Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Nothing like a good Rally

Last week Bryan Law, as a representative of PADYC (People Against Demolishing the Yacht Club) met with Neil Quinn, the CEO of Cairns Ports, explicitly to arrange a time to meet with the Board, and co-oincide a public rally so they could address the public.
This would be an opportunity for his officials to hear the concerns of the public, and to address them directly.

As Bryan recounted, it wasn't easy to get a straight answer when the Cairns Ports Board were meeting next. He was was fobbed off, and then told that the Board didn’t have a schedule of regular meetings. "In any event, you aren't entitled to the information," Neil Quinn's secretary told him. "You conduct amounts to harassment, and you aren't welcome in the building, and you should leave forthwith or we will call the Police."

He followed it up with this letter...

  • 24 July 2008

    Neil Quinn
    Cairns Port Authority,

    Dear Neil,

    Protest Rally at CPA Building, Grafton St, Wednesday 13 August 2008, 1.00 pm

    During our conversation of 16 July 2008 you undertook to make yourself and CPA Board Chairman Clive Skarott available to respond to a community rally which PADYC will conduct opposing the demolition of the historic Cairns yacht Club building on Wharf St.

    PADYC has decided this rally will be conducted during lunch on Wednesday 13 August 2008. We will assemble at 12.30 pm at ANZAC Park (an example of where inappropriate development has disfigured Cairns’ heritage despite the promises of politicians), walk past the Yacht Club building, and arrive at your building, cnr Grafton and Hartley streets, at approx 1pm.

    I expect 80 or so people will attend the Rally at your building, and all will be briefed in advance to maintain calm good order and a peaceful demeanour while expecting you and Clive to respond to our concerns with some substance.

    At this stage I would like Rally attendees to enter the foyer of your building and have a chance to inspect the Cityport model you have on display there. One of our number will give a short (5 minute) exposition of why the bland medium-rise concrete and glass buildings shown in the model DO NOT constitute a “a vibrant nucleus for social and economic activity within Cairns” as claimed on the CPA website.

    Our group will maintain that a large number of Cairns residents (probably a majority) would prefer to see the human scale and heritage rich Yacht Club building refurbished on its existing site as a facility for locals and visitors.

    We will then provide you and Clive with an opportunity to explain the CPA’s intentions, and its reasons for proceeding with them against the wishes of the local community.

    The exercise will conclude with a show of hands indicating which outcome those present prefer, after which everyone will leave peacefully.

    PADYC undertakes to conduct this Rally in a calm, deliberate and peaceful manner – during which all CPA staff, and visitors to the CPA building, will be able to go about their business without hindrance or harassment of any kind, and where our attitude will be one of complete respect for all people and property.

    I will inform Queensland Police of our intentions next week, and look forward to a peaceful and cooperative event. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me on (07) 4052 1563.

    Yours sincerely
    Bryan Law
    PADYC People Against Demolishing the Yacht Club

Neil Quinn wrote back on Monday, however he wasn't that excited to entertain nor talk to a public rally at his, I mean, our offices. He also seemed to be confused an thought that Byran Law wasn't asking about a public rally at all. He'd rather do his business behind closed door with a "small group".

Here's what he had to say...
It's reasonably to assume now, that the majority of the Cairns community is increasingly determined to save the historic Cairns Yacht Club for future generations. In the last three weeks, nearly 5,000 signatures have been collected, the second petition in five years to save this significant Cairns waterfront icon.

A community meeting will be held 2pm this Saturday at the Cairns Yacht Club building, 4 Wharf Street.

“Time is rapidly coming to an end in this five year long campaign to protect and preserve our history,” says Wendy Richardson, of PADYC says.

James Cook University’s Dr Jan Wegner says that heritage significance is worked out by heritage professionals using a set of criteria. “One of these is ‘social value’. The Yacht Club building has a strong and special association with the Cairns community for social, cultural and spiritual reasons," says Dr Wegner.

“The complete story of the Yacht Club building has never really been understood or explained”, says Wendy Richardson. “This Saturday we will share this full story with the public.”

PADYC has invited the CEO and the Board of Cairns Ports to the Community Meeting this Saturday, along with Council, State Government, Opposition Members and other stake holders.

The meeting will have speakers explaining the history of the building and its significance to the people of Queensland. PADYC will also unveil the adaptive re-use of the building and the formation of a Community Board to oversee its management for the future.

People Against Demolishing the Yacht Club
Mobile 0418 196 011
Tel 4034 2248 ~
Sign the Petition here.

Annual library book sale

Hear about the Green Tree Frog that said "Read it. Read it. Read it" ?

Oh, never mind, it's an oldie and a goodie.

This Friday through Sunday, Cairns Libraries are holding their annual book sale. There'll be heaps of books for all ages at what they say are 'bargain basement prices.'

"It’s a great opportunity to stock up for summer reading," says Erin Marsterson of Cairns Libraries. "Special prices will be available for bulk purchases, and people can book these."
  • This Friday, Saturday and Sunday
    Fred Moule Pavilion, Cairns Showgrounds
    9am – 5pm
    Tel 4044 3724

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Cairns Gay & Lesbian biz networking

Fruitloops is the local gay and lesbian biz networking, held the first Friday of the month.
The next get together is this Friday at the Pacific International Hotel from 5pm. Everyone's welcome, not just, well.. you know...
This is for professionals to promote their business or event on the night and you're welcome to bring along promotional flyers or special offers. The organisers also welcome you to email special offers to be distributed. A gold coin contribution on the night is appreciated to cover costs.
More info, you email or phone 0400 767 367

Plan that trip

This is a cute tool that I use often.
It's an mapping and travel planner from those clever bunnies at RACQ.
Pop in your destination and it tells you all you need to know along the way.
If you want to tell your favourite politicians where to go, this is just the link to send the.

The Bellevue and the Cairns Yacht Club

With the fight to save Cairns' historic waterfront Yacht Club now in top gear, a similar story under a previous Queensland Government bears retelling.

The story of the elegant and much-loved hotel that held a place in Queensland’s political history, and how a wilful premier won the battle to knock it down. Joh Bjelke Petersen’s decision to demolish the iconic Bellevue hotel had repercussions he never imagined.

Built in 1885, the Bellevue was part of an elegant precinct on the corner of George and Alice Streets in Brisbane. The other corners of the intersection still retain old Parliament House, the city Botanic Gardens and the Queensland Club.

For 100 years, the Bellevue served as a premier hotel and prominent Brisbane landmark. In 1967 the State government purchased the Bellevue to make way for new government buildings. Intense local pressure to save the Bellevue gave the building a reprieve. In 1974 in an attempt to make the structure less appealing for preservationists the government of the day had the verandahs and distinctive filigree cast iron features removed. In spite of this, public support for the Bellevue continued until after 12 years in government hands it was demolished in the middle of the night of 20th April 1979.

The destruction of the Bellevue was a catalyst in changing the way Queenslanders saw and valued their heritage that ultimately led to the introduction of legislation to protect heritage buildings. It was more than a hotel, and was frequented by graziers, politicians and international celebrities alike. It is said that Politicians would sit at the Bellevue Hotel listening for the bells to ring before going back to Parliament House. The Hotel was home to 27 out-of-town parliamentarians.

Former liberal MP, Terry Gygar recounted...

  • "On the night of 20th April 1979, a large crowd had gathered around the building. There was a cordon of police. They had thrown up a barbed, a mesh wire fence around it. The Deen Bros arrived, rolling through like an armoured division, straight through the crowd. People were knocked sideways.

    Police were dragging people out of the way. Parking meters were knocked over. Traffic signs were bent and twisted on the road. It looked like Stalingrad. There was outrage in Queensland Parliament and with the general public.
Under Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Brisbane became known as the demolition capital of Australia, famous for midnight assaults on historic buildings.

