Monday 18 February 2008

$261,866.15 buys you a good time

CairnsBlog has repeatedly asked both the Cairns Mayor and his Deputy, to publicly declare who their financial supporters are, prior to the election.

We've also asked on three occasions to update the Register of Interests on the Council website.

Today, after pressure from our requests, they have relented and published the Mayor's interests. Deputy Terry James is also listed.

This of course, although a small win, is only the surface of declarations. However, what is more interesting, and probably more compelling, is where political donations come from.

Whilst we cannot guess who is donating for the 2008 campaign, it's obvious that the Mayor's Cairns Unity team have nailed their political colours clearly to the development lobby.
Mayor's Byrne’s election advertising is installed on property developer's LHL billboard at Smithfield. the Mayor has also used CEC chief Roy Lavis' property office roof for another advertisement.

It's such an insult to also get Council officials to rule that such election billboards are not political, and therefore are not governed by Local By Law 28. Julie Wright of the Compliance Unit in Cairns Council says that the Mayor's Unity billboards are "a public information advertisement". Julie, we are sorry that you have been pressured and felt so compromised.

When CairnsBlog contacted Laurie Phipps, manager Local Laws at Cairns City Council, he wasn't so sure. "It's not that clear. It doesn't say vote for Kevin, so it is hard to determine if it is indeed a political sign, and therefore governed under the local By Law," he says. "Of course, anyone can lodge a formal complaint, but the objection process will probably be longer than the election campaign."

It is an official election and therefore political advertisement, as it has only just appeared, weeks out from the election. It also carries a formal "authorised by" byline, as per the Electoral Commission rules for political advertising.
However, it doesn't get any clearer than this when an election campaign billboard is affixed to the back of CEC's Boulevarde development.

CairnsBlog now discloses the full list of those that supported the Mayor's Unity team in 2004. Although you may think that donations made four years ago to be irrelevant, they tell an important story.

There are some very interesting names and companies amongst this list. As Douglas Councillor Rod Davis says, it is safer and much more ethical, especially in local government, to not take political donations, as political donations come with political expectations. "As an independent, independence means no ‘favours’ owing. Local elections are not multi-million dollar affairs," he says.

We therefore put out a challenge, to both Val Schier and Kevin Byrne, to release their interim declaration of donations to the public.

It will send a strong signal to the voting public that you are operating an open book and happy for everyone to know who is supporting you in your respective bids to run this new Regional Council. Additionally, any other independent candidates would gain a great deal of respect for declaring in advance, their financial supporters.

There are many stories when you start to read these attached donation lists, and it's very pertinent to critique these in the weeks leading up to the election. Over coming days, I will highlight in specific donors to the Unity Team and we will see how the money tree supported those that donated 4 years ago. There is a final absurdity in all of this that is worth noting:

If I was given $1,000,000 whilst running for Council, from Acme Big Eff-Off Developer, it would have to be declared, recorded.

If I was given $100 after being elected to Council, from Acme Big Eff Off Developer, it would have to be declared and recorded. Furthermore, I would have to abstain from any conflict of interest vote and also exclude myself from debate and the chamber when the relevant decision was being taken.

There is something very corruptible in local government when such massive political donations come with expectations, even if they're not obvious nor declared in so many words.

124 donors gave $261,866.15 to the Mayor's Unity Team for the 2004 election. 53 donors gave $45,052 to Val Schier's team, and $2,600 was declared by Bryan Law in his bid for the mayoralty in 2004.


Anonymous said...

Oh Michael ... and how much is the Labour party donating to Val's losers? Sorry, I mean how many dollars of forced union collections will be pumped into the coffers of Cairns 1st?
What a waste of good money and yet another example of the crass hypocrisy that pervades this blog!

Anonymous said...

Dear Little Man Syndrome,

Forced union collections?
What about the forced rates collections that keep you in part time luxury?

Those Cuban heels don't make you look any taller, just like Macca's head fluff dosn't make him look any younger.
We can spot a fake a mile off...

Anonymous said...

Welcome back "Factman". I’m sure nothing Cairns 1st receives in way of donations could ever compete with the amounts of $10,000+ or $15,000 "donated" to Unity by its leaders Opps I meant developers and real estate agents in the last election.

Anonymous said...

So factman, if you are so quick to have a go at where Val gets her donations, how about decalring who the Unity financial supporters are.


If you are so proud of the Unity team then let us know who 'owns' them, who will be asking for more 'favours' if you win.

We all know who 'owns' this council, and its certainly not the people of Cairns.

Anonymous said...

Craptain ... the Factman hates hypocracy and Cairns 1st are full of it.

We all know that the only real funding that the Labor dogs can get, is from the even dumber, Union dogs.

Prove me wrong.

Woof woof.

Anonymous said...

And this is the core issue for TJ and the team....MONEY
It's all about getting it, spending it, and the payback.
Little man dosn't realise that there is world of grass roots politics out there that can function without it...
Try asking this pseudo planner about doorknocking and community consultation. Why else would you get your cleaning lady to take the calls for all those years?
Maybe her picture should be on the corflute fakeman. Is it true that she is your wife? - woof woof

Anonymous said...

Oh freakin heck, whichever Anonymous you are.

I am not Terry James, never have been and never will be.

Like that gullible Mike Moore, you have been taken in by that lying dog, Jason O'Brien.

Just like Beattie was when he sacked Liddy Clark and the Minister's media advisor Teresa Mullan over "that" bottle of wine.

Ask dear Jason who's wine it was.

I've worked with O'Brien and I've seen him loose his temper.

It's not a pretty sight.

He makes Kevin Bryne look quite mild in comparison.

So ... back off slagging Terry James.
He and his wife do not deserve the lying crap spread about by that scurrilous dog, O'Brien and the likes of you, whichever Anonymous you are.

Anonymous said...

Yes yes factman, another of your whines about labor dogs, but I notice haven't answered my request.

Once again...

Please declare to us who are the biggest Unity financial backers?

Anonymous said...

I suspect I'm one of many who couldn't care one iota who you really are. You're not a "factman" just a terribly "sad man." Why is it so hard for you to grasp that local government is beyond politics? I have never been a Labor supporter but I can't wait to see this present Council removed. With luck it will happen but it will be a victory tempered with sadness because nothing can undo the damage that has been done to this once beautiful, tropical city that is now well on the way to becoming just another over- priced, over-populated and environmentally ravaged city. That's Unity's legacy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, there's no need to take a swipe at anyone's wives or family whatsoever.

Argue your point without dragging "innocents" into it.

Oh, and try a Nom De Plume.

Anonymous said...


This is the person that took on TJ's council work because he was too busy running his own business.

You live by the sword....

Oh, and find a another Nom De Plume Charlie.
Tyson reminds me of the unsavory pugilist, of which you are not.

Anonymous said...

I must thank you for mistaking me for Charlie, quite the compliment =].

But, Alas, I'm not. I am, in fact, Tyson. I use my real name because I'm more than willing to stand behind what I say.

I'm probably the furthest thing from a pugilist you'll ever find..

Anonymous said...

thanks Tyson,

give my regards to Charlie

from the other anonymous