Tuesday 31 May 2011

Stupid Labor government to spend $63m "how to use internet" propaganda

Today we learn that this digital-dumb Labor Government will throw $63 million to teach us
how to use the internet or the "national broadband network" as they like to call it.

  • [This will help Australians] to work, get an education and receive healthcare from home are aimed at making the country one of the world's leading digital economies by 2020.

    Federal broadband minister Stephen Conroy outlined at a major technology conference in Sydney his vision for the kind of country Australia could be in nine years time on the back of the roll-out of the $36 billion NBN.

    ....Senator Conroy said Australians had once watched the film Minority Report and thought they would never see many of the advanced technologies portrayed in the 2002 US whodunit science fiction film.

    "It's already here," he said. "
    This is coming faster than we think and the job is for all of us to work with the community, work with industry, community groups, not for profits ... and to begin what is a massive job of education."
They will pour $23.8 million over three years to set up `digital hubs' in each of the first 40 installed communities.

"The hubs will help the residents gain the skills needed to best use the NBN," Conry says. They will also spend $12.4m for small businesses and non-profits around the first communities that are connected "to best use the network."

$5.5m will go to regional areas access healthcare through "telehealth" services. I hope this is not another dodgy FuelWatch website.

WTF? We all have been using the net for close on 20 years, and now a government want to tell us how to use the net? Excellent use of taxpayer dosh, eh?

Monday 30 May 2011

Hunt for Mareeba prison escapee

A 40-year-old prisoner has escaped from Lotus Glen Correctional Centre near Mareeba, late on Sunday night.

Andrew John Palmer was serving a custodial sentence at a prison farm attached to the main correctional facility and was discovered missing around midnight.

The offender is serving a four year sentence for attempted robbery and break and enter offences and was not due for release until August 2014.

Palmer was sentenced in March and was last seen at a headcount at 8.50 pm Sunday and reported missing at 11.50 pm Sunday.

The escapee was serving his sentence at the low security prison farm section of the complex. I don’t think he’ll be doing much farming once he’s rounded up.

He's described as 179 cm, 80 kg, medium complexion, green eyes and clean-shaven with short brown hair. He also has numerous tattoos including the grim reaper and a Harley flag on his left arm; a sleeve from shoulder to elbow on his right arm; a wizard and mermaid on his chest; demons on his back and feathers on his right leg.
  • Contact local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000

Friday 27 May 2011

CAPTION CONTEST: Wazza gets a talking to

This week Chief Opposition Whip and local MP, Warren Entsch, sent out a angry email outing a number of "disloyal" Coalition MPs for not turning up for an important vote in the House.

Yesterday, one of those named, Malcolm Turnbull, had a bit to say to bully-boy Entsch. I wonder what words were exchanged?

  1. "Look here mister, I'm a Zillionaire, and I've heard about your plantations up the Cape, so just watch out or I'll be the one outing you..."
  2. "Entschy, this whole gay marriage thing, how about we go steady and see what it's like. What do you say?"
  3. "I have my own iPhone App. What you got? An ear ring and a motorbike? Whoopee!"
  4. "Hey Wazz, pull my finger... and I'll show you my latest fart joke. Go on... please..."
  5. ..... your turn.....

The Hobbit starts filming in Wellington

Thursday 26 May 2011

I'm off for some good ol happy clapping

Tonight I'm going to treat myself to a good ol conservative rabble-rousing in the hicks.

There's a fundy-tastes-like-a-real-Christan meeting in Atherton - they always select a quiet redneck rural town to whip the locals into a frenzy.

This is being put on by the so-called Australia Family Association and the National Civic Council, both homo-hating, leftie-hating enablers.

The speakers are talking about “What are the threats in the ‘Green Agenda’?” and “How the homosexual lobby views children.” Lovely.

The dinner at the Barron Valley pub will boast a who's-who of Tableland glitterati and business chiefs. Dr Michael McAuliffe will speak, as will Peter Westmore, the national president of the NCC, along with Tim Cannon of the AFA.

They're be joined by the local committee of the Civic Council comprises Pastors Robert Marshall and Thor Bouttell; Ed Collins; Diana Killen; Rosa Lee Long; Rev Leo Newell; Leo and Carol O’Connell; Pastors Phylis and Tim Pianta; K J Ramke; D R Walker, and Bob Stewart of Bob's Agricultural.

