Thursday 7 January 2010

Federal Member to intervene in Cairns community radio after violence against Councillor

Federal Member for Leichhardt, Jim Turnour will launch a formal investigation into the affairs of the Cairns Community Radio, that receives in excess of $200,000 public funding annually.

Turnour's decision to get involved in the turmoil, follows a volatile confrontation at an advertised open meeting of the beleaguered community radio last evening. The Association has been subject of a CairnsBlog investigation since September 2009. [SEE Part 1, Part 2, and Denis Walls SoapBlog.]

"The meeting is private and closed until 6:30pm," Pieter Blaauw loudly confronted visitors as they arrived moments before the scheduled start. "We always have a closed meeting at the beginning," Blaauw said, however this is untrue, with guests actively invited in previous meetings.

Cairns Regional Councillors Linda Cooper and Diane Forsyth went along to the Manunda studio office as guests of members Michael Hyams and David Rentz. However Pieter Blaauw, who has assumed the role as vice president, yelled at the Councillors and the members that wanted to attend the meeting. Mr Blaauw then slammed the door on Councillor Forsyth's arm, causing her pain and discomfort in what she compared to a domestic violence assault.

"I subsequently telephoned the Federal Member Jim Turnour about this and he has requested me to put in a full report for his action," Councillor Forsyth said. "He expressed serious concern for what has been happening and the way I was treated at the radio station last evening. I felt like I was in a domestic violence situation, when the person will stop at nothing," Forsyth said.

Councillor Forsyth said she will consider reporting the incident and the actions of Pieter Blaauw to Cairns Police.

The situation enflamed after new membership applications along with payments attached, were presented to the secretary Diane Jensen, as she entered the meeting room. Two minutes later, vice president Pieter Blauuw opened the door and threw the bundle of membership forms on the corridor floor, then retreated and locked the door.

Councillors Cooper and Forsyth [pictured right] then proceeded to knock on the door continuously for five minutes to gain entry and deliver the membership forms. Their calls for attention were ignored as the embattled President Coutts and his two remaining elected committee, along with unknown seconded extras, decided what to do next.

It is extremely odd that Rodney Coutts has bought back the immediate former president, John Fielder. His committee is subject to a forensic audit for misappropriation. Since the September 28th AGM, six of the nine elected have left the committee in disgust of Coutts' leadership. These events will be detailed in a special CairnsBlog feature on Monday.

The meeting door was eventually opened, and Forsyth and Cooper were confronted with a noticeably frazzled and disturbed Rodney Coutts and his boisterous deputy, Pieter Blaauw.

Coutts [pictured middle of photo, left] had earlier talked with the building security and Police to intervene, but they refused. He has used the Police to remove people who have challenged him over the past three months, showing that he is the signatory to the office lease. However, it is the committee and the Association that that leases the rooms, not an individual.

Once inside the meeting room, president Coutts told Linda Cooper that the membership applications were not acceptable, as they were on photocopied forms. He clearly saw these as a threat, but Cooper requested that the applications be accepted under the provisions of ACMA's principals and the station's own constitution that encourages membership.

Coutts said the forms were not the official ones, a delaying stunt he tried on local Greens campaigner Denis Walls the previous day.

"He [Coutts] said that was not the official form, when I went up to the station on Tuesday," Denis Walls told CairnsBlog. "He asked where I got it from and then gave me one on blue paper, saying it had to be on that."

Walls, who wrote the CairnsBlog SoapBlog about his time as president of Cairns Community Radio in the early 90's, also told Rodney Coutts that he didn't have a proposer or a seconder as required on the membership form. The usual custom is for any current member, or the committee to endorse new members, however Walls was instructed that he would need get that filled out.

"I haven't been involved in Cairns community radio for 15 years, so I don't know anyone," Denis Walls said. "How would someone off the street know existing members? We often used to approve new memberships at the committee table," Denis Walls told Coutts. "Has the constitution changed since then?" he asked. "Well that's the rules now," Rodney Coutts defiantly told the prospective member, who retreated without handing over his completed membership form.

