Thursday 6 March 2008

Release the hounds

I'm no conspiracist. However, I believe it's the right of every citizen, indeed ratepayer, to have access to the full disclosure of interests of our elected officials.

It's also the law.

I'm interested greatly in this subject. Imagine being married to someone and not knowing what they do for a job, or any of their friends, or what kind of food they like. Don't you think you'd want to know? Don't you feel you'd have a right to know?

I started questioning Mayor Byrne about his trips to China mid last year. I, like many residents, am interested in the huge annual investment we, as ratepayers, make to the Mayor's Advance Cairns group. It appears largely focused on China, although they may contest this. The Mayor has been to China every year for the last 7. I was asking what we were getting in return for this huge investment in our hard earned money. After all, I'm a shareholder in this city.

I have not had any explanation to this day. I'll go into this subject in more detail over the weekend.

On a similar vein, the Cairns Ratepayers Action Group wanted to know the financial interest and other companies associated with the Mayor of Cairns, over the tenure of his leadership.

John Babet has tried on a number of occasions to gain a meeting with the Mayor. They have had their phone calls hung up on them, and never has an email nor a voice message, been returned.

They telephoned his mobile: "I dont want to speak to you," and Byrne hung up.

So, last Sunday morning, John Babet of the Cairns Ratepayers Action Group rang Kevin Byrne at home. His number is listed publicly, as he's running for election.

Here's the voice message left:
  • "Hello Kevin, this is John Babet from Cairns Ratepayers Action Group. I really urge you to meet with us. It would be in your and your family's best interest. We can do this the easy way or the hard way via a meeting or going public. We hope to hear from you.

On Wednesday, Kevin Byrne engaged the police to take action against John Babet. Detective Sargent Hodgman from the Smithfield Police visited Babet at his home and interviewed him.

No charges were laid, after Babet explained to the Police that he was attempting to simply gain a meeting with the Mayor to discuss important issues, which he felt of great public interest.

He gave Police the documents which we will now make public.

Here's the emails and the public letter from the Cairns Ratepayers Action Group.

----- Original Message -----
From: John Babet
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 10:24 PM
Subject: URGENT ... Invitation to meet John Babet -
CRAG ... Cairns Ratepayers Action Group

Hello Kevin, It would be to your benefit if we met privately to give you the opportunity to respond to questions vital to the Public interest ... please phone me between 6am and 10am tomorrow ... 0411 877 506 ...

John Babet spokesperson
CRAG - Cairns Ratepayers Action Group

----- Original Message -----
From: John Babet
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 5:57 PM
Subject: URGENT ... 2nd Invitation to meet John Babet -
CRAG ... Cairns Ratepayers Action Group

Mayor K Byrne, Cairns City Council

Hello Kevin,

You haven’t responded to our 26 Feb offer, nor returned two telephone messages today ... obviously you do not realise the seriousness of the matter.

In the spirit of fairness we reiterate our offer one final time ... realistically a negotiated "departure" is more in everyones interest than the alternative.

John Babet
spokesperson CRAG -
Cairns Ratepayers Action Group

From: John Babet Cairns Ratepayers Action Group

Public Letter to Mayor Kevin Byrne, Cairns City Council

Hello Kevin, there was no response to our e-mails last week requesting a meeting ... and your response when we phoned of " I won't talk to you" is not reflective of open, transparent governance ... it is simply unacceptable arrogance from a supposed servant of, we people, of the Cairns region.

In spite of this, on Sunday we left a message on your home phone ... again no response .

You are aware that you have a legal obligation to fully disclose your pecuniary interests, in Councils register ...Prior to the election March 15, the people of Cairns deserve to know the Truth about your pecuniary interests .

The following questions will now be posed to you in various Public forums ... In the Public interest you have an obligation to respond, in Public, immediately, fully, and truthfully .

A reply from your or council solicitors, including "legal threats ", or "injunctions" will not be acceptable ...

QUESTIONS OF PUBLIC INTEREST ... during your tenures as Mayor ...

a.What are, or were your - interests - benefits - income, from the following companies?

