of the Division 10 candidates, that encompass Douglas Shire and as far south as Clifton Beach.

Here's the interview with Ken Hobbs on Port Douglas Radio. His interview starts at 25min. Simply slide the marker across.

Like the Cairns Chamber, I feel this is a very poor stance to take.

I understand that Peter Sandercock and Selwyn Johnston are requesting that they also participate in the event.

The forum will also not allow any questions from the floor, rather, they will be posed set questions.

As the Port Chamber strongly supports the Icon legislation, which Mayor Byrne labeled a waste of time and 'adding another layer of bureaucracy', this is bound to be a hot subject.

"If a Council has an effective and robust [CairnsPlan] planning scheme," Mayor Byrne says, "then there is no need for additional protection." The Cairns Council did not support Icon protection at their last meeting, and advised the Minister accordingly.
Douglas Shire Mayor, Mike Berwick, laid out his case here on CairnsBlog.

The Divisional candidates will have to address the following questions in a seven
minute speech:
  • Drawing on your background and experience, what makes you the best person
    to represent Division 10 and will this be a full time job for you?
  • How would you propose to effectively represent the interests of such a large
    and diverse community as Division 10?
  • How do you propose to allocate your preferences?
  • What key infrastructure projects will you pursue for Division 10?
  • How do you see Cairns Regional Council supporting business and tourism in
    Division 10?

On the other hand, the Mayoral candidates will get 10 minutes to address:

  • What measures would you take to preserve the integrity of the existing Douglas
    Shire planning scheme?
  • Do you support the community engagement process currently being
    undertaken for the Port Douglas Waterfront re-development?
  • Do you support maintaining the current level of council funding for marketing
    tourism in the Port Douglas and Daintree areas, and if so, how would you
    allocate it?
  • Division 10 will have a high proportion of ratepayers compared to population
    due to the high number of strata title units used for holiday letting. On what
    basis would you allocate funding for capital works and maintenance?
  • How will you give the Division 10 councilor assistance to represent the largest
    geographical area with the most diverse issues in the Cairns Regional Council?

Should your name not be Selwyn or Peter, and you'd like to attend, you can book a ticket ($25 for members / $35 for non-members). Tickets available at Port's Stationary and Supplies, Owen Street, or via the website. You can also contact the Secretary, Stacey Kibble on 4040 6555.

NB: Councillor Rod Davis also appears on yesterday's radio show. He discuss the last Council meeting of Douglas Shire, that will be on Tuesday 4th March. Rod's interview commences at 12 mins into the tape.

The small things in life

I think I do my best work in the wee small hours. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

Actually Pat Morrish quizzed me the other day when I make time to create content for CairnsBlog. I mainly scribe after hours, when there's no disturbance from phones, people or external noise. I find that the best time to think and be creative, is after everyone hits the sack.

So tonight, well early in the morning actually, I was putting a few pieces together, chewing through my bandwidth, and got startled when, out the corner of my eye, this wee fella (or fellaess) suddenly appeared on my bench. I have a rather lush rear courtyard, with a number of native plants. The wet is allowing them to flourish at present. It's also a very frog friendly environment. Here's some infor that will help you create a similar space: Qld Conservation Council and the EPA/QPWS.

This Green Tree Frog was tiny, as measured against the candle on my Rosegum kitchen slab. He (or her) didn't appear to mind his photo taken.

Soon after I snapped this pic, I relocated him (or her) to the garden.

Girls just wanna have fun

Next Friday you have an opportunity to meet all the female candidates seeking election to the new Cairns Regional Council.

Women account for almost half the divisional candidates contesting the local elections on March 15th.

The Zonta Club of Cairns is inviting members of the public to attend a ‘Meet the Women Candidate’ forum on Wednesday March 5th at 7pm, at the Sheridan Plaza Hotel, Sheridan Street (next to Dunwoodys).

Zonta focuses to increase the status of women in our community , however, they state that hosting this event, they do not specifically endorse any particular candidate.

There'll be a cash bar available, and coffee will be served afterwards.

Bookings: Anne Grant 4035 4622 or Judy Noller 4051 0434.

Wednesday 27 February 2008

Gap in law for Bryan

L-R Bryan Law, Russell Goldflam, Adele Goldie, Ron Merkel QC, Jim Dowling, and Donna Mulhearn.

