Tuesday 30 September 2008

Heritage vandlisim commenced

One of the many stalwart supporters to keep the historic Cairns Yacht Club building Ian Cole summed it up today, as he watched the team from Anton Demolitions start removing the roofing iron.
"It’s just so sad. After such an effort to save an old building, a place that has been part of a city’s growth and finding of identity, we witnessed the destruction of the Cairns Yacht Club Building today," he said.
"Ninety years of community involvement. Sport, celebration, music and dance. Gone. Why? Because there is a plan. No, a Masterplan. In fact the Cairns Port Master Plan."
Ian says it's inflexible, infallible, inconsiderate and destructive, and for what? To build some apartments for the well-heeled.
"What happened to the Labor Party? Where are the ethics, the morals, the principles? Sad, sad day," Ian Cole said.

Tuesday 11:35am, 29 degrees, Shields Street, Cairns Regional Council

CEC's new temp Chair

Missed it yesterday afternoon but Rob Borbidge resigned as CEC Chairman.

Tony Hartnell is their temp replacement, and it doesn't look like a planned succession. Maybe that's why CEC has been going up?!

Another DA to watch

Northern Beaches Warrior this morning pointed me to this notice that appeared in the Cairns Post last week.

It is an MCU to enable the "Greens" - the current building under construction which was supposed to be a “resort” - to become another multi-unit housing estate.
Here's the Development Approval, minus the maps.

As a local resident commented, “you will note that, by an amazing stroke of luck, the existing building layout already meets all the requirements for permanent residency, including extra car parking spaces not needed for the resort, but necessary for permanent residents. A cynic might conclude that this was the original intention, and all the publicity about a resort was just a front to ease through the approvals process."

A further cynic may also note that the planned "lifestyle centre" next to the resort-cum-housing complex is nowhere to be seen yet, and that the recent applications for extended liquor and gaming licenses might be precursors for a pub on that site. Who knows - anything is possible as we have seen.

My guess the 'Life style Centre' will become a couple of bars attached to the restaurant, smoking area out the front, a playground for the rugrats, a gaming room and TAB for mum and dad and the whole place let to the Housing Commission.

It is indeed an amazing stroke of luck that the half-completed building already meets the requirements.

Time will tell.

Submissions close 20 October 2008

Monday 29 September 2008

They're killing our waterfront

On Tuesday at 2pm there is an organised non-violent trespass action planned at the Yacht Club site.

Boss Bligh and Demolition Desley have rejected clear advice form of Cairns' residents.

Instead of preserving and adapting our heritage, on our land as 11,000 citizens have asked by way of petition, the Queensland ALP government is going to cash in by a building an ugly commercial and residential hise-rise on our waterfront.

Boyle and Bligh have forgotten who they are supposed to serve. It's up to us to make democracy work properly.

Many want to sanction Boyle, Wettenhall, Pit, and O'Brien at the ballot box next year. To do this we need to make a public act of defiance that will be remembered by Cairns' residents in 12 months time.

In the Cairns Post letters today, Bryan says...
  • I am not one of those who attacks Mayor Val Schier just because she’s not mayor Byrne, nor do I expect miracles from a new mayor learning how to use the levers of government.
    Mayor Schier has deserved her settling-in time and she deserves community support for her vision of a green, people friendly city in the tropics. So I'm happy the Cairns Regional Council and the people of Cairns have given Val such an opportunity to shine, by making her our advocate with the Queensland Premier and Cabinet about preserving and adapting our historic yacht club building in a revised and popular Cityport development proposal.
    Around 8500 Cairns residents signed the petition asking for that. Val Schier needs to earn their respect by delivering her end of the bargain. We need to see Anna Bligh talking to Val and other Cairns reps.
    I know if Val Schier is going to be any good at doing her job, she is going to bring Premier Bligh in front of the people of Cairns to discuss the future of our yacht club building and our city port.
If you'd like to get involved in this non-violent civil disobedience on Tuesday, you can ring Bryan Law on 0403 049 566 or 4052 1563. Bryan is holding a meeting this evening for those who would like to know more or would like to participate.

Our City, Our land, Our heritage.

Sunday 28 September 2008

Caption Contest

Spotted at Smithfield Centre, this week. Thought we could have some fun with this one.
  1. "Mummy, how come daddy doesn't wear undies like that?"
  2. "Mummy, why is he smiling with such a small dick like that?"
  3. "Suzie, stop looking at that photo, you'll never get a boy like that, they're all gay."
  4. "Mummy, why doesn't daddy look like that, did he let it go after you got married?"
  5. "Suzie, please don't become a perv in your young age, please."
  6. ........... your turn ...........

The last dance

The last night at the old Cairns Yacht Club last Saturday was momentous. Wendy Richardson, the organiser behind PADYC's campaign to protect and save the historic Cairns waterfront building reflects.

Around four hundred people gathered to see it out; many were very sad and frustrated at being told it cannot stay where it is, at least as a heritage tourism site. Basil had danced across the floorboards for over 66 years – he met his wife there too. Others were tourists, there for the first time.

The moon was up, slipping between clouds, its silver reflection on the water. Ocean Spirit cruised back and forth with its big mainsail aloft and its dinner cruise guests laughing; children played on the moonlit beach below where earlier fire dancers had performed.

The outline of the mountains and Trinity Inlet were faintly visible past the silhouette of a clump of palm trees swaying gently in the balmy air.

It was easy to imagine the American servicemen who reputedly claimed the verandah as their domain during the dances in WW2, kicking back with a cigarette or two out there, while the Aussies whirled their dance partners round the floor or downed a few drinks at the bar between sad stories of lost mates or yarns of their larrikin ways.

Back in the present, the dancers stomped and twisted their way through the musical memories of the decades oblivious to a single figure standing at midnight by the softly lapping water, staring past the abandoned piles of the old wharf. His desperation to keep this memory in his mind forever was palpable. His anguish was shared.

The loss of this site and building is a travesty; to quote the Queensland Heritage Council Chairman, Prof John Brannock in the Cairns Post in May 2003 ‘the demolition of the Cairns Yacht Club would be a terrible loss to the city and would reduce the social and cultural value of its waterfront irreparably.

Mysteriously, John Brannock changed his mind by December 2003 and, using his casting vote, caused the building to be lost forever to this city. But he was not alone in a campaign to rid the waterfront of this building and all that it represents. In fact he was probably just a pawn.

Many questions remain unanswered. PADYC will not rest until we have them.

When trees attack

The tragic freak accident in Port Douglas on Thursday where a young boy was killed by a falling tree, has made it onto a bizarre US website called When Trees Attack.

I guess you can work out what that site is all about.


A CairnsBlog reader north of BrisVegas told about the drama going on about a highway billboard that went up this week.
The RACQ wants the Ipswich sign removed, or at least put up "the right way" because they believe it's a hazard. "We're horrified that Personalised Plates Queensland are behind this campaign to sell car number plates on behalf of Queensland Transport," they told Brisbane Times.

"It will cause distraction. People will turn their necks to try to understand it," the humour-less RACQ says.

However PPQ doesn't think it's a distraction, and believe it's just a clever bit of marketing. "It's a bit of fun. No one complained when we displayed these elsewhere."

