Friday 3 July 2009

Happy Birthday Mr Treasurer

Cairns Regional Councillor Alan Blake has just turned 58 (and so has Sno Bonneau, but we'll leave him for another day).

I snapped this lovely photo whilst at lunch at Banana Leaf with Alan before the last election.

The team at the CairnsBlog office thought we'd acknowledge this occasion, and would like to thank those readers that emailed

A reader sent in this wee ditty, to honor the city's most talked about keeper of the purse...

Good-looking young Councilor Blake
Has a name as a bit of a rake
He likes to meet nightly
(It helps keep him sprightly)
Let’s hope that his wick doesn’t break

After two months of ridicule about his covert involvement in the infamous Cash for Comments scandal, Alan Blake made some rather astonishing revelations this week.

"I feel the Council has failed to deliver in openness and transparency in the past six months and said it was time the Council stopped dreaming about 'warm and fuzzy' projects and delivered basic core services at an affordable price," Alan Blake said on Monday.

I doubt I'm alone in seeing the hypocrisy of this outrageous statement, given the questionable ethics. Transparency is something that we all want from this Council, and our elected members after the circus we've all seen played out from Bonneau and Blake since the beginning of Val Schier's mayoralty. If Mr Blake wants to talk transparency, then he should front up to the public and answer the serious concerns of conflicts that I've raised last month.

Now, before all my readers analyse what Blake means by 'warm and fuzzy', and I would like some restraint when commenting below on this story, you don't have to search far on CairnsBlog to realise this statement is laughable. As a lover of texting during meetings, Blake needs to remember that when you take public office, people have a right to criticise and critique their city Councillors.

I've also learnt that Blakie may have found a new friend in God. Alan Blake has been connecting with the Rt. Rev Dr Jason Gregg from St Michael's Divinity School, a Syrian Orthodox church, called Church of Antioch.

Maybe he wants to learn the 10 commandments? Does he need to straighten his moral compass?

And what did we get Councillor Blake for his birthday? Well, you'll have to wait till tomorrow to find out.


I Am The Stig said...

I was most interested to read about Blakey turning to Religion. It could well be as a result of his latest liaison where neighbours have heard religious cries of "Oh God I'm Coming"!

america is welcome in oz said...

A Suggestion for a present for cr blake
Would be to give the poor guy a break.
He has had time to mull.
Over his dealings with young hull. And could use his time to walk his dog.
Or work on his lawsuit on the cairnsblog !

nocturnal congress said...

"I feel the Council has failed to deliver in openness and transparency in the past six months ........"
Oh this is an example of disingenous cunning at its worst.
This is one crafty political animal here, betting on short memories and gullibility, shaping and moulding public opinion to favour himself. Sadly, these tactics frequently work!!!

Thornton On Spence said...

In addition to Nocturnal Congress comments we might add the fact that Cr Blake is modeling himself more and more on Kevin Rudd and that sadly these tactics do work if Mr Rudds ratings are anything to go by. Cr Blake has relied heavily on his so called "gift of the gab" and his ability to talk himself out of trouble. Over the years he has schemed, manipulated and lied to turn him into the self proclaimed "successful businessman"
He has escaped the potential for criminal investigation but his time must be getting close to an end.
Someone should ask him about who paid for his 50th Birthday Party or those unusual burglaries at his house with large sums of cash and jewellry stolen or perhaps his threats to a Hotel that if they didn't acquire their Commercial Furniture from his business it could be difficult for them to get a Licence. There are numerous stories going round about his various questionable dealings so why hasn't this guy been nailed.
Even Kevin Byrne fell out with him.

Surely there is someone out there in Blog Land who can come forward with some dirt to finish this little flea and remove him from any future role in the Council.

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

I support both nocturnal & Thornton's comments - & Blakey sounds even more conniving than I had thought.
I also thought that his comments about CRC not adopting 'warm & fuzzy' projects rather ironic. He's the Chair of the Finance Commiittee at CRC!
However, I must say the current Budget they've handed down is rather half-full of warm & fuzzy projects - even whilst we have economic downturn, higher rates, unemployment etc etc. I realise there is a need to keep on maintaining & building necessary infrastructure, & stimulating the economy with jobs & supporting local businesses via the CRC, but some of thise stuff is ridiculous - Council is planning to give $150,000 towards the Cairns Ukelele Festival. Fine, I support more Festivals - anything to bring more people & business to Cairns. I could work it if they want to give them $10-20,000, as a seed fund, but $150,000? There are numerous examples such as this.
I wonder though, going back to Blake, whether he's actually encouraging the other Councillors to 'spend up big' so as to discredit them with the community akin to what nocturnal is suggesting above?
Last year's budget was inflationary. This one, in a time of GFC, is ludicrous.

Thaddeus said...

