Sunday, 7 February 2010

Coutts challenges Parisi to become a volunteer

ABC Far North's Ginger Gorman made the besieged president of Cairns community radio squirm live on air.

Rod Coutts was asked on a number of occasions about why he rejected a number of new memberships, however he refused to disclose, giving the excuse that there was a current ACMA investigation on and he was told not to discuss. It's another lie from Mr Coutts, who has divided the organisation, almost beyond repair.

ACMA actively encourage open membership, and it is a practice that they clearly ruled in breaches against the former Arona-dominated committee. Now Coutts has been up to the same controlling tactics in order to stop anyone speaking out against him. Coutts also talks about placing blame on the previous committee, but the movement against him is centred around his activities since the AGM last September.

Last week, the Friends of Cairns Community Radio, 4CCR, was launched with Councillor Diane Forsyth and Ross Parisi. Forsyth's membership to the station was thrown out in the corridor, along with 14th others by the vice president Pieter Blaauw, moments before he physically assaulted the Cairns Regional Councillor on January 6th last month. It is now known that Rodney Coutts instructed Blaauw to turf the membership forms, along with money, out of the meeting room.

Here's Ginger Gorman on ABC Far North interviewing Councillor Diane Forsyth and Ross Parisi, chairman of the newly-formed Friends of 4CCR.



Download MP3 here

Late last week, Ginger Gorman extended the invitation to Rod Coutts to explain his actions over the last four months.

Listen out for another big lie, where he claims that he's signed up 83 members since he took office, and claims it as an endorsement of his management. In fact these were all signed up as a result of the move to throw out the former corrupt committee of Arona.

Coutts has in fact rejected and terminated membership at a greater rate than any previous committee over the last 10 years.

He also says at a presenters' meeting last week he received 100% support. He failed to mention that up to 15 presenters have walked out due to his behaviour and in fact, some left during thew meeting he refers to. Rod Coutts also repeated another outright fib on ABC Far North that the Arona-committee had done nothing wrong. It's shocking radio. I might drop off a lie-detector for Ginger to use on Coutts if he's ever invited back.


Download MP3 here.

13 comments:

Donn said...

Rodney Coutts said on ABC Radio Far North "I really don't know where these concerns are coming from".

The answer:

They are coming from the Australian Communications and Media Authority which launched an investigation into the termination and refusal of memberships by Mr Coutts and his committee, as he acknowledges later in the interview. This is additional to the investigation into the failures of the previous committee.

They are coming from the six committee members (of nine elected in September 2009) who have since resigned.

They are coming from the eleven experienced and trained presenters who have resigned under his term as President.

They are coming from the five people whose membership has been terminated or threatened with termination.

They are coming from the eight people whose membership applications were rejected with no reasons being given and a further four whose applications were ‘lost’.

They are coming from the former technician, of twelve years service to the station who was summarily sacked for daring to express his view on Mr Coutts behaviour.

They are coming from existing members who regularly advise Friends of Cairns Community Radio about the unhappy atmosphere in the station, in which everyone is 'keeping their heads down'.

They are coming from the station’s sponsors who have all but disappeared.

They are coming from interested community members who can’t believe that volunteers could be treated in that way that has occurred.

While there is some duplication in these groups, it should be apparent that there are concerns.

More to follow.......

Donn Corcoran
Former Secretary
Cairns Community Broadcasters Inc.

Coutts long lost cousin said...

Coutts, along with Blaauw and that mad Col Johnsonm, are THE ONLY reason why this station is a load of crap right now.

and that's why the on-air programming is the lowest form of anything and should not be allowed to be broadcast publically.

Donn said...

Rodney Coutts said on Radio Far North, about the former committee there was ‘no mismanagement’.

The facts:

The auditors provided a long list of concerns in their Management Letter to the former committee accompanying the Annual Financial Statement. These were:

1. Stipend payments have incorrectly classified as payments to employees as operating expenses. This has resulted in the employee not having the correct amount of income recorded on their annual payment summary, i.e. incorrect withholding of PAYG, and the overstatement of operating expenses.