Saturday 27 September 2008

A Council approved what?

According to a Kewarra Beach resident who snapped this wee gem on the way home today, there's a Council approved cyclone shelter on the market to "give your family peace of mind in the safety of a cyclone shelter."

Maker Markus Rogers of Gordonvale says his business is about saving lives, and for around $9,000 you can have one of these delivered to your back yard.

"Surviving a cyclone is easy. You must prepare now so you are not at a disadvantage when a cyclone appears," says Markus. "My aim is to increase public awareness with information and education, about cyclone preparedness."

Hear, hear.

A real advert from today's Cairns Post

Gloria says...

  • It's great to know that people like you are doing it [with CairnsBlog]!

    When Desley took business people to task, she did not mention the piles of rubbish, faeces, urine etc left on their doorsteps overnight. Who is responsible for that?

    And for attacks on civilians... Judy Spence has to listen to local reps??? Not the people? Once again, dollars make good blinkers.

    I'm 80 odd, and never seem to find time...never mind, keep up the good work.

    - Gloria Anderlini

McCain's campaign for dummies

A funny take on McCain's absence this week from the wonderful Indexed Blog.
Hat Tip: Syd Walker

Some sad overnight robbers

In the early hours of Saturday morning, someone attempted to break into a Northern Beaches charity shop.

"What did they think they were going to get?" said assistant store manager of the Smithfield Salvation Army charity store, Fina who was shocked to see the results of an attempted break in when she arrived to open the Salvado Drive shop this morning.

"Why would anyone want to break into a charity store?" Fina asked.

MONEY FOR NOTHING Salvation Army workers George and Fina
survey the damage to the reinforced glass door.

"We will have to get this repaired now and that is not cheap," Fina said. It appeared a hammer and a screwdriver had been used, which will now cost the charity a couple of hundred dollars to repair.

The new location is sparsely populated, with little lighting. Large street graffiti adorns a number of the surrounding buildings.

The Army's Smithfield charity store relocated to the quiet industrial area, across the Captain Cook highway from Smithfield Centre three months ago. They vacated their well-known shop to make way for a new cinema complex.

2pm today

A corrupt out of touch State Government

It's worth having a read through this.

Meticulously compiled by a local researcher, these are the Record of Proceedings from the Queensland Legislative Assembly, over the past few years. It chronicles every mention in our Parliament about the fight to save the Cairns Yacht Club building, up till last month when nearly 10,000 locals signed a petition.

The highlighted coloured parts are the ones worth paying attention to. Some will make your blood boil especially where it says about the Cairns Yacht Club building's heritage listing application “after considering the independent assessor’s report, the Heritage Council decided against listing the Cairns Yacht Club [building].”

The way this reads several times, one could read an inference into it that the assessor actually didn’t think it deserved to be listed. In fact he did think it should be listed and disagreed with the Assessor for the Port Authority who said it didn't have State significance. But he was commissioned and paid to come up with that answer.
  • The provision of ongoing funding for redevelopments of the Esplanade, Cityport Wharf area and the central business district could only be seen as a stimulus', Northern Industry Development Association chairman Russell Board said. 'We see these as keystone projects for Cairns—there's a lot at stake with them because they will have a big impact on the confidence of property developers,' Mr Board said. 'They will act as a very positive stimulus and will probably lead to further private investment.' That is something which this Government is aiming to achieve.
This starts to show the long trail of practices leading to the inference of corruption on this long sordid story.

The other mitigating point is the Certificate of Immunity that was granted to the Cairns Port Authority.
  • "This is done in order to encourage and facilitate financial transactions so it will not be an impediment to a sale that there may be a possibility of heritage registration."

Member for Cook Bredhauer, the then Minister for Transport and Minister for
Main Roads...

  • With respect to port-related amendments, it is proposed to clarify the powers of the Cairns Port Authority under the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994, to enable delivery of all aspects of the Cairns Cityport development presently being undertaken by that authority. The project will be managed through a series of development leases. Once each precinct project is successfully completed, the lease then allows for the freehold title to pass from the port authority to the developer.

So Desley Boyle was spot on. It was all about money. The whole thing is a commercial decision to raise revenue from the sale of the land and the development of private buildings on the site. Without question, she has failed her people. When she leaves office, either by vote or retirement, this will be her legacy to the community of Cairns. Oh, and the disgusting CBD she referred to last weekend.

The people had little chance to keep their beloved heritage.

Friday 26 September 2008

Commodore Ferguson leaves with memories

This afternoon, Cairns Yacht Club Commodore Warner Ferguson left the old Wharf Street waterfront building with mixed feelings.
"It's a sad time, but the politicians put us here," he said.
Surrounded by a 100 meter steel perimeter fence, constructed by local family firm Anton Demolitions, the old club house is on death row.
"We've got most of the things out of the building, and some will go to Ellis Beach, which we plan to develop," Ferguson said.
We've been on this site, in this building since 1908," he recalled. "I must look through the Club Minutes, as they go back even beyond that. SO there is sadness about leaving this building."
Commodore Ferguson also was questioning the future plans for the site, which even he was unsure of.
"I'll be very disappointed if this is another high-rise, right here."
Anton Demolitions were very coy about revealing plans that they are now contracted to undertake for the Port Authority. They are effectively under a gag order and didn't want to discuss their work.
"Our job is to do this will minimal damage to the parts that will be retained," they said today. "We know that there is a large amount of public feeling and anger about what is going on."
A trespass gathering will be staged at the site to breach the perimeter fence on Tuesday afternoon at 2pm.
"It will be to display to the State Government that we are upset and very disappointed that they have not listened to the people of Cairns," says protest organiser Bryan Law.
A Rally will be held at ANZAC Park opposite the Yacht Club building tomorrow (Saturday) at 2pm. Speakers include the State Opposition Heritage spokesperson, and Professor Jan Wegner from James Cook University, who was involved in the original heritage listing application.

Desley in town?

Some faithful CairnsBlog reader sent this in today.
They thought this was the Member for Cairns Desley Boyle's vehicle, spotted parked not 100 meters from Councillor Blake's office.
I think they might be right!

Kamerunga becoming famous

An exciting new local 7-piece band, Kamerunga is very different to the well-known predecessor Snake Gully, and is beginning to gather serious momentum.
The Push, their debut album was produced by ARIA award winner and ex-Steeleye Span drummer Nigel Pegrum, and will be released at the Tanks Arts Centre on Friday October 10th.
They will feature alongside PNG band Tribe of Jubal (long- time Yothu Yindi drummer, Ben Hakalitz, is in both bands). They'll also be at the Yungaburra Folk Festival on the weekend of October 25th and 26th.
You can also catch Kamerunga nationally and internationally via Sydney's Planet label and iTunes. Not band for a Cairns export!
They have already been booked for the Woodford Folk Festival and Port Fairy Folk Festival, and the other biggie, the National Folk Festival in Canberra. "Then it's overseas," says band member and local writer Tony Hillier.
Hillier says that Kamerunga puts a fresh and funky twist on Australiana and Celtic music.
"It combines folk influences with jazz, rock, reggae, classical and world music elements and melding mandolin, fiddle and guitar wizardry with sizzling saxophone, keyboards and a dynamic rhythm section," Tony says. "We take listeners on an exhilarating journey, musically and geographically — from Cooktown to Cork, from Jabiru to Johannesburg, from Brisbane to Barbados."
Not bad for an unknown band.