Oh yes, the art of dissembling is a guarantee of political success!

Jude Johnston said...

I almost spat my lunch sandie out on my Cairns Post, when I read Councillor Blakes "open and transparent" comment. There has never been open and transparent governance during the Mayor Byrne reign. Never! And the Ring Master in the circus of the last 6 months is???

Veitas said...

Bloggers lend me your eyes:

"I feel the Council has failed to deliver in openness and transparency in the past six months and said it was time the Council stopped dreaming about 'warm and fuzzy' projects and delivered basic core services at an affordable price," Alan Blake said on Monday.

Now that you have recovered from chocking on your wetties what can I say at such a disingenuous statement by our infamous Councillor Blake.

I issue a challenge to our Councillor to show us his sincerity by revealing what was 'discussed' during those late night/early morning meetings with Kerrie Hull.

Furthermore does he feel in anyway responsible for the state of mind that Kerrie Hull now finds herself in due to his Machiavellian meddling.

Lets start with some candid answers Cr Blake.

Aunty Jack said...

Perhaps Fabio has left his gold chain on Hull's bedside table and he needs a new one - so there is a good suggestion for his birthday present.

FNQ Watermelon said...
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FNQ Watermelon said...
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Sir Humphrey said...

oh stig, v predictable but spot on! To other comments above I must admit I nearly choked on my cuppa when first reading the article posted. The shifty sod could not lie straight in bed!! What is he dreaming about, the whole bloody shambles in spence street hq is a warm and fuzzy pile at the moment.

FNQ Watermelon said...


Pull Out Alan Pull Out said...

It's good to see Blakey supporting another one of his Furniture Conquests. He supplied the furniture to what was once the Stumbling Goat and now Banana Leaf. I am sure he was most helpful in obtaining the necessary paperwork for their Liquor Licence.

CBD Warrior said...

Hey, Pull out!

The Stumbling Goat owners (starting with the name stolen from a famous Seattle restaurant) couldn't run a tuckshop, much less a restaurant.

Council has nothing to do with liquor licencing. It's a state matter. And given the overabundance of grog outlets in town I would guess a dead chicken could get a licence without help from anyone.

Nice troll, though.

Anonymous said...

Look if you really want a laugh have a read of Alan Blakes bio on the Council website - I beleive he wrote it himself - perhaps with the help of Ms Hull.

As the representative of one of the most diverse and densely populated divisions and as the Chairman of Council's Finance Committee, Alan Blake is not afraid to take on the big issues. Sometimes this can mean challenging powerful individuals and special interest groups to give voice to the needs of the wider community.

"Being a councillor is not a popularity contest. It's about making decisions that are right for the region, no matter the risk to your short-term popularity. You cannot serve the region if you live in a bubble, focussing on what it will take to get you re-elected rather than what it will take to create a more sustainable future for the region."

But this wider vision seems incongruent with the man who has the reputation for accessibility and independent thinking. He is never afraid to personally answering his phone when residents call and he describes his real office as being on the streets of Cairns.

"Yes, you must be a big picture thinker, but making the right decision is about active listening and taking into account the needs of the individual as well. In the end, it's about balance, and hoping you get it right".

His move from Division 9 has seen Alan make some tough decisions about his own future. He has relocated to the inner city: "If I am to properly represent my division, I need to be part of that community". He recently sold his family business to focus on his council obligations: "With the added responsibility of the amalgamated council, I found I was becoming time-poor so something had to give".

Being a councillor is also about being a real person too and this self-confessed workaholic is constantly mindful of maintaining balance in his personal life as well. "It's too easy to forget the ‘you’ in all of this and you need to leave something for yourself". A firm believer in 'a healthy mind in a healthy body', he is regularly seen around the esplanade at dawn exercising and talking with residents.

With Alan Blake you get what you see and he is nothing if not to the point. "Clarity is fundamentally important in communication and there's no point in dodging the issues. Sure, I'm uneasy when rates are raised or projects need to be delayed due to other, more pressing, needs but progress comes at a financial cost. There's no way of smoothing this over so I'd rather be up front and, in the end, rely on the wisdom of the ratepayers to appreciate straight answers".

Nothing is off limits with this Chairman of Finance and he's a vigorous campaigner for reducing unnecessary spending within the council itself. "After all, how can we justify asking the ratepayer for more money if we are not willing to examine how we spend it?"

Alan has come a long way from his days in Adelaide television. In 25 years, he's been the owner of Barbeques Galore in Cairns; he's been involved in a commercial furniture business with his family; and he serves on numerous community associations including the Board of the Cairns Regional Gallery.

As for his personal aspirations, Alan wants to stay focussed on today's responsibilities and not speculate too far into the future. "After all, if I take care of what I need to do today, without fear or favour, and do what I feel is right; the future will take care of itself".