Tuesday 31 March 2009

Over 12 months to get the job done

Today was the day, and not a moment too soon. You really don't want to rush such things.

Following our newly amalgamated Cairns Regional Council, merged from Cairns City Council and Douglas Shire Councils, after their marriage of convenience last March, we've been wearing the old stripes for over a year. Our old 'City Council' name has adorned the Spence Street office all this time.

I wrote to Noel Briggs last July asking when he was going to update the signage, but had no response. This was interesting, because the CEO was quick-smart ordering his workers to tear down the Douglas Shire Council's sign on the Mossman office the Thursday before last year's March election.

This morning the ripped down the old letters, and we now have the finished result, or do we? I welcome all suggestions for a replacement sign.

Let's have some real local representation

There's a movement gathering of disgruntled and politically-interested Far Northerners who want some real representation in our neck of the woods.

Calling itself the 'Voice for the North' under the North Queensland Party, it is starting to gather support.

Local Kwik Kopy business owner Darren Howie, says he's disgusted with the lack of real representation for North Queensland.

"I am totally disgusted and surprised at how lazy people were in voting Labor back in after all the anger in the community," he told CairnsBlog today. "There were so many issues that were were yelling out to hbe heard on. We continue to be treated as the poorer cousin to the South East."

Howie believes that Cairns and the greater north region is let down on basic infrastructure. "Our water and roads are simply left behind everywhere else. Then you look at how the farmers and local fishermen are treated. It's not good enough," he says.

"They've pissed me off enough that I propose we look at forming a North Queensland Party, to have a voice for the real issues of the north."

Howie says that public may be sick of politics after the last State election, but he says now is the time to get it registered. "Let's get the ground work done so when the Government trips over 'we' can pounce," Howie says.

Late last year a FaceBook group FNQ 1st was set up with the view to form a new political group for North Queensland. It has 39 members.

The group's organiser, Bluey Simpson, says that they're sick and tired of politicians selling out the North. "We believe the old major parties continue to let us down in favour of their political bosses in Brisbane," Simpson says. "Our only policy is that a greater proportion of Government money must be spent in North Queensland," he says.

Outspoken Cairns Regional Councillor Rob Pyne has often questioned why local politicians appear to igor locals and local issues instead the follow their Party's interest.

"Let's plant the seed and get the ball rolling," Darren Howie says.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday 13th May in the Catalina Room, RSL Esplanade. You can call Darren on 4051 8197 or 0422 654 053 or email him.

Pull the leg

Cairns is great up top fun down under, according to Tourism Tropical North Queensland's new campaign aimed at those Gen Y's who love to get drunk and pee outside our nite clubs, followed by a nasty brawl with a local at three in the morning.
The yet to be launched website, Uptopdownunder.com promotes weekly wet t-shirt contests under the headline: 'gotta love the wet season'; and 'wet yourself in front of your mates' (rafting); 'four play' (on the beach), to name a few. All the postcards are here.
Even our night clubs come in for some promo where you can enjoy the 'night shift', when over the last 8 years almost all of our night life has been closed down, continually targeted by Police, and been forced under Council and State Government regulation to close not that long after midnight. Hardly welcoming for a so-called world famous tropical city.
Travel anywhere in Europe or the real tropics, and cafes and entertainment adorns the city all night long.
Shouldn't we get our house in order first?

Fruitloops this Friday at Blue Sky

Cairns' monthly gay and lesbian social business networking, Fruitloops is on again this Friday at the Blue Sky Brewery in Lake Street from 5pm, meet in the back bar.

Nibbles are provided and a gold coin contribution on the night is appreciated. This time they have great giveaways including 3 x 1 hour complementary lessons for aspiring pole dancers from Pole Play Studios.

Fruitloops organisers, Gigi and Andrea are also taking over the management of Port Douglas Pink Flamingo resort. "It's a beautiful resort, perfect for a weekend getaway, even better for a longer stay," says Gigi. "We'll offer local rates and pets are welcome, however, no children!"

Check out the calendar for 'what's on' and the business and community directory for heaps of contacts.

Politically correct Garage Sale this weekend

This is easily the biggest, and best, garage sale to be seen at in the history of Far North Queensland.

Former Cairns LNP candidate, Joel Harrop invites you over to unload your stimulus package at his place this weekend.

We aren’t talking junk, good quality stuff at bargain prices. Economic models indicate my comprehensive sale will have more economic impact than the federal stimulus packages. In fact, come along with your $900 and give it to me. Economic modeling provided by Treasury has forecast that this garage sale will create 60,000 Queensland jobs over the next three years.

From TVs to Dishwashers to household trinkets, kitchen appliances and baby gear, there is something for everybody... all in perfect working order. If I listed all of the bargains, your head would probably explode*! If you were to be anywhere else this weekend, you would be insane**.

During the garage sale, all power will be generated through renewable energy***, with the activity achieving a negative carbon emission. Unfortunately, the ETS isn’t in place yet, so that doesn’t really help me much, but it is saving the planet. Data provided by CAFNEC forecasts a decrease in global temperature by 2c as a direct result of this garage sale****.

This garage sale is a bicycle friendly activity with a spot on the front lawn specifically for pushies. Out specially designed garden hose is connected to our un-fluoridated water source, which is not part of Nullinga Dam project. However, anyone who wants water should be aware that this garage sale has a strict demand management practice in place, and mild levels of dehydration are deemed acceptable in order to save our Wild Rivers.

This garage sale signed the petition to stop the destruction of the Yacht Club, and Di Forsyth actually carried a copy of this advertisement with her when she scaled the building.

Throughout the conduct of the garage sale, movement corridors for cassowaries will be maintained. Furthermore, this garage sale is doing its bit to protect our bio-diversity, with a beautiful sensitive weed bloom occurring throughout the property.

The Greens were going to preference this garage sale over all other garage sales, but at the end of the day preferenced Labor in 14 other garage sales.

Unfortunately, not everyone supports this garage sale. Councillor Kirsten Lesina opposes it, but doesn’t know why. Syd Walker is concerned that it is sponsored by the Israeli government, and Barry Daniels believes that it is a National Party conspiracy. Whereas Stuey Traill is expected to attend the sale, but will be protesting on behalf of a Union he is not a member of.