The refusal and active discouragement of membership is a tactic that the Arona-controlled committee perfected over the last ten years, and it seems that new president Rodney Coutts, a good friend of the Kuranda commune, is continuing this even though ACMA has informed the station, they have a mandate to actively engage the community and not refuse membership.

The incident last evening at the Manunda community radio station was soon to turn volatile.

Councillor Linda Cooper asked to sit in on the meeting as a guest. This is a common practice that has been recorded in minutes for the last few years, including during October and November last year. However, Pieter Blaauw [pictured right] interjected and said that guests were not welcome at meetings.

"This is not a private club, it's owned by the community," Michael Hyams retorted.

Pieter Blaauw lynched toward me and attempted to grab my camera. He was obviously perturbed that the events were being recorded and his behaviour would be exposed.

The door was then closed and locked.

"This will be reported to ACMA if this is not done according to the rules," Forsyth said through the locked door, as she wanted the membership forms accepted.

"I was following [Councillor] Linda Cooper, and he [Pieter Blaauw] came and obstructed me in the doorway," Forsyth said. "I was assaulted by this man and he pushed me, and punched me in the arm a punch, and then physically pushed me backwards. I knew he wasn't going to stop, the look on his face, he would have done something even worse."

"Whilst he wasn't going to pick on any of the blocks, he was prepared to pick on a woman," Forsyth said. "Linda got in the room as she pushed through the jarred door, and I went to follow, but [Blaauw] pushed and shoved me. He was out of control. It was a violent confrontation, and I had to step back from that," Diane Forsyth said.

The Cairns councillor was visibly rattled and shaken immediately following the incident. She left the corridor and then telephoned Federal Member Turnour to report the incident.

"My objective now is for Jim to see the seriousness of this so that it will be investigated. Jim told me it was awful and that he was genuinely concerned for my safely," Forsyth said. "He asked for a report to his office, which I will table today for his action."

"You really can't let things like this go. I've worked with many in the domestic violence area in alcohol-related issues, with women in situations like this. He [Blaauw] physically hurt me, however it also felt really frightening."

Councillor Linda Cooper, who has had a prominent career in commercial radio broadcasting and publishing prior to being elected as a Cairns Regional Councillor said she was disturbed by the evening's events.

"I can honestly say that was extremely concerned with the animosity. I thought it was disgusting the way Councillor Forsyth was treated," Linda Cooper said. "Unfortunately it does nothing for a community radio station, that is meant to be there for all community members."

Cooper said that the advertised meeting was misleading. "When members saw that the meeting was on at 6pm, yet no one was welcome. This is wrong. Community radio is something we should all be passionate about."

After Linda Cooper left the room, she told those waiting outside that they had decided to call the meeting off, therefore there was no use staying. This way, Coutts did not have to entertain or answer any questions by members. Why did they cancel the meeting, and will minutes be recorded for Wednesday 6th January?

It's likely that Councillor Cooper and Forsyth's intervention ensured that the membership forms were accepted by the committee.

"There's no way in the world I was going to let that one go, that is why I was there to present those memberships, including one for myself and Diane," Councillor Cooper said, who will meet with Rodney Coutts next week to discuss the confrontation and a way forward.

"There are two things that need to be dealt with. They do need to look at the programming, it doesn't appear to be what should be provided on community radio," Linda Cooper says. "The other thing that needs looking at is the accountability of the financials has to be called into some sort of consideration. That should be a concern for the whole community, because this is Federally funded."

"I really hope that Jim Turnour gets involved," Linda Cooper said. "For some Councillors to turn up and show an active interest and to want to get involved, and to be treated like that, I cannot condone it, but I can understand about the animosity of the other members," she says. "For Diane Forsyth who was not aggressive whatsoever, to be treated in that way was pretty reprehensible."