What is interesting is that there are two MPs involved in this joyous event. The mad MP for Kennedy, Bob Katter, who played a key role in the last election, and infamously said that there were no gays in his electorate, and if there was, he'd "walk backwards to Broome". What a tosser.

The other is Dalrymple MP Shane Knuth, from the old conservative school of the Nationals.

I'll be taking a couple of others along to see what this mob is up to. It should be fun, and I get a free meal out of it. I really thought these old rallies were dead and buried, but not it seems in a rural conservative post-Sir Joh Queensland.

As I'll be under-cover, wearing a long coat , dark glasses and moustache, I feel like I'll be on a Navy Seal assignment, ordered by Obama.
I'll duly file a report, complete with revealing pix, later, and dead bodies.

Blair on his way to Oz and New Zealand

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who served from 1997- 2007, is about to make his first speaking appearance in Australasia since leaving office.

In July he will speak in New Zealand share his "unique insights and experiences in leadership, negotiation and innovation."

Blair, who spends around $386,000 on security guards annually, is selling tickets for his Australian event at $1500 a pop with a "happy snap included." $10,000 will get two people one of 60 spots at his Melbourne dinner on July 27th.

I was invited to pay $1200 to attend his dinner in Auckland.

I thought they didn't allow terrorists and war criminals into New Zealand?

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Lyons House goes into voluntary liquidation

At a special general meeting last evening, the membership of Lyons House Inc, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation service, voted to wind up the Association.

Lyons House has been in financial turmoil after the management committee terminated two senior managers who were failing to disclose information to the management committee, including contracts and salary details.

To safeguard remaining assets and to enable full payment of staff entitlements and creditors, members unanimously voted in favour of voluntary liquidation.

Tony Jonsson and Gerry Mier of KPMG were appointed as liquidators.

Committee President David Couplan-Jones says negotiations are still proceeding with other like-minded organisations, to explore the possibility of the Association's facilities and services being continued.

Awkward, dear lordy

Slanderous Labor email bags Richie Bates ahead of selection vote

An internal Party email was sent to Cairns Labor members ahead of the weekend's vote to select their candidate for the next State election, shows the skullduggery and disloyalty to a open democratic vote inside the Labor camp.

Last Tuesday a vicious campaign was in full flight amongst local Labor members, in a concerted effort to keep out Richie Bates from getting the nod as their party's next candidate in the next State election.

The Party's AWU faction lead the charge to ensure that union representative Richie Bates was not going to get the numbers in the Cairns selection. Members who contacted CairnsBlog since the weekend's vote said there was intimidation, threats and visits from senior factional officials from Brisbane. A number of older members were telephoned as late as Friday night, with the threat of complying to support Lesina.

Labor members said both former branch president Mike Bailey and sitting MP Desley Boyle, were behind the desperate effort to keep Bates out.

"This is old school bullying, however Richie can hold his head high for not stooping to these gutter tactics," a frustrated Labor member said. "The branch members have had enough of this quite frankly"

"Unfortunately I expected some of that," Richie Bates told CairnsBlog.

The email was in part spurred after a story in last week's Australian, where Bates was quoted as saying "lucrative assets like QR National, which underpin Queensland's economy well into the future, should be retained."

The Australian predicted that a number of pre-selections across the State on Saturday would support candidates against Bligh's privatisation agenda. It said Labor insiders were tipping the left faction's Richie Bates for Cairns...
  • ...Richie Bates from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, would take the seat of Cairns with rank-and-file support over the AWU's Kirsten Lesina. Mr Bates has been an outspoken critic of Ms Bligh and her government's privatisation program, which included selling the commercial arm of Queensland Rail.

    "We are already seeing the first signs of QR National getting rid of jobs and damaging rural and regional communities," Richie Bates said.
However Bates told CairnsBlog that this was not an issue any longer.
"The reality is we have moved on and I don't believe the electorate would have seen this as a negative for me," Bates said after the vote against him on Saturday.

Labor insiders have said that it was probably former Cairns branch president, Mike Bailey who was one of those behind a campaign to discredit Richie Bates. They say he helped set up an anonymous email address, keep.cairns.labor@hotmail.com. The email instructed members not support Bates.

