Monday 20 September 2010

Tim Grau responds to "inaccurate commentary" on CairnsBlog

My posting on Saturday, that I cheekily titled A party political advertisement for the Australian Labor Party, drew a great deal of reaction from readers.

The person at the centre of the article responded to me.

Just after 7pm on Sunday evening, I received an email from Tim Grau. He sent his message from Remember that, because it's important towards the end of this story.

He used CairnsBlog's generic address to email me, so it appears he's lost my business card.

"Hi Michael, your recent post regarding my Cairns Post Soapbox column is so off the mark it requires a response," Tim Grau wrote. "In the interests of balance and accuracy I'd appreciate you publishing this in full."

Of course, I will. I'd extend that privilege to anyone. Even the good Councillor Alan Blake. After all, Tim seems like a lovely fella, doesn't he? I told him that I would publish his response unedited, and attribute his name. I also asked Tim when it was he moved back to Cairns, as I'd heard some say it was within the last year or two. He never responded.

Tim also got upset by some of the many comments on Saturday's story, especially the one by Cairns Regional Councillor, Rob Pyne.

"I have not been a member of the Australian Labor Party for many years," wrote Rob Pyne, "but that is the final straw for me. You make your bed and you have to lie in it. These jokers will meet their fate at the next election, and Curtis Pitt is the only one I have any time for whatsoever. The ALP is dead to me now."

Tim Grau fired off an email to Rob Pyne, saying he should have talked with him before bursting into print.

"It is a shame that we did not have the opportunity to meet before you chose to express such strong views on me. Maybe we can rectify that soon," Tim Grau wrote to Pyne. "The intenet is a fantastic tool, but I find it's not always wise to believe everything that is published on it."

"He is speaking to me as if I'm a three-year-old!" Rob Pyne told CairnsBlog.

"I emailed Tim back and asked if he could confirm that if he is in no way associated with Hillbilly Watch, I'd be happy to contact him in person," Rob Pyne said. "Rather than a simple reply, he said... 'Not sure what that has to do with anything? But I have nothing to do with the website. Indeed I only recently heard of its existence'."

Here's Tim Grau's right of reply to my Saturday story...and see if you can spot the Wendy Richardson moment!
  • TO:
      DATE: 19 September 2010 19:15
      SUBJECT: Response to Blog post: A party political advertisement for the Australian Labor Party

      Hi Michael,

      Your recent post regarding my Cairns Post Soapbox column is so off the mark it requires a response. In the interests of balance and accuracy I'd appreciate you publishing this in full.

      First and foremost, on being "newish to Cairns", you might like to know that my daughter was born at Cairns Base Hospital and is the fifth generation Grau to live Cairns. The Grau family has a connection to Far North Queensland dating back to the late 1880s. My Great Grandfather was the mayor of Atherton (Tinaroo) for a number of years and served on the Atherton Hospital Board for many years. His first son is named on the Atherton WWI Memorial and Grau Street in Atherton is named after the family. My father was born in a house in Maranoa Street and spent his early years growing up in Minnie Street, Cairns. I have been a very frequent visitor to Cairns for more than 25 years, and decided to return here to raise my daughter and run my business a few years ago.

      I am very proud of my family’s long heritage in, and contribution to, Far North Queensland.

      As for being "hungry for public office" or “likely to be Desley Boyle’s replacement”. As you did not contact me before writing your post and we have never discussed this issue, I'll take that comment as your creative licence.

      First, as far as I know Desley Boyle has not indicated she will not be re-contesting the next State election.

      If that situation was to change then all members of the ALP are entitled to nominate and will be able to vote for their preferred candidate. I'd encourage anyone interested in representing the people of Cairns or any other seat on behalf of the ALP to do so if that hypothetical situation arose.

      As for me, anyone who knows me knows I have a deep and abiding interest in how public policy can improve people's lives, business and the community. I spent a number of years working in Government doing that, and for more than 10 years have been doing that through my private company and other community work.