"What an adventure. It’s good to be back," said Cairns activist, and former Mayoral candidate, Bryan Law, after returning to Cairns.

Law, along with three others, known as the 'Pine Gap 4', were acquitted of charges under the Special Defence Undertakings Act 1952.

In December 2005, Bryan Law, along with Adele Goldie, Jim Dowling and Donna Mulhearn breached a perimeter fence to conduct a citizen's inspection of the US spy base, Pine Gap.

It was a unanimous decision by the full bench of the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal. Three judges agreed with the defendants' submission that there was a miscarriage of justice at last year's trial. This was due to the fact that they were not able to bring evidence before the jury about the function of Pine Gap.

There were also other grounds to the appeal of a more technical nature. It is expected that the judges will publish detailed reasons for their decision shortly. The prosecution immediately sought a re-trial, which was quickly rebutted.

"What would be achieved for these individuals or the community if there is a re-trial?" asked Justice Riley. Therefore the judges unanimously ruled there would be no re-trial.

The four had already served prison time was also a contributing factor in the decision.

"This is a 'David vs Goliath' outcome and is a result of the excellent work of our legal team: Ron Merkel QC, Rowena Orr and Russell Goldflam," said Bryan Law. "Their commitment, persistence and brilliance were amazing. They should be heartily congratulated."

The result now raises significant questions for the Government about the use of the Defence (Special Undertakings) Act 1952. It was the first, and likely last time it will be used in this context. The outcome a slap in the face for prosecutors who seek to enact draconian legislation to respond to pacifists partaking in non-violent civil disobedience.

This will affect all defence areas in Australia that also fall under this act. It sets a precedent for future acts of civil disobedience carried out on all defense areas.

At dawn on December 9, 2005 the ‘citizen’s inspection’ caused Pine Gap to shut down for five hours. Six hundred employees were denied access into the base and the employee’s cars queued up for several kilometres.

Two members of Christians Against ALL Terrorism, Jim Dowling from Daybora and Adele Goldie from Brisbane, entered the Pine Gap military base undetected and photographed themselves before being arrested. Two other members of the group Donna Mulhearn from Sydney and Bryan Law of Cairns, went undetected for another hour before being arrested.

They were fined a total of $3,000. The Director of Public Prosecutions office will now decide whether to pursue a retrial.

Outside the Darwin court, Bryan Law said some of the protesters planned another 'inspection' at Pine Gap on Anzac Day. "We are going to walk across the desert, into the Pine Gap base and challenge the government's right to maintain a terror base in our country."
"Pine Gap is not a base for the defense of Australia, Pine Gap is an instrument of international aggression."

"It’s almost enough to restore my faith in the criminal justice system," Bryan Law told CairnsBlog.

Door knocking with Robert

Today I left the beaches to help my buddy Robert Pyne door knock his neighbourhood.
Here he is in Forest Gardens chatting to Kerri-Anne, with 8-month-old Fletcher.
In the new Division 3, there are over 8,200 voters, comprising around 5,000 households.
"I started canvassing this electorate street by street in December," says Robert. "Almost every household has heard from me."
One of the perils of door knocking in the midst of a North Queensland wet season, is the extra challenge of the rain and in a wheelchair. This afternoon the sky opened up at 3pm, just as we headed out.
"People are delighted to see you. They're really appreciate you making the time to listen," says Robert, son of former Cairns Mayor, Tom Pyne.
"I remember when my dad was starting out campaigning in the early 80's, he was door-knocking with my sister, who then was in her late teens," recounted Robert. "They had reached the house of one of dad's opponents in White Rock, where he encouraged young Jo to knock on the door."
"My dad's running for the council," Jo introduced herself. "So is my dad!" came back the reply.
Robert says getting out and meeting residents has been the best part of campaigning. "You get to really engage with people. You learn a lot simply from listening to their stories," says Robert Pyne.
If you'd like to offer a few hours to help Robert knock on doors, you can contact him on 4036 3360.

Yorkeys Porkys Pie

Nearly 100 residents crammed into the small under-funded Wattle Street community hall last evening in the beachside suburb of Yorkeys Knob.

It was an opportunity to see and hear their local Division 8 candidates along with those vying for the mayoralty.

