Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Steve the Snubber

I had a lot on last evening. Three meetings and functions to get to.

It was just after 9pm before I arrived at the Barron River candidate's meeting, at the Yorkeys Knob community hall.

Bryan will write an account of the debate, however I did have the opportunity to share a coffee and biccies with a few.

Ross Parisi was there, a long-time Councillor with the former Mulgrave Shire Council. He held the record for the youngest-ever elected Councillor, 23 years when first elected, only to be pipped by Kirsten Lesina who was 21 when she took office last March.

However, the Labor Member for Barron River didn't want to face the music it seemed. I've met Steve Wettenhall a number of times over the last three years, and largely been a supporter. However, he and his Labor mob, disenfranchised the Cairns community over the preservation of the historic Yacht Club building. I've made my views well-known, as have many who campaigned, included his political opponent Wendy Richardson, who lead the community's uprising last year.

Politics is all about difference. Difference of opinion, and points of views. Different needs and opposing agendas. However, on the matter of the Yacht Club, they got it wrong. They ignored the people and a generation of locals have felt very hurt about Labor's actions, when a better outcome could have been achieved, with very little effort.

"Hello Steve," I chirped, as he darted past me, heading for the door.

I got a muffled reply. It wasn't decipherable.

He pointed his head down towards the ground, as one would when feeling shame, hurt or just angry. He certainly didn't want to give me the courtesy of a normal greeting, nor look me in the face.

I expect Steve is feeling all the emotions. He didn't defend Labor's decision to scrap and demolish the Yacht Club at last evening's community meeting. He said that he saved the Yacht Club building. "That was better than the alternative," he claimed. "It is protected and under cover."

Of course we know that it was not saved, nor protected. An inspection carried out last month showed a ruined mess.

I feel for Steve a little bit. He was bought into the Debate at the 11th hour, when Cairns member Desley Boyle wouldn't get involved or debate or defend her decision with the public. The Premier avoided two directives from Cairns Regional Council to engage and find a solution to preserve the building on it's waterfront site. Labor ignored all these calls.

As a resident and a ratepayer of this fair city, I'm entitled to my view, and allowed to share that, just like anyone else, and I believe Labor got it wrong on this issue. It's obvious that Steve Wettenhall's 5.1% margin is being whittled away. Both he and Desley Boyle will be feeling the backlash as they move through this election campaign.

Derek, editor of Machans Beach community newsletter, thought my criticisms of Wettenhall's 'rescue' of the Yacht Club was unfair. Quite the contrary. Elections are about re-applying for a job. It's time to be held to account, be judged on your record, and stand on what you did for the community. "The decision was made years ago to get rid of that building," Derek told me. I told him that that doesn't make it right, nor acceptable.

It's sad that Steve feels the need to not confront people who are outspoken. It is hard, but he signed up for this job, that most wouldn't want for all the tea in China. It's hardly well-paid for the hours and crap they put up with.

The drive is usually of a higher calling: to make a difference for the community. But when a representative betrays the people and sides with developers and their party instead of standing up for the people, then they need to expect to be told.

I hope the good people of Barron River elect the person they think will not sell-out to other interests and will remain their strongest advocate once elected. That's my simple wish.

6 comments:

Jim Brooks said...

You say that the people of Baron River should elect the person who will be their strongest advocate once elected. That would be Steve Wettenhall then. I am not a member of any political party but I am interested in most elections and the candidates.

Steve Wettenhall’s success in turning around the Government’s decision on the old Mona Mona site was a remarkable effort. It was a great local member’s achievement and should not be underestimated or misunderstood.

It is no small thing for a local member to kick down the doors of the Ministers and bureaucrats in Brisbane to force a change in a State policy. He did it in support of the principle that the legitimate views of his electorate and its people should be heard.

I saw him do exactly the same thing in relation to the FNQ Regional Plan a month ago, again on behalf of his constituents and principle. You don’t often see a local member going hammer and tongs with a senior Minister – but when you do, you don’t forget the sight. In 20 years of involvement with State government negotiations I have never seen such courage, commitment, and tenacity from a local member.

It’s easy for a candidate to promise a lot, and to knock and whinge from safety of the sidelines, but I reckon Steve Wettenhall has proved his worth as a local member time and time again.

Cr Di Forsyth said...

It's is certainly not fair to lumber Steve Wettenhall with the demise of the Yacht Club Building. Steve did fight for the Yacht Club to be retained where it was, even though it was not in his patch. Only when he couldn't change the decision to tear it down, did he advocate for it to be kept and moved. I know that only parts of it have been saved, however I was talking to Scott Bowman from JCU on Saturday and he assures me that the floor is intact and will be used in the new structure along with other parts of the building that are in dry storage. I would like to thank Steve for having the guts to fight for the building to be moved and I am looking forward to once again dancing on that beautiful dance floor once again. I know my dear friend Basil (in his 80's) from Mareeba can't wait to trip the light fantastic on the Acquatic Palais Dance Floor again. He has already visited the "Dance Floor' at JCU on several occasions.

KitchenSlut said...

Oh dear Di?

You seem to be somewhat desperate?

Jim, I am not a member of any political party either but it's just too obvious you are such a troll?

Barron River voters I speak to are still in wonder at the corflutes from wettenoballs which are so different that he is not recognisable from one to the other?

Please explain?

Nick said...

Dear Di,

I forgive ou because of your courage when you made a final effort to save the Yacht Club.

So, no one is to blame, no one is responsible, it just happened..

And no one in the Labor Party had the guts to take a stand and represent the people of Cairns and that's a fact !

Jim Brooks said...

Revel in all the integrity and credibility which your anonymity brings, KitchenSlut.

KitchenSlut said...

Jim matey?

A quick google throws up this on Mona Mona from the ABC:

"On Wednesday, March 11, 2009, LNP Shadow Minister for Sustainable Environment, David Gibson met with members of the Mona Mona Action Group.

Then on the same day, in a complete backflip from their previous stance, Steve Wettenhall said his party had got it wrong."

Given the reports and dates looks like another last minute backflip with quadruple pike from Wett'n'no'balls to me to save his own skin?