      I have always chosen to contribute to the communities I live in, not just be a commentator about it. I am very happy doing what I am doing right now. I'm pretty busy running a national consulting business from Cairns, volunteering with a number of community organisations and being a father to my young daughter.

      To my actual column, how my comments that a finely balanced Parliament with all political parties and independents promising more for the regions could be seen as a "party political advertisement for the Australian Labor Party" is curious at best.

      Did you read the article? I actually welcomed the unanimity of view across the entire Parliament. My comments were non-partisan and in fact praised the ALP, Coalition and independents for their focus on regional Australia.

      On being open and transparent, I put my real name and position to the article. More than most of your contributors ever do. My article was written in my capacity as the Managing Director of my non-partisan company and on the basis of more than 20 years experience in public policy.

      Springboard Australia is a non-partisan company and has for more than 10 years been assisting clients and working with Governments of all political persuasions. For example, I recently volunteered my services to assist Advance Cairns, the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, TTNQ and the Cairns Council to pressure the Rudd Government to deliver extra assistance to Cairns as part of their "New Deal". For most of the past 10 years I successfully dealt with the Howard Government on behalf my clients.

      Membership of a political party does not, and should not, disqualify anyone from participating in public debate. Equally, not every public comment should be viewed through the narrow prism of just one aspect of a person's life.

      As for a "smart networker extraordinaire" - more creative licence perhaps but I'll take it as a compliment. It is, after all, a skill required for success in business. My work background is no secret. I'm proud of it which is why you will find it on my website. The website is in the process of being updated, and the new site will be up in the next week or so.

      Finally, I don't do "secret coffee". I don't even known what that is.

      Cheers. Tim Grau

    This morning, at around 8:11am, Tim flicked off another preemptive email, not to me, but to his "friends." This time it didn't come from Oh no. This time Tim was wearing an entirely different coloured hat...

    • FROM Tim Grau
    • DATE Mon, Sep 20, 2010 at 8:11 AM
      SUBJECT: Cairns Post column and inaccurate commentary


      Some of you may have seen the column I had published in Saturday's Cairns Post outlining how Far North Queensland can benefit from the currently finely balanced Federal Parliament and its focus on regional Australia. I have attached a copy of that article for your information.

      It seems my positive and constructive suggestions on how we should work together to improve our community has oddly sparked some wild, unfounded and inaccurate comments and speculation on some Cairns-based online forums.

      While I always welcome public debate, it is shame some have chosen to rush to publish comments about me without contacting me first or even knowing me. It is also a great shame some have chosen to make their inaccurate comments about me personally rather than debate the substance of my suggestions. I guess it is alway [sic] easier to "attack the man rather than the ball".

      In the interests of ensuring you had the facts, I've included below a copy of the response I have submitted to one of these online forums. Despite indicating they would publish it in full they are yet to do so.

      Please feel free to contact me directly should you have any queries.

      Have a great day.

      Tim Grau
      President. Australian Labor Party (Cairns Branch)
      M: 0438 XXX XXX
    Tim was rather rather frightened to dare mention "CairnsBlog" in his letter to Party faithful - referring to "
    some Cairns-based online forums
    ." His mention of his correspondence with me in the third-person as "they".

    However, at the heart of all this dialogue is all about if Mr Tim Grau has been given the nod for Labor pre-selection for the State seat of Cairns.
    Labor insiders tell me that there's been a factional move to support someone from the Party's right, and that "Tim is the man."
    I've been told by many local members, that he is the pick for Desley's inevitable retirement in the next year, so it wasn't really "creative licence". However, as no pre-selection has been held at this point, it's anyones guess, or so we're lead to believe.

    I stand behind my original point on Saturday's article. Whilst we're all allowed to wear a different hat occasionally, I believe that when you write a very prominent piece of political journalism, and you're a prominent member of a particular party, then it's very relevant that that fact is disclosed, by either the publisher or the writer. Tim Grau is not only a member of the Labor Party, but now we know he's the president of the Cairns Branch, and in two significant emails he sent in the last 12 hours, chose to represent entirely different bodies on each occasion.