Here's a 2004 ABC interview that is worth reprinting in full...

  • MICHAEL CATHCART: Now, you'd have to imagine that every Australian city and town has at least one building that the locals reckon is so much part of their history that it would be an act of vandalism to knock the place down. But it wasn't so very long ago that the urge to bring in the wrecker's ball in the name of progress knew very few limits. And, you know, veteran ABC 'Four Corners' reporter Peter Ross is still outraged, even after a quarter of a century, at the way a cherished Brisbane landmark, the Bellevue Hotel, met its end.

    PETER ROSS, REWIND REPORTER: It was here where the top end of town in Brisbane and the graziers from the broad acres met. It was here where romances blossomed and courtships happened. The GIs during the war had a ball here. Politicians made the Bellevue a home from home. For anyone with half an eye for beautiful colonial architecture, the Bellevue was a prime example. Its destruction was an outrage.

    TERRY GYGAR, FORMER LIBERAL MP: A large crowd had gathered around the building. There was a cordon of police. They had thrown up a barbed...a mesh wire fence around it. And then the Deen Bros arrived, rolling through like an armoured division, straight through the crowd. People were knocked sideways. Police were dragging people out of the way. Parking meters were knocked over. Traffic signs were bent and twisted on the road. It looked like Stalingrad.

    PETER ROSS: This was Joh Bjelke-Petersen's Nationals running rampant. The Government had bought the Bellevue 12 years earlier and was determined to redevelop the site against all opposition.

    The Queensland Government was a National Party/Liberal Party coalition. But the Government was simply one man: Joh Bjelke-Petersen - deeply religious, deeply conservative. A man who used incoherence as a weapon.

    JOH BJELKE-PETERSEN, FORMER QUEENSLAND PREMIER: The whole situation in relation to this question...

    REPORTER: Premier, you haven't answered the question. Have you got a...

    JOH BJELKE-PETERSEN: This is quite beside the point. I'm telling you what the point is. I'm telling you what the issue is.

    PETER ROSS: Bjelke-Petersen simply didn't care what anyone else thought. Liberal Terry Gygar remembers feeling helpless to stop the demolition of the Bellevue.

    TERRY GYGAR: Here we were, a group of members of the parliament of Queensland in the governing parties, totally powerless to put a stop to this outrage as it was happening.

    PETER ROSS: So do you think it was Joh who did all this?

    TERRY GYGAR: Queensland was Joh at the time. But this was just a straight, "You can go to hell. We're running things and we don't care what you say."

    BOB KATTER, FORMER NATIONAL PARTY MP: We did act in a callous disregard to their interests, because we saw them as self-indulgent, you know, citified sort of people that would be concerned about ridiculous things like that when people were going hungry.

    PETER ROSS: Bob Katter was a National Party man who'd made a success of the Aboriginal Affairs Ministry. He was a young man on his way up and the Bellevue meant nothing to him.

    BOB KATTER: You know, we were bush people that had to build something out of nothing out there in the wilderness and aesthetics really wasn't our long soup. I was brought up under a galvanised iron roof, on an open verandah. I mean, Joh spent a fair proportion of his young life living in a shed. And that was not uncommon with all of us. Smashing the Bellevue, to me it was just an amusing thing that happened in Brisbane. It didn't concern me much.

    PETER ROSS: Why the heck did they do it? Well, why did they do it?

    GEORGE ADMAN, FORMER BELLEVUE OWNER: I don't know, really.

    PETER ROSS: George Adman's family had owned the Bellevue and he'd managed it for a number of years. He'd learned of his old family's hotel's destruction from the Melbourne newspapers.

    GEORGE ADMAN: The deceitful way they moved in with the bulldozers at night and destroyed it. And you had a feeling of, well, sadness and horror that it could happen.

    PETER ROSS: This is the first time George Adman has come back to the site of the Bellevue.

    GEORGE ADMAN: It was a tremendous building and it had a lot of memories. I had the memories of the war, all the servicemen, overseas visitors, all the artists - Katharine Hepburn, Robert Helpmann, Nat 'King' Cole, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong.

    Katharine Hepburn remains a very fond memory. She used to send Christmas cards to my mother every year for many years.

    PETER ROSS: Did she keep in contact with the United States when she was here?

    GEORGE ADMAN: Yes, she used to ring Spencer Tracy every night.

    PETER ROSS: (Laughs) Really?

    GEORGE ADMAN: Yes, every night. There would be a mass of phone calls.

    PETER ROSS: For a while the parliamentarians were very happy to use the Bellevue.

    GEORGE ADMAN: They used to come across to the Bellevue. They had their own private bar and lounge. And when they used to ring the bells they used to quickly rush back.

    PETER ROSS: Happy memories not withstanding, the Bellevue came down. After all, it was just another Brisbane building.

    PETER ROSS: How much was that a country town thing?

    BOB KATTER: Oh, you know, it very much was. As I said to you before, that we were very much bush boys. We just had an old building that was falling down and to us it needed to be rebuilt. So it had a beautiful facade - well, what were we going to do? Spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers' money to build a building that, really, can't possibly be repaired except to rebuild it the way it was, which then is very inefficient.

    PETER ROSS: There was nothing inefficient about the demolition. This was carried out by the Deen Bros, their slogan - 'All we leave behind are memories'. Oh, the Deen Bros don't call it 'demolition'. They call it...

    DEEN BROTHER ON NEWSREEL: Construction and reverse construction, better known as demolition.

    PETER ROSS: That's right, reverse construction.

    BOB KATTER: The Deen Bros were people that could do hard jobs and get them done. And, you know, their appearance, you know, and their name may lead you to believe they're not Australians, but they're the most Australian people. (Laughs) They were very typically, you know, Australian and particularly Australians of that era.

    PETER ROSS: The demolition of the downtrodden, but much loved, Bellevue Hotel was a sad fact.

    The bigger story was the damage that it caused the Coalition.


    TERRY GYGAR: It was the beginning of the end. The Bellevue was a big turnover point of a lot of things in Queensland. It was basically the rejection of Coalition.

    BOB KATTER: I was crying a bit because I thought we might lose some votes, but I wasn't crying about the Bellevue. And of course all those Liberals standing over there crying, I thought they were screamingly funny. I thought they were screamingly funny. But when I started to think about the political ramifications of it I didn't find it so funny.

    PETER ROSS: The forlorn legacy of the Bellevue is this, the old site of the hotel. It's unnamed, unloved and unvisited, distinguished by one thing alone - a very odd sculpture of Her Majesty the Queen looking as though she really would like to be somewhere else.

    But, in fact, there was an upside to all this destruction and considerable irony.

    Let's take the irony first. The boys from the bush got a shock from the political reaction.

    BOB KATTER: Well, I mean it had a very, very jarring effect. I mean, it did no doubt have a very, very jarring effect. You know, we needed those seats in Brisbane and obviously there's very strong feeling about these things in Brisbane.

    PETER ROSS: Joh Bjelke-Petersen decided that Bob Katter should be minister for heritage.

    BOB KATTER: I said, "To me, the sound of a jack hammer is like Slim Dusty music." You've got the picture? I'm the last person on the planet to be heritage minister.

    PETER ROSS: The biter bit. Katter became heritage minister and enlisted the aid of Anne Garms - a first-rate businesswoman, cultural conservationist and a lover of the Bellevue.

    ANN GARMS, CONSERVATIONIST: It heightened people's awareness of how important our cultural and built heritage is. And the Bellevue was a fine example. So it really got people motivated to look around Brisbane and enjoy and appreciate what we had and try to preserve.

    PETER ROSS: Anne Garms rescued this window from the rubble and put it into the home she was building. And she guided Bob Katter and the Nationals into a new way of thinking about heritage after they destroyed the Bellevue and the Coalition.

    BOB KATTER: For all of us it was a fall off our horse on the road to Damascus.

