Tuesday 26 January 2010

Email trail enrages Jason O'Brien MP about a secret society

"The public comments by the new Cairns Regional Council CEO Lyn Russell, calls into question her honesty," Cook MP Jason O’Brien says.

O’Brien is seeking what he says is a report that new Cairns Regional Council CEO Lyn Russell presented to Councillors after her first month in the job, however the CEO says there is no such document.

In an email to Russell on December 21st last year, O'Brien referred to a "30-day report" and requested to see a copy...The reply from the CEO's personal assistant said that it was an "internal document that hasn't even been released to the Councillors."

O'Brien replied, saying that he would file an FOI request for the "document."

"Whether the Councillors have seen the document or not, is of no interest to me really," O'Brien responded. "You have conceded that the document exists and have not provided a good reason on why it should not be released to me."

"I made requests to see the document with both Mayor Val Schier and Ms Russell but was turned down. It was disturbing," Jason O'Brien says.

Lyn Russell has said the "report" in question was posted on the Council's website after last week’s meeting. Russell says the document related to a workshop she held with all Councillors soon after taking over the role in November last year and was designed to identify major issues within the region.

According to Russell, when Jason O’Brien requested the "report" last year, there was no report because the workshop was "mostly verbal".

"It has now been published on the Internet and was the first in what would become regular reports from the CEO," Lyn Russell says.

"I wanted to see the report to make sure the needs of amalgamated residents in Mossman and Port Douglas were being addressed," Jason O’Brien says. "There are ongoing issues following the Council amalgamation, and I want to know whether Council recognises those issues. I also want to know how the new CEO is planning to deal with those issues in an effective and timely manner."

"I'm concerned the decision to deny access to the report came so early in Ms Russell’s tenure," O'Brien said. "It is particularly alarming given that the mayor was elected on a platform of openness and accountability following the Byrne Council’s increasing use of closed sessions and its failure to release information that should, as a matter of course, be available to the public."

"Ms Russell said publicly today that she had posted a report he was seeking on the council web site. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” O'Brien said.

He says what is published on the Council website is not the report.

"That is not the report I am after, and Ms Russell knows it," O'Brien says. “My prior comments to her and to the Mayor and in a Right to Information request I have filed, clearly indicate what report I am after."

“Her comments are designed to deceive the media and the public, and are dishonest and unacceptable from a person in such a position. Ratepayers need to be able to trust Council officers. Ms Russell, in her comments, has abused the trust of ratepayers as well as her position.”

Jason O'Brien says he has had two telephone conversations on the issue, one with Lyn Russell on 24th December 2009, and one with the Mayor on Friday 15th January.

"In both conversations, I asked for a copy of the report. “I have always been a proponent of openness and accountability. My experience is that well-informed public discourse leads to good solutions.”

O’Brien says he is very disappointed that he will be forced to go through a right to information application to get access to the report.

"The report was produced using taxpayer funds and was recently presented to councillors at a private session. The report that O'Brien is so keen to obtain is in the form of a Powerpoint presentation.

“It was presented to councillors and I have been informed by two sources of the contents of the report. I know the report to be different from the information supplied by Ms Russell on the council website,” Jason O'Brien says.

In a final communication on the subject, Lyn Russell says that no such report exists.

"The information you are seeking is in relation to a confidential, interactive workshop discussion held with the Councillors and senior staff," see wrote on the 13th January. "I have therefore instructed that your application be closed under section 52 (1)(a) of the Right to Information Act 2009."


brad m said...

Seems like a beat up to me - Jason would be better spending time on the issues of privatising of state assets. Perhaps this beat up is designed to distract attention from this issue? Do something useful Jason!

Fiona Tulip said...

Brad m, any investigation or analysis or exposure of Council actions is important, and can never be a waste of time or not useful.

In the words of Helen Thomas, a well known journalist in the US, "always question" and "ask why" of bureaucrats.

For those of us mere residents who have been on the receiving end of Council mismanagement, dishonesty, inappropriate relationships with developers and other subterfuges for many years now, and for those of us who continue to battle these unfairnesses in Council decision-making, I welcome any spotlight on these activities of Council, its officers and Divisional councillors.

Much of what goes on is agin the law, but no bugger will stand up and put the situation right, including Anna Bligh's government.

So Jason, if you can do it, go ahead and prove us wrong! The impact of a new CEO is yet unknown from resident's perspectives, but the sooner we get a handle on the situation the better.

Are we up against the same crap or will there be significant changes to the way this council conducts itself in the future?

Bob Beamon said...

Sounds like a storm in a tea cup from a bloke with too much time on his hands and an inflated sense of his own self-importance. Lyn's reply is very sensible.

brad m said...

Ms Tulip,

It seems all along that Jason was deliberately planning or attempting to plan a scandal. Even the CEO's response indicates he was already on the band wagon. He created a self fulfilling prophecy - CEO Scandal!

My question remains what is Jason's real motive? Is it merely a distraction from his own government's shocking record of mismanagement.