See you at 6 Tradewinds Close, Redlynch this Saturday the 4th and Sunday the 5th. Only Australian bananas will be served.


*Heads may not actually explode. 6 in 10 people participating in controlled studies, including a placebo test group, suffered head explosion. None from the placebo group suffered explosive side effect.

** Actual levels of sanity may vary. A psychologist will be available on the day, but as the insane people won’t be at the sale, that isn’t really much help.

*** Power provided by sun.

**** CAFNEC oppose this garage sale due to it contributing to the new phenomena of global cooling.

Monday 30 March 2009

Bligh's mandate with a message

Following Labor's win at the State polls, I sent a message of congratulations to our local MPs.

Steve Wettenhall was the only one, so far, kind enough to reply.

"Thank you for your congratulatory message Michael," Steve said.

"It was a tremendous result for Labor, achieved in defiance of polls and pundits. But I think we all acknowledge that Anna Bligh has received a 'mandate with a message' and that is - that Queenslanders want Anna Bligh to lead a better government," Wettenhall says.

"I will be doing everything I can to contribute to that outcome, particularly now I have the added responsibility of being the Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism."

I agree with Steve. We do want a better government. One that will genuinely engage and listen to the community.

A safe city, hardly.

In a carefully-worded Council press release recently, it was announced that Cairns is now designated as safe to live, work and visit.

"From surviving cyclones to dealing with domestic violence and the quality of life for our frail and elderly, Cairns has met with stringent criteria to be recognised as a Safe Community under the World Health Organization Safe Communities Program," the statement reads.

And what did they do to commemorate this prestigious honour? They held a sausage sizzle in the middle of the afternoon, while everyone was at work.

Banners have now appeared on selected 'PR' streets, like the airport road, away from crime-ridden areas.

However, this declaration has been met with cynicism from anti-violence and community crime campaigner Barry Neall, who was not invited to the Safe City declaration ceremony by Council.

When CairnsBlog contacted Barry Neall of the Residents Against Crime group on the morning of the event, and he was not aware of it. "No, I didn't know it was on. I have not been invited," Barry Neall said.

In fact, the community organisation has had no communication from Cairns Council to work alongside with them for the Safe Communities programme. The Cairns Police have also expressed surprise at this, which is at odds with the large following the Residents Against Crime community meetings have gathered over the last year, supported of local 846 radio host John McKenzie.

"I'm not impressed with this [Safe City] award at all," Neall says who formed the Residents Against Crime group last year in response to the increasing reported crime figures in Cairns.

"I was talking to Cairns Superintendent this morning and they are working hard to make a change, putting new systems in place" Barry Neall said. "However we need more officers on the beat."

On his RAC Blog, Neall lists numerous news reports of violent crimes committed in Cairns.

Professor Dale Hanson of the Safe Communities program, says that to comply with the accreditation, Cairns Council must engage in public consultation with its residents.

"I talked with Dale Hanson after his trip to Cairns, and so far I've heard of no public meetings organised at all by Council," Barry Neall says. "Our [Residents Against Crime] organisation has not been contacted at all by Council."

“The concept of community safety is broad, covering many aspects of daily life, including people of all ages and taking into account high risk and vulnerable groups and all environments,” Councillor Di Forsyth says.

“This designation underlines that we have-long term sustainable programs in place that create the acceptance of planning for and practicing safety in our homes, our schools our aged facilities, our workplaces and tourism facilities,” Dianne Forsyth says.

However former Police Union president called Cairns the 'Assault Capital of Queensland'. "There have been more assaults and violent crimes against people recorded in Cairns than anywhere in the State," Cameron Pope said last year.

Councillor Forsyth says that the Safe Community recognition lets residents and visitor know that Cairns has been assessed as one with a sophisticated level of processes and responses for a huge range of safety matters. However, she falls sort of explicitly endorsing our town as a safe place to live.

“We are now a member of a network offering us opportunity for future learning and modelling,” Forsyth says.

However, Barry Neal says often the Courts let the whole system down. "We are far from a safe city. Assaults continue to rise in Cairns, yet the Courts are the biggest problem letting people off," Neall says. "You have those who committed the crimes walking out the same door at the victims."

Police said today that they have arrested at least 300 for break ins over the last couple of months, but crime reports continue to alarm locals.

Over the weekend, detectives charged a 14-year-old Whitfield boy with several burglary offences. They also charged a 15-year-old Manoora boy with burglary, and unlawfully using a motor vehicle, and ten counts of entering premises and stealing.

There were a number of hit and run traffic incidents. One incident at Westcourt when a maroon Audi sedan, being driven by a female, collided with the rear of a Kia sedan on Aumuller Street about 1.30pm. The Audi was seen to stop briefly before driving off from the scene. The driver of the Kia sedan received suspected neck injuries from the collision.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, five males broke into the Edge Hill bakery at 2am and assaulted staff before stealing product. A 23-year-old Westcourt woman will face Court after assaulting police on Sunday night.

Fight still on for Douglas Shire

"I can assure you that we will most certainly be continuing to fight to get our Shire back," Robert Hanan of the lobby group Friends of Douglas Shire said today.

He says that the election result was a set back for the cause and presents a different set of problems to be faced over the next three years, however they maintain that their resolve remains unabated.

They have put out a plea to all supporters about issues considered that are the result of amalgamation and that could have a negative impact on the Shire and our community. "No matter how small, your vigilance will help us greatly," Hanan says.

The group is drafting another letter to Premier Anna Bligh, that now she has been elected in her own right, that she listens to their plight.

De-amalgamate Douglas Now banners are being produced by a generous sponsor, and are available to anyone to display, especially those on a road-side property. "We would also encourage everyone to place a 'de-amalgamation' sticker on their car, wheelie bin, even your dog," Robert says. "Anything that gets the message out there. They are popping up in Melbourne and Sydney so the tourists obviously have sympathy."

Stickers are available from Pecorino's, Goodies and In-Port Shoes in Port Douglas, or by emailing Friends of Douglas Shire. You can also telephone Robert on 4098 8280 or Michael Gabour on 4099 3667.

James Cook University are undertaking a Douglas Community Consultation Survey and have sent out 1000 surveys across the region. These need to be returned by 6th April.