This was the first time that all mayoral candidates have joined together for a debate in this election race that is now only 18 days away from the finish line.
Selwyn Johnston, Kevin Byrne, Peter Sandercock, and Val Schier gave their rendition of life under their leadership, which was followed by several questions from the floor.
Johnston spoke of a fairer rate system, and told the audience that Cairns was one of the highest taxed local authorities in the country. "More than Watson Bay in Sydney," he exclaimed. "Rubbish!" Mayor Byrne interjected.
Sandercock trumped out his reform agenda of chain gangs, death penalty and harder sentences because of the "terrible crime in this city."
Val Schier said it was about time that we had buildings that reflected the tropical environment. "Old Queenslanders embrace the climate, with large shade areas, natural ventilation, with no air conditioners. We could look at mandating this," she said. Mayor Byrne's response was swift. "We can't tell people how to live. We are a council all about choice."

Selwyn Johnston suggested that Schier’s team was Green, to which she responded: "I think we're all green now. Everyone has realised over the last few years how important it is that we look after the environment," she said. Schier said that there was evidence people were willing to pay more for property if they were energy efficient and better in tune with the environment. There was confusion about the amount. Schier said a survey stated that buyers would pay up to 15% more for a energy efficient home.

"Would you be willing to do this for some environmental sustainability issue?" asked Mayor Byrne. "I mean, on a $40,000 home, that's another $60,000 [sic]," he stated. "Now let’s be serious about this. This is not voodoo economics. We all have to be careful about the environment and all those sorts of things. Let's get the science and facts right and not go around throwing things in the air," said Byrne. "On $100,000, that's an extra $15,000," he concluded.

Schier explained how the real estate survey was conducted about paying more for a energy efficient house. This mirrrors a recent demonstration house that was opened in Redlynch Valley last month. The cost was an additional 11% more to include numerous features to keep electricity bills lower and embrace the natural environment and climate conditions.
Selwyn Johnston jumped into the discussion to say that rates are for the supply of services only. "Your rates are not to subsidise houses. That's a ridiculous suggestion to come out with. House affordability has nothing to do with local government," Johnston said.
Unfortunately, local Division 8 candidates were buried behind a barrage of questions aimed at the mayoral contenders.

Incumbent councillor Margaret Cochrane parted ways with the Mayor's Unity party sine the 2004 election to run as an independent, Dr Paul Matthews of Cairns 1st, and Denis Keffee of Byrne's Unity all had a few minutes to share their passions and beliefs.

Keffee, an Esplanade resident of Yorkeys Knob and proud apartment dweller, had not been along to the residents' association previously. He was invited to become a member by president Pam Bigelow and duly completed his form with $5 annual fee before leaving.

This is in contrast to local developer Julian Sutherland. The Yorkeys Knob Residents' Association wrote and invited the York 43 and Majestic Palms developer to join the residents' association at a meeting last year. He was offered a cuppa afterwards and encouraged to join the Association with the $5 annual membership fee, but rushed off, never to be seen again.

Amongst those gathered at the Yorkeys forum was Councillor Alan Blake; ABC personality and Yorkeys resident, Pat Morrish; Cairns Historian Dr Timothy Bottoms; Cairns 1st candidates Richie Bates and Janine Aitken, and former Cairns City Councillor, Ross Parisi.

The Yorkeys Knob forum concluded with social drinks and food. Lori's chocolate cake was to die for.

(NB: I'll load the YouTube video of this debate online later today.)

Make a connection

Connect Magazine is the only local holistic publication in our region, and they are celebrating their first birthday, after 4 years (they were born on a leap year)!

This Friday evening, 29th February, at the Tanks Art Centre from 7pm, they are having a bumper art exhibition with over 50 pieces from a variety of local artist that have featured on the covers of their magazines.

These include: Patricia Maria Fair, Buck Richardson, Nicola Bryars, Neil Parker, Theresa Richardson, Megan Lane, Christine Eyres, Kirsty Diamond, Gerhard Hillmann, Helen Joy, and Jodie Brownlee.

There will also be a variety of performances including drumming, dancing, singing and the popular Human Mandalas, created by Bee Universal Inc.

It will be a great night for meeting new people and you'll also hear speakers from local community groups and regular contributors of Connect magazine.

Finger food and dishes will be supplied by Red Ochre Grill and a bar will operate.