Half a mill for Kowanyama

Local Property developer CEC has had a good few days rallying back up over 20c, but still on an awfully thin volume of only 60,000 odd shares today.

The only news seems to have been this announcement on their Rapidbuild system which was put on hold earlier in the year.

“A total of 8 Rapidbuild houses will be built in Kowanyama with a total project value of $4.4 million,” CEO Roy Lavis said. “These homes are perfect for any isolated region. It is commercially viable for us to ship prefabricated homes by truck or barge, send in a small work force and where possible, utilise local labour to assist on site."

So that's around $550,000 per house? In Kowanyama!?

Banning Blake

At yesterday's Council meeting, our CBD Councillor Alan Blake, who infamously stood in City Place days after being re-elected with a mop and bucket as a publicity stunt, failed to get the numbers in his bid to chair the CBD revitalisation committee.

A long sentence, but short story.

CairnsBlog cartoon by Circusmouse

Something stinks about this bit of dirt

You know, I've been following the battle to save the old Yacht Club building for only a quarter of the time Rob Williams, Ray Taylor, and former commodore Bob Rendall have.

Over the last 17 months, I've written numerous articles about how and why the decision not to heritage list the historic Cairns Yacht building occurred. It's been an education in 101 community politics.

Early on I was warned by some to stay away from the subject. However the more I dug down, I discovered how undemocratic the the State Government and the equally secretive Port Authority was.

In the last few weeks, as D-Day has approached, the State Government have been backed into a embarrassing political corner. As every week has past, it's made them look more and more out of touch with the people, and their political spin doctors and media managers in Brisbane have just started to realise the enormous damage this issue is doing the party in Far North Queensland. Pitt, O'Brien, Wettenhall, and especially Boyle, have been in a real pickle over the Yacht Club dilemma. This issue will galvanise a kinetic revolt at the polling booth next year. There is no doubt about that. Even Turnour has failed to stand up for his wider constituency. They are a sorry and spineless bunch when they have not once acknowledged the strong will of the people.

I've said before that this old somewhat rusty old building, is a symbol of what community means to us. It's a symbol of what little we have left from our early colonial past. We hunger for such things as a community. It connects us spiritually to former days when our town was growing and developing.

The alternative plan is for corporate and residentail private tower block, a back-to-back Berlin Wall that the Port Authority have planned along Trinity Inlet. It will disenfranchise and disconnect the public from our sacred coastline.

Last week Labor realised the need to show some sympathy, but also wanted to show that they knew what was best for us. The public needn't be party to it, we can make that decision for them. After months of saying the same old bullshit story that the Yacht Club is getting a new $6M home, we realised this was an outright lie. The new multi-use facility at the northern corner of the Marina, is a flash upmarket commercial public restaurant, called the Salt House. At it's rear is a flash upmarket commercial public bar, called WankerVille. Then there a flash upmarket commercial pubic toilet. Right next door is a 68sq meter concrete bunker, that the Yacht Club will share with others. It doesn't even have a window looking at the water. The club members have been fooled and cheated on this move.

So the story about was an outright lie. But we've worked that spin out weeks, or months ago.

However this campaign has nothing to do with the Yacht Club. It has to do with saving a unique piece of early Queensland history. It is probably one of the longest standing absolute waterfront structures from the turn of the century in Australia.

Desley has been hiding under her self-imposed exile, with not a minute spent of responded to the reported 550 letters she's received. She's also deliberately and defiantly ignored 11,000 of her residents that petitioned for a fair go on this issue. She ignored everyone of them. She sent Wettenhall, her neighbouring MP up the Barron River without a paddle, to do the dirty stinking work of a PR sham yesterday. It was the worst impression of a white knight in a shinny suit I've ever seen. I expected better of him.

Whilst holding the hand Port Authority's Skarott the Parrot, he said that the proposed move to JCU for the building is a pleasing result. He faithfully announced that the political games are now over. Stephen, you are very naive if you believe that, and I think deep down in your heart, you know that. Wettenhall hasn't had much time in politics yet, in fact, I've worked in Parliament and the game of politics for a lot longer, and know full well that you won't placate the masses with such patsy stage manged shows like that. You'll need to do a whole lot better.

The shameful thing in all of this, is that Labor could have, and could still, claw back some modicum of respect by listening ad supporting the community.

With all the information that has come my way over the last year and a half, I've come to the realisation that the core reason why those at the top of the money food chain what rid of this Yacht Club building noose, is a deal was done some time back.

They are committed to that land being free.

So it got me thinking. And it got me asking in all the wrong corners.

Why are they so sold that the Cairns Yacht Club building has to stay put? The question on everyone’s lips is why not? Why can’t the Cityport Masterplan be amended to include a revamped Yacht Club building as a heritage tourism site?

Plenty of other features in Cityport have been changed since its inception in 1996, so what impediment is there on this one? When I heard Steve Wettenhall yesterday on ABC Far North (we love you Fiona) saying that it had been planned years ago, he sounded more like a out of touch politician than anyone interested in representing after the people. Like all MPs, he signed a solemn oath to advocate and represent his people. It's taken Steve less than one term to turn his back on the people that want to be heard on this issue. He won't be the only one to loose his seat over this. It's nice he will have his law business to head back to next year. And yet, he seemed such a promising representative of the community, he's performed poorly on this issue. However Steve isn't alone in this lack of understanding. Turnour has been invisible as a Federal advocate on this issue. But really, this has been a mess created solely by the Member for Cairns, Desley Boyle. This could have been headed off at the pass years ago.

So back to this unique and valuable bit of land where the building still rests tonight. The obvious first possibility is that Cairns Ports are under instructions to obtain vacant possession of the site from their masters, the Bligh State Government, who are cash-strapped and will sell anything that isn’t nailed down to ease their burgeoning debt. Their debt is recorded to be in the billions. It's a frightening situation. Boyle confirmed this situation to Mark Buttrose last week. Their financial situation is appalling. The Cairns Airport sale will net them around $250 million, after they spend a similar amount renovating it. Now that has to be one of Bligh's and Boyle most stupid decisions ever.

So, with the airport sale, Cairns Port Authority is running out of revenue-raising infrastructure.

This doesn’t explain why the obsession to clear the site has been going on for a decade, or why there are the crazed looks, or the frantic protests of “No, it can’t, it just can't !” by Port Authority officials and Government Members whenever the issue of keeping the building on it's present site is raised.

It would seem that there are other reasons.

The obvious question has to be asked, has it been promised to someone; has a ‘sweetheart deal’ been done?? This is followed up by “Who’s it been done with?” and “Have they already delivered their end of the bargain, thereby obligating Cairns Ports now to deliver theirs.

One major contender for ‘the someone’ would have to be the neighbouring Hilton Hotel. A number of different people have raised this with me and are certain this is what has been going on behind the boardroom doors for years.

The Hilton sits on part of a block of land which is now under one title, along with the Yacht Club and the former Great Adventures site. They, and more recently their wedding chapel, have a lease on this freehold land which is owned by the Port Authority. So, no it hasn’t been sold.