"I truly want to see change, there's a need for it," Linda Cooper says.

The station's former technician Shane Wilson [pictured right], a member of Cairns Community Radio, witnessed the events, along with two other members.

"If this was my mother, the way he treated Diane and did that to her, I would have knocked him over. It was a disgusting way to act towards a woman," Shane Wilson said, who has been involved with the station for 15 years.

"Why they just didn't welcome us in, is unbelievable," Diane Forsyth says.

The group of members included David Rentz, Shane Wilson and Michael Hyams, who wanted to attend the meeting with their guests to submit membership forms, following an invitation advertised in the December newsletter.

"We would really like to see some members who might be interested in either joining the management committee, or the various sub-committees," the meeting invitation read.

"Unfortunately I thought they would act like this," David Rentz said, who has previously served on the committee. "I'm frankly not surprised."

78-year-old Michael Hyams, who has been a presenter and member of Cairns community radio for the last five years with his wife, was also disturbed by the way everyone was treated, especially in the presence of two Cairns Councillors.

"This is not meant to be a secret society, it's a community organisation," Hyams said. "I want to ask the meeting what were the conditions that ACMA has put on the radio station's licence renewal. It's very, very serious."

"It's none of your business," Pieter Blaauw said on behalf of the committee. "It is my business, I'm a member," Hyams replied.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has been investigating Cairns Community Radio for the last year, following numerous complaints about the former Arona-controlled committee sine 1999, that disbanded en masse last August.

"ACMA is currently undertaking the licence renewal process for 4CCR," investigating officer Alex Ash said. "Through this process, ACMA have identified areas of concern," who also recommended that concerns regarding the election and removal of the management committee should be referred to the Queensland Office of Fair Trading.

Diane Forsyth received no apology from Blauuw or the President of the radio station following last evening's assult.

Forsyth believes that because of the attention and scrutiny the community radio is under as a result of the CairnsBlog investigations, along with members and former committee, they're scared.

"They're running scared, they didn't know what they were doing last night. This whole business that they have the right to stop access is stupid. What were we doing wrong?" Forsyth asks. "I just turned up to a meeting that was advertised. I never thought it would have been like this, but it shows this is a small group of people that are very rattled at the moment and that violence stuff was going to continue."

Former Mulgrave Councillor Ross Parisi says the Cairns Regional Council should intervene.

"The Council should move a motion to instruct the relevant authorities to take action on this organisation," Ross Parisis says. "They have the power as community watchdogs, to not put up with this secret club caring on like this any longer. They are at the purse strings of over $250,000 and won't even let new members, let along our elected Councillors, get involved."

Cairns Mayor Val Schier was horrified when she learnt how her friend and colleague, Councillor Forsyth was treated.

"I'm shocked about these events that involved a Cairns Councillor. This is awful," Val Schier said late last evening. "I have read the information about the past 10 years [of community radio] on CairnsBlog so I'm surprised about this kind of behaviour going on with this new committee. I think that the Federal or State bodies that fund Cairns Community Radio now need to get involved and hear about this," Val Schier said.

The most disgusting thing during last evening's events, is that the Station's president allowed the violent and aggressive behaviour to occur, in fact, his inaction encouraged it to happen. He never cautioned the vice president for his actions when he slammed the door on Councillor Forsyth's arm, even though he was standing right alongside. After this performance, it is clear Rodney Coutts is not fit to hold the office of any community organisation.

The Community Broadcasting Foundation provide the lion's share of the $220,000 funding for Cairns community radio. Over the tenure of the Arona-controlled committee from 1999 to 2009, a number of programming reviews found they had not met the conditions of the grant. Refunds were made, however "commissions" that committee member Niels Briet was taking, were never paid back.