    And regarding my flippant comment about a "secret coffee"... for those that have followed my writing style over the last few years, you'll understand my sense of humour (or maybe you won't).

    All in all, it's made for some great debate and some excellent blog fodder, if you will.


    MaryO said...

    Why can't Alan Blake simply go thru a similar process to fix his hurt feelings?

    I read somewhere recently how far more sensible it would be if these kind of remedial measures (right of reply, apology, etc.) were the only measures available in defamation actions.

    That money (damages) should be removed as is irrelevant as does not directly address the "harm" caused by the defamatory publication.

    Not to mention the overly chilling, and disproportionate effect the risk of very large damages pay-outs has on free speech.

    Will try to re-locate these references.

    Colin Riddell president of the anti labor party hhhaaaaa said...

    To dare say some people post without revealing who they really are , is a bit rich Mr president of the soon to be opposition cairns labor party .
    I have made no secret I did not like parachute pitt beind dropped into daddys seat.
    And if you think for one second it will happen again google me as I did you Mr PRESIDENT.

    Lurker said...

    I agree MaryO. Unfortunately Blake is not a REAL politician (one would hope). By this individual's legal actions alone it would have to be extremely obvious to the Cairns local electorate that this person is only in it for the money and by showing how 'precious' they are to public critique,one could easily assume this individual doesn't really care in which way they get it.

    Thaddeus said...

    Colin Riddell....Curtis Pitt grew up in Gordonvale. He is a true local. Tim Grau is also a true local having ancestors pioneer Atherton. Neither of them are "parachutes". No-one in this blog under-estimates your obsessional and disturbed hatred of the Labor Party, and any person who might support them. However try and get your facts right before you spew off.

    greenbottle said...

    Col, you've been posting your sly little comments "anonymously" on this blog for some time. We all know it's you because you have the classic signs of mild dyslexia.
    In fact you posted a particularly ugly comment about Mike, using a nick. Don't think for a minute that we weren't fooled.

    Colin Riddell said...

    No Bottle thing wrong .
    Guilty of a squillion postings but innocent of mike flogging have the guts to be specific .
    I'll be at mikes protest rally will you nameless wonder ? look me up .
    I won;t be home dressed in my mums underwear hiding in the wardrobe on my computer.

    Joseph O'Sullivan said...

    Watch out turtle man doesn't like a ‘parachute’ who has lived on the Tablelands most of his childhood and now wants to come back to his roots and work with the community.

    Quick 'Google him' the might of his dugong and turtle campaign is going to turn the tide against the ALP.

    Seriously FNQ breeds their nuts particularly nutty.

    Colin R said...

    Joseph O'Sullivan what a crock you know and so does the rest of cairns he was parachuted in to replace boyle , he is the labor rights selection .
    And for your other blog I have never ever sought or do seek any elected position here or anywhere else.
    Not that I have not been asked as I am not a puppet of anyone .
    ps I am a victorian not a locally grown nutter are you ?

    Leigh Dall'Osto said...

    This is just getting ridiculous. The fact that his family comes from around here should be irrelevant.

    It should be noted that he moved here a few years ago, before there were any whispers that Desley might retire, he is the President of the Cairns Branch of the ALP, something that you don't get to do when you are brand new to the branch, and he moved here to raise his daughter. The rest is just blah...blah...blah....

    By the reasoning used in negativity, if I chose to run as a political candidate for any level of Government here in the North, the fact I was born in Victoria would preclude that. I have lived here since I was 9 months old and grew up in Manoora, followed by Bayview Heights. I lived in Darwin for a few years, Melbourne for a few more and just 4 years ago moved back to Cairns from the Gold Coast because I wanted to raise my children here. Does that make me a potential 'parachute candidate'?

    I agree that he could have put his political affiliations into his comment, but disagree that he 'had' to. He supported the new form of Government and talked of the benefits it could have for the entire region. I feel the same way.

    I have always stated that I am a Labor member and feel no shame in stating that. I occasionally wish I could smack Anna on the back of the head, ala Gibbs from NCIS, but still fervently believe in the core values of the party. It's the values and the beliefs that I vote for, and argue for.