An open letter to ABC Far North

In an open letter, CairnsBlog contributor Syd Walker asks ABC Far North radio, why they didn't do more homework before talking with Clive Williams this morning.

(Please note, the photograph of Mr Walker is used in violation of the Geneva Convention on Cruelty to Civilian Populations.)

  • Fiona Sewell
    ABC Far North
    Cairns, Queensland
    Copy: Bruce Woolley (Manager)

    Dear Fiona,

    I refer to your interview this morning with Clive Williams, visiting fellow, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University.

    Had you provided any of the following background about Mr Williams, which his own webpage presents as his 'Career Highlights', your listeners might have been better able to evaluate his comments in context. Instead, as I recall, you introduced him with words such as 'academic' and 'expert'. It's true, as far as it goes, but they are rather bland terms in the circumstances:

    Career HighlightsDefence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) Attaché in Washington 1990-1993; Head of Imagery Exploitation Centre 1993-1994; Director Major Powers Section, DIO 1994-1998; Director of Security Intelligence 1998-2002. See this link.

    Yes, Clive Williams is an expert. He's expert in rationalizing open-ended military occupations based on a bogus initial pretext.

    I'd be grateful if you could take two minutes to watch the video featured on
    a recent post on my blog, produced by The Guardian.

    THAT is the war that Clive Williams wants us to keep fighting for AT LEAST another TEN years. Another DECADE, for heavens sake!

    I believe most Far North Queensland locals do not want our local ABC station serving as a part-time propaganda wing of the military-security establishment. (I'm aware that the national ABC performs this role more or less as a matter of course, but surely there are limits!)

    However, as ABC Far North has now chosen to enter the minefield of Afgani/Pakistani affairs -presumably to help better inform local listeners on these weighty matters - I trust you will follow up soon with an interview about the Afghanistan war in which an informed advocate of an anti-occupation, pro-reconciliation approach to resolving conflict in that region is granted at least an equal amount of airtime as Clive Williams.

    Otherwise, the local public in this part of the world have a right to ask why ABC Far North chooses to help push a minority view held by those Australians who support our continuing involvement in this war.

    Please now give at least least equal voice to the substantial MAJORITY of Australians (70%+ according to statistics cited by Williams himself) who seek a rapid end to Australia's involvement in the occupation of Afghanistan. Please ALSO give voice to those of us able to present compelling evidence that the 2001 assault on Afghanistan was a war launched on false premises - evidence which the ABC, to its shame, never deigns to report fairly in its current affairs coverage,
    see for instance.
    I understand that the rest of the mainstream Australian media insists on treating the public like idiots. But ABC Far North need not do the same. So, if you want to raise the issue of Afghanistan, why not also interview a prominent 9-11 sceptic on the topic? Perhaps Professor David Ray Griffin would be amenable to the opportunity?
    See this if you haven't already heard of Griffin; I have other suggestions if he isn't available).

    A declining number of well-informed people believe any longer that fanatical Muslims, led by 'Al Qaida' based in Afghanistan, managed to effect the free-fall collapse of THREE steel-framed Manhattan skyscrapers into dust and molten steel on 9-11. After all, such a phenomenon has never been observed before or since in history, absent pre-planned controlled demolition... Recall also that the Taliban Government of the day offered to extradite Mr Bin Laden if it could be presented with evidence of his guilt; that perfectly normal and reasonable request - a request any sovereign nation makes in the event of an extradition request - was dismissively treated as a casus belli by the Bush Administration.

    'NATO's' war in Afghanistan is being waged a long way from the North Atlantic. Afghanistan is a long way from Australia too. Even Clive Williams admitted the conflict poses no direct 'threat' to Australia. This war, launched on the basis of demonstrable lies, is being waged against an increasingly popular resistance movement. The chief beneficiaries of the post-2001 conflict have been drug barons, arms merchants and profiteering military contractors. Ordinary Afghanis have been and remain the principal victims.

    Australians are right to reject this foul war. It's a war based on outrageous deceptions that our own publicly-owned mass media is too conformist and cowardly (and/or complicit?) to investigate. How shameful is that!

    If you must interview war-mongering academics with 'Defense Intelligence' (double misnomer?) connections, please at least question them critically and balance their pro-war spin with opposing views.

    With regards to you and all at ABC Far North, on this fine sunny day in relative paradise.
    Syd Walker
    PS. As I have little remaining confidence that the mainstream media in Australia provides an opportunity for meaningful discussion of topics such as those raised above, I intend to publish this letter on my blog. I will, of course, publish any replies received from yourself and/or Mr Woolley.

    There is nothing personal in this. I respect you and ABC Far North in most of your endeavours. But when you play a role - even a minor role - in helping to promote unjust and murderous wars, I believe you cross a line.

    Ventilation of these issues in the public domain, in my opinion, is very much in the public interest - within this region and everywhere else. It's past time.

I didn't turn one light off for Earth Hour

What a waste of energy.

All that Earth Hour achieved was an increase in C02 emissions around Cairns as all those people drove to Fogerty Park on the weekend, with their screaming kids to watch the free Council-sponsored movie. These good folk would have normally stayed home and had a low-energy emitting evening in. Maybe fish and chips on the beach would have been a better promotion?

So, no, I didn't turn any lights off on Saturday night. Mind you, my monthly energy bill doesn't represent any air conditioners buzzing away day and night, like all the wall to wall apartment dwellers seem to either enjoy or need to as they weren't designed with proper windows. I know street-facing apartments, like those delightful Stalin-like GlenCorp towers towers at Woree, were not allowed opening windows facing the highways.

Some Councillors have told me that the amount of apartments that have come for approval without sufficient street-facing windows is amazing. Never mind, they simply stack in a few extra hundred Air Con units all over the buildings.

I ripped mine out 6 years ago, and put in more window louvers to catch the breeze. I have no electric hot water heating - I use gas heated or tap temperature water for showers, which is collected for greywater garden watering. The two highest energy users in the home is your fridge - which can be around $65 a month on your bill, and up to $80 a month for your hot water cylinder, which traditionally bubbles away with steaming hot water continuously that you hardly ever use , nor need.