Over the last weeks and months, I've tuned in to 89.1 FM for my homework. This radio is not community radio. There is back to back music shows all day long, 30 second suicide community service announcements played for an hour-long, followed by satellite feeds from Europe and national news that has no connection whatsoever with the Cairns community, and repeated pre-recorded programmes over and over again. They don't get it. It's laughable that they have the word "community" in their title. Someone should sue them under the Fair Trading Act. They're not only abusing those that want a great local community radio, but it's an insult to the intelligence of an entire region. This so-called station is an embrassment and listened to by a tiny handful as a result of 15 years of neglect and manipulation. Hardly anyone on the street knows we have a community radio station in Cairns, and thanks to Rodney Coutts and Pieter Blaauw, it's like a non-stop car crash on the Kuranda Range.

Cairns community radio pails into insignificance when compared with Townsville's highly successfull Triple T, that is well-known and loved. They actively engage the community and even run an outdoor music festival.

The loser in all this mess is the community. The locals of Cairns, who, for 15 years been blocked from getting involved. The change of the guard in late September has not changed anything from the past woes. In fact community radio under Rodney Coutts' leadership is as destructive and secret as it was under Arona's time at the helm.

A general meeting scheduled for January 20th will seek his immediate removal, along with a committee that was not democratically elected at the AGM. However, he may fall on his rusty sword beforehand. Here's hoping.

For the record, the following membership forms were submitted last night:
  • Jasse Walton, beaches resident association committee

  • Ross Parisi, Former Mulgrave councillor

  • Donn Corcoran, former secretary cairns committee radio

  • Terrance Spackman, environmental activist

  • Diane Forsyth, Cairns Regional Councillor
  • Linda Cooper, Cairns Regional Councillor

  • Bryan Law, peace by peace activist

  • Gerry Pyne, Bendigo community radio and Tablelands technician

  • Judi Corcoran, former presenter

  • Tony Hillier, former presenter and station manager, local musician and writer

  • Denis Walls, past president community radio

  • Richie Bates, president of Cairns cycling

  • Dave Slatyer, concerned local resident

  • ....and CairnsBlog editor Michael Moore


Smithfield Sam said...

While a sad situation, expecting anything from MP Jim Turnour is absurd in the extreme. He's known about this problem at the radio station for over a year, and has done nothing.

He's our "lame duck" MP. He'll be out in less than a year. He knows it. The government public servants know it.

Al said...

This is the same Pieter Blaaw who proudly boasts of being a crisis councillor for Lifeline. Having been acquainted with him for a couple of years, I had wondered at the time how such an arrogant bully could fulfil such a roll.

Jude Johnston said...

Unbelievable behaviour - lets hope that Jim Tunour gets his teeth into this.
An investigation is certainly needed. I hope Di reports this assault to the police. Great work once again Mike.

Shane Wilson said...

I pass this on as a true account of what is happening at local community radio in Cairns.

I was a witness to the assault of a local Councillor at the 4CCR premises 06/01/2010.

I would ask that a serious investigation be made into the body that currently holds the 4CCR licence.

If this is an example how people are treated at 4CCR, surely the governing body is unfit to hold such a licence.

The real Coupps said...

We have some script writers for Home and Away or Neighbours right on our own doorstep. Who would have thought?

Thornton On Spence said...

We will see the usual inaction from Jim Turnour. Perhaps he will convene a special Committee to look into it and fly up a few of his ex Trade Union now Politician mates to assist. Then Kevin will visit Cairns and express his concerns and assurances that the Committee is looking into it and will have some answers before the next Election. They will then reveal their findings and blame Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott. Jim will then post this on his Twitter Account and declare Job done. For Jude to say she hopes Jim gets his teeth into this indicates she thinks he has teeth. He doesn't and nor does he have any balls.

Denis Walls said...

I haven’t been involved in 4CCR for just over 11 years so when I popped up to lodge my membership application I was amazed at how much the station had changed. The premises are actually much bigger and nicer than they were in the ‘90s. So credit there then!