    TERRY GYGAR: I think the Government was quite shocked by the response of the public and the realisation that heritage did mean something to people. I mean, at the time, Parliament House was under threat - physically under threat - from these termites that were eating their way through it and there were even wild rumours that they'd pull it down. I mean, the Government weren't totally stupid.

They saw what happened. In fact, the new beautiful Parliament House - the restored Parliament House - is a legacy of the Bellevue. I think we've got the most beautiful parliament in Australia now.

The Bellevue died to save it.

Now it's time to claim and own a revitalised Cairns Yacht Club, with all it's colourful history, for another 100 years.

Monday, 28 July 2008

No Knob signs

Back in June when the Festival of the Knob wanted to advertise it's event to the surrounding community, someone complained to the Council about the signs on the Cook Highway.

The organisers were ordered to remove them and told that they are a "violation of state law and the Main Roads policy on state highway signage."

However, some rules are bent for different bent folk.

Over the last 24 hours, dozens of signs for Trinity Anglican School's "sales day" have flooded roads around the region.

It appears that Council staff has decided that these signs are OK, because an allowance is made for 'community events'. Selling high-priced slots in a religious school is a 'community event', yet the Festival of the Knob isn't?

I suspect a few Council staff has children attending TAS and has made it happen for them!

I wonder if they'll censor the Yacht Club Public meeting signs going up for this Saturday's meeting?

Funny how religions always think they're above the law. You'd think the Pope was still here with this divine intervention.

Cool new Cuil

Try out Cuil (pronounced "cool") is a search engine launched today.

The developers have aimed to provide a more comprehensive search engine with more relevant results compared to prominent search engines.

It organises web pages by content and displays relatively long entries and pictures for each result and claims to have a larger index than any other search engine, with about 120 billion pages.

Cuil is managed and developed largely by former employees of Google, however unlike Google, Cuil's privacy policy says it doesn't store records of users’ search activity or IP addresses.

In memory of Ronnie Barker

I thought you could all do with a good giggle, what with the rates, water and the price of food all going up.

Thanks to Roisin, my friend in Port Douglas, who sent me this script, that was originally screened on the BBC back in the seventies.

Ronnie Barker, who dies three years ago, delivered this with his famous deadpan expression and without a snigger. The irony is that they received not one complaint.

The speed of delivery must have been too much for the whining herds. Try getting through it without converting the spoonerisms as you read.

Maybe this is the answer for Wicked Campers, or the likes of that kid who got busted for the "obscene" t-shirt. Now he can wear one that says "Jesus is a cotten runt".
  • This is the story of Rindercella and her sugly isters.

    Rindercella and her sugly isters lived in a marge lansion. Rindercella worked very hard frubbing sloors, emptying poss pits, and shivelling shot. At the end of the day, she was knucking fackered.

    The sugly isters were right bugly astards. One was called Mary Hinge, and the other was called Betty Swallocks; they were really forrible huckers;they had fetty sweet and fetty swannies.

    The sugly isters had tickets to go to the ball, but the cotton runts would not let Rindercella go. 
Suddenly there was a bucking fang, and her gairy fodmother appeared.

    Her name was Shairy Hithole and she was a light rucking fesbian. She turned a pumpkin and six mite wice into a hucking cuge farriage with six dandy ronkeys who had buge hollocks and dig bicks.

    The gairy fodmother told Rindercella to be back by dimnlight otherwise, there would be a cucking falamity. 
At the ball, Rindercella was dancing with the prandsome hince when suddenly the clock struck twelve. "Mist all chucking frighty!!!" said Rindercella, and she ran out tripping barse over ollocks, so dropping her slass glipper.

    The very next day the prandsome hince knocked on Rindercella's door and the sugly isters let him in. Suddenly, Betty Swallocks lifted her leg and let off a fig bart. "Who's fust jarted??" asked the prandsome hince.

    "Blame that fugly ucker over there!!" said Mary Hinge. When the stinking brown cloud had lifted, he tried the slass glipper on both the sugly isters without success and their feet stucking funk.

    Betty Swallocks was ducking fisgusted and gave the prandsome hince a knack in the kickers. This was not difficult as he had bucking fuge halls and a hig bard on.

    He tried the slass glipper on Rindercella and it fitted pucking ferfectly. Rindercella and the prandsome hince were married.

    The pransome hince lived his life in lucking fuxury, and Rindercella lived hers with a follen swanny. 

I can cope with 48% but not 50%, thanks Anna

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Obama Phenomenon

David at Kiwiblog writes about the crowd of 200,000 which turned out in Berlin to hear US presidential candidate Obama.

He's becoming somewhat of a phenomenon. In the last month, Obama's been to Iraq to meet his troops, and over the weekend he was at Number 10 Downing Street meeting with the British PM. Even the former PM Blair gave him time.

David goes on to say...
  • I struggle to see how he will lose unless he majorly stuffs up. His flip-flops on the surge in Iraq are not going to be sufficient.

    The speech was Obama at his best in a presentational sense. Almost every line drew applause. Now I can look at the content and be sceptical of such puffery as ridding the world of nuclear weapons and wanting Jews and Arab to work together, but as a candidate he can get away with such stuff. I do still wonder how he will go in office (ih he wins) when he has to actually make a tough decision.

    But if he wins, it is clear he will be an extraordinarily popular United States President globally. And while they don’t vote, it will be refreshing to have a President who has global popularity. It may benefit both the US and Obama’s presidency.

    But the flipside is the curse of expectations. When those tough decisions do confront Obama, and he does do something which is unpopular globally - the backlash may be even worse as people could feel a sense of betrayal.

    Obama is only 4% ahead of McCain, but he will well ahead in the electoral college vote, and he is receiving twice as much coverage as McCain. This is arguably the result of an uncritical gushy media, but I can’t see it changing.

The Last Lecture Professor dies

Randy Pausch has died aged 47.

He was most well-known for his last lecture, which I've blogged about before. Pausch's now famous 'Last Lecture' was seem by many millions. In the last months of his life, he documented his story in a book.

Why did the Pope cross the road...

Q. Why did the Pope want World Youth Day to be held at Randwick Racecourse last week?

A. It's the only place where you can legally ride a 4 year old.

The cost of sex for women

Kiwi blogger Cactus Kate has reversed the equation of how much money men spend on sex through dinners, presents, flowers, dates and calculated how much money a woman spends on looking beautiful for men.

Her calculations are:

  • Hair monthly (basic not “hair extensions”) $300 per month = $3600
    Waxing and other beauty treatments $100 per month = $1200
    Massage, pedicures etc $100 per month = $1200
    Make-up/skin cleansers/toners and moisturisers = $300
    Annual clothing spend on clothes you only wear out to meet men or with your man = $3000
    Personal trainer/gym fees/education and reading material = $300 per month = $3600
    Shoes. I consider it compulsory to spend lots of money on fabulous shoes = $2000
    Phone calls/Drinks/lunches and dinners with girlfriends to drown your sorrows of bad relationships ie. therapy = $500 per month = $6000
    Condoms & contraceptive pills (because lets face it - men over 30 years old totally suck at carrying rubbers) = $400 annually
    Sex toys (again men have no clue so girls have to buy = $500 annually
    Pregnancy and STD checks (compulsory for anyone with half a brain and lets face it - the man doesn’t have to worry about being pregnant in the morning) = $250 per annum

    So my rough estimation is a cost of $22,050 annually spent on looking and feeling good in the most part for men.

Kate goes on to say that if she gets sex only once a week, then women are paying $424 per bonk, so men should stop whining about their costs.

Her final advice...

  • So men, next time you take a single woman to dinner with the intent of asking her home afterwards, don’t ask her to split the bill. Just shut the fuck up and pay.