I've just booked in my $50 visit from ClimateSmart for a sparky visit to install a wireless energy monitor, provide a bunch of energy efficient bulbs and a new shower head, and check my fridge and other appliances for their outputs.

Suggest you jump online and book a visit in. It's far more pratical that turning off a couple of lights for one hour a year.

Honorable Member for Wallabies

The Local Member for Wallabies, Councillor Robert Pyne, has circulated his latest newsletter.

Robert highlights Queensland’s largest town planning exercise, for the Mount Peter Draft Urban Framework Plan.

"This is one of the most picturesque pockets of Australia, located 15 km south of Cairns between Edmonton and Gordonvale, and is expected to be home to 50,000 new residents of the Cairns region by 2025," Councillor Pyne says.

The planning for Mount Peter was established at a Council-led investigation, which resulted in a draft land-use plan covering the entire master planning area.

"This set out broad community, environmental, economic and infrastructure needs to guide the area’s future development, Robert says. "The Plan considers proposed roads, mass transit, pedestrian and cycle networks, urban centres, employment precincts and community facilities.

Councillor Pyne also reports that Council will develop a strategy to manage the overcrowding of wallabies in White Rock and surrounding suburbs.

"Over the past 30 years residential development has increased and as a result native habitat in the area has diminished," he says. "The first step will be to conduct a study to better understand the situation and the conservation measures that may be applied to the strategy.

Pyne said that the strategy would result in better protection of the remaining habitat in the area and provide a framework to guide planned urban development in the areas that have wallabies
or areas adjacent to key wallaby habitats.

Pyne hopes that the Southern Fringe Wildlife Management Strategy will deliver improved planning mechanisms and protection of key habitats for fauna species in the Cairns southern suburbs on the western side of the highway around of Woree and White Rock.

"The Strategy will identify current habitat and biology and use of land in the area, consider
the remaining habitat and the need for habitat, and corridors and linkages to maintain viable populations," Robert Pyne says. "It will also identify the threats to key species, key habitat and management requirements."

881 cases of Dengue now recorded

There have now been a staggering 880 cases of Dengue recorded since the outbreak first started in early December.

Cairns: 790
Suburbs affected with known recent transmission:
Bayview Heights, Bungalow, Cairns North, Edge Hill, Edmonton, Gordonvale, Holloways Beach, Machans Beach, Manoora, Manunda, Parramatta Park, Redlynch, Trinity Beach, Westcourt, White Rock, Whitfield, Yorkeys Knob.

Port Douglas (no known recent transmission): 3
Yarrabah (no known recent transmission): 1
Injinoo (no known recent transmission): 1
Mareeba: 1
Innisfail: 11

Townsville: 72

'No known recent transmission' means no known confirmed cases of dengue fever acquired in that location/suburb for more than one month. However, outbreaks are only considered over once three months have passed since the last case.

Saturday 28 March 2009

Cane toads make it to Melbourne

Cane toads, that were deliberately introduced from Hawaii in 1935 to control scarab beetles infesting Queensland's sugar cane, have now made it to Melbourne.

According to the Hastings Leader a cane toad was found in Cranbourne yesterday, after a resident called Melbourne Zoo, unsure what it was.

It's possible that one arrived in packed in a fruit packing box.

The poisonous Cane toad is a resident in 500,000sq km of Australia.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Bromeliad sale on Saturday

The Bromeliad Society will be having their first plant sale for the year on Saturday.

This is an opportunity to buy locally-grown bromeliads at Centenary Lakes, Greenslopes Street from 7:30am till sold out.

More info phone Lynn 4053 3913

Wildlife Adventures with Dr Martin Cohen

On Friday evening, Yungaburra will be treated to the wildlife adventures of Dr Martin Cohen, presented by the Tablelands Frog Club.

After working as a biologist, wildlife photographer, filmmaker and writer for over 25 years, Martin Cohen presents an entertaining talk on his most memorable wildlife adventures to date. Martin’s wildlife adventures have taken him to all regions and habitats in Australia and more recently to Borneo.

This talk features his award-winning photography and Martin tells the story behind the images. Come along for an enjoyable, engaging and educational evening.

A gold coin donation is asked for, and coffee, tea, cake and biscuits provided. No frogs to be eaten during the presentation.
  • 7pm, Yungaburra Community Hall, Cedar Street.

I love you long time

Who else gets spam and enjoys the daily laugh?

  • I am Marrina Kevin the only daugther of Mr Kevin. He was the Chairman of Sierra Leone Diamond and Gold Mining Corporation and i will like to invest in your country, i will give you more details when i received your mail.mail me at : marrina_kevin1900@yahoo.co.jp

Tuesday 24 March 2009

ABC on a Monday night

ABC had a good line up last evening.

I had to switch across from Ten's Good News Week, which is always good fun.

However, I was riveted by this week's 4 Corners story about the dis-honouring of Marcus Enfield, all over a $75 speeding ticket he tried to wriggle out of. Actually, it was more like three or four speeding tickets over a few years. Liar, liar, pants on fire, screamed ABC's Sarah Ferguson at the former Federal Court Judge.

Following this, Media Watch dedicated it's entire programme to the fake Pauline Hanson nudie pix, published a week prior to the State election. Jonathan Holmes told the full story of how The Sunday Telegraph never checked it's source, not got the owner of the photographs to sign an agreement to declare they were genuine.

As Pauline exits from the political stage, I hope she get a damm good payout from the Tele. What a way to go.

Dengue now 753

There are now 753 cases recorded of Dengue in Far North Queensland.

This includes 740 type 3 and two type 2 in Cairns since 1 December.

The suburbs affected of recent local transmission are:
Bayview Heights, Bungalow, Cairns North, Edge Hill, Edmonton, Gordonvale, Holloways Beach, Machans Beach, Manoora, Manunda, Parramatta Park, Redlynch, Trinity Beach, Westcourt, White Rock, Whitfield, Yorkeys Knob.

There have been no recent local transmission in Port Douglas, however three type 3 have been recorded. Yarrabah, 1; Injinoo 1; Mareeba 1; Innisfail 5.

In Townsville there have been 72 cases since 5 January. Suburbs affected with recent local transmission: Belgian Gardens, Kirwan, North Ward/City, South Townsville.