1.Eladbyr Pty Ltd (Brydale spelt differently) 000404455/07536736 registered 13/08/62 dereg. 10/7/99
2.Austrapac Pty Ltd 105490408 registered 10/7/03 deregistered 10/7/06
3.Brydale Pty Ltd 074497877 registered 21/06/96 deregistered 31/12/01
4.Northern Tyre Salvage Pty Ltd071976675 registered 28/11/95 deregistered 28/11/2005
5.Eminent Holdings Pty Ltd 010773172 registered 11/1/97 current
6.Beyond Shanghai Pty Ltd 111699097 registered 8/11/04 current
7.Brydale Pty Ltd 115843644 registered 19/08/05 current

b. In detail, disclose the source/s of the Companies Income ?

c.Why did it take you from 13/2/06 to 21/3/07 to disclose transfer of your shares in Beyond Shanghai ?.

d. Detail Beyond Shanghai's interests in Hotels/Resorts ... in Australia and elsewhere.

e.Why did you not disclose your interest in companies 4 - 5 - 7 above?

f. Please make Public the source of funds used to purchase the Whitfield home in your name.

g. Please make Public, details of all the Crime and Misconduct Commission complaints ... and the correspondence ... and detail your and councils responses ... and outcomes.

If you are unprepared to disclose this information it is the will of, we the people, of the Cairns/Douglas region, that in the public interest, you discontinue to seek re election as Mayor, for we require that our elected representatives serve, with integrity, the highest good of we, the people, residing within the new Cairns Regional Government area.

John Babet spokesperson
CRAG - Cairns Ratepayers Action Group
Monday 3 March 2008

PS: At a personal level are an ex military officer and student of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" ... Tzu says "know thy self"- "know thy enemy" ... in the context of the book perhaps you are your own worst enemy ... please be aware, that in your mind you appear to have turned the people of Cairns into your enemy ... we reject this philosophy ... we are all ONE ... we are all kindred spirits ... we are a diverse, loving community ... which is evidenced when adversity, like a cyclone, occurs.


Anonymous said...

I recall reading in the cairns post not long after the last election an article re Advance Cairns, just after Gen John Gray resigned from the board and there was new appointments apparently some tens of thousands of dollars was misused but was quickly replaced because a CMC enquiry was eminent. Possibly mates can help out if you wanted to buy property, say maybe at redlynch.

Anonymous said...

The more KB continues to dodge these issues, the more guilty he looks.

An innocent person would come clean straight away, dismissing these claims as rubbish.

An innocent candidate would also be happy to disclose their campaign donations, knowing they have nothing to hide. But from KB, despite the many requests from many sections, he continues his silence.


What does Byrne have to hide?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should be asking Val Scheir the same questions. Seems she has unlimited funds for advertising for her campaign.

Anonymous said...

As far as the public can tell, the only "business" done with the Chinese has been for some local gardeners.

Nothing else that I can see.

Anonymous said...

Gen. John Grey? Is this the imbecilic parrot who told us about Saddam Hussein's "weapons of mass destruction" and the "threat to the West posed by Iraq" and who was used by that other imbecilic parrot John MacKenzie to sell us the case for war with Iraq???
With simpleton gullibility like that, he wouldn't be much use to anyone.

Anonymous said...

val schier has unllimited funds for her campaign, you've got to be f**kinf joking!!!
She's got bugger all and is at a huge disadvantage. I'm sorry anon dude or dudette but to say Schier has much funds for her campaign is BS!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Babet's obvious mistake in this matter is mentioning of Byrne's family in the matter. One should not involve family at all in professional and political matters. This overshadows and detracts from any of the legitimate content of the story. Wot's Byrne daughter & wife & kin got to do with wot is essentially a matter of grown-ups arguing between themselves. Bad move Babet! I'm just saying this as a father myself in that one can react in a very emotionally protective manner that may seem irrational to others. While I’m not a Byrneophile as such I side with him on this one. Like I mean, why the f**k mention his family!? This is why Police paid attention & why Byrne got pissed off. We all have families! It makes me not pay attention at all to the detail of Babet's charges. Bynre has acted quite passively on this matter, other Fathers would do more!

Anonymous said...

Hello Monitor Lizard, many attempts were made for a private meeting with Kevin ... the phone call at home sunday morning was one last attempt to speak to him personally ... the inclusion of "in the best interest of you and your family" in the message was in the context of sparing them the embarrasment
of Kevins public humiliation ... ML you have a valid point but can anyone leave a faultless unscripted message ... its just another example of Kevins military dogma "attack is the best form of defence" ... all best CRAG

Anonymous said...

lizard; you protest so loudly?
Desiring a public office brings with it a hightened public visibility, this includes family.

Get past your tantrum, personal view of reality, inability to communicate without expletives and realise the voicemail was referring to KB potentially embarrasing his family as a result of his actions.

Anonymous said...

to last anon, I rest my case!