Some wise words.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog

Cairns Mayor wants to keep our Yacht building

Earlville residents Peter and Elaine Kemp, who who have lived in Cairns for 30 years, wrote to Cairns Mayor Val Schier and Cairns Regional Councillors, to express the strong feelings about to the embattled demise Yacht Club.

"A decision has been made to demolish the Yacht Club building," Peter & Elaine Kemp wrote. "According to the Oxford Dictionary, to demolish means to throw away, destroy or overthrow. This sums up exactly what is happening to the Club and it reflects the blatant disregard for its historical and cultural uniqueness."

The Kemps have been active social members of the Yacht Club for a long time. Peter Kemp says that during the birth of tourism in the Cairns area, its appeal was 'real and wonderful.'

"Our visitors did not come here for the five star hotels and highrise facilities - they did not exist. The esplanade was exactly that - a natural unspoiled esplanade," Peter Kemp says to our Councillors.

He says that marlin fishing was one of the attractions amid an environment that was truly appreciated and valued by our visitors of these [earlier] times.

"Some of the more famous visitors were Errol Flyn, Lee Marvin, Zane Gray and Bob And Dolly Dwyer," Kemp recalls. "The Game Fishing Club and the Yacht Club were their playground - they could choose any of the wonders of the World but where did they choose? Cairns. That says it all."

"Now lets not get bogged down by the apparently insurmountable difficulties in reversing government decisions. Governments overturn decisions all the time,whenever it suits them. The reasons for changing the rules are usually motivated by any means to increase government revenue at the expense of the needs and values of those that are less influential. And where have the gone? - those smiley, sympathetic candidates who appeared to actually listen to their voters concerns."

Peter Kemp says that the clock is ticking, the big revenue dollars are not far away. "Shame on you if you are a part of this," he warns our Council.

Mayor Val Schier has been a recent vocal supporter of saving the Yacht Club building. She supported a Council motion three weeks ago to commence 'urgent talks' with the State Government. Schier also supported the decision to engage the Port Authority to save and protect the building and land for the community.

Val responded by email directly to Peter & Elaine Kemp.

However, Schier's response, although being a whisker over sympathetic, is still 'very anaemic', says long-time Yacht Club building campaigner Ray Taylor.

"A far more robust approach to these destructive dudes is essential," he says. "Mayor Schier needs to realise the level of clout she has in the form of local support for this issue."

"Furthermore, she now represents a very large area of Queensland, the full power potential of which, I believe, has yet been realised."

Ray Taylor [pictured] discussed with Councillor Linda Cooper, a supporter of keeping the building, discuss the long fight to overturn the Queensland State Government's decision.
  • From: Schier Cr. Val
    Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 4:06 PM
    Subject: RE: Cairns Yacht Club

    I concur with much of what you say and was a strong advocate for the building to be listed on the heritage register from where it would have been able to attract renovation funding.

    Unfortunately, the previous Council did not support the listing and neither did Advance Cairns or the Cairns Port Authority which made the decision that the yacht club building would not be part of their long-term City Port development.

    I would like to say that this Council is in a position to save the yacht club but it's a big ask as the CPA and the state government seem determined not to overturn their previous decisions to sell and redevelop the land.

    Council has asked the CEO and Chair of the CPA (now Cairns Ports) to come and address us to give us a better opportunity to advocate on behalf of the many people who believe that the yacht club building should be preserved.


    Cr Val Schier
    Cairns Regional Council

    Phone: 07 4044 3083
    Fax: 07 4044 3049

The Cairns Regional Council voted unanimously three weeks ago to commence urgent talks with the State Government, with a view to stop the plans of the Port Authority.

However, last week's Council vote agreed to commence talks directly with the CPA received support for every Councillor, except Alan Blake, who's Division encompasses the Yacht Club building site. This is interesting and a real betrayal as a local representative of the people. He obviously wants to throw his weight behind business colleagues who stand to gain financially if the high rise is built in the place of this historic building.

This is without doubt a galvanising subject for our community. This Council have the ability to influence and reverse the decision. We've got to fight and retain what is ours. This place of ours belongs to us, not somebody who governs 1400km away.

Rudd on emissions

A funny take-off of Rudd explaining the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

The advert they want you to read

Last week, Cairns Ports (the artist formerly known as Cairns Port Authority) published a large advert in the Post.

It was nearly a half page. Cost them around $2,500. Quinny had a whip around the morning tea room.

It was a clever bit of PR spin by the Cairns Ports team, akin to an advertisement for a luxury apartment by GlenCorp, built alongside the main state highway at Clifton Beach.

They dragged out comments from the local tourism association boss Rob Giason. "The new marina will complete the beautifully revitalised waterfront precinct." he said. "Cairns should be proud of the Cityport development, which can take the city into the 21st century as an exciting gateway."

This is nothing more than spin, with an aim to fool the general public.

Giason didn't actually write the quote. It was prepared for him by Cairns Ports marketing department, who designed and put the advert together. It was their first part in a campaign to paint a rosy picture of the Cairns waterfront redevelopment. I'm sure our tourism body would want to embrace heritage. It's yet another selling point for why people should visit a destination.

They also got the commodore of the Yacht Club, David Kelly to sing the praises of the new soon-to-be-built high rises and the removal of the historic Club building.

"The club's relocation will help us offer something new and positive to Cairns Sailing and the wider community," he wrote. "The Club has been working cooperatively with Cairns Ports for many years in the design of these incredible facilities, which offer so much more than our former location."

This is so far from the truth, it's amazing they could actually publish such trash. In fact, it's an outright lie to say that the Yacht Club has been 'working cooperatively with Cairns Ports for many years'.

Again, David Kelly didn't write this. Like the binding Memorandum of Understanding that Yacht Club committee was forced to sign four years ago, they are wanting to make it look like everything is fine about what they're doing for the community.

It's very likely that the Club, as it is today, will not survive long after the move. The Port Authority have given them a discounted rent on the new premise for the first year, but no commitment has been made beyond that.

Certainly the social members will have no reason to follow, as they have not been accommodated in any way at the new venue. It is not a "club-house" that is being constructed - a 70sq meter bunker, to store equipement, that's all. There will be no refreshment facilities, like a bar or a restaurant in the new club rooms that is being touted as a 'wonderful new facility'.

A commercially-operated restaurant nearby, called the Salt House, is being built. It is this that the Port Authority believes will be the basis for many of the Yacht Club social club members. They recently announced that Club members will get a discount, this however can be revoked or changed at anytime, after all they're not in business to make a loss. The upmarket restaurant is not related to the Yacht Club at all. Mains will probably be around $25-$35 and beers between $5.50 and $7.50. Whereas as the Yachtie you can grab a good feed for around $10-$15, and your favourite ale for $3.50.

Rob Williams, who runs the Dixie Jazz Club, until recently held all their dances at the Yacht Club. The now enjoy the Tiger's League Club rooms, and with a Fish and chips with salad meal at $7.50, the members keep coming back.

It's important to note that the Yacht Club will retreat away from this political storm, with their head hung low, they will leave the building in 7 weeks time, that has served them consistently for over 100 years. This is a long and sad sorry tale of a Labor government and the local Port Authority hell-bent on their game of building up the waterfront without any community involvement of what we'd like.

When Brad Geatches was CEO of the Port Authority, he gave the Yacht Club a gag order to stop any public discussion or debate. They didn't want people within the club, to speak with any dissention about the plan to demolish their building.

The Cairns Post reported in July 2004 that Club Commodore David Kelly said "if any of the club's 460 members who talked to the media face suspension if it was found to be harmful to the Club."

"We are angry at the Club's decision to move," members told the Post.

It would be interesting to know how their members feel about the deal today knowing now what they're actually getting.

The building does not belong to the Port Authority, nor the Government. It belongs to the Cairns Yacht Club and therefore, the community of Cairns.