As Mike mentioned, Rod wouldn’t accept my application without a proposer and seconder. This was previously done at committee level. Realistically, how many people are going to personally seek out two members, they usually don’t know, to sponsor them through such a form? It’s a recipe for maintaining the station as a private club.

A couple of points are worth mentioning here:

1. Rod gave me a current program schedule. Comparing it to the programming of the mid to late ‘90s is an embarrassment. Mike has a copy of both and hopefully will put them up on the Blog to compare and to show what is possible at a community radio station. It wasn’t perfect back then but the sheer diversity shines through.

2. Rod told me he was acting as station manager and that for six months he had worked tirelessly without being paid a cent. If so, then his effort is commendable.

However, one of the things resolved throughout the ‘90s at committee meetings was the importance of separating the roles of committee members and paid officers. At one time 4CCR had a paid manager and a paid sales/marketing person. Both were advertised positions. All elected committee positions were unpaid.

It is a recipe for disaster to start giving salaries or stipends to the president or the secretary as appears to have happened in recent times. This is a clear conflict of interest and bound to lead to querying over integrity issues. If there is a need for a manager (and in my opinion it is an absolute must) then the position should be advertised publicly as occurred in the past.

David Rentz said...

Still reeling after last nights confrontation. To me it all seems hopeless. They have no intention of changing and yet they seem to be completely incapable of running the place properly. It seems doomed.

James Ohalloran said...

What a bunch of wankers. Who do they think they are playing with public money. You're spot on when you say they're in a secret club.

I hope those two clowns bugger off.

Doubt Turnour will do nothing more than turn ove.

Jack said...

Turnour with trade union mates?
How naive of Thornton on Spence

Bryan Law said...

I’m one of the people applying for membership of 4CCR. Mostly because Mike Moore got told this incredible story, published it, and asked for people to become engaged with the material.

My only radio experience is to listen to Radio National in the kitchen or the cab. I see 4CCR as a valuable community resource that various parts of the community feels alienated from. They would like to restore the asset’s value to all members of the community. That’s a good goal.

I’m uncomfortable with some of the conflict dynamic. Of course the use of physical violence is unacceptable, and an apology is required before serious negotiations can begin. But I also want to acknowledge the pressure and bad feelings being experienced by Rodney Coutes and Peter Blaauw. What’s happening now will look to them like an attack which can take away the station, it’s attendant resources, and even their liberty. No wonder they’re unhappy.

I’m flattered by the company in which I see myself on Mike’s list, but I’m going to play Devil’s advocate (how unusual) and pose a challenge to all of them.

Denis Walls has more experience than he shares with the rorting of constitutions, and the tactics of exclusion. No doubt he has good reasons, and I know just how he feels when he is the target for a change. I’ve no doubt a lot of the people on Mike’s list have had similar constitutional and membership issues involving them in the past. I bet they were on the side of the Angels too. And sometimes it got bloody. My own failures in this field are too numerous to list.

If we are to be serious about restoring value to 4CCR, and if we are to mean anything at all when we pay homage to diversity, then we must try real hard to resolve this conflict productively. Keep all the present elements of community that are involved with the station, while continuing to add more and different.

Shaun Newman said...

Michael Moore with his finger on the pulse, as usual.

Michael Hyams, Cairns said...

Well Dave your not the only one that's reeling from last nights events.

As usual Michael Moore has done a great job, and I can attest to the fact that his report of the disgraceful events at the 89.1 offices is a true representation of the events.

What Michael may not know is that before the general bullying started, Pieter Blaauw shook his fists in my face, when I tried to introduce my guest, and enter the meeting room with her, and physically pushed me out of the way.

I then asked Rod Coutts, who was sitting at a desk with his eyes down, his justification for closing the meeting for 30 minutes for so called "confidential" matters to be dealt with by the Management Committee. He had no answer to this pertinent and direct question except to retort that it was "none of by business"  I have only been a regular presenter and member for just under 5 years.