More local Blogs

Tourism Port Douglas have launched a new online local news service to represent their region. "You'll find locally provided daily news and information," Sam Cullen of the Newsport Daily says.

Also, Scott McCutcheon, a regular CairnsBlog reader and Cafe owner, has started his own Blog. Check out The Impatient Recycler.

I've added a local Cairns' Blogs active list in the sidebar, just below the advertisements (check out the Fugglies!).

Monday 23 March 2009

Caption Contest - after the party

Well, I had to do it.
  1. "My promises were this big, almost as big as the State debt I avoided talking about for the last month. Suckers!"
  2. "I said, 'Lawrence it's either your lies or mine. They obviously liked mine a whole lot better."
  3. "I really didn't want this job again. Like Desley, I also had two concession speeches ready, but I needed an outing for this new red number."
  4. "I told Oliver not to wear that Abercrombie & Fitch top. It makes him look a bit gay."
  5. "Now we can carry on with what we were doing before this election: borrowing, spending, building - all those things great for a recession."
  6. "I'd like to extend my love to regional Australia, you know how much I care for you and how much I listen to you up there."
  7. "................your turn......................"

Labor are puppets on a string - Schmidlin

Infamous Cairns Post letter-writer, Werner Schmidlin writes, in the aftermath of the weekend State election loss to his party of choice.

I was flooded with phone calls and e-mails this morning, and people talked to me on my walk to pick up the Cairns Post, all saying the same; that they were dismayed and insulted by the Cairns Post front page caption “Awesome Foursome” – when “inept” or "puppets on a string" should have been in the place of “awesome.”
I am in total agreement with their sentiment.

It won’t be long and sodium fluoride is added to our water, your coffee or tea will not taste the same again, thanks to the people who voted to return this dictatorial Labor government. A person drinks only a small quantity of water a day.
So why does the water for the shower, flushing the toilet, doing the washing and watering our plants have to be fluoridated, where is the oral health benefit? And, worst of all, the fluoridated water that goes down the drain; will pollute the Reef.

Sodium fluoride, a hazardous-waste by-product from the manufacture of aluminium, is a common ingredient in rat and cockroach poisons, anaesthetics, hypnotics, psychiatric drugs, and military nerve gas. It's historically been quite expensive to properly dispose of, so the aluminium industry with an overabundance of the stuff sells it at high prices to stupid governments.

The Nazis used fluoride to sterilize inmates and to make them docile. Sodium fluoride is a key dumbing down ingredient of Prozac and Sarin nerve gas.
Other impacts of fluoridation: constipation, fuzzy thinking and thyroid gland problems, to name a few.

Meals on wheels on blogs

Cairns Meals on Wheels has set up a funky Blog.

Council offered a peppercorn rental to use facilities at Barlow Park, where meals for recipients are prepared daily. This community organisation does so much important work without being noticed. See how many Councillors you can spot in the photos, as soon as a free lunch is offered!

As with all my community links, you'll locate a comprehensive list in the right hand sidebar.

Sunday 22 March 2009

25 things I hate about Facebook

Trivia fundraiser for CYMS

This is for all those Trivia junkies out there. The Cairns Youth Mentoring Scheme are having an evening to raise funds, and everyone is invited.

Just get a team of ten together, or come along and join in with others.

When: Friday 3rd April
Where: The Reef Hotel Casino - Michealmas Cay Room
Time: 7pm
Cost: $16 (includes a hot snack platter for each table. Drinks are available to purchase)

Tickets must be purchased by Friday 25th March from the CYMS office, Flexible Learning Centre, Clark Street, Manunda or you can telephone 4041 5844 or email.

So get your team of ten ready now! Everyone is welcome, and there'll be some great raffles.

Cook final election night reults


NEWIE, Michaelangelo (IND) 903 - 4.87%
ST JOHN-WOOD, Neville (Greens) 1,156 - 6.23%
BATCHELOR, Craig (LNP) 7,788 - 42%
O'BRIEN, Jason (ALP) 8,694 - 46.89%

Two party preferred

BATCHELOR, Craig (LNP) 8,301 - 47.27%
O'BRIEN, Jason (ALP) 9,259 - 52.73%

LNP won Alexandra Bay, Biboohra, Chillagoe, Cooktown, Daintree River, Emerald Creek, Julatten, Mossman, Mt Molloy, and Mareeba with 60% of the vote. ALP only polled 26% in Port Douglas, reflecting the amalgamation issue. Most Cape aboriginal communities supported the ALP.

2006 Results
O'BRIEN, Jason (ALP) 9,806 - 57.77%
ST. JOHN-WOOD, Neville Greens 1,767 - 10.41%
SCOTT, Peter (NPA) 5,400 - 31.82%

Mulgrave final results from election night


WHITEHOUSE, Hugh (Greens) 1,121 - 5.51%
BLACK, Vic (LNP) 6,697 - 32.93%
BYRNES, Damian (IND) 2,754 - 13.54%
PITT, Curtis Warren (ALP) 9,767 - 48.02%

Two party preferred

BLACK, Vic (LNP) 7,566 - 41.53%
PITT, Curtis Warren (ALP) 10,652 - 58.47%

LNP won Bellenden Ker, Bramston Beach, Flying Fish Point, Garradunga, McDonnell Creek, and Miriwinni. The Hambledon booth returned the strongest for ALP, at just over 48%, with just under 30% for LNP.

2006 Results
DUNFORD, Krista (NPA) 9,418 - 40.08%
PITT, Warren (ALP) 14,081 - 59.92%

Barron River final election night results

Barron River

RICHARDSON, Wendy (LNP) 9,800 - 44.09%
WETTENHALL, Steve (ALP) 9,640 - 43.37%
ISAACS, Sarah (Greens) 2,788 - 12.54%

Two party preferred

RICHARDSON, Wendy (LNP) 10,159 - 48.01%
WETTENHALL, Steve (ALP) 10,999 - 51.99%

LNP won on primary votes, however preferences weighted in ALP favour.
LNP won Brinsmead, Cairns, Caravonica, Clifton Beach, Edgehill, Machans Beach and Whitfield

2006 Results
WALLS, Denis (Greens) 3,162 - 13.27%
WETTENHALL, Steve (ALP) 9,901 - 41.56%
WELSH, Stephen (LIB) 8,244 - 34.60%

Cairns final Election night results


HARROP, Joel (LNP) 8,266 - 39.57%
SKIPP, Janice (Family First) 728 - 3.48%
BOYLE, Desley (ALP) 9,607 - 45.99%
BRECH, Steve (Greens) 2,289 - 10.96%

Two Party preferred

HARROP, Joel (LNP) 8,859 - 45.33%
BOYLE, Desley (ALP) 10,683 - 54.67%

Of the 15 booths, LNP won Bayview Gardens, Cairns, Earlville, Whiterock.