The message was titled "Candidate Richie Bates means the whole campaign will be focused on the past.- that will damage Labor in Cairns." It sent to a heap of ALP branch members on Tuesday last week.
  • From: KeepCairns Labor keep.cairns.labor@hotmail.com
    Sent: Tuesday, 17 May 2011 12:55 PM
    Subject: Candidate Richie Bates means the whole campaign will be focused on the past.- that will damage Labor in Cairns

    If Richie Bates is Labor's candidate then the media will make the whole campaign in Cairns about two things:

    * Assets Sales
    * Richie Bates' opposition to Anna Bligh.

    The result is damage to Labor-especially here in Cairns.

    The story below in today's paper (the Aust p.7) is just a taste of what will unfortunately dominate the whole campaign damaging Labor.

    Richie Bates below describes Anna Bligh below as "getting rid of jobs and damaging rural and regional communities".

    Even if you think Richie is a ok candidate it is just a fact that his record means the media will only talk about division, asset sales and attacks on Premier Bligh.

    That means Labor will be damaged in Cairns.

    Please consider this when you vote on Saturday, I know I will.

    Plebiscite voter this Saturday

    PS you may wonder why I haven't put down my name- It's because I don't like the fights that some have bought to our branches and don't want to be a target. I hope you respect that and also consider my message- its too important- we can't be responsible for losing Cairns for Labor.

Of course the coward behind the slanderous email didn't put a name on it.

In March, Labor Party deputy chair Mike Bailey, sent me a raft of inappropriate messages from his government email address Mike.BAILEY@communities.qld.gov.au. This is in contravention of it's terms of use, and he was caught out. Bailey led a campaign to oust Stuey Traill, blindly supported by his government-paid job, it seems.

Bailey also sent out a letter to members under his name, which was worded similar to the anonymous email.

It is believed that senior Labor party officials were in Cairns last lobbing against a vote for Bates.
After the close vote on Saturday, Lesina says that the party is still unified within and she received emails offering support, even from those that voted for Bates as the preferred candidate.

Kirsten Lesina also says it was a "clean campaign," however this angry internal email would disprove that. "It's been a very clean pre-selection campaign, because Richie and I are good mates, so that's been good."

Yesterday Kirsten didn't respond to questions about any knowledge of the erroneous email, but undoubtedly had to be aware of it's wide circulation.

"I hop on a plane to Brissy first thing this morning. I will give you a call around lunch time," Kirsten Lesina wrote in a 6:30am email, in response to two emails at 2pm yesterday afternoon.

Another disgruntled Labor voter who attended the pre-selection says he was disgusted that whilst in Brisbane last week on Cairns Regional Council business, Councillor Lesina used the opportunity to meet with senior Labor Party hierarchy about the Cairns pre-selection.

"The people who voted for Kirsten at electoral college should be ashamed of themselves," she said.

There is now a move to encourage Richie Bates to run for the State seat of Cairns as an independent, and also as a candidate for Council, something he missed out against Alan Blake in 2008.

As a strong and consistent fighter for union right and protections, Bates will be a valued addition to local or State government, whatever he chooses.

Monday 23 May 2011

Sunbus is rather cloudy as new timetables hit the streets

The Sunbus bus network has changed, and not everyone is impressed.

The new timetables are now online and are confusing many regular commuters and drivers as well it seems.

For instance, northern beach services now centre around Smithfield as a hub.

There are only three morning and three evening services direct to Yorkeys Knob, other than those times, you will need to transfer at Smithfield Shopping Centre.

There was outcry across the region a month or so ago, when Sunbus proposed to remove a number of services, and effectively making commuters to connect to other bus services, many which didn't connect within a reasonable time, especially around popular morning and evening times.

If you are a bus commuter, I suggest you check out the new timetables and maps, to see if it will affect you adversely.

I'd love to hear from anyone who can master and understand the new timetables in one sitting.

Termintor, governator, now the populator

Looks like he'll be broke.

(populator or should that be sperminator)

Saturday 21 May 2011

Kirsten Lesina Labor candidate for Cairns

In a razor-close vote at Labor's pre-selection meeting in Cairns today, first-term Cairns Regional Councillor Kirsten Lesina, was selected as the party's candidate in the seat of Cairns for the next Queensland State election.