2. The Bank Reconciliations for the Barter Card Account and the General Account were not prepared as at 30 June 2008.

3. The invoices for the acquisition of the capital assets were recorded in the expense account. Material misstatement on the financial statements may occur. Cairns Community Broadcasters Inc may be relying on incorrect data during the year.

4. Several adjusting entries were performed by [the auditor] while producing the financial statements for the 2009 year . Cairns Community Broadcasters Inc has to insure that all relevant transactions are performed in MYOB to agree to the financial statements for 2009 year.

5. We noted that the account receivable was not properly reconciled. There are also negative balances in the account receivable sub-ledger. The amount recorded in receivables was not accurate.

6.(a) We noted that there are two outstanding deposits on the Grant account bank reconciliation that dates back to 30 June 2006 and 23 April 2007 respectively. Deposits that remain outstanding for a period of time have the potential to misstate the financial statements and also increase the risk of misappropriation due to fraud or clerical error.

6(b) We noted there two stale cheques for $600 and $249.70 dates back to 7 June 2006 and 31 August 2007 respectively in the Grant Account. Observed cheques with the total value of $849.7 have not been presented within fifteen months of date they were drawn. The cheques that are unpresented for longer than 15 months are considered stale as per the Cheques Act 1986. Cheques that are not presented within a reasonable timeframe may not be true reconciling items on the bank reconciliation and has the potential of materially overstating liabilities.

6.(c) We noted there are many outstanding cheques in the bartercard account bank reconciliation that are greater than 12 months old. Cheques that are not presented within a reasonable timeframe may not be true reconciling items on the bank reconciliation and has the potential of materially overstating liabilities.

7. We noted that there was one isolated error where GST was claimed incorrectly. The GST was claimed on the purchase from a related party,[ member of the committee] while the vendor is not registered for GST purposes. Material misstatement of the financial statements may occur.

For these reasons, and others, the station's solicitor and financial advisor recommended a forensic audit, which Mr Coutts seems to have abandoned for undisclosed reasons.

More to follow.............

Barry from Edgehill (watching Col) said...

You go Donn. I thinkl with this exposure out there is shows the fraud that this guy Coutts is.

What does he take us for?>??

I recall on those wonderful videos that Bryan Law did with Coutts, he asked Bryan if he thought he was stupid. Not once, but twice...

Well we know the answer don't we!!

Donn said...

Rodney Coutts said on Radio Far North, in relation to action on memberships, that "everything was done according to the Constitution and the (Community Broadcasting) Codes of Practice".

The Constitution says “Nothing in these rules shall be construed as defeating or overriding the laws of Queensland or the Commonwealth”. The relevant Queensland law says “An incorporated association shall be bound by the rules of natural justice in adjudicating upon the rights of its members conferred by the rules of such association on its members.”

The rules of natural justice require: that you have “the right to be heard, with the opportunity to present one’s case, the right to have a decision made by an unbiased decision-maker, and the right to have the decision based on evidence”.

It’s hard to see how the refusal of memberships without a hearing and without an explanation satisfied these requirements.

The relevant Commonwealth law, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, requires that community stations have open membership. This was made clear to the former committee of Cairns FM 89.1 and in recent ACMA decisions, such as the following: “It is a condition of all community broadcasting licences that the licensee must encourage participation in its operation. Open membership is a fundamental aspect of participation in a community broadcasting service” (ACMA Investigation Report No 2268, 16 December 2009)”

More could be said on this, but the point is clear, the refusals of membership violated both Queensland and Commonwealth law.

Miss Chief. said...

I'm quite sure Mr. Coutts must really believe that everyone else outside his faction, is stupid.
If he can't see that the step of setting up "Friends of 4CCR" is a display of concern in his administration, then it's time he traded in his rose coloured specs.
Welcome to the real world Rod...one where you've not got the last word!

Tony Hillier said...

Irrespective of the serious financial discrepancies reportedly perpetrated by the previous committee and the seemingly autocratic nature of the current regime, serious issues of concern at 4CCR 89.1 include what is currently going to air, i.e. what listeners (if indeed there are any left) actually hear.