One can only conclude that he makes up his rules as he goes along.

His actions last night, as have been so many of his actions since the AGM have been unconstitutional in the extreme.

An example - I visited the Station offices before Xmas we a view to reading the minutes. I had to ask 4 times before he coughed up the minute book, but he instructed me no to make any notes.

Would you believe it. He could not justify his insistence on no  note-taking. So much for constitutional rights of members.   I have to say it, if you will pardon me for paraphrasing a well known quotation but he and his acolytes are leading OUR Community Radio Station to A DEATH BY  THOUSAND COUTTS. 

How dare these little power hungry nobodies bully an physically challenge and injure two City Councillors, present as guests of members.     You, Sir or Madam, can help put things back in their proper place by attending the Open Meeting at Raintrees Food Hall Jan 20th at 7 pm.   

Documents, including Statutory Declaration,  with incontrovertible facts disclosing Coutts' incapability of managing the affairs of the station, will be presented  which will make your jaw drop.

The survival of an authentic, truly representative local Community Station is at risk.

colin riddell said...

Wow "scooter mumbles turncoat" is going to look into it ! Cannot wait for his response AFTER he gets someone to tell him what to do , if his past efforts are anything to go by .
Roll on the next federal election , so I can help fix the last blunder I made , that was helping get elected a bloke that kisses the bums of canberra and not criticize his labor mates at state level for selling our assets off.
I stuffed up , won,t happen again.

Miss Chief. said...

Did anyone notice that the station was on satelite broadcast from Brisbane for the holiday season?
Presenters showed up after Christmas only to find the studio on lock down. At the begining of this week it was the same, until a presenter came across Mr. Coutts and gained access to broadcast his show. He's a volunteer and did the work of two presenters and panel operator.
Is this the way to ensure that you continue to have the service of volunteers - I think not!
I would like to add that the volunteer I mention, has no axe to grind and is doing this service because he wants to serve the community.

Bryan Outlaw, the Voice of Reason said...

BRYAN LAW SNIVELED: "I’m one of the people applying for membership of 4CCR. Mostly because Mike Moore got told this incredible story, published it, and asked for people to become engaged with the material."

So you aren't genuinely concerned with the operation of community radio, but instead see it as another place that you can feed your massive ego. Do they have a fence you can attempt to scale? Actually, I've been disappointed that the police haven't allowed you to actually try and drag your fat carcass up and over a fence at the wharf. It would make hysterical television.

Get a job, and stop your self-aggrandizing grandstanding.

Anonymous said...

Outlaw you are a predictable bore and you never have anything to contribute whatsoever, so why don't you just go away. What sort of job do you have ?

Oliver Redlynch said...

I find it absolutely incredible that such serious matters can be occuring in the local community - I mean - a councilor physically attacked?? and not a word in the local comic post? If anything highlights the pathetic failing of the reporting and bias of our local paper, their lack of reporting on the discraceful state of the community radio is it. (Has Arona infiltrated the local rag as well??) The focus is now on JT to get something done about this - so we better keep the pressure up. Keep up the excellent work Michael.

Denis Walls said...

Hey Bryan, fair shake of the sauce bottle mate. As most people who follow this Blog know by now, a large number of FNQ Greens (about 14 from memory) voted, unanimously, at a meeting some years ago against having you in the local branch for a variety of reasons you are well aware of. That’s democracy innit? Not a constitutional rort. I stood back from the whole debate as I was Convenor at the time and wanted to behave impartially. You have been sour ever since and use every opportunity, relevant or not, to attack me as a public face of the Greens (I haven’t been on the committee for three years incidentally). C’mon Bryan, get over it.

Btw, none of the 13 applicants in Mike’s list has been specifically targeted by the current 4CCR committee yet so let’s just wait and see what their attitude is to the proposer/seconder issue before rushing to judgement.