However a majority of local members preferred the only other candidate on the ballot paper, railways union delegate, Richie Bates.

Bates won the local ballot 31 votes to Lesina's 27.

However, Labor's electoral college system, that allows for additional votes from factions and representatives not in the local area, tipped more votes to support Lesina from the party's right.

Reputedly there were five votes that would have also supported Lesina. These included a postal vote that didn't get done, and two who didn't attend the pre-selection meeting at Brother's League Club.

This again shows that the Labor Party is very much removed from the wishes of the local members.

Over the last year, Bates supported ousted party member, Electrical Trades Union organiser Stuey Traill, after nearly two years of campaigning against the Labor Party's sell off of assets that led to a series of membership terminations across the State. Such support would not have helped Bates in the Cairns selection with incumbent MP Desley Boyle determined to elect a successor from the party's right faction.

"None of this sorry affair is his fault," former Labor party member and Cairns Regional Councillor Robert Pyne told CairnsBlog this evening. "I would dearly love to see Richie run for council. He is a man of great integrity, passion and has commitment to his community."

24-year-old Kirsten Lesina pipped former Mulgrave councillor Ross Parisi as the youngest representative, when she was elected just weeks after completing her law degree at James Cook University in March 2008.

On Thursday, Cairns Regional Council paid for Councillor Lesina to fly to Brisbane for the day to receive the Healthy Queensland Awards on behalf of Cairns, where the Regional Council was awarded $50,000 in State funding, second only to Cassowary Coast Regional Council. However two Labor insiders believed that Lesina used the opportunity to meet with Labor hierarchy about the impended Cairns selection.

"This is an outright disgrace, if she has used ratepayer's money to meet with Labor party bosses in Brisbane when she was on Thursday," the party member said, who attended today's pre-selection, and asked for his name to be withheld. "This is the way they operate you know."

Lesina confirmed that she did have an "informal coffee with someone" while in Brisbane on Council business. Lesina said she had two hours free before the function in the afternoon, and that the Council officer who went as well, also "had a coffee with someone."

"It wasn't planned, it was an afterthought. My flight got in at 11am, and I didn't have to be at the awards till 1pm," Kirsten Lesina said. "So I had coffee with a friend, I don't think that should be a problem."

The State election will see a re-match against former Cairns city councillor, Paul Freebody, who lost to Lesina in 2008. Freebody is LNP's hope of making what many claim as an historic claim for the seat of Cairns, that has been held by Labor for the best part of the last 100 years.

The announcement that Lesina is the candidate that will run against the LNP's Paul Freebody, has been greeted with joy, as Liberal party insiders told CairnsBlog they believed a contest against Richie Bates would have been "formidable" and "although close, difficult to win."

"This is our preferred candidate for the ALP, I can tell you that for sure," a LNP officer said.

In a candid chat with CairnsBlog on Friday, Kirsten Lesina said she was feeling confident about her chances, in the face of some opposition from those who say she should complete her inaugural Council term.

"Yes, I'm feeling good about it," Lesina said. "It's been a very clean pre-selection campaign, because Richie and I are good mates, so that's been good."

Lesina said that it would not be a unanimous vote.

"There will be people voting for one or the other, but I think that everyone will rally around the candidate chosen, and that's been indicated from basically everyone."

Lesina has said that the local economy is her biggest priority if elected at the next MP for Cairns.

"There are a number of things, but one of them is to keep improving the economy obviously, and keep up with Anna Bligh's promise to create more jobs, and given the way Cairns is at the moment, I think that is very important."

She also cites the ongoing upgrade of the Cairns Hospital as important. Kirsten Lesina said, in reflecting on her last three years as a councillor for Cairns region, has been helpful.

"I've also been working on a lot of State issues with Desley [Boyle]. About a third of my [council] division is in the Cairns electorate, so that's been good, getting to know people locally and in the broader region about issues," Lesina said. "I think that will definitely be a help. I also helped people with federal issues when I was working for Jan [Senator McLucas], so I will be completing the trifecta."

Kirsten Lesina has been less that forthcoming on challenging her party's asset sale programme.

"We've sold the rails, the ports and the forests were leased, so there's only one where we've actually sold. But that's been done, and I don't think it's going to be undone," Kirsten Lesina said. "It's a done deal. I understand that people feel concerned about it and I completely understand, but it's happened."