Of course it's no secret that Kelly is a dead set Labor boy. It's a shame that his energy to pursue any battle against the might of the Port Authority is diminished, due to his current health.

However, this issue is about an historic building, not a Club.

In the last week, the growing group of supporters that have formed PADYC, have put their hands in their pocket to the tune of $2,500 and have published a half page advertisement in today's Weekend Post.

"It's important to bring the full and true story before the public," says PADYC co-ordinator Wendy Richardson.

The retention of the old Yacht Club building is in line with modern trends in waterfront developments all over the world, where heritage buildings contrast well with their more recent neighbors.

"We envisage the building show-casing the history of early Cairns, along with a restaurant, bar, dance hall and gift shop, located on a heritage trail, all under the management of a community board," says Wendy Richardson.

"We invite everyone to get involved in this campaign. This historic heritage building belongs to the community and we should be taking ownership."

Public Meeting at the Yacht Club
2pm Saturday 2nd August

Public Rally
12 midday Wednesday 13th August
Meet Anzac Park alongside the Casino

Read the full advertisement here...

Nominate a President

One day Australia will be able to choose an Aussie as Head of State.

Even the next governor of Queensland predicts Australia will eventually become a republic.

David at KiwiBlog writes that the Repubican Movement in New Zealand has opened nominations for New Zealand’s 1st President. They encourage nominations, and will announce the top five nominees, followed by voting to select a winner.

Got me thinking, who would you nominate as President of Australia?

Friday, 25 July 2008

McCain vs Obama on JibJab

If you don't know about JibJab, then you probably don't have a political sense of humour.

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Hug a tree

It's National Tree Day on Saturday!

Conservation Volunteers Australia have organised a community tree planting day at Redden Island, Dungarra, on Saturday 26th July from 9am - 2pm.

Bring some gloves, hat, water, and sunscreen. It's a good idea to wear a long sleeve shirt and pants. Well, pants are a good idea, unless you're at Buchans Beach.

Everything will be supplied: trees for planting, mulch for spreading, and a sausage sizzle to top it all off!

You can call Cassie or Emily at Conservation Volunteers for more info 4032 0844, or simply turn up.

Pyne defends no vote

Independent Cairns Regional Councillor, Robert Pyne, was the only one to vote against the Rate rise, as part of the 2008-09 Council budget.

In his regular Rock News to residents of White Rock, Mt Sheridan, Woree and Bayview of Division 3, Robert Pyne says that the budget handed down by Mayor Schier this week included a rates rise of 3.5 to 4%; removal of the 5% discount for early payment; the Cleaner seas levy of $75; increases in water charges; and removal of the Greening Allowance.

Robert explains and defends his reason why he was against the increase of rates and the way the budget was put together:

  • My decision to vote against the Council budget and against the rates rise for residents
    of the Cairns region was a hard decision to make.

    My fellow Councillors spoke of financial responsibility and the need to balance the budget, but I could not agree to increasing Council rates above the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

    This followed calls from Warren Pitt, Jim Turnour and members of the business community to limit any increase. Unfortunately a majority of councillors decided not to support this approach.

    It was talking to people in the streets of White Rock or down at Mt. Sheridan that convinced me it was not fair to put an additional burden on people at a time when the
    cost of housing and fuel is making life very difficult.

    Having been dependant on a Centrelink pension for much of the last 15 years, I know how any additional cost can crack a family budget. With increased fuel and housing costs, many people are really doing it tough.

    Two funding options were not adopted. One was my proposal for the sale of unused land beside the Council offices in Spence Street and the other was trimming or delaying some of Council’s major projects.

    My other reason for voting against the rates rise is the way the increased burden will be felt. I would prefer a system of residential rates capping, that would see a rates cap set at CPI on a person’s principle place of residence, shifting some of the burden to rental and commercial properties.

    The Cleaner Seas Levy is one charge Council is forced to place on ratepayers to meet state government demands for discharge of wastewater. It’s costly, but in this case the real winner will be the Great Barrier Reef.

Cooking popcorn with your mobile

PS: It's a hoax

CairnsBlog cartoon by Circusmouse

The Circus came to town over the School holidays.

Community Foods turns 10

Community Foods Co-op is turning ten years old tomorrow.

"Eveyone's welcome, including past supporters," says co-ordinator, Beth Shorter. "Come and celebrate on Saturday with us."

They are located at 74 Shields Street. Celebrations start at 7pm, July 26th.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

National Trust demands Council save Yacht building

The National Trust of Queensland has today urged the Cairns Regional Council to urgently add the Cairns Yacht Club to its heritage list, and preserve the historic waterfront building

In 2004 the National Trust listed the Yacht Club building on it's endangered list register. Heritage at Risk are formulated on behalf of its 80,000 members.

President of the National Trust, Dr John Jackson, has written to Mayor Val Schier, urging her Council to recognise the significance of the building to the local community and its importance in the history of Cairns. “The National Trust wants to be added to the list of names opposing its demolition and hopes the Cairns Regional Council will join the fight," Dr Jackson says.

“Cultural tourism is booming in other places and if Cairns continues to erode its own character, tourists will go elsewhere.”

The Cairns Regional Council voted yesterday to set up urgent talks with the Port Authority to review their plans for demolition, and investigate "re-adaptive use" of the building proposed by PADYC campaign group. The councillor who's Division encompasses the Yacht Club site, furniture businessman Alan Blake, does not support this latest move. Maybe if he sold some 1920's style period furniture, there may have been some synergy in this community campaign for him. Blake will also be invited to the public meeting next Saturday at the Yacht Club site.

The Cairns Yacht Club has been a social hub in Cairns for over 100 years, and has hosted sailing regattas, dances and weddings. It is one of few surviving examples of the relaxed ‘timber and tin’ tropical atmosphere that Cairns has been so famous for.

“It is time for the new regional councils all over Queensland to stand up for their local character and send a strong message to the Queensland Government that local heritage is important,” Dr Jackson said.

Three weeks ago a new group of concerned citizens from across the political divide formed PADYC (People Against Demolishing the Cairns Yacht Club). They launched a second petition for the State Government at the Cairns Show last week, which has already attracted just under 5,000 signatures, matching the one presented to the State Government in 2005.

The CEO of the Port Authority, Neil Quinn made his first public comment yesterday about their impending decision. "I want to assess the National Trust’s comments and the council’s decision before making a comment," he told the Cairns Post.

We now have a Council unanimous with the protection of the building. They have voted to engage the State Government to halt removing this unique piece of history. Council have also voted to engage the Port Authority to cease this action.

The Cairns community, over the last five years, have consistently demanded to retain the building and land for the community.

The National Trust of Australia has also called for this historic North Queensland icon to be preserved.

It is now the time for the Cairns Port Authority to wake up and take stock. Their action is nothing short of environmental vandalism.

  • A Public Rally and Community meeting will be held at the Cairns Yacht Club next Saturday 2nd August at 2pm.
    Significant speakers will be present, along with many invited politicians.

The advert they didn't want you to see

If one thing you want when you elect politicians, it's the hope and faith elected officials can manage our money and services in the most efficient and economical way possible. Simple.

You don't give them a mandate to spend what they want, and think that we can achieve every capital expense in 12 months. Council's should act as our board of governors, with a visionary attitude, respect for limitations, with long-term goals.

The new Council's first budget, will not rest well with the public of the greater Cairns region.

In June, the fees and charges for the next year were adopted at Council's Finance and Administration meeting. However, it's the new general rate, announced yesterday, that will hurt the most.

Only Councillor Robert Pyne, a vocal and strong opponent of the 2008/09 budget's intention to increase the general rate, voted against the rate increase. His opposition was to the decry of some fellow colleagues. Even Cr Linda Cooper, often a supporter of Pyne's previous abstentions in the chamber, was miffed why he didn't fall in line and publicly back the new rate rise.