The original concept plan for Cityport apparently showed a building that was a mirror image of the current Hilton Hotel on the Yacht Club building site. The Hilton was also the only commercial entity to object to the heritage listing of the Yacht Club's retention in 2003.

Word has it too that the obliteration of the Hilton's views by Harbor Lights (Blights) was to be compensated by conversion of the Hilton leasehold to freehold. On top of this, two people previously associated with Cairns Ports, believe it is the Hilton who would be most interested in the land.

This may be well speculative, but until we get straight and open answers than ‘we need to create open public space’ or ‘we have to ensure connectivity between Cityport North and South’, the questions will be open.

Politics used to be democracy in action. However this elitist unilateral decision will only benefit the elite who can afford the view and the flash pad at number 4 Wharf Street. Even the pension of a former MP would hardly stretch to that.

Whilst I'm pleased to have Val Schier as an alternative to Pol Pot, she has hardly been vocal on this. Val resigned herself to the fact that she couldn't influence the decision after her March election victory. She really underestimated her weight and the power of regional representation. This community grass roots campaign is the type that got her over the line. If she loudly and proudly banged the Council table, she would have been listened to by Premier Bligh. Val could have come into her own if she picked up this campaign. She would have been remembered for ever as the one that saved some important Cairns heritage for future generations. However the Labor cronies got to her.

The Mayor and Councillor Forsyth have still not reported back to the community following the September 11th motion that was passed. It read:-

  • (a) That Council communicates with the Premier of Queensland, the Transport Minister, the Treasurer and Chairman Cairns Ports as a matter of urgency requesting the proposed imminent demolition or removal of the Cairns Yacht Club building be put on hold.

    (b) That a meeting be convened between Council, State Government, Cairns Ports, Indigenous and community representatives to identify planning issues, ongoing management and funding in relation to the retention of the Cairns Yacht Club Building on it’s current site and adapt the Cairns Yacht Club building for cultural and heritage tourism ventures as part of the waterfront development.

    (c) That Council recognise the petition of more that 10,000 Queensland citizens, including around 8,000 residents from the Cairns Region requesting the retention of the Cairns Yacht Club Building on it’s current waterfront site.
Why has the Premier not availed herself to this meeting with our Mayor? It is the will of the Cairns Regional Council to negotiate on this matter. We have now lost faith in the Premier, the Labor State Government and more recently, the Cairns Regional Council.
  • "Unfortunately, I have not been in a position to be able to influence the state government's decision.

    A meeting with Premier Bligh was requested as a result of the Council resolution of the week before last; unfortunately, the Premier’s office has indicated that the government’s previous decision stands.

    Cr Val Schier
    Cairns Regional Council
    Phone: 07 4044 3083

So there you go. The State Government totally snubbed the entire Cairns Community and it's elected Council. They weren't even prepared to meet with it's Mayor as directed under Council motion. What absolute arrogance.

If they can't stand up for us on this, then what are they capable of? Knee-jerk politics is very poor form. There has been no strategic approach to this. They were desperate to solve this, yet they've made a mess of the whole fiasco.

"If evidence is required as to why the community are rapidly losing confidence in our leader's ability to safeguard the scenic treasures we have here in our midst, against unsatisfactory development and where noble rhetoric doesn't match reality, look no further than the Cairns Yacht Club building," says Ray Taylor.

Maybe Boyle has been promised a Penthouse suite when the replacement building is competed. It will no doubt come with insulated inch-thick glass, so no noisy Dixie Jazz band can interfere in her retirement at the end of next year.

Thursday 25 September 2008

The decision to Heritage register the Yachtie

Boy killed by tree

This just in... a palm tree fell on and killed a 4-year-old boy in Port Douglas this afternoon.

An older male with the boy, presumed to be his father, received injuries to his head.

Hillslope and habitat protection sought

Cairns' regional environmental watchdog Cafnec, is asking residents to lobby their local councillor to support the hillslope and habitat protection proposal that is currently before the Cairns Regional Council.
You can download this letter and send it to your local councillor. If you still think your Councillor is Kathy Plath or Paul Freebody, or even Terry James, then I suggest you check to find out who your local cop is.
Save Our Slopes and the Whitfield Hill Community Action Group will present a report outlining 25 proposals dealing with around 60 areas of hillslope and vegetation rezoning. This includes the slopes of False Cape. Cafnec says they deal with zonings within the Cairns Plan that are in conflict with it’s own Desired Environmental Outcomes and asks that these areas be designated ‘Conservation’.
"This would entitle private landowners to build a house and caretakers residence but prohibit allotments from being subdivided," says Cafnec's Steve Ryan.
"This years’ Local Government Elections saw several sitting councillors elected on a platform of hillslopes and habitat protection, Ryan says.
"Now is the time for this Council to deliver on these promises. Action today will not only help preserve the nature and character of our region, but will also allow future decisions to be made without having to be defended through expensive legal action," Steve Ryan says.

Public Rally - Saturday 2pm

Wednesday 24 September 2008

There are still options

The State Member for Cairns Desley Boyle, still privately acknowledges the fight to retain the Yacht club building on the existing site is not over.

"I know many people will be devastated if the building goes," she said in a private meeting just two weeks ago.

Meanwhile, a boasting Cairns Port Authority chairman Clive Skarott said the situation was "win, win, win" for everyone. Well, it's simply not. The community have been disenfranchised. They have not been involved in this move at all. Maybe he was referring to a win to the Port Authority, a win for Labor, and a win for some developer that will lease out the new high rise.

Skorott is simply keen to get the old shack off the land. However, the community have spoken loud and clear for nearly five years, and they're not letting the Port Authority and the State Government get away with this un-noticed. Skorott also laughably said that the proposed new JCU location is a waterfront location, as it will sit alongside a creek at Smithfield. What an insult.

Furthermore, the State Labor Government and the Cairns Port Authority have not declared why this land where the old building site, is so important for them to retain. Why won't they allow an historical buildiong, of great significance to the local and Queensland community, to remain in situ. They have not explained this openly. They owe this to us all.

CairnsBlog can reveal today that State Member for Cairns Desley Boyle is still open to re-Master Planning the entire area, to integrate community interface with Trinity Inlet.

City architect Mark Buttrose is looking into the plan where Advance Cairns, the Mayor, Eve Stafford and the Premier would agree to better public integration of the City Port redevelopment that would provide more interface.

"Look at significant cities around the world that have done this," Mark Buttrose said. "Like Rome, London, even Wellington's waterfront, they are a magnificent combination of the restored old and new."

Buttrose, who has been involved in many significant public infrastructure re-developments around Cairns, says that public interface and community access to the Trinity Inlet area is vital. "What is proposed is not acceptable, it can be done a lot better, with better long-term outcomes for the entire community."

However Mayor Val Schier says that the option that never ever got off the ground was to let the Yacht Club members move to their new premises, then put the land up for sale with a covenant that the old Aquatic Club building must be upgraded and incorporated into any re-development that took place on the site.