Regarding any further privatisation plans, Lesina expressed concern.

"After what happened in New South Wales, we'd be mad to sell off anything like electricity or anything like that. Even if there was a will for it, I don't think it would happen."

In the recent NSW election, Labor paid the price after the State sell off of electricity.

The large anti-Labor backlash across the country and indeed throughout Queensland, will see a tough fight for Labor to retain Government. Many believe they will be whipped out at the next election.

When the State election is called, that is currently expected to be very close to the next Council election in March 2012, Lesina will need to stand down from her Council role and forfeit salary. It is probable that the Council election date may well move, if indeed the State election is not called early, as many pundits are predicting.

"If Lesina wants to be the first candidate in a million years to lose the seat for Labor and then to return to Council and lose that seat as well, she'll be political history," a disgruntled party supporter told CairnsBlog this evening.

Richie Bates posted a short message on Lesina's Facebook page on Friday.

"Good luck tomorrow, see you at Brothers!"

Lesina responded: "You too!"

The Rapture... believe it, or not?


Thursday 19 May 2011

Kuranda man charged with murder

A 51-year-old Kuranda man has been charged with murder and will appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court tomorrow.

The arrest follows the death of 22-year-old Aboriginal woman Erica Liddy who was found with serious head injuries at a Freshwater bus stop on April 12th.

Erica Liddy, originally from Coen, had her family with her for the last three days, before her life-support was switched off.

Erica was found unconscious around 2am at a Freshwater bus stop near the corner of Kamerunga and Old Smithfield roads.

Meet the next MP for Mulgrave

Born today, next line in the Pitt dynasty, and a probable future MP.

MP for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, snapped this photo on his mobile phone of his new baby in the last hour.

"Say hi to our new baby girl, four weeks early, and 6lb 8oz (2.940kg) and 43.5cm," Curtis Pitt announced this afternoon, as he introduced his new daughter to the world via social media.

"Kerry and I are still deciding on her name. Mother resting and Dad very happy. Tristan looking forward to meeting his little sister."

Just after midday, Curtis posted this message to his 1400 Facebook readers: "Mad rush to be at the hospital with Kerry. Doctor's advice that our new bub comes today - four weeks early though."

Premier Anna Bligh congratulated Curtis Pitt, who is also Minister for Disabilities, Mental Health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

"Curtis tells me they are yet to decide on her name but mum and baby are doing well and dad is very proud," Anna Bligh said. "I hear big brother Tristan is pleased as punch with his new baby sister."

All name suggestions for the new baby will be passed onto Cutris.

All the best from the team at CairnsBlog.

Tropical Alternatives film festival returns this weekend

The story of a doctor's "wife" will be the opening feature on Friday evening at this year's Tropical Alternatives Film Festival . It is the work of 25-year-old first-time director, Jonathan Duffy.

Duffy and his partner of some years, Doctor Vincent Cornelisse, left big city life in Brisbane for a tiny country town two years ago to take over a rural practice.

"As a gay couple we weren't sure what sort of reception we'd get from the new community," Jonathan told CairnsBlog.

As the doctor's "wife", Jonathan managers his partner's medical centre at Biggenden, 340 km north-west of Brisbane.

"We were living in Brisbane, close to the middle of the city, so in comparison it was very small and very quiet," Vincent said in an interview with ABC. "We were nervous about moving to the country and unsure what reception we would get as a same-sex couple."

"We had our concerns about it, because neither of us had ever lived in the country. We'd only ever lived in the city, and even in the city there's a fair amount of homophobia. Country Queensland has a particular reputation for being homophobic, more so than the city," Vincent said.

"But there was a method to our madness. I considered moving to a larger rural centre, but we thought if we go to a smaller country town you end up knowing everyone personally. It's much harder to hate you as a person than it is to be homophobic."

"Getting away from a big city was a great thing for us. It made us mature a lot as people, and made us more open minded and easy going," Jonathan says. "While Vincent was working the long hours that come with being a country doctor, I worked hard to find employment and become part of his new community. I listened to every comment anyone said about a previous doctor's partner, and one thing I worked out quickly is that, in my experience, the doctor's partner isn't exactly renowned for being a member of the community."