Even if they have access to reasonable reception (and the current signal hardly promotes that), new listeners would not be impressed with the programming or the standard of presentation. As an erstwhile 4CCR "tragic", with a dozen years' service as proof of my commitment to the station, I find listening to the current output a truly depressing experience. I had no idea the standard had deteriorated to the degree that it has, until I felt compelled to do some monitoring.

This is not sour grapes, in the wake of my recent application for membership being rejected, but a genuine observation.

Gerry Pyne said...

The assertion by Coutts that ACMA is preventing him from making any comment regarding the membership issues is misleading and untrue. At no time does the ACMA require this, in fact their entire process is open and available for the public to view. To make a comment like this shows a true level of ignorance from someone who should be up to date with such things and should therefore know better.

Donn said...

Rodney Coutts said on Radio Far North that 27 presenters of the 45-50 on the station had given him a ‘unanimous’ vote of confidence recently.

If you include in the potential voting pool the 11 or more who have stopped presently either voluntarily of as a result of expulsion, another group of about half a dozen potential presenters who have been refused membership, those presenters who were not invited to the meeting, and those who did not attend the meeting because they are tired of his regime and it is clear that his 27 votes is a distinct minority.

Was it a secret ballot? Given Mr Coutts control of the funds of the station and its programming decisions and his record on expulsions and it would be a brave presenter who would not give him a vote of confidence. Not many people can bring themselves to openly vote against the powerful. Even so, one walked out of the meeting in disgust and has stopped presenting.

And how many are aware of the full story of expulsions and threats from Mr Coutts and his committee? Do they know that there is an unresolved ACMA investigation and a new one underway? If he claims not to know what the concerns are himself, he clearly has not put the full story to the presenters.

Voting without the facts and with a clear understanding of repercussions of a negative vote is hardly a vote of confidence!

Al said...

To Rodney Coutts, 'unanimous vote of confidence' equates to having his thug Pieter Blaauw, shoulder to the door, ready to whack anyone who tries to challenge their grip on the station and the public funding it generates.

Jack said...

Continue to expose the closed shop. Community radio stations in NSW have gone through similar or worse. 2MIA in Griffith NSW was recently investigated by the ACMA. The participation breaches are many and varied across our sector.
Go check out cbaa.org.au
for a list of investigations and their discussion forums (in which 4CCR now features) as well as publishing the Codes of Practice.
PLease please please publish the Codes of practice here so that others can see just what the standards ARE for community radio stations.

Jack

4ccr 89.1 FM Presenter said...

Mr Rod Coutts, you as the current President of Cairns Community Broadcasters Inc. is the principle office bearer of 4ccr and as such you need to apply the letter of the law not only in fact but also the spirit of the Constitution fairly and consistently.

I believe that you are in breach of the Constitution, Clause 8.

Your non action and failure to table with the Management Committee a recommendation to show cause why the membership of your Vice President Mr Pieter Blaauw not be terminated is complicit and arrogant.

While the matter is in suspense you need to secure the standing down of your Vice President. As a holder of an executive position administering public funds it is imperative that Mr Pieter Blaauw be stood down forthwith.

For your connivance I will remind you of the Constitution.

"TERMINATION OF MEMBERSHIP
(2) If a member
1. is convicted of an indictment; or
2. fails to comply with any provision of these rules; or
3. conducts themselves in a manner considered to be injurious or prejudicial to the character or interest of the Association; the management Committee shall consider whether their membership shall be terminated."

The Cairns Police have completed their investigation into the alleged physical assault on Cr Diane Forsyth and are considering charging Mr Pieter Blaauw with a criminal offence.

What action are you proposing to implement in order to comply with the Constitution?

If no formal action is taken by the close of business on Friday 12th of February 2010 then this matter will be referred to ACMA for their investigation and also to Mr Jim Turnour MHR Member for Leichhardt for his intervention.

Your intention of what action you are proposing can be relayed via the Cairns Blog.

Spangled Drongo said...

Ah, how tricky the English language is. Mr Coutts is the 'principal' office bearer, not the 'principle' office bearer. His lack of action on Pieter Blaauw shows a complete lack of principle.