2006 results
RICHARDSON, Wendy (LIB) 7,260 - 33.71%
BOYLE, Desley (ALP) 10,598 - 49.21%
NOWAKOWSKI, Steven Greens 1,747 - 8.11%

Saturday 21 March 2009

Springborg concedes, phones Bligh

Opposition leader Lawrence Springborg phoned Anna Bligh at 8:15pm to congratulate her on the ALP win.

He has also announced that he will stand down as leader of the LNP, following three attempts to lead his party. He will remain as the member for Southern Downs.

Cook results so far

32 of 35 Booths in.

BATCHELOR (LNP) 46.18%. O'BRIEN (ALP) 53.82%

State wide results so far

With 44% counted, 48.6% to LNP, 51.5% to ALP, showing a 3.4% swing against Labor.

This equates to 54 seats for ALP in the House, 32 for LNP, and 3 others.
This is very similar to Labor's win in 1989 and 1992.

Mulgrave results in

Mulgrave 23 of 24 booths in.

PITT (ALP) 58.47%. BLACK (LNP) 41.53%

Barron River result to date

19 of 20 Booths in.


Cairns results to date

In Cairns, 14 of the 15 Booths have been returned.

BOYLE (ALP) 54.67%. HARROP (LNP) 45.33%

There is a 4% swing away from ALP, in Cairns, leaving a reduced 4% margin.

Boyle has held the seat since 1989. This will make the Cairns seat an historic record, holding Cairns for 100 years continuously.

ABC results

First results in

In the first result in, sitting Labor MP, Steve Wettenhall, has won the Smithfield, Machans Beach and Yorkeys Knob polling booths.

ALP won the primary vote outright, with 690 to 630 for LNP at Smithfield.

There is however a swing against the ALP shown in early counting in the South East. It is too early to indicate any signigficant trend.

Sighs of the times

Today we don't need to many words. We've read all we need to. Let the piccies do the talking.

Here's my odd collection of the streetside littering of election propaganda over the last month. I hope they all clean them up by Monday.

Bryan started a trend, it seems. This one however, was not his handiwork.

Law was not above the law but the law didn't touch him. Desley was dammed if she did, and dammed if she didn't. Clever strategy Bryan.

A trailer for every occasion. First-time political hopeful Joel, did more pushing than dragging.

Would you want this wildlife looking after your pets?

The Barron River Greens are big tree-huggers.

Would you pull this mob around for another three years on your trailer? Some think so.

Maurice and Wayne love Steve.

My personal favourite. Desley the Clown. Whoever was behind this campaign, deserves a ticket to the circus.

Size doesn't matter in Mulgrave.

Who's gunna report the hazard?

Where's a good flood when you need one?

One of these signs are for a bunch of noisy kids, screaming at everything, shitting all over the place, making a real mess around the home, and never listen to their elders.
The other one is for a baby show.

Wendy is a bit too much to the right.

Desley outside the heritage-listed Herries Hospital. What the? She really does need a new hospital for the head operation.

Steve is a little too much to the left.

Vote 1 for Pitt, if you've got a pot.

Desley Out. Original as sliced ham.

Which Steve are you voting for?

LNP's Vic at the crossroads.

Another fabbo one. He really is de-lectable.

Just for the millions who missed this one. Wendy stuck in a boat yard.

Friday 20 March 2009

The Cumulative effect of disgruntled minorities

In the final hours of the month-long Queensland State election, former Cairns Councillor, Ross Parisi reviews the effect the last three years has impacted on the race for this year's campaign. He calls this the cumulative effect of disgruntled minorities.

Seldom does it occur in a Westminster-styled parliamentary democracy, that Opposition win Government.

Generally, Governments tend to lose elections for all sorts of reasons. Reasons ranging from an 'it's time' factor viz the Whitlam Government of 1972, to 'systemic corruption' factor of the Bjelke – Petersen/Cooper Government of 1989. The overriding issue contained within each of the above two reasons, generally swamp any other periphery reason.

Here in Queensland, the Bligh Labor Government perhaps may be somewhat at the peril of an 'it's time' factor but certainly not the 'systemic corruption' factor. However, within the two factors lies what I call 'the cumulative effect of disgruntled minorities.'

On their own, each minority does not carry much weight electorally, but when added up, the minorities can have a major impact on the final outcome. The effect of these minorities sometimes is discounted and at times minimised by the Opposition, either being fractured and disunited, or just lacking credibility. These factors do not exist in this election as they certainly did during the 2006 election of the Beattie Government.

I believe the 2009 Queensland election will be determined by the cumulative effect of the various minorities. Each Parliamentary seat will have its own home grown minority factors as well as overarching State wide factors. That is why the swing against the Bligh Government will not be uniform, but will vary greatly from region to region, from seat to seat.

That is why this election will be difficult to predict and may result in a minority ALP/LNP Government, where Independents may play a role in determining which party controls the Treasury benches in George Street, Brisbane.

This political phenomenon is insidious and by definition usually creeps upon the local Member, and when the votes are counted he/she wonders why they are feathers dusters!

Local minority factors in play in the Cairns Region have been building up over the last 3 years and I believe have not been diffused satisfactorily.

There are 'sleepers' as well but the major minority issues are as follows, but not necessarily limited too:-
  • The spurious reason for calling the election in the first place
  • The Global recession and its overall effect on confidence
  • The level of State debt, when compared to the lack of infrastructure
  • The Cairns Base Hospital and general health services
  • Law and order in the Cairns CBD and surrounds
  • The mandating of fluoride
  • Forced Council amalgamations
  • Cairns Yacht Club
  • Perceived lack of forceful representation
  • Apparent arrogance in not listening to aggrieved constituents
  • Traffic congestion on local highways
  • Alleged nepotism in the seat of Mulgrave
  • The importation of bananas at the cost of local jobs

Each one of the above issues will bear a burden on the incumbent Member and conversely a benefit to the challenger. Admittedly, some of the above minority issues go beyond the boundaries of this State, nonetheless, incumbent Governments usually bear the brunt of general discontentment.