However, that all changed. "Before I knew it I had more jobs than Vincent and was working more hours. It meant I got to know a lot of the community, and they got to know me apart from Vincent."

Jonathan Duffy will introduce and launch his debut movie in Cairns, however Vincent won't be able to make it.

"I'm bringing a piece of the country to the world premiere in Cairns, Jonathan says. "Thanks to Coleen Cunliffe for lending me your husband, as mine was booked out. I can't get an appointment with him for ages, and it's not good enough!"

The Tropical Alternatives Film Festival opens in Cairns at JUTE Theatre on Friday night and features three locally made documentaries, a short film competition and the best of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival.

The festival will also travel to Port Douglas and screen at the Clink Theatre.

Friday May 20
6pm TAFF Shorts (70min)
7pm Drinks and Food
8pm Opening and The Doctors Wife

Saturday May 21
2om The Bedroom Commandments
3:30pm Orchids:My Intersex Adventure (1h)
5pm Bear City (104min)
7pm Sea of Purple (106min)
9pm You Should Meet My Son (90min)

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Hasta la vista,baby

"I have apologized to Maria, my children and my family. I am truly sorry," Arnold Schwarzenegger said today.

Last week he announced his separation after 25 years of marriage with Maria Shriver. However today Arnie revealed it was because he had fathered a child with a member of his household staff, the Los Angeles Times says.

Schwarzenegger had the child 10 years ago, and kept the secret from his wife most of this time.

Yesterday, on her Facebook page, Maria wrote the following poignant quote...

"You can lead a man to the trough but you can't make him drink. But when you create a thirst, he will want to drink."

Profound or spooky?

Here a video she recorded just a few weeks ago, that hinted more about herself than her audience...

John Mackenzie allows Prime Minister's gay jibe

"You'll get me into trouble," was the only thing 4CA talkback host John Mackenzie said this morning as he allowed a phobic caller to vent his innuendo on radio this morning.

Mackenzie allowed a caller to slander the Prime Minister and her partner, Tim Mathieson.

"That Gillard boyfriend, he's gay, isn't he...." the caller said.

"Now, you'll get me into trouble," Mackenzie said, after allowing the comment to be broadcast.

Radio 4CA rarely ever enact the cut off switch for obscene callers. All broadcasters have a broadcast delay system, usually between 3 and 7 seconds. It's a method that delays broadcast of live material that allows the station to prevent profanity and undesirable material from making it to air.

Mackenzie's caller went on to further degrade the Prime Minister.

"If I ever get drunk enough to wake up next to her..." the caller said.

"Now I think you've gone to far," Mackenzie said, still allowing the offensive comments to be allowed on his show, before ending the call.

However this is mild when it come to the disgusting and racist rants that Mackenzie himself blurts out, and of course the station never engages the delay system when this happens - in an act of self-censorship.

If you really want to follow this vile radio jock, look no further than Hillbilly Watch where Mick Glennie tells it straight about this radio hostess.

Mackenzie's talkback has lost many of it's audience over recent years, as more get their news and information from online or social media. Current audience numbers are 3,900, made up of 1,700 male and around 2,200 female.
  • You can make a complaint to 4CA by email to Kim OLoughlin or telephone 4042 8000 or 0408 580 992.

Friday 13 May 2011

Go ride ya bike, says Mayor Val Schier

Cairns Bicycle Users Group is co-ordinating a ride this Sunday, along the new track, that is shared between walkers and cyclists.

Meet at Centenary Lakes on Greenslopes Street at 9am and enjoy the new 20km circuit, and you might even get to share a word with Cairns Regional Council Mayor, Val Schier.

There'll be a free sausage sizzle at the end. Bargain.

Thursday 12 May 2011

11-hour reprieve sought for financially distraught Lyons House

Yesterday the management committee of Lyons House announced that the organisation’s financial situation did not permit the continued operation and reluctantly notified staff it would cease operating and terminate employment with one week’s notice.

"We are extremely disappointed that Lyons House staff could not be paid out their full entitlements at this time but with the steps we have taken, a safeguard has been put in place to hopefully ensure payment," president of the committee David Couplan-Jones said yesterday.

"We are saddened by the loss of a such a valuable community-based organisation that has provided a much needed resource in the Cairns area for over 35 years," Couplan-Jones said.