"That way, some economic potential is realised to assist in future City Port development and an adaptive use is made of the old building," Val Schier told CairnsBlog. "In Singapore there are old wharf buildings being retained with new, multi-story buildings rising behind them. Not the ideal, but certainly a compromise which allows the old and the new to co-exist and for visitors and residents to get that important glimpse into the past which helps us to understand who we are and where we've come from."

"I am sure there would have been development interest in this option," Mayor Val Schier said today.

It is important to understand that the old building was provisionally hertitage listed because it did satisfy the cultural heritage significance criteria. It was knocked out on the basis of boundary uncertainties - a complete nonsense but nevertheless what happened as the result of objections. [SEE Council’s archived minutes ]. It is appalling that our own Council was party to this.

This Saturday at 2pm, the Opposition Heritage Minister, David Gibson, will lead the charge at a Rally at ANZAC Park, opposit the Yacht Club building.

Does age determine maturity

JCU's Student Psychology Association host their 17th debate this Friday with the motion up for discussion to see if age determines maturity.

It's on this Friday from 6pm at the Crowther Theatre, James Cook University.

Speakers are Ernest Ross, from Tjapukai cultural park; and Dr Ina Flockhart, a clinical psychologist; Amelia Torre a year 12 captain from Saint Monica's College; Councillor Kirsten Lesina, also a year 12 school captain from Saint Monica's College... opps, I mean JCU law graduate, and also the world's youngest ever Councillor.

There'll be drinks a desert at Stinger's Bar following the debate and it's free to come along.

A JCU student said to me today, "I imagine Kirsten is a riveting public speaker, perhaps she should do it naked?" I'm still trying to work out what he meant.

Anti-Bush merchandise damage US markets

A funni from The Onion, thanks to KiwiBlog.

Economists Warn Anti-Bush Merchandise Market Close To Collapse

Richardson on ABC

Wendy Richardson, representing PADYC - the group that have campaigned to protect and retain the Yacht Club building on it's present site, will be on ABC Far North this morning at 8:30am.

She'll be talking with the new Pat Morrish, Fiona Sewell.

Tune in on 106.7 FM. It's also on something called AM.

PADYC is organizing a public rally this weekend to protest about the removal of the Cairns Yacht Club from its site. Further advice will be available as soon as venue and key speakers are confirmed.

Tuesday 23 September 2008

Government: Yacht building off to JCU

A nervous, confused and non-consultative State Government are going to move the old Cairns Yacht Club building to the James Cook University campus, widely suspected to be land they own in Greenslopes Street, rather than the University's Smithfield campus.

As I exclusively wrote yesteday, the move has had no involvement from community interest groups.

There is strong objection to the building being moved out to Smithfield which is Commonwealth owned. The city land is believed to be owned by JCU, and comes under State, not local Council control.

Why move a sea faring building to a land locked destination? God only knows. They certainly didn't consult with the community about this.

Those campaigning for it's preservation on the existing site are not giving up.

"We are currently investigating the relevance of the Burra Charter," Wendy Richardson told CairnsBlog late this evening. "There will also be other direct action planned later this week."

Today, I received one of the many form letters from the Premier's Office, who are now rather skilled at fobbing off the thousands of residents across the State that want to keep the building. A large number of residents have reported to me receiving the same letter, word for word.

No one in the Premier's office is taking the concerns on board from local Cairns residents seriously.

Meanwhile, Yacht Club officials were busy all day today, removing fixtures and memorabilia from the 103 year old Wharf Street building.

This morning the balcony awning was removed, which will be relocated to the Club's Ellis Beach site. Two car load's of old trophies and awards will also need to find a new home, as club veterans packed them up this morning.

"It's a sad, sad situation," they said.

Give them 53 sq meters...

It seems that far from returning the land they stole from us, Villa Romana are hell bent on taking more footpath.

Their sidewalk advertising board is a monster, the biggest along the entire Esplanade strip. It creeps out on the already narrow footpath. Their protruding restaurant wall is subject to a Council demolition order, that was meant to be attended to by last week.

So, the contempt shown by Villa is beyond belief.

Council regulations seem to be flouted regarding the size of the sandwich advertising boards. They must be registered and display a Council permit, and of course these boards display no such approval.

Footpath signs are regulated to be 60cm X 90 cm, the same size as an election corflute.

Villa is still one of Bulldozer's favourite restaurants. KB and Muckenzy were there scoffing back a vino last Thursday afternoon.

Top 50 People We Hate List

Zoo Weekly's Top 50 People We Hate List. Out today on all dodgy newstands.

1. Sonny Bill Williams
2. Amrozi
3. Belinda Neal
4. Wayne Carey
5. Nick D'Arcy
6. SA Attorney General Michael Atkinson
7. Pope Benedict
8. Indy 500 General Manager, Greg Hooten
9&10. John Earnest and Anne Deaves - father and daughter who became dad and mum.
11. Big Brother contestant Terri
12. Corey Worthington
13. Greg Norman
14. Mercedes Corby
15. Schapelle Corby
16. Peter MacDonald - James Hardie boss who avoided paying compensation.
17. David Miscavige
18. Dennis Ferguson
19. Kyle Sandilands
20. David Koch
21. The girl from the AAMI ads
22. Marcus Trescothick
23. Rove McManus
24. George W Bush
25. Toadie from Neighbours
26. Bank CEOs
27. Japanese Whalers
28. Radovan Karadzic
29. Sheik Yamani
30. Martin Lawrence
31. John Darwin
32. Sarah Jessica Parker
33. Jamie O liver
34. Todd McKenney
35. & 36. Rick Dyer and Matthew Whitton - gave false hope to Bigfoot believers.
37. Judge who jailed lesbians in Dubai
38. Gordon Ramsay
39. Britney Spears
40. Patrick Swayze
41. Tamsyn Lewis
42. Amy Winehouse
43. Pamela Anderson
44. Madonna
45. Johanna Griggs
46. Heath Franklin
47. Peter Hore
48. Heather Mills .
49. Tim Johnson
50. Milton Orkopoulos

Read the full story here

The I Don't Wanna Know Councillor

It would appear that one of our civic leaders, Councillor Alan Blake, chooses to remain ignorant about history and what is happening to Cairns.

In an email to all Cairns Regional Councillors, to seek support for the historic Cairns Yacht Club building, local campaigner Ray Taylor said "this provides yet more ammunition to the argument that this place is of 'significance', Ray Taylor said in the email.

Ray included a letter from one of the RAAF pilots that used the Yacht Club during the war years.
  • From: Alan Blake
    'raymond taylor'
    Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 5:31 PM
    Subject: RE: Emailing: Press Release-21.0

    Please remove this spam from my email address.

    Unwanted emails will be dealt with as per the Privacy Act.

    Thank you.. AB

Now this isn't email spam, by any definition.

I've had the wrath of Sir Alan, which may surprise some. We were, I thought, kinda good mates throughout the months running up to the election, but all that changed.

The night before the new Council was sworn in a couple of weeks after the March 15 election, I received a late telephone call around 10:30pm. Some of Alan's concerns were valid, which I won't relay here, but his tone and threats were extraordinary.