In my opinion, the local minority issues could have been better addressed and if the electors are left dissatisfied they will not be merciful.

Voters won't be misled with the Greens - Isaacs

CairnsBlog is happy to offer all candidates an opportunity to write in their own words.

Sarah Isaacs, Greens Candidate for Barron River, says that there's the usual last minute tussle between Labor and the conservatives over who should win.

Some voters, who would like to vote Green, are scared that doing so might damage the prospects of one or other of the 'major' political parties. For example, Labor-leaning voters may be concerned a vote for the Greens might hand Government to the LNP - or vice versa.

Wherever a Greens candidate is running, voters have the chance to vote Greens 1 - then allocate a second preference if they wish. In Barron River, as long as a Green 1 vote is followed by numbering a box '2' - for Labor or the LNP - the vote cannot be wasted.

If the Greens are not elected (and soon Greens candidates at all levels of government will get in, if we follow the global trend) - it will help decide who gets elected and pass on in full strength to the second party of their choice.

Crucially, it will also demonstrate the extent of Greens support and the voter's wish for a real change in political direction.

I hope voters won't be misled by last minute scare campaigns. A Greens 1 vote is not a waste. The people of FNQ deserve more choice than Labor and the LNP. They have more choice. I hope they choose to exercise it.

Poll shows Mulgrave, Barron falls to LNP

A CairnsBlog-commissioned poll of 1,280 voters in the region has showed a strong swing against incumbent Labor, who currently hold all State seats in Far North Queensland.

430 were surveyed in Barron River, 450 in Cairns and 400 in Mulgrave, from 13th to 18th of March. There is a margin of error factored into such a poll, predicted to be around 2.5%. There were some that expressed a view, that the last few days of the campaign could alter their view.
153 refused to take part in the poll, and were excluded from the results below.

Union sources have told The Greens that internal Labor polling is showing Labor losing up to 3% (49-52). Polling from the Australian newspaper by professor of politics at Edith Cowan University Peter van Onselen, showed a similar trend, especially in FNQ. Similar polling shows Labor on track for a loss in Queensland, with swings of up to 10% in seats with margins of up to 8% in and around Brisbane and a collapse in Greens preference flows to the ALP, says Larvatus Prodeo, an Australian political Blog.

Questions asked:
  1. Who will you support at the State Election in Mulgrave / Barron River / Cairns?
  2. Would you be influenced to change your vote in the last few days?
  3. What are the most pressing issues for your electorate?

----Barron River
The swing in Barron River showed the most significant change. Although the polling showed it was still close, it displayed a significant shift from those that have supported the first-time Labor MP, who holds the seat with a 4.8% margin three years ago. LNP had often a mixed reception amongst respondents, some expressed concern about ability and representation.

Main issues: environmental management, access to representative, urban expansion, transport infrastructure, Smithfield town centre, Kuranda Range Road

ALP 43%
LNP 49%
GREEN 4.8%

The results for strong Labor seat of Cairns showed that of those surveyed, they felt a need for change. However the Labor vote and support remained solid. Respondents showed lessening support for the incumbent representative MP, than the Labor party. Some said that Labor should have presented a new candidate, and others believed the current MP was strong and decisive. Many commended first-time LNP candidate on his ability to be across issues, however some expressed his age may be a factor.

Main issues: Environment, health and hospital, economy and job protection, heritage issues, tourism planning, Great Barrier Reef protect / fishing access, city construction / waterfront

ALP 50%
LNP 47%
GREEN 2.4%
FF 0.3%

The strongest theme to emerge through the Mulgrave poll was the existing strong support for former Labor MP has waned significantly. The strong personal following for Warren Pitt was not evident in the respondents, although some existing Labor supporters expressed a desire to back his son, as the new MP. LNP, as a new brand, was not recognised as a strong party, however Black presented an alternative that many found comfortable with, due to his age against 32-year-old Pitt.

Both Greens Hugh Whitehouse and Independent candidates Damian Byrnes received a favorable response from some.

Main issues: Development and Urban sprawl, health facilities, agriculture, roading, flood mitigation, transport infrastructure, Great Barrier Reef regulation

ALP 45%
LNP 49%
IND 1.2%

It's time to be held to account - Richardson

This morning at 10am, LNP's Barron River candidate, Wendy Richardson will hold a media conference at the remains of the historic Yacht Club building.

"We will hold to account this State Labor government," here are five community group to sat

"Many community groups were not listened to by Labor," Richardson says.

"This old ruined building is a powerful reminder to this community that the Government won't listen to the people. There are many examples of this."

Residents Against Crime, the de-amalgamation campaign for Douglas, fluoride, and the community uprising supporting the Yacht Club building, are some of the campaigns that have been in Labor's target, Richardson says

"How can you trust a Government that doesn't listen to the people," Wendy Richardson says. "They did not listen to these groups, and they haven't be heard. How much do you have to scream to be heard?"

This morning's gathering will be held at the remnants of the Yacht Club building, which now rests on a paddock alongside James Cook University campus at Smithfield.

11,000 people signed a petition last year to retain and protect the building for the community. It stood on the same Wharf Street waterfront site for over 100 years.

LNP are to blame - Cr Dianne Forsyth

Labor Councillor Dianne Forsyth has come out slamming the LNP, who she believes are behind a deliberate campaign to blame Labor over the plan to mandatory introduce fluoride.

"I would like to publicly distance myself from the anti-fluoride campaign that appears to have been taken over by LNP members and supporters, Forsyth says.

"I do not condone the posters authorised by (former Councillor) Annette Sheppard," Forsyth says. "I totally dissociate myself from this blatant politically motivated action."

LNP's Wendy Richardson, who joined Forsyth some weeks ago as a supporter of the fluoride debate being opened up to the public, says she is personally opposed to the public being forced to consume fluoride and wanted to support the rally.

