Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Ignoring the elephant

This morning's 4CA talkback show, hosted by a veteran of 25 years on local radio, is noticeable by what the show's host, John Mackenzie, is not saying.
Station Manager Steve Hirst, who has pulled Mackenzie in line previously for his on-air triads of aboriginals, has probably put a gag over Mackenzie talking about the subject, now the focus of a formal investigation, that could lead to the station loosing its licence or receiving a hefty fine.
Macca's mum about last evening's ABC Media Watch report, which highlighted an investigation launched on Friday by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, over the arrangement between 4CA Radio and Cairns Regional Council. Council's Corporate Communications Manager Kerie Hull, did the deal in secret without informing the Mayor as the main guest.
What naivety such highly-paid officials must have, when they are encouraged to load the gun and then become collateral damage in this circus we call a Council. They're either totally incompetent or strategically wanted to plot to embarrass that Mayor. Councillor Sno Bonneau, who asked the question at last week's full Council meeting about the deal, was obviously fully aware of the arrangement, along with Cr Alan Blake, and should also be exposed about what they knew.
The Council investigation underway to find out what was agreed and by whom, and why the Mayor was never informed of the financial arrangement will uncover a few rats. However, as one CairnsBlog contributor said yesterday, having CEO Noel Briggs in charge of this investigation, is a bit like putting Nixon in charge of the Watergate inquiry.
The mitigating point in all this, as I've highlighted previously, is that John Mackenzie seems to believe that having politicians and elected Councillors on his show is 'advertising'.
Advertisements broadcast must not be presented as news programs or other programs, according to the Read the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice, clause 3.1.
"Ah, the nostalgia! It's as if the whole Cash for Comment scandal never happened," presenter Jonathan Holmes said. "Believe it or not, Macca, most commercial radio stations - and TV shows come to that - give air time to elected politicians without expecting to be paid for it."
"So if the Mayor's interviews were paid for, the station should have told its listeners so, and it never did," Holmes says. "But Macca's attitude reminds me irresistibly of Lawsie in his prime."
Mayor Schier should not have any confidence for her CEO to undertake an internal investigation. As former Kevin Byrne executive assistant, Dennis Quick has called for, a totally independent inquiry should be the only way forward for uncovering this fiasco.
The resignation of the CEO, should now be a serious consideration for the Mayor, who appears to have lost his total trust.


Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Interesting report on Media Watch - if they're prepared to pick it up, it is indeed a hot potato & worthy of investigation.
That alone should put a dent in the very naughty Ms. Hull's career, I hope. She should re-read the chapter on Journalistic Ethics and Integrity that she would have come across at journalism school.
I reckon Briggs should step down - he obviously knew about Machenziegate (although he'll deny that one & try to come out squeaky clean) He's obviously not properly in charge of his senior officers - which is no surprise to many of us - especially regarding the Evil Planning Department.
There's been quite a few occurrences of this type of incident with Briggs - I reckon it's all a bit above him, & he's hanging on for dear life. He's a nice bloke (if a little bland), but if he's going to play these collusion games with the Gang of Six - in fact, is he a part of the Gang of Six? coming through via the Byrne era - then he needs to leave.
He is in charge of hiring and firing at the Council, and of organising and coordinating the top officers. We need someone of the best quality calibre for a job of that breadth.
It's time for a CEO breath of fresh air at CRC. Surely there's someone better than this in Oz whom we could employ?

The Headless Horseman said...

When people have negative motivations, they almost always come a cropper. The sneaky behaviour of some senior council staff and councillors in undermining Mayor Val Schier has now blown up in their faces. Shamefully, they have embarrassed our wonderful city on national television.
If senior staff have a problem with Val, they should discuss these issues with her. If loyalty is untenable, then the senior staff concerned is honour-bound to resign.
If a councillor has a problem with Val - and I don't know why her enemies should as they have not given her a chance - then this should be reflected in sensible, constructive and honorable debate.
Underhanded sabotage is the immature and dishonorable response. The Gunpowder Plot, like Mackenziegate, blew up in the plotters' face because of the immoral nature of their cause.
They should all take stock of this fiasco and turn the page. Look up under C for Cooperation.

Simon J, Freshwater said...

.......or "C" for corruption !

Arthur Festerbestertester said...

there are now a number of grounds for Briggs' activities to be referred to the police and to the CMC for investigation. Enough is enough.

Blogster said...

A referral to the Police or CMC...you have a lot of faith.

Let me make a prediction of the outcome here if the above matters were indeed handed to these bodies for investigation:

"claims unsubstantiated"

Jude Johnston said...

Definitely choked on my cornflakes after reading Dennis Quick's letter in the CP (yeah I do read the CP)re his assertions that Val must have known of the "arrangement". He goes on to say that her Executive Assistant should have kept her informed. That being the case, I would like to hear from Mr Quick, as former Executive Assistant for Mayor Byrne, how the "arrangement" was handled when the Mayor and Councillors went on the Macca show. Why was the former Mayor given a 1 hour slot, which was often filled in by other Councillors if it wasn't "paid for?