Tickets $15 pre-sold, or $20 at the door, available from Crystal Ball Bookstore, Neils Organics, Go Vita Smithfield, Mystic in Atherton or from Connect Magazine. Tel 4055 7172 or email

6.45 – 7.15 Tara and friends – African Drumming
7pm- 8pm Danny – Charlie Chaplin ACT
7.20-7.30 Renee – Welcome Speech
7.30- 8pm Emma Louise – Original songs (DINNER)
8pm- 8.10 Rob Hart – Astrology Chart of Connect
8.10-8.15 Lili – Questions from the Heart
8.15-8.20 Pat – Siddha Story
8.20-8.30 Plugs etc
8.30-8.40pm Ardyn - Wu Tao – The Dancing Way
8.40 -8.50pm CAFNEC
8.50-9pm Lauren – Belly Dancing
9pm – 9.10 Plugs etc
9.10 -9.20pm The Wilderness Society
9.20-9.30pm Beth – Community Foods
9.30-10pm Mandala Piece
10.20-10.30pm American Indian Rainbow Drummers

Chamber of secrets

I had the under-whelming joy of attending the Mayoral debate on Friday at the Cairns International Hotel.

At $55 a head, I don't think the organisers, the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Women's Club could have found a venue that less-represented the community and the residents than the austere and opulence of the Grand Ballroom. However it fitted perfectly with the ambience of the white collar corporate work. Gosh, I even got a tie on to blend in with the monkeys.

It was Kevin Vs Val.

Val was sporting a bright red knee-high number. Kevin had his power-gold tie on. I thought I caught a whiff of Joop!, but he may have simply used Listerine in the lavey.

These debates are hardly a litmus test of how the community feels, but they do have the opportunity to display how someone can perform under pressure and to a demanding audience. My view is that neither really excelled on the day. The guests, including yours truly, dined on chicken breast with lemon oregano potatoes, or slow cooked beef fillet with grilled asparagus and horseradish foam, with a Mediterranean parsley and goats cheese salad. Yes, we were dining with the elite. Give me fush and chups on the Yorkeys beachfront any day, and I'd be happy.

Just as proceedings were about to kick off, a small commotion of sorts occurred. I positioned myself in the centre, close to the front to get some good snaps. I was just behind the table that hosted Kevin and Val, along with the president of the Chamber, Jeremy Blockey, and a few of their mates. This table looked like a bag of allsorts lollies that had never been refrigerated after opening.

Although today's Cairns Post says otherwise, Mayoral candidate Peter Sandercock arrived to take his place at the main table, along with the other two Mayoral aspirants. Sandercock announced on Tuesday that he was also seeking the Mayor's job, and he was on a quest to tell his story. President Jeremy stood up, and within a minute or so after some words were traded, Peter was shoved off elsewhere. Apparently, there was no room at the inn.

He wasn't welcome at the table. Jesus would have turned in his grave, or tomb. Selwyn Johnston, the other mayoral candidate, telephoned the chamber a couple of days previously after a suggestion from myself, only to be told that he wasn't invited to speak. "It's only for the two main candidates," he was told in no uncertain terms.

I have to say, I find this whole behaviour quite insulting and derogatory to those that have formally and publicly declared they are standing for the city's top job. Regardless of anyone's view that they are not in the running, it is appropriate and courteous that they be given an opportunity to be heard at a forum that intends to be a 'Mayoral debate.'

I wandered the room to grab a few photos and orientate who else was here. Good mate Wally Donaldson, area general manager of Telstra was there, chin wagging in the corner. Council CEO of the interim transition committee, Noel Briggs was plonked right next to former Chamber President Bob Norman. Later when chatting to a member of the 20/20 group, Noel darted away as the CairnsBlog camera honed in on his social chit chat. He left behind a stunned female to wonder what the commotion was all about. "What was that?," she questioned. "Didn't he want his photo with me?" she asked.

There were set up questions from both sides. Bob Normam quizzed Val Schier that it was almost impossible for a Council to rule on the type of buildings we build when it is the State Government's responsibility, he suggested . Val explained that it was the duty of a Council to lobby for a better code. I have to agree. Otherwise we may as well all go home and Tom, Udo and Roy can do what they damm well please. Or are they doing that already?