"As far as I can tell, there are probably three people who are associated with LNP or are supporters including me, at least one Labor person, excluding Dianne, two Green supporters, an independent, and three others who I am not aware of having a political affiliation, but I am confident are not LNP members or supporters," Richard said in response to Forsyth's claim that the LNP are behind the street-side poster campaign.

The anti-fluoride group that has been meeting for some years in Cairns has always maintained that the campaign would be non political.

"The group which I joined was convened first I believe only months ago after another person sought to run an anti-fluoride rally, "Wendy Richardson says. "It was thought it was better to combine forces. Many members were obviously used to working together in the group Dianne mentions."

"The need to speak out against Labor became obvious recently when people felt there was no other alternative left," Wendy Richards told CairnsBlog.

However Dianne Forsyth says the posters next to Labor election posters clearly targets Steve Wettenhall, the Labor candidate for Barron River.

However there are anti-fluoride posters up around Cairns and Mulgrave as well.

"I want to totally disassociate myself from this politically-motivated action," she said today.

"The fact is the LNP did not vote against the Water Fluoridation Bill when it passed through the Queensland Parliament and there are LNP MP’s like the Member for Surfers Paradise, a former dentist, who support the addition of fluoride into the water," Forsyth says.

LNP’s stance is that they will not prevent water being fluoridated if that is what the people want, Richardson says.

"We acknowledge there is a great diversity of opinion on this topic in LNP and the community.
When the Bligh Labor Government changed the Fluoride legislation late last year, LNP supported it because it allowed for a choice to be given to the people on the topic of Fluoride to be added to water supplies," she says.

"However we also sought to amend the legislation by returning to referendums. The Government rejected that amendment. Next, LNP sought to amend the Act to have the cost of reverse osmosis water filters highly subsidised by anyone who didn’t want to have fluoride in their household water," says Richardson. "This too was rejected by the Bligh government."

Dianne Forsyth says that nowhere on the LNP website is there any statement about their policy on Fluoride. "The view of LNP candidate for Barron River, Wendy Richardson is her own personal view and not one that the LNP support," says Forsyth.

Richardson rejects this.

"The view I have repeatedly expressed is the official stated LNP stance," she says. "Joel Harrop, LNP candidate for Cairns also reiterated it to over 150 people when he and I attended the Anti Enforced Fluoridation Rally."

"I do have a personal view, but I am comfortable that it fits within the policy of the LNP," Wendy Richardson says.

Dianne Forsyth says there are members of all parties in our [anti-fluoride] group and members will vote as their conscience dictates. The anti-fluoride Committee convened for many years does not recommend a vote for any particular party.

Again Richardson says Dianne Forsyth has got it wrong.

"Correction Di. The current group does condemn Labor for forcing fluoride upon people. It does not however recommend voting for LNP or the Greens or Independents. It just says ‘No to Labor’," Richardson said in response.

"Also, her statement above is in direct contradiction of Di’s statement earlier; that the group has ‘been taken over’ by LNP supporters," Richardson says.

"Times have changed, and so has the Labor Government’s attitude. They have gone from promising to have referendums before the last state election, to insisting they have the right to mass medicate people," Wendy Richardson says.

"Such an attitude leaves no room to quibble when people believe that essential health is at risk.
All other avenues have been tried but failed to stop Anna Bligh and her government from enforcing fluoridation of water," Richardson says.

"Di’s loyalty to her party is so strong that she obviously now feels she must turn her back on the anti-fluoridation group as its views will damage Labor," says Richardson.

"But Labor have no-one but themselves to blame for that."

Douglas: Who loves us the most

The lobby group Friends of Douglas Shire has had a busy year.

For the last 12 months, they've endued a forced same-sex marriage they they didn't want, and want out. They continue their fight to reverse the decision after being amalgamated Cairns City Council, with no stronger advocate than their inaugural Councillor Julia Leu.

Premier Bligh visited Mossman in October last year, to listen and express her concern to the locals. However, Robert Hanan of FODS said that in the end, she did nothing and nothing has changed.

"The LNP has promised, in a jointly signed letter to the residents of Douglas, to immediately begin a democratic process towards de-amalgamation," Hanan says.

"The Greens have also stated that they support de-amalgamation. In Cook, The Greens are not allocating preferences so that choice would be yours," Robert Hanan said.

There are of course, many other issues in the Cook electorate which encompasses the former Douglas Shire, but FODS is primarily concerned with de-amalgamation.

"Whatever the election outcome there will continue to be significant hurdles ahead," Hannan says. "FODS will continue to strive for the return of what has been lost while maintaining vigilance on all fronts where we as a community are being marginalised."

In mid November last year, many who withheld all or part of their Council rates in protest at the increased charges, received a letter of demand. However, the letters were received from Wednesday 12th or Thursday 13th, and the issue date on the notice was the 7th of November. The notice stated that payment had to be made within 7 days from that date of the letter.

"Apart from the fact that it should not take 4 to 5 working days for a letter to come from Cairns to Port Douglas or Mossman, many, if not all, have still not received a suitable explanation as to why our rates were increased by such an extortionate amount," Robert Hanan

"Friends of Douglas Shire believe the November posting was deliberately delayed to put pressure on and frighten those who have received it," Hanan said.

Friends of Douglas Shire recommended ratepayers or anti-ratepayers, to lodge a formal complaint against the Revenue and Collections Department.

"Once a formal complaint is lodged they must investigate it," Hanan said. "We have not received a reasonable explanation as to why our rates have increased by such an extortionate amount."

You can email Friends of Douglas Shire or telephone 4098 8280 or 4099 3667

Thursday 19 March 2009

Queensland doesn't rate

Ratings agency Standard and Poors today confirmed Queensland would retain its AA+ rating for at least the next two to three years under Labor.

They said every other Australian State would retain its AAA rating for the same period.

Opposition leader Springborg says the report was 'the final nail in the coffin of Queensland Labor's claim that they are no different from any other State facing the global financial crisis'.

"We have the worst credit rating of any mainland state, and will have under Labor for the next two to three years," he said.

He says that debt is in Labor's DNA, with $64 billion clocked up before the global financial crisis kicked in. Meanwhile, another anti-Anna website has emerged called Anna's Record.