    Tim appears to feel the same way. I have yet to meet the man so will not argue on behalf of his character.

    Lastly, Colin is definitely anti-Labor, not willing to put any faith in what the ALP are doing, that's democracy, he is entitled to feel that way. What really annoys me is when people pick on the cause of the person, rather than the person themselves. Colin is justified in his anger over the marine life situation as it stands and to throw turtles and dugong into the mix is just beyond foolish.

    Colin R said...

    leigh I am not anti labor I am anti this lot of labor state and federal.

    Local worker said...

    The likes of Thaddeus would eat shit if Labor suggested it was a good idea.

    Bryan Law said...

    and say it tastes good!

    KitchenSlut said...

    I suspect I am unlikely to support the opnions of Tim Grau however must weigh in to support Leigh on this!

    The reality is that most of our talented young people will probably leave the area to achieve their potential at least for a period in their lives. This should not be always seen as a bad thing. I should note here that in the 2007 election the ALP portrayed Charlie MacKillop as a parachute also despite her background and roots in the region.

    It's about time we just got over this and maybe turned the question around entirely ..... if a candidate has no record outside the region why isn't that even more questionable with regards to their talent?

    I was cynical at the time but "Parachute Pitt" seems to be the best local ALP rep we have at the moment?

    Syd Walker said...

    I'm delighted for once to agree with Kitchenslut.

    The extreme negativity of the way Tim Grau has been introduced to CairnsBlog readers reeks of partisan bias. He may be a scoundrel for all I know, but the angle that he's a carpetbagger seems devoid of merit to me.

    FWIW, I think Tim's article in the Cairns Post is spot on.

    I'm glad some people in the ALP take the approach that this hung parliament - in which Independents and the Greens have a stronger voice - presents positive opportunities.

    That's very much my own view - and I agree that we should ideally work as one to sieze those opportunities.

    Bryan Law said...

    KS, be careful to keep focus on the main game here, which is why and how a prominent force in Labor politics – President of the Cairns Branch, soon to be selected for Member for Cairns – would write a soap-box column on politics for the local press without identifying his party affiliations. A bit rude or careless I think.

    Of course it begs the question why this dude needs to identify his party affiliations, on account of no-one knows him or anything he’s done in the local area. And that’s where the idea of parachutes, or outsiders, or party apparatchiks emerges.

    I’m prepared to concede that you’re right, and Curtiss Pitt IS the hardest working local member from among the fearful four. But I also remember Peter Dodd who came up from Victoria to get a seat in Parliament, and was a total bone-head.

    I don’t know Tim Grau, but from his writing he’s a spoilt twerp, writing about politics as an exercise in ticking boxes along the path of party obedience and preferment. He might have a connection to local families, but will he advocate effectively for the things we want and believe in – or will he be one more nail in the coffin of the now deceased ALP?

    For my own reasons, I’d like to turn Tim Grau’s candidacy into a historic loss for the ALP, and send them (one more futile) message to wake up to themselves.

    Syd Slut for Labor said...

    No seat is safe in the 2012 Queensland election.

    Michael P Moore said...

    Syd Walker says "the extreme negativity of the way Tim Grau has been introduced to CairnsBlog readers reeks of partisan bias....."

    Maybe you should appraise how Tim introduced himself to his Cairns Post audience... clearly he failed to impress many by hiding his senior role in the Labor Party.

    Syd Walker said...

    Mike, Tim Grau's byline on the Cairns Post article says very little, but so what? It also doesn't mention his community group involvement.

    If there was evidence Tim was trying to conceal his ALP membership, that would be a different matter, but as far as I'm aware, there isn't.

    Perhaps one reason he didn't wear his ALP role on his sleeve in that case was he wrote the article in a personal capacity. I don't know and don't really care. It's just not that much of a big deal to me, and I fail to see why you think it is.

    The real goal of your piece, I suspect, was to 'out' Mr Grau as a prospective candidate in the event Desley Boyle stands down.