So all my 'friendship' amounted to nought. Zip. Nil. I even enjoyed a nice social friendship with his politically savvy son Danny, who manages the family furniture business. A number of luncheons and coffee dates later, it was nice to connect with a Councillor, regardless of our political leanings. I even had coffee dates with Lance Royce, the former Liberal chair, who is more right of centre than Hitler. Byrne's former foot soldier Dennis Quick shouted me a cuppa just a few weeks ago.

I guess Alan was protecting himself and I, or the Blog, was a handy security blanket. As CairnsBlog reached a critical mass around pre-election Cairns, Alan would rather have been kept out of it's firing line I presume. However, he was never my target.

So when Ray Taylor gets an email like this, it simply makes a mockery of the role a Councillor has to undertake. To serve and listen to all.

To threaten dear ol Ray Taylor, a long time contributor to this community, it paramount to an abuse of his role, and one would have to question the appropriateness of threatening a constituent with the weight of the Privacy Law.

Alan, you may not agree with this issue to save the old Yacht Club building, but many do. Your Council passed two motions to advocate and protect this building on it's present site. You have an obligation to now stand behind that motion. You are the Councillor in the Division where this old building sits, and you are treating the Cairns community - at least those 11,000 that signed the most recent petition - with contempt.

"He's just another plonker in paradise," Ray Taylor says.

I have to agree.

Monday 22 September 2008

CairnsBlog contributors

Here they are. The regular stable of CairnsBlog contributors.

If you'd like to join the team, then email me. We'll send around Ben and Biff for a interview. Oh, and Councillor Blake.

Download a free film, but not in Oz

At midnight tomorrow, US time, my namesake Michael Moore is allowing people to legally download his new feature-length film, for free.

"I'm giving it to you as a gift of thanks for coming to my films over the 20 years I've been a filmmaker," he says. Moore wants to mobilise the country to vote in their upcoming elections on November 4th.

"That's why I'm giving you my blanket permission to not only download it, but also to email it, burn it, and share it with anyone and everyone," he said today. However us Aussies and Kiwis, won't be able to, as it's only available to the US and Canada.

Slacker Uprising chronicles a 62-city tour Moore did leading up to the 2004 election. "This is my concert film tribute to the young voters who are going to save this country from four more years of Republican rule," he says.

Throughout the tour he famously gave out instant noodles, as he felt these 'slackers' were sitting in front of their TVs and ordering pizza. A Senator wanted to file legal charges against Moore for bribery. Although his efforts didn't keep Bush out of the White House, he did have an impact of promoting the largest turnout of young voters ever at the polls.

Beyond the US shores, we can by a DVD version for around 21 Aussie bucks, delivered. I might wait a week or two until someone dumps it up on Pirate Bay.

Labor MPs in lockdown over Yacht building plan

Following my report this morning where I released details about Labor's plan to move the Cairns Yacht Club building, the region's Labor MPs are not talking.

Three 'traditional' media outlets have now telephoned me, asking what's going on. "We talked to Wettenhall's office, but they won't tell us a thing," said one TV reporter.

This is indicative of how the entire issue surrounding the Yacht Club building's retention is being mis-handling from the State government. The process has never been open nor transparent. There has been no public consultation or input allowed. The Port Authority has also treated the local Cairns community with contempt of the Yacht Club building.

“The Cairns Yacht Club building should never have had to move! It’s as simple as that!” said Wendy Richardson, who has been coordinating a group called People Against Demolishing the Yacht Club.

She said that Steve Wettenhall's claim a new location will please many people is an insult to the citizens of Cairns. "It's another demonstration of the serious lack of vision this state government has when faced with a choice of immediate dollars or plans for the future,” Richardson says.

“One of the most disturbing features of this whole saga has been the fear that the Yacht Club membership and other influential people in the community have expressed about talking openly on the issue. They have seriously feared reprisals from either the State Government or the Port Authority if they said how they really felt,” says Richardson.

People involved in the PADYC campaign have been told that there have been threats of intimidation if they speak out. "We don’t agree with what’s happening, but we are funded by the State Government/have employment through the Port Authority and can’t be seen to go against them.’

Richardson says that this is a serious erosion of democracy, and the end result is a smug government who know they have bought silence and compliance.

“The 88 year old Cairns Yacht Club building, which was probably rebuilt from the original one of 103 years vintage, has also been much maligned due to its current dilapidated exterior and corroded 1960’s style verandah," she says. "Surely it does not take too much to imagine the renovated end product, especially if one takes a look at retired architect, Bob Cleland’s plans for such a renovation. These plans have been shown to the community for several years now.”

PADYC believe the building could provide a vital piece of heritage tourism, much needed in our city. They have proposed a community board running the overall operation, similar to Cominos House in Greenslopes Street. It could include a commercial operator running the restaurant and bar with a coffee shop added, a dance hall section, and cultural uses from indigenous performances to ballroom dancing. There would also be opportunities to incorporate multimedia displays for tourists and locals.

“Once relocated, it is hard to see how the building can provide this heritage tourism opportunity that would have brought us economic value and the ‘soul’ that heritage locations give a community.”

Wendy Richardson says that the lost potential from removing the building means replacement. "It means replacing a facility for everyone with a privately owned residential block. Nothing of great importance, especially since there are to be many more built in the same Cityport area”, says Richardson. “Taking the Yacht Club away leaves a gap to be filled and no-one I’ve spoken to wants highrise there.”

“On top of all this, the most serious question of all that needs to be asked is Why? Why is this small piece of land so vital to the Port Authority? Why is there such a feverish, hysterical response from both the Port Authority and the State Government absolutely insisting that the building must go? Who have they promised it to?”

The community have not been involved nor engaged in this debate that has raged now for around four years. You would think, showing the enormous amount of community interest, that the Government would, at the very least, engage and ask what they think, should they insist on a relocation plan.

Wendy Richardson says that one day we will find out the answers about who the building and the land is promised to. "By the time we find out what was behind all this, the building and the site will be handed over.”

She asks for the wider community of Cairns to not give in. "Do not be conned into thinking something wonderful is being done here. Certainly relocation is better than demolition, but neither should have been on the cards.”

“Whatever our Labor members have in mind for the building, it is not what most of us wanted. 11,000 people have said so via the petition, with many more agreeing via polls and letters to the Editor. The government should have used the money they now have on offer to renovate the building for us all, and remain where it is."

The State Government should be ashamed to call themselves representatives. The irony of today's news is pathetic and insulting. Tonight the Deputy Premier will be in Cairns to launch a series of public forums asking the community what they want there region to look like. Their Toward Q2 - Tomorrow's Queensland plan is aimed to placate people and show a united consultative government. However, we know otherwise.

Actions speak louder than words. This community will now be taking action.

State Government to move Yacht Club building

The Queensland State Labor Government, after months of community pressure, will announce this week to move the historic building.

More than four years of campaigning by a core number of Yacht Club members, including it's former Commodore, the State Government has failed to bend to the will of the local community and retain the 103 year old iconic Cairns waterfront building.

Like the shock announcement to sell the Cairns airport a few months ago, there has been no discussion or consultation with the community or immediate stakeholders.

PADYC, the group headed by Liberal and Tablelands Regional Council candidate Wendy Richardson, has not had any discussions about this forthcoming announcement. "No, they have not discussed this with any of us who have been campaigning to keep this building on the existing site," Richardson said this morning.