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Mike M. made an interesting comment the other day - that if there is a Code of Conduct for the Councillors (which is fine by me) then is there such a Code for Council officers - especially those with a senior role, such as the CEO. One would expect they have a Duty Statement, but also a Code? And if not, why not?
It would be good if someone could do some digging & tell us.
Any Council officers in mufti out there who might be able to do so? Or one of our shining light Councillors?
And Jude Johnston - I hope you're fired off a letter to the CP with the same content as above. It would indeed be interesting to see what commercial arrangements were in place with 4CA - that is, apart from boozy lunches with Fat Kev & Mackenzie at Villa Romana.

Deep Throat said...

Macca blaming it on a slow news week and playing down the "Cash for Comment" with a mocking tone this morning, as if none of it really matters.
Watch him change his tune when any other council issue arises...

Nick said...

He is forever accusing politicians of "starving isssues of oxygen", hoping they'll go away and nobody will notice. He is now doing the same himself.

He makes a living out of flogging units and other real estate, but when some get built in his own street, he doesn't like it and gets his mate GK to write about it in the Post.

I wonder now how genuine he was about trying to save the CYC. Was he just trying to have a go at the ALP and will he soon be advertising the penthouse suits that will be built on the old CYC site ?

nocturnal congress said...

Why is all the culpability directed here at the CRC? There were two parties to this contract. 4CA entered into this contract which would very strongly appear to be a breach of the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice. The Code of Practice is in place, in fact, to prevent PATRONAGE. Radio 4CA and its management would have known of the legal cases involving John Laws and Alan Jones (see "crikey" of 27/9/2007). It is the responsibility of the radio station to know what its own Codes of Practice are, surely?
All this speculation about staff of the Cairns Regional Council is not only directing culpability and focus away from radio 4CA, but it is serving to trivialise a very serious breach of media law.
Of course, McKenzie is delighted the focus is entirely on the council. It shouldn't be.

Nick said...

Gavin King is on 4CA and claims to have evidence that the mayor knew about the "cash for comment " deal. He then has announced that he is indeed leaving the Cairns Post

Nick said...

Mr. King claims to have seen e-mails that put the Mayor in the frame. He furthermore expressed regret that he did not support saving the Cairns Yacht Club, as he has changed his mind about the issue. Well the damage has been done, Gavin....

nocturnal congress said...

I'm on 4CA now, listening to the clowns asking King for his political advice. Christ, what a laugh. This is the half wit who predicted a landslide against Labor in the last State Election.
Well, King, word is around town that the current Editor of the CP told you to piss off. Unfortunately for us, he reckons he is still going to live in Cairns.

jam sanger said...

Gavin King demonstrated week after week his personal loathing of Val Schier and treated her with utter contempt. Frankly, he wouldn't be regarded as a credible witness in any investigation.

Blogster said...

Starting his campaign on Mackenzie with a claim that cannot be substantiated, is exactly what GK is about.

He also stated that he stood behind all that he had written, only to take that back when Richardson rang.

The show hardly had any callers that wanted to say anything to GK. Typical. Well...not really.

One wonders what Gavin's motivation really was to go on the show.

To prove that he can get on air without paying? To prove that some people care about him? To make unsubstantiated claims? Narcism?

Gavin, people can be thought provoking without being insulting, nicknaming people, calling people names.

Sorry, but what are your credentials? Oh, someone accidentally gave you a job at the paper...?

Sgt. Schultz said...

McKenzie reckons he knows nothing about the deal - that is a bit like Val claiming she knows nothing.

jam sanger said...

For chrissakes, whose NAMES are on that bloody "cash for comment" deal. Somebody must have signed it for there to be a contract.

CBD Warrior said...

You're all missing the big picture, and the thing that is scaring both Mackenzie and his buddy Kevin Byrne to death.

When this issue was first raised, Mackenzie confirmed right out of the blocks that this council "Payment" for the Mayor's weekly hour had been going on during Byrne's tenure. This amounts to Council funds being diverted for Byrne's campaigning during the last election, a clearly illegal use of council funds and a criminal violation of election law.

Look at how quickly Kevin Byrne was to deny that Mackenzie was being paid by the last council! He knows this is a criminal offence, and I'm sure has told Mackenzie to put a sock in it. But Mackenzie can't help himself, he's determined to protect his income stream from council, the law be damned.

If Mackenzie took a dollar from council during the campaign for putting Byrne on every week, he is going to need a criminal lawyer real soon. I've lodged a complaint with ACMA, the CMC, Desley Boyle, and the Electoral Commission and urge others to do so as well.

John Mackenzie is a boob. And his boobishness is about to land him in the dock. This has nothing to do with Val Schier, the big enchilada here is Kevin Byrne and his corrupt campaigning.

Northern Beaches Warrior said...

And while we are at it CBD Warrior, let us not forget KB's pre-election large billboard that was erected alongside the Captain Cook Highway on land owned by Kev's developer friends LHL, who in another arrangement, gave KB a job when he lost the election.

How much of that unethical behaviour/conflict of interest and arrogant behaviour was broadcast on Macca's show, that we all apparently paid for?