Like many Councillors, Cooper believes that all those party to the discussions and budget workshops, should back the final agreed budget. "Why didn't you make your concerns known during the debates?," Cooper has said to Pyne.

"Well, I did, but I simply didn't get listen to nor supported," Robert Pyne said.

Pyne has tried to seek other sources of revenue to fund urgent needs. As recently as last month, he proposed a report prepared on surplus Council land that could be sold, however he did not receive the support.

Pyne has also been critical that many community projects in his Division 3, would not be addressed in this budget, despite putting forward many proposals since being elected.

During yesterday's budget presentation, Mayor Schier angrily disputed that the rise wasn't as many had reported. "It wasn't double digits as quoted in some of the local media," she said. This was a direct swipe at the Cairns Post, who weeks ago revealed that the rise would be over 10%. This was subsequently confirmed by Council CEO Noel Briggs.

However yesterday the Mayor painted the rate increase at 'around 7.5%'. "It's hardly the cost of an extra loaf of bread a week," said Mayor Val Schier.

An analysis will show that some ratepayers could be incurring a rate rise as much as 15%, when the early payment discount is removed, and the increase in water rates is added along with the new general rate. The minimum rise is expected to be around $270.

"After the significant increase in the weekly family food and fuel bill, this will be yet another difficult cost to accommodate," Robert Pyne says.

The timing of this increase couldn't be worse for a new Mayor trying to build bridges from the former Council's reputation for not communicating with it's constituents.

Businessman Sean Webb last month launched his Stop the Rot petition, to show the Council that ratepayers are angry at this rate rise. He targeted Finance committee chair, Cr Alan Blake and Mayor Schier. "We need to stand up and voice our disappointment together," he said.

The Council's spin machine was in overload yesterday as the new Mayor was delivering her first budget speech to the Chamber.

Cairns Regional Council had planned to run a glossy colour advertising campaign across the region's print media to counter the growing negative feeling in the community. We've learn't this was pulled at the last minute late yesterday afternoon. However, CairnsBlog is pleased to bring you a censored copy of the proposed advert, that the Council's PR spin doctors didn't want you to see.

Cr Pyne sees that there is a very real perception, in the mind of the public that the recent Councillor's salary increase is connected with the rate rise. "These are of course two separate issues, however the public are happy when they see a substantial increase in remuneration, followed hot on the heels of a large rate increase," he said.

There is also little logic to remove the early payment discount scheme. This was a strong incentive to pay early or on time. The 'early bird' scheme, used widely in many organisations, encourages on-time payment of accounts and rewards those that attend to their bill, especially low-income earners. This move will be another PR disaster for this Council. Such early payment systems also encourage and facilitate a good cash flow at Rate time.

At yesterday's Council meeting, the only other Councillor besides Pyne's lone voice against the rise, was Cr Juila Leu, who represents the northern Division 10. Leu, who has been praised for her representation of the unique interests of the former Douglas Shire, said the budget represented good corporate governance, however acknowledges how the increase will affect ratepayers.

Every other Councillor either spoke strongly in favour, or was silent in endorsement. It's surprising that the youngest Councillor, Kirsten Lesina wasn't more vocal in representing the interests of younger Cairns ratepayers, a strength she could bring to the Council table in her representation and decision-making. Many young home owners, of which Lesina could feel a strong affinity towards, will find the demands of a large rate rise, an additional burden to their budget.

Pyne's defiant vote against the rate grab is captured by the Post on today's cover.

Agree or disagree with Pyne's vote of no confidence in the budget's rate rise, however I believe he will gain many more supporters who'll understand his willingness to represent their views, no matter what the political consequences.

Imagine if every politician did this?

Letter to Noel

Thursday 24th July 2008

Cairns Regional Council
Spence Street
Cairns, QLD 4870

Dear Noel,

I walked down Spence Street, past your office.

I often wander past, sometimes in the dead of night, to see if I can catch Kevin trying to scale the walls. However, Amanda makes sure he's tucked up in bed early these days. You'd think that our streets would be safer at night, but oh no. That's another story.

Anyway, I've noticed, since you've changed the name of our Council, you still haven't sorted out the sign on the street. I recall you were rather quick
to rip down the old Douglas Shire Council's sign, two days before the March election, which, as you are aware, was well over four months ago.

Now, I know you've been a busy boy, painting Val's office a nicer shade of tropical green and blue, and advising her about popular and acceptable conservative hair styles; letting down Robert Pyne's tyre's when he's in the staff room ordering the steak and musroom special; and re-writing Sno's letters; but dear boy, you really need to get the sign sorted at your - I mean our - front gate.

I hope that you can get this little bit of house-keeping attended to as soon as poss.

Lots of love,

PS: Here's the photo, just in case you've haven't driven out the main entrance recently.

Envirofiesta 2008 - Visioning the future

Envirofiesta is on again! This year the theme is "visioning the future".

Co-ordinated by CAFNEC, it is the environment group's annual fundraising event that helps support their work towards a sustainable future for Queensland's Far North. Check out the festival program.

As a volunteer-run event, they need your help and volunteers on the day get free entry (and two yummy meals!) Contact the organisers to help out in the kitchen, cafe, production, set-up, or take down. You can also call Steve 4032 1746, 0425 344746.

This year's Envirofest features Future Forum, an interactive space that will work to bring to life, the many visions of a sustainable Far North.Our region is home to both outstanding natural values as well as a dynamic, diverse and highly creative community, and Envirofiesta is where all these elements meet.
There'll be over 15 bands; Monster garage Sale - Donate NOW!; Recycled Art Exhibition; Speakers; Eco-Friendly Markets; Environmental Information stalls; Kids Circus; Art and Craft Markets Campaign and info Workshops; Dancers; CBUG Bike Ride (contact Brynn Mathews 0413 112 719)

  • Saturday August 2, 10am - 10pm
    Cominos House, Greenslopes Street, North Cairns
    Only $10 entry - Under 15 Free!

- Concerned about FNQ's natural environment? Inappropriate Development? Climate Change? Threatened Species? Help us make a difference, join CAFNEC.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Cheap Petrol Project

Those Kiwis are a smart lot.

They've just launched The Cheap Petrol Project, in which they're trying to get as many people as possible signed up to a petrol discount card.

there's just over 5,000 already signed up. With 10,000, that equates to the buying power of around 20 million litres of petrol a year. With 50’000 people, it would be over 100 million litres.

They will then negotiate an exclusive discount with the chain offering the best deal. Simple.

Hat Tip Kiwiblog

Something Blue in China

The Cairns Amnesty International group is showing a film for Peace Week 2008.

You can see China Blue which depicts the sweat-shop labour in a denim factory. Workers live crowded together in cement factory dormitories where water has to be carried upstairs in buckets. Meals and rent are deducted from their wages, of less than $1 a day. They literally work around the clock to supply Western retailers with an endless supply of “essential” fashion items .

China Blue takes viewers inside a jeans factory in southern China, where teenage workers struggle to survive harsh conditions. With perspectives from top and bottom levels of the factory’s hierarchy, the film looks at complex issues of globalization from the human level.
This gripping doco will screen at the Cairns TAFE Theatre, Eureka Street, Manunda this Saturday 26 July at 3pm.

All welcome. Entry by donation. Free wine & cheese and fair trade goodies to buy. Email Janet Walder or telephone 4053 3426 for more info.

See you all there! (Suggest you don't wear blue jeans, ok?)

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Lucky Malanda!

Co-ordinator of the group advocating to save the historic Cairns Yacht Club, Wendy Richardson, found it interesting that the State Government is quick to save Malanda's old Majestic theatre.

It has a proud history, dating back to 1928, some 21 years after the Cairns Yacht Club building was constructed, and 33 years after the club was formed.

Even the old shell of Herries Hospital has been sitting derelict in McLeod Street for years.