Throughout the luncheon, the Chamber, along with the Women's business group, conducted a candidate vote survey, one at the beginning and another at the conclusion of the debate. Not that surprising, it indicated support for Kevin Byrne.

200 people attended and 153 completed the voting paper. A second form was circulated after the debate and 130 dropped in their forms. Half the respondents indicated a preference for Kevin Byrne. This increased to nearly 61% after the debate. Val Schier’s support remained consistent.

This was more a reflection on the make up of the audience, rather than any scientific system. 21% said they were ‘undecided’ prior to the debate, and 8.5% afterwards.

The survey also asked about the major strengths and weaknesses of the two speakers and the quality of their presentation. "Byrne supporters cited his experience, capability and track record as his major strength; and Val Schier’s passion, enthusiasm and her stand on environmental issues," the organisers said. "Similarly, Val Schier’s supporters acknowledged Kevin Byrne’s experience and track record, but believe Val’s major strengths are that she has vision and is in touch with the community, demonstrating a much more consultative approach than Kevin Byrne."

As the debate wound up, I grabbed a photo of the lads from Williams Graham Carman, who were sharing their table with LHL - the developer behind the controversial beaches town centre. The Mayor has, up until 2 weeks ago, been pushing to bed this project down before the March 15th election, however has admitted this won't happen now.

Williams Graham Carman acted for the Mayor some six months ago, in a attempt to sue CairnsBlog for defamation. I suspect one of those over-paid lawyers at the table was John Hayward, munching on his medium rare beef fillet. It was John that had to deal with Mayor Byrne over a covert attempt to cease us talking about his fixation with all things China, and hopefully close this blog down. I'll re-tell the full story separately. This legal firm kindly gave Mayor Byrne a nice donation at the last election. Interesting how the money circles move around in this town, isn't it?

Thanks to Robert and Jenny Pyne, I took a HandyCam along with me - my first venture into shooting video. This is evidenced by the less than Spielberg-like camera angles and bumpy framing. It's like Brokeback Mountain meets Mad Max. Regardless, I recorded the debate, along with questions for your amusement and edification.

It's on our YouTube channel in six parts. I hope you will enjoy. You too can now feel like you've dined on salmon in a white wine sauce with a 96 vino.

Monday 25 February 2008

Rob for Gold Coast Mayor

The pre-election propaganda is almost fever pitch across the State.

The Gold Coast, on the coat tails of developer corruption, is looking for a fresh approach.

Sitting Councillor, Rob Molhoek has taken a rather unconventional, but effective approach, onto YouTube, with the help of Sam_Kekovich.

Interestingly, the Gold Coast Council, unlike Cairns City Council, put up on their website the full declaration of interests of each Councillor. If you want that information here, you need to apply in writing. Why do they make it so difficult?

Anyway, you gotta love Molhoek's cheeky attitude, just wish we had more of this up here!

You gotta be in

Just in case our busy candidates missed this wee snippet in today's Cairns Post, you have till Mark closes the door today to flick off ya profile.
Say that you will save the whales, kiss babies (in a nice way) and hug trees, that's usually a vote winner.

Sunday 24 February 2008

Game on: The list

Here's the full list of those standing for election in the Cairns Regional Council on March 15th. They are listed in the order as they will appear on your ballot paper.

Voters 8,818
MAP Hi-Res detailed or Low-Res
Bramston Beach, Mulgrave River (on the west), Gordonvale, Pine Creek Road

4044 3071 or 4056 2081
0427 755 141
Candidate's website


Voters 8,167
MAP Hi-Res detailed or Lo-res
Robert Road, Edmonton, Bruce Highway, north to Trafalgar Road.

Byrne's Unity
PO Box 607, EDMONTON QLD 4869
0410 246 762 or 4045 1695, 4045 0051
Candidate's website

4055 4634 or 0408 782 479

Hardware Store owner
Cairns 1st
4055 4417 or 4045 1669
0458 554 417
Candidate's Website

Voters 8,241
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Mt Sheridan, Anderson Road, Forest Gardens, boarders at Toogood Rd

Robert PYNE
JCU Disability Co-ordinator
8 Amazon Close, MT SHERIDAN QLD 4868
4036 3360 or 0438 360 376
Candidate's website

Byrne's Unity
4044 0500 or 4036 1140
0417 562 660
Candidate's website

Voters 9,180
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Woree, boarders Lake Morris Road / Toogood / Irene / Reservoir Roads. Mulgrave Road to McCoombe Street

