Thursday 11 September 2008

A small victory for democracy

Bryan Law writes about this morning's Regional Council Planning and Environment meeting...

The Cairns Regional Council today supported a resolution about the Cairns Yacht Club building presented by Di Forsyth, Councillor for Division 7.

The Resolution recognised the Petition of 10,000 collected by PADYC, and the strong public interest in this building. The resolution expressed support for retaining and adapting the building on its present site, and directs the Council to begin talks with Premier Anna Bligh and relevant Ministers about achieving a successful re-design of the stale Cityport project.

Mayor Val Schier was not present. Margaret Cochrane took the chair. The Resolution was carried by five votes to four. Di Forsyth, Julia Leu, Linda Cooper, Kirsten Lesina and Robert Pyne voted in favour.

Alan Blake, Sno Bonneau, Nancy Lansky and Paul Gregory opposed the motion.

Those who opposed the motion had two lines of objection. “It’s none of our (corporate) business” led by Councillor Gregory, and “It’s a lost issue so let’s ask for crumbs” led by Councillor Lansky. Three alpha males and Nancy Lansky... could this be our basic anti-democratic faction?

Those who voted in favour all referred to the petition – to the cogent and legitimate expression of public interest by some 8,500 residents of Cairns. They all acknowledged a duty to advocate on behalf of resident’s interests. Our Council believes in the democratic principle by a margin of 5 to 4.

As Chair, Margaret Cochrane didn’t vote and Mayor Val Schier was away – so the real democratic vote on Cairns Regional Council might be 7 to 4. Now that’s better than it was under Kevin Byrne, but it’s a long way from the levels of commitment and competence that I’d like to see in local government.

Still I must not grumble too much. The Cairns regional Council has come on side with preserving the Yacht Club building.

This is a golden opportunity for Val and her council of independents to put some runs on the board and score big - by persuading Anna Bligh to get real and preserve her electoral chances in far north Queensland by giving the people what they want. Val’s the gal who can do it.

PADYC will continue its independent campaigning, and is conducting a workshop on non-violent direct action on Saturday 20 September at 298 Fearnley Street, Cairns, 10am. Bring a plate to share for lunch.

PADYC intends to assist Val and Di in taking on and winning with the George Street State mafia.

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