"We will still advocate and question the retention of this important Cairns building on the site it has stood for over 100 years," said Wendy Richardson.

It is believed the $150,000 that the State Government put up for "some community group or organisation" will be topped up to pay for the move.

"The new location will be very pleasing to everyone," Barron River MP Steve Wettenhall told CairnsBlog.

The Cairns Port Authority has had an appalling history in dealing with the matter. Two months ago they announced to help find a space for the old building in a 'history' precinct of the CityPort development, then days later, canned the offer.

It now appears that the State Government is acknowledging the huge revolt to it's support in the greater Cairns region. There is a huge and growing descent in the community following their lack of support for the Yacht Club building issue. Even for those that have hardly ever been in the building, or find it's not a place they socialise in, it is a symbol of our past and worth preserving.

This is a rare and the last building of it's type in the Cairns CBD. It has carried a huge amount of social connection s over the last century and the Labor Government, under the representation of local member Desley Boyle Member for Cairns, have greatly underestimated the passion and mobilisation of the Cairns Community for the building's retention.

The Government will announce on Wednesday that the building will be moved, to a new location, at the their expense. It's expected the Port Authority will help foot the bill. The location is being kept under wraps, and Wettenhall would not disclose if it was another waterfront location.

"The site where the building is, is not where the building will remain. That issue is dead in the water," Wettenhall said.

The big question is why. Why is the retention of the building on this site a no option?

The State Government, through it's local Port Authority, must be trapped. They have obviously promised this piece of dirt to someone else. They appear trapped and can not reveal to the public why this site cannot be used. If it was just a matter of money, then there would be an option. However it's thought that the neighbouring Hilton Hotel may wish to use this land and could have well have done a deal with the Port Authority.

The MP, who has been an almost solitary voice from the regions Labor MPs in recent weeks, said it is something that needs to happen.

"I thought hard about all this through the few weeks, and you know politics is all about compromise," Wettenall said. "I think everyone will be very pleased with where the building will be moved to."

It has been mooted to move the building to the James Cook university campus at Smithfield. The Ellis Beach site, which the Cairns Yacht club operate, would also be a suitable location. However it's expected with little funding avenues when they move to the relocated club at the Marina, they will have little ability to keep the Ellis Beach venue.

The government has not budged of their plan to build another high rise building on the site of the current building. The have felt there is no need to concede to the will of a three surveys and hundreds of letters over the last fours years.

Federal Labor Heritage Minister Peter Garrett's intervention left many despondent when he offered no support. "There's no new information to save this old building ," Garrett said. He did not understand the history of the failed Heritage listing, and the will of the local community. It was obvious he was simply following his Queensland State counterparts.

Many have called Garrett a sell out over not standing up for them and the building, after he had down the same in his days as the lead of the influential band Midnight Oil.

Meanwhile, Councillor Dianne Forsyth claimed ownership of the building in the small hours of Saturday night / Sunday morning, as the Yacht Club closed the bar for the last time.

"As a Cairns Regional Councillor, representing two motions to protect and retain this fantastic old building on this site where we stand now, I claim ownership of this building," she told a packed crowd of around 400 revellers.

Some were so moved by the significance of the night, and left before midnight. "I don't want to be here for the last song, I'm not going to listen to that," said a distraught Bob Rendall, former Commodore of the Yacht Club. Rendall wrote 'At the Aquatic', an 80 year entertainment history of the Yacht Club two years ago.

Many who spoke with me were also angry about the way in which the issue has been handled by Labor MPs.

Councillor Dianne Forsyth and Mayor Val Schier are expecting to meet with Premier Anna Bligh this week on the matter. This follows Council's resolution two weeks ago to engage in emergency talks with the Premier. "We are still waiting, she has not responded to our request as yet," Councillor Forsyth said.

Dianne Forsyth, a late addition to the campaign, infamously said around the Council table in July that this isn't over until the fat lady signs.

Cairns Yacht Club Commodore Warner Ferguson addressed the capacity crowd who gathered to farewell the old building and said he and the club was resolved to moving.

"This was a political decision" he told the crowd. "Politicians put us here." The Commodore was referring to the predicament that the Club is forced to move and abandon it's old historic club house.

On Saturday morning at 1:05am, Councillor Diane Forsyth took the microphone and exclaimed her very real angry at the situation. She didn't sing.

Sunday 21 September 2008

Caption Contest

Too much crap around Cairns this week, so how about this one.. Just what is the guy looking at the camera thinking?

Chocolate fish for the best entry!
  1. "Yeah, I know, I'm up next".
  2. "These larger fit condoms leave a lot to be desired".
  3. "Arh, so here's where I find the WorkChoices legislation"
  4. "Are you sure this is where the Douglas water supply comes from?"
  5. "Are you sure this is where the Beaconsfield miners are?"
  6. "And you reckon you have a shit job.."
  7. "This is where Desley is hiding!"
  8. ......."your turn........"

Last drinks

I was there. I watched them run out of beer. I was sad. I talked to over a hundred people. I danced. I cuddled Councillor Forsyth at no extra charge. I sang Auld Lang Syne. I took some lovely photos. I stayed till 1:28am. I didn't trip over a bulldozer on the way out.

I'll share with you my photo essay this evening.

Cheat Easy: Who said ethics aren't fun?

Syd Walker asks you to wake up and smell the fuel, and sort out your carbon emissions. Golly good idea I say.

If I lived in Cairns, I’d get along to the next meeting of Cairns Action for Sustainable Transport.

They meet 2nd Tuesday of the month at Tramways, Cape York Hotel, Spence Street. Meetings run from 7pm to 9pm.

CAST is showing some interesting movies.

Unfortunately, in the absence of an efficient modern rail system between Kuranda and Cairns, I’d rather not spend up on fuel to get there and impose an unnecessary extra burden on the planet.

Luckily the short movie is on YouTube. It's from the founders of Cheat Neutral as they take their message to the BBC, Parliament and the high street to convince us to take them seriously.

Here’s another beauty Ethical Man & Carbon Offsetting, and this one Plane Stupid meets Ethical Man.

After nine months, it seems to me that the Rudd Government’s climate change policy centres around a scheme that’s essentially a bonanza for accountants, consultants - and a recipe for more long years of business as usual.

This Government came to power with a clear mandate for action on climate change. But where’s the serious debate about when and how Australians make rather obvious changes to our way of life, industry and transportation systems? Where are the plans? Why aren’t we spending Federal surpluses now to become good global citizens and safeguard our well being in a low-emissions future?

There are many changes it’s to our obvious advantage to make - with the least possible delay. I believe a decent rail system in FNQ is one of them.

Good luck to Cairns Action for Sustainable Transport! I’m with you in spirit! But I'll keep myself busy.

I'm setting up my own local carbon emissions trading enterprise. It's called Cheat Easy'.

All plane-hopping gas-guzzling guilt-ridden residents of FNQ are welcome to send me cash to offset their emissions - and I offer special deals for international visitors.

Send Cheat Easy $50 - and I won’t cut down a tree for three months. $300 and I’ll junk my cludgy old monitor and buy myself a nice big flatscreen! For the really guilty, I do recommend the annual $50,000 mega-credit. It funds my switch to a new hybrid car.