Happy 2010 to you and I hope your health is improving. I still appreciate some of the stuff you do. Good to know also that you’re facing up to your “failures…too numerous to list”, the first mea culpa I have ever heard from you. Let’s hope that’s the harbinger of greater humility on your part in the years ahead.

Brian Williamson, Kewarra said...

Through this blog I have heard that this gentleman (not very gentle) is a Lifeline Counsellor.

My daughter was a recipient of some onderful help from that organisation 6 years ago when she was close to taking her own life.

I and shocked that Mr Blaauw is a counsellor or in any way association with Lifeline. I have today written a formal complaint about his actions listed above. I have also copied the photos and asked the Blog author to collect witness reports to make a statement to Lifeline.

Col Johnson, presenter 4CCR said...

Jim Turnour told us he was Rudd's man in Leichhardt which is entirely different to being our man in Canberra.

Samuel Peters - Lake Street said...

Really Col.... is that so......

Can I ask .. are you Rodney's man in 4CCR or the people's representative in the community?

Or do you just get off on being a ego radio jock?

Are you going to stand up against Coutts and his dumb arse henchmen and the violence... do you condone it like the president by deliberately ignoring it in your lame comment?

Come on Col, come out of the closet!!!

Col Johnson said...

I am not in Cairns and haven't been since Dec 22 so not qualified to pass judgment on the reported events of Jan 6.

Michael P Moore said...

I notice while you've been away they've been repeated your Old shows over and over.

Col Johnson said...

I have pre-recorded some programmes, had arranged for another presenter to cover me on Kaleidoscope and left instructions regarding which Specials were to go to air.  

There should not have been any repeats but even if there were we are no different to the ABC as there are repeats of repeats on RN and I've also heard a few on Classic FM.  Would you prefer 2 hours of silence?

Not Colon again! said...

From you Col, yes.

Barb at the beaches said...

Col, you say would we rather prefer 2 hours of silence on community radio.

I think it would be a marked improvement, quite frankly.

By the way, did you hear Erli Bowen reading the weather report this morning on community radio... she said we had a barometric pressure of 1,012 kilometres per hour. I immediately locked all the windows and doors.

Michael Moore, CairnsBlog said...

Denis, just a clarification of your discussion with Rod Coutts, when he told you "that for six months he had worked tirelessly without being paid a cent."

Well, that's not a transparent answer.

Coutts was given $1,620 for the Community Broadcasting conference to Brisbane in November that was subsidised. The station only had to pay $100 for the aiirfare.

Where's the other $1,500? There are no receipts in the committee minutes.

Furthermore, the petty cash book, if kept up to date, which is highly unlikely, will show Rod Coutts is personally buying his morning teas and lunches and his mobile phone costs out of the public funds of the community radio.

Joanne Tommas said...

hahha Mike, you forgot the big clanger. I heard (from my wife who is a member) that he wants a salary of up to $50,000 whilst still being the president

Can u effin believe this nutter???????

Bryan Law said...

Hey Denis. Fair suck of the sauce bottle indeed cobber! There must be a place where we want the same thing.

I’m not going to quibble about past conflicts, but in relation to issues of procedural fairness I’ll apply a knowing eye, and advocate for a constructive and forgiving approach to everyone (even Desley Boyle).

For example, isn’t it funny that you think I’ve been publicly attacking you at every opportunity for three years – and I think I’ve shown remarkable forbearance by not attacking you at all. (Noble forbearance).

As for fallibility, I might be Catholic, but I’m very far from being Pope.

There is a long line of people who assist me to identify my policy mistakes, often going on to character flaws, personality disorders, moral defects and nazi tendencies. The line starts with my wife, son, and few remaining friends. It travels on through the Cairns Post and other media, all the political parties and various organs of government. It’s ornamented at irregular intervals by a variety of fruit loops and loonies who I think just like to fling shit at me.