336 GATTON Street, MANUNDA QLD 4870
4051 3074 or 0407 128 199
Candidate's website

Byrne's Unity
4033 2515 or 0418 741 160
Candidate's website

Kirsten LESINA
Law Graduate
Cairns 1st
4036 1573 or 0437 029 293
Candidate's Website

Voters 8,943
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
CBD, north to Grove / Gatton Sts, Lower Moorobool, Portsmith

Furniture business owner
PO Box 705, EDGE HILL QLD 4870
4051 1171 or 0414 708 529
Candidate's website

Richie BATES
QLD Rail technician
Cairns 1st
37 Moorhead Street, Bungalow, QLD 4870
4035 5593 or 0429 496 882
Candiate's Website

Byrne's Unity
4044 3075 or 4054 3974
0418 187 057
Candidate's website

PO Box 174M, MANUNDA QLD 4870
4053 7271 or 0409 644 501
Candidate's website

Voters 8,424
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Lake Morris Road to lake, Redlynch Valley, Barron River Gorge, Brinsmead / Kamerunga Roads / McManus Street, Whitfield

Byrne's Unity
0419 656 995
Candidate's website

4039 2039 or 0429 392 039
Candidate's website

Cairns 1st
4031 1707 or 4032 0872
0417 600 828
Candidate's website

Voters 8,466
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Edgehill (south of Woodward St), North Cairns, Manunda (East of McManus St), Paramatta Park. Manoora: Boundary -->Reservoir Road, Hoare Street, Gatton Street, Grove Street, Esplanade

Former policeman
172 MARTYN Street, MANUNDA QLD 4870
4041 6664 or 0412 624 744

Cairns 1st
Director Addiction Help Agency
114 Woodward , EDGE HILL QLD 4870
0400 880 130
Candidate's website

Deirdre FORD
Byrne's Unity
0407 631 248
219 Abbott Street, North Cairns, Box 96, Edge Hill 4870
Candidate's website

Voters 8,754
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Machans, Holloways, Yorkeys, Freshwater, Edgehill (north of Woodward)

Independent Councillor
4044 3080 or 4039 0928
0419 706 372
Candidate's website

Byrne's Unity
CEO Cairns Taipans
31 SIMS Esplanade, YORKEYS KNOB QLD 4878
4081 0009 or 0438 666 444
Candidate's website

Cairns 1st
Veterinary surgeon
0412 872 574 or 4054 2561
Candidate's website
Voters 8,739
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Lake Placid, Smithfield, Trinity Beach, Trinity Park, Kewarra

President JCU, Shopping Centre Management
Cairns 1st
0414 934 000
Candidate's website

Independent / Byrne's Unity endorses this candidate
4055 3608 or 0412 653 413
Candidate's website


Voters 8,973
MAP Hi-Res or Lo-Res
Clifton Beach, Palm Cove, Port Douglas, Mossman, north to Cape Trib

4055 3691
0427 129 589

PO Box 258, MOSSMAN QLD 4873
4098 7481
0437 113 748
Candidate's website

0409 059 572

Julia LEU
PO Box 800, MOSSMAN QLD 4873
4098 7610
0488 987 066
Candidate's website

Radio, Property, Tybrid marine sustainabilty project
Fullmoon Terraces, Box 714, PORT DOUGLAS QLD 4877
4099 4434 or 0418 235 561
Candidate's website

Melinda COX
PO Box 1231, MOSSMAN QLD 4871
4098 8425 or 0417 713 521
Candidate's website

George PITT
PO Box 1265, MOSSMAN QLD 4873
4098 2798 or 0400 778 463

Byrne's Unity
Mossman Sugar Mill director
PO Box 157, MOSSMAN QLD 4873
4098 1466 or 0417 409 814
Candidate's website


Byrne's Unity
21 Duignan Street, WHITFIELD QLD 4870
4053 1612 or 0418 750 165
Candidate's website

79 SONDRIO Close, WOREE QLD 4868
4054 1879

Close, PO Box 1919, CAIRNS QLD 4870
4034 2705 or 0418 243 652
Candidate's website

Cairns 1st
4055 0353 or 0407 100 886
Campaign office 4032 2882
Candidate's website