It appears to me that if the Yacht Club building was sitting on the corner of Anderson Street or Amuller Street, or in any suburb for that matter, we wouldn't be having this fight to preserve of past. It's because the greedy buggers want that bit of waterfront dirt to flog it off and make a quick buck. That's all.

The arrogant and mean folk who tout that they're 'representatives' are ignoring the wishes of the Cairns community to retain the Cairns Yacht Club building.

Here's what Wendy had to say...

  • I recently read a press release from the office of Warren Pitt, Minister for Main Roads and Local Government in regard to the restoration of the historic Majestic Theatre in Malanda.

    Lucky Malanda! Their CBD is obviously not worth too much (yet) so the state government can afford to leave this piece of history standing, AND contribute to its renovation. Not so it seems, one of the oldest buildings in Cairns – the Aquatic Clubhouse, known more recently as the Cairns Yacht Club.

    What double standards. Let’s stop and compare for a minute.

    1. Warren Pitt says of Malanda’s theatre:
    "This theatre is a living icon. It's played a part in the lives of locals since the Malanda area's gold rush days and it remains a popular source of entertainment for locals to this day.

    Let’s run that again with a few subtle changes.

    "This aquatic club and dance hall is a living icon. It's played a part in the lives of locals since the Cairns area's tin and gold rush days and it remains a popular source of entertainment for locals to this day.

    2. And then of course there’s this part;

    It is famous for its large timber clad parapet at the front of the building and its original-style oak-framed canvas bleachers for theatre-goers on the inside.

    Let’s try instead:

    It is famous for its rainforest hardwood dance floor resting on special wooden springs – greatly appreciated by the millions of dancing feet that have waltzed across the floor boards for the last hundred years.

    3. And then again there is this bit for comparison:

    Mr Pitt said the restoration of the theatre was a great way to commemorate the history of the area and serve the community into the future.

    And saving the Aquatic Club is not? Even though it’s used by the community just as much as the picture theatre?

    There are more examples of this double standard as we read down the press release, but I’m sure you are getting the point.

    And the point is .... the Bligh State government does not need the land the Aquatic building is on for vital port development – they just want the cash! And where will that be spent? You can bet, not up here.

    Numerous people have asked for years now why the Labor government plan to demolish this building, when it is an obvious historical link to our past and has considerable social and tourism potential. Well, it seems history and the wishes of the ordinary citizens takes a back seat where cash is involved.

    Surely though, with money coming soon from the sale of the airport, they could change their minds. The people of Cairns have said so many times they want this piece of their past preserved? Would that be too much to ask Desley?

    Wendy Richardson

Want some sex or porn?

Domain names are the things we all click on, every day on the net., and to own them, some are worth a heap of money.

With a recent shakeup, it could well be the next goldrush.

The Pacific island nation of Tuvalu has made a substantial amount by selling its ".tv" domain name.

For around ten years, it's been mainly .com, .net etc. This is all about to change, as new names will be allowed. New top-level domain names could be open to anyone to register and could create a "goldrush".

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has agreed for the change. They said that apart from the .com, .net or .org, 1.3 billion web users will be able from early next year, acquire generic addresses by lodging common words such as .love, .hate or .city, or proper names. All new names are approved by Icann, but these new names may not be cheap.

This could also mean the .xxx domain for adult sites may come to the surface again. It was stalled two years ago by religious groups who feared that it would legitimise pornography.

What's in a name? $14m
The world's most valuable domain name was fraudulently transferred from entrepreneur Gary Kremen's name in the 1990s, but eventually returned after a court battle a decade later. The reports are disputed, but it is believed he earned between $11m and $14m when he sold up in 2006. $9.5m
Another website targeted at adult entertainment. Failed when it went on sale last year. $7.5m
After its sale in 1999, this retained the Guinness World Record for the most expensive domain name in history for seven years, largely thanks to the dotcom crash. $7.5m
Owned by a jewellery retailer in Las Vegas, which now sells high-end valuables over the internet $7m
Targeted the internet's natural audience by turning this domain name into a lads' magazine-style website $5.1m $3.5m $3m $2.9m

Guess what I paid to own Less than Val Schier's salary, but more than Robert Pyne's latest hair cut cost.

Monday, 21 July 2008

How gullible are you?

It always amazes me how gullible recipients of emails are.

If someone rings you up or knocks on your door and says that a herd of elephants are due to run through Edgehill next weekend, would you immediately believe them and then tell 100 of your friends and acquaintances? Well, with the circus in town at the moment, maybe that's not the best example.

Let's say you were told that former Mayor Kevin Byrne was a card-carrying member of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's political party? Okay, maybe another example that isn't so believable.

My point is, every day we receive an email or two that purports to say you must forward it on to everyone in your email list otherwise you'll get a nasty computer virus.. then cite several sources to claim how credible the information is. Yeah, right.

So I just got home after another day solving life's worries and the world's problems, and found this wee gem (copied below) in my inbox, only to see that half of Cairns and a huge amount of government department recipients all over the country had also been in the loop prior to myself.
If you've ever got caught out on by such emails before, I sugest you check out Snopes, it's a reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation, you know, crap like this email below. You'll find a heap of similar ones listed on this site. The only difference each time is, they're localised and some details added to make them look authentic.

I mean, do you think the AFP would actually send an email out to the entire country saying watch out for a computer virus? Get a grip... on reality!

The actual 'hoax' and the aim of the originator's email, is to get people to send the message onto 100's, if not 1000's, in a few hours. That's the real joke - and those that send it on.

  • To: Undisclosed-Recipient


    Sent: Monday, July 14, 2008 9:29 AM
    Subject: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Fw: Australian Federal Police Warning .... don't delete ... pass it on

    Tel +61(0) 7 32221347 Ext 17347
    Fax +61(0) 7 32221219


    Emails with pictures of Osama Bin-Laden hanged are being sent and the moment that you open these emails your computer will crash and you will not be able to fix it!
    If you get an email along the lines of 'Osama Bin Laden Captured' or 'Osama Hanged' don't open the attachment.

    This e-mail is being distributed through countries around the globe ..

    Be considerate & send this warning to whomever you know.
    You should be alert during the next days:
    Do not open any message with an attached filed called 'Invitation' regardless of who sent it. It is a virus that opens an Olympic Torch which 'burns' the whole hard disc C of your computer.

    This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list, that is why you should send this e-mail to all your contacts.
    It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.
    If you receive a mail called 'invitation', though sent by a friend, do not open it and shut down your computer immediately.

    This is the worst virus announced by CNN, it has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus. This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Di sc, where the vital information is kept.

Pope farewell, Aussie style

3 million Kiwis, 60 million sheep

The NZ Government’s Statistics department have had some spare time on their hands.

They’ve researched some common myths about population.

We always heard that there were around 60 million in New Zealand, usually in relation of another sheep joke. However the ratio of 20 sheep to every Kiwi is a bit out of date now.

The latest Agricultural Production statistics says there was 40.1 million resident sheep at 30 June 2006. The sheep-person ratio has halved in the last 20 years, and now stands at 10 sheep per person. I used to keep mine hidden in the bedroom.

New Zealand's sheep/person ratio is still twice as high as Australia, we have less than five sheep per person. So the Velcro gloves and taking the sheep to the edge of a cliff jokes that are still somewhat relevant.

There are 91.9 million sheep in Australia at 30 June 2006 - the lowest estimate since 1925 (ABS 2007). The Australian population grew from 18.0 million in 1994 to 20.7 million in 2006.

Here's the Kiwi myths explained and exposed...

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Wiki laaf

Everyone knows I'm a fan of Wiki.

If you type into your browser "wiki" followed by any word/s that you want to search on, you'll get the Wikipedia entry. You'll need to have Google's toolbar loaded to do this, or you can type "? wiki word".