So, much as I would like otherwise, I have to acknowledge that I’m not perfect, and accept responsibility for committing various fuck-ups along the way. I heard a great expression in the cab today “He had a mix-up”. Very forgiving.

So Denis, just like Kevin Rudd you’re entitled to a fair suck of the sauce bottle. Old Cobber. Mate. Along with the benefits of forgiveness...and then we’ll see what happens.

Ed in Edge Hill said...

This story, compared to the Cairns Post summary of the situation in today's paper, seem to differ on several key areas. ACMA has found no serious issues with the way this station is managed, and will clearly reissue the licence. If all these rabblerousers would direct their energy into a NEW station (there are adequate licences available in Cairns) they should do so and stop their whinging.

This current group is allowed to run the station the way they want and shouldn't be intimidated into a hatchet job by disgruntled outsiders.

CBD Warrior said...

I agree with Edge Hill Ed.

There's no reason a "community organisation" is required to represent ALL elements of the community. What's been done this week is the equivalent of a bunch of white people going to the ATSIC station, demanding to be members, and then demanding programming change to represent the new membership. It's ridiculous.

And you people (Michael Moore included) talk about how you're all part of the "new media". This includes radio, too. For a couple hundred bucks you can start your own radio station via the net and blather to your heart's content. None 'o them pesky licences or transmitters to worry about.

Traditional radio, like all traditional media, is dying. Your attempt to force yourselves into this station lacks both foresight and intelligence.

Al said...

CBD Warrior misses the point entirely. Of course Community Radio can't meet the need of the entire community, though it should seek to be as broadly relevant to as many as possible. However, it seems 4CCR has been effectively highjacked by a Kuranda religious cult with about a quarter of a million dollars of public money largely unaccounted for each year. Moreover, the quality of the station is so poor, everyone has tuned out - which may be the (current committees) intention, because to them, it's not about providing quality Community Radio, it's about maintaining a source of money.

Fearless Fred said...

The actions of the management of 4CCR along with the comments by their supporters such as on Cairns Blog does indeed convey the impression that it is indeed their own private club to be run and milked as they see fit.

There seems to be no regard for the fact that 4CCR was incorporated to serve the community for the benefit of the community, and that all assets are owned by such body, not by the management of the day.

After reading the AMCA Community Radio Broadcasting Codes Of Practice, it is obvious that the requirements have been totally disregarded by past and present management.

If it were a commercial corporation, it would indeed be subject to the vulnerabilities of parties with vested interests attempting to gain control, though legally only in accordance with the articles of incorporation of the company, and ASIC regulations.

Even in such circumstances, the distribution of income from the company coffers could still only be legally carried out within ASIC regulations and the tax laws.

However, it is not a commercial corporation.

A comment by “Ed in Edge Hill” that rabblerousers could simply set up their own station is par for the course.

One might as well extrapolate such ideas to all community organisations including the Cairns Show Association, the Cairns Yacht Club, the Cairns Golf Club, and all the other sporting organisations.

If the particular organisation is being mismanaged, simply go out and set up another. Request the council provide a suitable parcel of land, and that all levels of government, along with many other community groups, provide funding for the construction and operation of the necessary facilities.

In the case of another community radio station, request one of the Mt Yarrabah site lease holders to share their site, preferably at no cost.

When the then secretary/manager of the Cairns Show Association was found to be embezzling the association’s funds in the 1990’s, he was prosecuted, resulting in a stay at Lotus Glen.

Similarly, when some members of the Ivanhoes leagues club became aware that the then president and some of his cronies were misappropriating the club’s funds around 1990, including a reported $20,000 donation from Daikyo, the Cairns CIB investigated the matter.

I don’t know what happened with the police investigation, but the president and his cronies were removed, and the club was saved from looming extinction.
It would certainly appear that a forensic accounting investigation into the financial affairs of 4CCR is warranted, followed by legal action in regard to any misconduct uncovered, in addition to rectifying the ludicrous situation in the operation of the station.