    That's an interesting bit of gossip to share with your readers, if it's true. But that's all. The negative spin is just that - there seems to be no substance to it.

    The ALP is a legal organisation; it's not a crime to seek preselection within the ALP.

    Lucy J (ex Laborite) said...

    Oh you are ever so naive Syd of the Bush.

    You say.. "if there was evidence Tim was trying to conceal his ALP membership..."

    well...DOH!! He did.

    And it is a matter of interest to readers that he is upfront and honest.

    Do you think if any nameless nobody wandered into the Cairns Post office and said can I write a piece in the weekend paper?... that they'd say...sure!!

    Tim told the paper secretly I suspect - that he was the Cairns ALP chief, and then failed to mention it. That's why they allowed him to have a column in the paper.... not because he runs some company with no staff that no one knows of.........

    You are so vain that you blindly support the Labor nut jobs regardless of what they do.

    Black Ops said...

    That's NOT dandruff Syd! Them's nano-thermitic particles cobber, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Tim Grau is one of the Jewish bankers behind the controlled demolition of the WTC. His ALP membership is only the tip of the iceberg. Aaaargh iceberg! Abandon ship! Abandon Ship!

    Michael P Moore said...

    Thanks Syd. Of course you're absolutely right. Silly me.

    PS: As for you claiming it's not a crime to seek pre-selection within the ALP.. I beg to differ.

    Syd Walker said...

    Lucy J claims I "blindly support the Labor nut jobs regardless of what they do".

    Not true Lucy. See for instance my recent letter to Senator Jan McLucas, still unanswered as far as I'm aware.


    When you do hit the bullseye with stories I like to say so. But I'm not a sycophant and I hope you don't mind honest reader feedback, negative as well as positive.

    Bryan Outlaw said...

    It's all about you, isn't in Mr Moore?

    Bryan Law said...

    Now, now Syd, you wrote a letter to Jan McLucas. Wowee double wow! Didn't the Greens follow that up by allocating preferences to Jan and the other Labor Ilks? That'll learn 'em to trifle with a stiffly worded letter by dang.

    Roger said...

    The true test of a "Parachute" is if they stick around when they lose, or fail preselection.
    My bet is that Tim already has a contingency plan for somewhere other than the far north.
    Grau is here to contest the seat of Cairns for his AWU faction and nothing else.

    greenbattle said...

    Roger you are probably spot on . Parachute pitt would have scarpered back to brisbane if the daddy job went amiss.
    And tim is the awu pick to replace boyle .

    Colin R said...

    Tim grau a direct question to you.
    If you are the anointed one why would a smart cookie like you .
    Run in an state election that all Australia says will be a landslide to the lnp and others ?
    The unions who think hate the local members .
    As they voted to sell off their members jobs and our assets.
    So why would anybody including you put your hand up to cop what jimmy boy copped.
    This electorate has changed and no longer will we take it to have no choice on who we want to represent us.
    Wether it be darren howies crew or Wendy whoo never gets elected or whoever.
    There are too many people here now who kick out dills.
    It is no longer sleepy hollow but a free thinking democracy.
    Would love to hear your thinking .

    PK Enthusiast said...

    LNP backbencher Ian Rickuss has stunned us all by daring to say what we all knew - that the privatisations are a fait accompli and the only question worth discussing is how do we spend the money. Telling the truth may yet be the death of him.

    The fact is that the LNP has always been in favour of privatization, and they only oppose it now for cynical populist reasons, and their alliance with some government-employee unions is insincere and opportunistic. Same goes for Warren Entsch, insincere and opportunistic in his opposition to privatizations.

    I'm a loyal Labor person and a union member, and I'm in favour of these privatizations, and more. Too many of our govt services are inefficient and inadequate and too costly because of the intransigence of some unions and their determination to protect their members' cushy billets.

    I'd like to see the govt privatize the motor vehicle inspections of commercial vehicles, for instance. Ask any owner/driver truckie what it's like being subject to QT inspection.

    Anticipating the reaction of some public sector unionists, I think you'll understand why I choose to use a nom-de-plume.