Jason should direct his efforts towards real state issues like preventing the sell off of everything to prop up the mismanagement of the state's finances over the past 10 years. Health issues and infrastructure, roads etc etc.

When the state government is squeaky clean and the shining example of how to run a community then I'll begin to take their comments more seriously.

exlabor voter said...

We saved money we asked everyone in cairns and they all said except the families of oh ! brien! turnitup, boil, parachute pitt and noballs you have done stuff all since and before the election ,you sellout/off bludgers !

Sir Julius Montserrat said...

Hey Blogers, this is the same Jason O'Brien that was right in there in the 'Wine Bottle Affair' Remember that... when he and Libby Clark, the then Minister for Indigenous Affairs hid bottles of wine in their personal luggage and attempted to bring alcohol into an are that the then Beattie Government had regulated as an 'Alcohol free Area'
"Do as I say and not as I do" type of character.
The same person that told the people of Port Douglas that they could 'stick it' when it came to the amalgamation with Cairns City.
We are dealing with an arrogant human being, thats up himself and compounded by an arrogant, stale and corrupt Bligh Government.
The sooner this rabble is confined to the annuals history the better of the citizens will be.

William Oidar said...

Lyn Russell is a true gentleman (!)

O'Brienn is off his planet if he thinks he can demand a "powerpoint presentation" ...

what a dick wad.

I was also at that Cairns Fourm a few weeks back at teh Hilton and he was right at the very back - and started shouting at Russell Beer about his lack of communication about the proposed performing arts centre that he hates...... yetr all the biz community is behind.

O'brien seems to be on teh way out.

Hope Tania Major will run and she will wash his dirty assett-riden paws in the mud.

KitchenSlut said...

O'Brien was at the back William after he was late to the forum. He had been on with Mackenzie that morning and had loudmouthed on about his problem(s).

When that issue came up at the meeting Mackenzie called for him, as usual pumping up the mornings radio appearance, and he wasn't there. When he did turnitup and got to his feet he rolled over and tried to make a completely different issue from the one he had frothed about on Mackenzie radio that very morning.

I have never at any public meeting seen anyone make a bigger joke of themselves.

Noj Nedlaw said...

When it comes to analysing dear Jason, please remember that even as Chairman of Committees and Deputy Speaker, he could not even phrase a question without notice in Parliament that was compliant with standing orders. He had several goes before Speaker Mickels ruled him out of order. If he can't get his head around standing orders, which he is position bound to comply with when acting as Mr Speaker, I am not surprised that he has made such a mish-mash of this issue.

Jason, it's time to go - you are one of the (many) weakest links.

Bryan Law said...

Diplomacy - jason O'Brien style.

I wouldn't like to pre-judge the nazi wanker Jason O'Brien just because he is lying racist scum,and I would like to hold out the possibility of cooperative resolution with this disgusting, offensive, smelly scoundrel.

However, if he doesn't do what I want straight away, he might like to think about the pain and humiliation he'll suffer when three large hairy perverts bugger him publicly on the Cairns Esplanade.

Joanne F said...

Brian - you have such a way with words!!! I think Jason might just allow such an action to occur at the Byrne Memorial Bastard City Place Development Disaster.

That way we can gather around at lunchtime and see how much he's enjoying it.

Sir Julius Montserrat said...

Guys...I will have my staff bring along the rough red.

Spakka said...

Thank you, Ms Tulip, for the only constructive, rational comment so far. I think there is an important issue here. That is, the return to bad old secretive ways of the Byrne council. Anyone actually reading the information posted by Mike could come to only one conclusion: that Ms Russell has misled Mr O'Brien. She says first there is no report. Then she says there is. Then she says it's posted on the internet. It's has not been. I think she is being dishonest. What she has done smells of the sort of thing that Noel Briggs would get up to. She should release the report to Mr O'Brien, and she should also make it public on the council web site. Port Douglas is being badly mistreated by this council (with the exception of our own councillor). This is just another example, and I am going to ask the Gazette to do something about this.

Rail Rager said...

Beware of any organization with a CEO. Expect lies, greed, corruption, and corporate thuggery, and as for our local sellout Labor state members.......hmmmmm no different methinks.

Fiona Tulip said...

Re Brad m's comments

Whilst I agree that State assets should generally not be sold off, I have to disagree with some of your comment, "Jason should direct his efforts towards real state issues like preventing the sell off of everything to prop up the mismanagement of the state's finances over the past 10 years. Health issues and infrastructure, roads etc etc."

As I see it, Jason's first priority is to the voters in the Cook electorate, and part of that electorate includes Cairns Local Government. Before boundary changes in 2008, Cook electorate also took in northern beach suburbs as well, and there were some very big Council wrong doings that JOB was happy to get involved in and supported his constituents to that end.

I believe that your local state politician should get his house/electorate in order first, before taking on other state or party-political issues, and believe you me, there are plenty of issues relating to this council and its adverse affects on the daily lives of residents and the continual destruction of our natural environs, that are wrong and need fixing.....if it is not our state representative, then who is gunna do that? Time and time again, residents have been let down by CMC, Local Government Minister, the Ombudsman etc.