All Cheat Easy customers receive emissions-free electronic certificates for carbon credits purchased.

It's a win-win-win deal! Who knows, you might even find another punter to buy them off you at an inflated price!

Saturday 20 September 2008

So sue me

Villa Romana is still occupying 53sq meters of public footpath illegally.

George of the concrete jungle has not started the removal of his walls?

This weekend was the deadline for action following the Council resolution to remove the walls and open up the area to the public.

The ghost of Tom

Chief word nana at the Cairns Post, Gavin King is holier than thou when it comes to telling us what is right and what is wrong.
The Chief of Misogynist Attitudes, and all round woman-power hater, Gavin King was a bit perturbed when he got a joke email doing the rounds, from Councillor Robert Pyne.
King poses an ethical question if it's right for a Councillor to send around, or forward dodgy [joke] emails.
He cites the Councillor's Code of Conduct where it states, that they must "conduct themselves in a way that promotes and maintains the public's trust and confidence."
Now remember that this reminder is coming from someone who likes a great titty laugh like the next un-pc guy in the street. It's a bit rich days after King found it rather amusing having a good perv at the revealing photos on the Dick Smith mobile phone that ended up on the editorial desk. "Yeah, most of us were rather amused by the photos. We showed it all around the office," King said.
Now everyone who knows Robert Pyne, knows he's probably the last man standing, I mean sitting, in Council to have a healthy sense of humour. To me, it shows us he's human.
This all hit home for me this week as I was one of guests at a luncheon to launch Disability Awareness Week celebrations. Robert, despite his physical obstacles, is a lively, passionate, funny, educated and opinionated contributor to his community. He's action orientated and outcome focused. Gosh, I'm sounding like a doctor of spin already.
However, I listened to Robert's address on Wednesday, and I've also heard him address numerous political and community meetings over the last year. There's always something missing. Not once does he talk about his physical disability. He's a quadriplegic and has been confined to a wheelchair for a number of years following a tragic boating accident, yet he rarely ever tells his story. This is a testament to a truly remarkable individual. I look up to and applaud individuals in society that stand up and advocate for the greater community. In Robert's case it's even more amazing that he simply wants to get on and effect positive change for his community in the face of such adversity that us 'normal' folk would find confronting and monumental. He doesn't seek sympathy.
I've only known Robert for a couple of years, but you quickly form opinions about people that engage, impress, invigorate and are genuine about working with their local community. Sure I'd easily win Pyne's chief of publicity role hands down, but I know he's a true blue. His spirit is infectious, and he's fiercely independent.
Now I guess I should declare up front that that the email at the centre of this drama was sent by me. That's right. I often include Robert in some lighter emails. Anyone who spends too much time online, instead of out committing street crime, you tend to get a lot of trashy emails. Some amusing. Some for another penis enlargement, I send those ones onto KB.
My office email in town also gets it's fair amount too. One of our managers in South East Queensland sends around some rather risque stuff, but I just delete it if it's not that funny. Like the junk I get in my street letterbox, if I don't want it, I throw it in the bin. I mean, the marketing manager at Woolworths doesn't know want I want, so they send it to everyone in my neighbourhood. No harm done really, besides that waste of paper. Anyway, I'd rather get my veges from Rusty's, with respects to Robert.
In another double booby today, the Cairns Post fails to realise that Tom Pyne, Robert's father and former Mayor of Mulgrave from 1979 to 1995, and Mayor of Cairns until 2000, is no longer around the Council table.
King prints Tom's name below the photo of Robert.
Post writer Roger Dickson, along with myself, was a guest of Robert's at the disability lunch this week. Like Gavin, who Pyne often treats like a minor King, probably naively treats these guys at the Post as his friends. "I thought they were both becoming mates at a social level," Robert told me. Oh, rule number one, never trust the media to be balanced and fair Robert!
Now we all err past the boundary at times. Pub jokes should stay in the pub, however some spill out, and with the ease and immediacy of email communication, we forward on all raft of things, usually not our original material, but simply to spread the love and happiness. It makes the world go round.
However, was this behaviour fit for a Regional Councillor to be party too? That is the question my fellow comrades. And Gavin King is right to question this. It is one of the more pressing issues facing our city in this time of record local crime; poorly conceived development; sediment runs off at False Cape and Foley Road; a Council that is not communicating much better than the last one; poor tourism products; service around town questionable, the list goes on and on, worst than having diarrhea in the middle of your favourite footy game.
Roger Dickson, who is slightly taller than your average Hobbit, posed a number of questions after receiving the risque email from Robert Pyne, I mean Councillor Robert Pyne. At first his blood pressure rose quicker than you could say Cairns Post Online Bikini Gallery, and he confronted Robert at a function, plunged a recorder in his face and demanded the down-sitting Councillor explain his walk on the booby side.
"Why did you do it? What were you thinking?" Dickson exclaimed demanding answers. "Roger, send me an email with your questions, OK?"
Here's Robert's reply unedited, unlike the King's spin in today's Post...
  • Is the address you sent it from paid for by council or any other organsiation [sic]?
    No, it is paid for by me.

    Do you regret using an address that gave the appearance of it coming from council? Why?
    Not really, I pay for the connection and the email only went to a quite small group of adults who I knew would not be offended. I did send it from home and it didn’t go to Germain Greer or the clergy.

    Are you in the habit of sending risqué emails to friends?
    Only if the material is genuinely amusing. Most material of this nature that I receive I delete, as it fails to be funny enough to forward.

    What do you think your constituents would think of the content and that is linked to Division3 address?
    I don’t really know, perhaps the Cairns Post should run a poll? Personally I think my constituents are well and truly sick of self appointed judges of what is and what is not politically correct. In any event, I did say that I did not necessary approve of the content, but I did think the ones I opened were funny.

    How many people did you send it to?
    I think it went to 7 people.

    Do you think sending these emails on is demeaning to women?
    Not really, but I am all for equality when it comes to demeaning people, whether on the basis of sex, race or physical impairment. Heard any good Irish jokes lately?

    Do you regret sending the email and if you had time over would you not do it?
    I would still do it, but I would leave Roger Dickson and Gavin King off the list. I thought they were both becoming mates at a social level.

    Do you apologise?
    Only to any unintended recipient, but I do exercise a fair degree of care in vetting who I send these funny emails to. I don’t think there is anyone for me to apologise to. I did say that I did not necessary approve of the content, but I did think the ones I opened were funny.
They say to keep your friends close to you and your enemies even closer. In the case of the Cairns Post, maybe Robert should reverse this theory. I think that King's column today makes him look lit a right tit.
So what happened to the rest of those titty photos? Well, in a breach of my own code of conduct, and this grates against my questionable journalist ethics, I bring you the 'offending' photos. Now before you jump up on you high moral horse and remind me the numerous times I've lambasted the Cairns Post for printing scantily-clad bikini bimbos and presenting it as 'news'... let me remind you, oh what the hell, I have no argument for this.

Here's some gratuitous titties, for those of my readers that are into titties. For those who are not, have a great laugh anyway, and while you're at it, how about sending Councillor Robert an email telling him what you think. Personally I like the Michael Jackson t-shirt the best. You're welcome to rate yours here.