However, for a good laugh, lave a peep at the Uncyclopedia. It's a piss-take of the wildly popular Wikipedia. You can edit and add, just like the real McCoy.

A great laaf.

What history?

Imagine letting the Cairns Port Authority in change of the waterways of Zurich, Switzerland.

The building with the blue shutters is the Zurich Boat club. It's 700 years old.

Maybe it should be demolished to make room for some apartments?

Here it is in Google Maps:

View Larger Map

Saturday, 19 July 2008

If I've said it once...

Don't panic, I'm Islamic

From double glazing to laserquest, UK Labour and Conservative MPs were banned from
attending last weekend's IslamExpo for some odd Islamophobic reasons.

Here's some of the disgraceful extremism at the expo...
  • bouncy castle
  • laserquest
  • double glazing - special offers
  • great range of baby t-shirts, including "Don't Panic, I'm Islamic" and "Allah's Small Soldier"
  • men's t shirts in bright orange with the slogan "My mate got sent to Camp X-Ray and all I got was this lousy t-shirt"
  • Rabbis v Imams v Priests five-a-side football. (Imams won 4-0)

If Cadbury merged with Nestle...

Friday, 18 July 2008

CairnsBlog cartoon by Circusmouse

~ Mayor Schier of Cairns Regional Council is proposing
to make it
mandatory to microchip and register cats and dogs.

Meeting Mr Quinn

Bryan Law, among other accolades, is a member of PADYC (People Against Demolishing the Yacht Club).

Bryan has run for Mayor, protested at the Pine Gap secret installation, and was even there when Sky Rail were of the verge of destroying our rainforest. To some, he's a serial pest, to the community and the underdog that often gets ignored, he's a champion of the democratic process.

Now he's taking on the Cairns Port Authority, and boy, are they hung up on that last word in their title.

As part of the PADYC campaign I was asked to explore the idea of organising a Protest Rally at the Cairns Port Authority building at Grafton Street.
The Cairns Port Authority (CPA or 'Cairns Ports' as the Cairns Post calls them now) is the public agency behind the Cityport project, and is therefore directly responsible for the destruction of the Yacht Club building and its replacement with yet another concrete, steel and glass high-rise on our foreshore. Behind the CPA is the Queensland Labor government.
A first principle of any protest rally is to liaise with the target organisation in order to maximise clarity of message and good public order during the Rally’s conduct, so last Friday I contacted the CPA to begin liaison and find out the answer to a simple question...
When does the CPA Board meet in August, and where?
If the Board itself, or its chairman, is unavailable to respond to a Rally, when will the CEO be available?
On that Friday I was put through to the CEO’s secretary who told me that she didn’t know the answers to my questions, that everyone was very busy in meetings about the airport thang, that she thought perhaps the Board no longer conducted scheduled meetings, and that she would make enquiries and get back to me. Fair enough.
I waited till Tuesday this week for a response.
I then rang again and spoke once more to the CEO’s secretary. I was told at 2pm - or so - that she hadn’t yet obtained any of the information requested, and that in any event I wasn’t entitled to any information about Board meetings, and once again that the Board didn’t have any regular schedule of meetings.
I patiently explained that since the Board was a public authority, the public did have a right to engage in discussion with the Board and CPA, that we did wish to organise a rally, and that we had an organising meeting that evening for which the information requested would be very useful. I was told (once again) that she would make enquiries and get back to me that afternoon.
At 4.50 pm I hadn’t received any information and decided to make a personal visit to the CPA office. At 4.58 the front door was locked, so I entered through the back door, went to reception, and asked for the information required. I took a few photos of the interior layout for intelligence purposes while I was waiting for someone to attend my questions.
Now I concede that most public servants (for that’s what CPA staff are) remain unused to any member of the public acting assertively, and I was soon approached by the CEO’s secretary who came with a male member of staff to tell me that the office was closed, that no-one was available, and that I should leave. I was told to come back during office hours. Fair enough. No joy for that evening’s meeting, but fair enough.
At 2 pm the next day, after a morning spent at the Cairns Show collecting signatures on a petition, I returned to the CPA building as instructed to once again request this basic information. The CEO’s secretary came very quickly to the foyer, with a different male member of staff, to tell me that the Board didn’t have a schedule of regular meetings, that in any event I wasn’t entitled to the information, that my conduct amounted to harassment, that I wasn’t welcome in the building and that I should leave forthwith or they would call the Police.
How extraordinary! Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t harass, or bully, or even raise my voice when doing politics. Nor do I accept lies or evasion. The notion that the CPA Board has no schedule of meetings is unbelievable. The idea that CPA can avoid dialogue with a concerned public is indefensible. The prospect that I would accept such a dismissal without talking to the Police is laughable.
I quickly sat down in one of the comfy chairs in their foyer (the allegation of harassment concerned me) and asked to speak with someone in authority who could answer my questions. If they wanted to call the Police then of course I would speak to them when they arrived. After all I’ve had many dealings with Police and they’ve always been reasonable and reasonably productive, to a much greater extent than the CPA staff were being.

For 50 minutes or so I got to observe the quiet and composed work environment that exists at the CPA. There was nothing hectic or forced about the place that I could see. Well-dressed and relaxed white folks moved calmly around the premises carrying out the administrative and service minutia of a bureaucracy in untroubled fashion while I thought of how pleasant it must be to have such a luxurious and quiet workplace.
I also thought about the ethos of an organisation that existed on a base of crown land, running a public enterprise, accountable to only two Queensland government Ministers – and which apparently believed it had no responsibility at all to engage with the public it was meant to serve.
Just before three O’clock Neil Quinn, the CEO of the Cairns Port Authority, came down to see what the problem was, and I repeated my request for basic information.
Neil’s first question revealed the misconception that he and other CPA staff had been entertaining about the democratic process.
“Why..” he asked, “should we tell you when the Board is meeting so that you can come and disrupt that meeting?”
“Why..” I replied, “would we want to disrupt a Board meeting?”
Our purpose is to further public debate by putting a community view to the CPA in front of the media about the Yacht Club building. Having the Board, its Chairman, or the CEO available to respond to that view contributes to the debate and enhances the news value of the Rally and coverage of the issues. It’s simply a part of the democratic process that a responsible CPA ought participate in.
To his credit, Mr Quinn acknowledged this proposition and offered to make himself and the Board Chairman available to respond to the Rally at a date and time of our choosing, provided they get a few week’s notice.
He also explained that any misunderstanding had arisen through the extraordinary pressures being experienced by the CPA due to the unfolding proposed sale of the airport. He had not had sufficient time to pay proper attention to the request made, or give adequate direction to his staff. This is a completely satisfactory resolution of issues around organising the Rally.
I took advantage of the opportunity to suss out Mr Quinn’s views on the substantive issues of the Yacht Club building. Neil explained that from the point of view of the CPA the Cityport proposal had been negotiated and finalised some nine years ago. All the necessary public consultation had been done then, and the CPA had met all the heritage measures required by the responsible authorities at that time.
His position was that the Yacht Club building was not of sufficient heritage quality to require preservation, that other heritage buildings would be preserved, that any redesign of the Cityport would be expensive and inconvenient, and that CPA just wanted to get on with the job.
We agreed to disagree on the substantive issues and we also agreed that community debate and politics could go forward in an amicable environment.
I am convinced that CPA will not easily alter its own Cityport proposal, but that it needs to be confronted with strong community views, and that the focus of political action must be directed to the Premier of Queensland, along with the MLA’s for Cairns, Barron River and Mulgrave.
The enthusiasm for this heritage facility by Cairns citizens at the show, the new attitude of the Cairns Regional Council, and the willingness of Premier Bligh to review the situation all indicate that a successful political resolution is possible. Now if only we can get Desley Boyle to come onside.
Keep your eyes peeled on CairnsBlog for details of the protest rally at the Cairns Port Authority sometime in August.