Late yesterday Sue Boisen from Congress Community Development and Education Unit met with the committee to discuss emergency support for Lyons House and the retention of some of the current services.

"As a result of Sue Boisen's meeting late yesterday, we have written to Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon and Senator McLucas, and local MPs, to seek urgent support, that may prevent complete closure," Couplan-Jones said.

Boisen was apprised of the current situation that Lyons House is in, with not enough cashflow to pay wages, and needing to terminate all staff contracts at close of business May 16th.

"Ms Boisen discussed the possibility of CCDEU continuing to operate the bulk of Lyons House programs, with funding body permission and new agreements entered into with CCDEU and the funding bodies," David Couplan-Jones said. "We provided financial cash flow and liquidity status and the list of assets owned by the agency. She then followed up with her senior officer, and has authority to explore further with the committee and funding bodies to support the retention of programs and services and the Lyons House premises."

CCDEU already provides a Queensland Indigenous Alcohol Diversion Program in Townsville and are expanding into Cape York, with a view to have a base in Cairns. Two of Lyons House current programs have agreements until June 2012 the QIADP residential rehabilitation program and the Drug and Alcohol Counselling Service both funded by Queensland Health.

Couplan-Jones says the other programs that could continue would be Queensland Communities Drug Court Program and Federal Health and Ageing Residential Rehabilitation.

"If these four programs were retained, some staff could be retained also and there would be no disruption to the clients," Couplan-Jones said. "I realise this is very late in the day, however if there is a will to continue with a scaled down suite of services, the Lyons House committee would do whatever we could to hand over the programs and assets to CCDEU, with the full support of the Dept of Health and Ageing; Queensland Health and Communities."

Couplan-Jones says CCDEU realise they may need to provide resources to cover the shortfall.

"These issues will need to be worked through with the funding bodies, the committee and CCDEU. There are substantial assets that would be transferred that could offset the need to provide an initial cash injection."

They have asked the Health Minister to consider this option "favourably for the welfare of the clients’ and the retention of many of the excellent staff."

"The alternative is to disrupt and destabilise clients, lose a valuable community resource for the Cairns region and the services of many good staff, both indigenous and non-indigenous," Couplan-Jones says.

Meanwhile, on John Mackenzie's 4CA talkback radio show yesterday, MP for Leichhardt Warren Entsch was scathing about the demise of Lyons House, and took aim at Cairns Regional Councillor Diane Forsyth, who was a former director and currently is a member of the committee. Forsyth is a member of the Labor Party, whilst Entsch is a member of the Liberal National Party.

"Di Forsyth and her mob need to be removed," Warren Entsch said. "And former CEO Margaret Renfrey and John Ellis reinstated. Forsyth lead a group of unprofessional people with no qualifications which tried to often interfere."

"The committee has been unable to answer a list of questions from Government agencies," Entsch said. "The same people involved in the misappropriation of funds at Douglas House, are involved with the Lyons House issue."

Entsch said clients are "petrified" that their personal records will be given to the management committee.

"The committee was reported to the Police for trying to hack into the computers with a butter knife. The CMC is investigating inappropriate dealings, particularly in relation to Councillor Diane Forsyth."

The president of the management committee, David Couplan-Jones slammed the mis-management of the two sacked managers, Margaret Renfrey and John Ellis, who he says, withheld vital information the board requested. They are seeking an extra six months redundancy payout. This is on top of the three months already received. The cost to Lyons House would be $85,000.

Flat earthers welcome

There's a free carbon-questionable forum, at Council's Civic Reception room in Spence Street tonight.

The meeting will be presented by Mark Ogge and Patrick Hearps of Beyond Zero Emissions, authors of the Zero Carbon Australia Report.

The event has been organised by Cairns and Far North Environment Centre.

Be there by 6pm.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

MARK BEATH: The delusion of CEC

Local economic commentator, Mark Beath, looks at the demise of Cairns' construction giant, CEC.

Much comment and activity at the Journal of Ignorance on the demise today of CEC.

Not kosher blogging maybe, but will just update as I go here with thoughts. Many peculiarities and even the accounts published yesterday vary materially from announcement as recently as April 29. Events as far back as 2008 are worthy of attention as is the role of Warren Entsch as an 'independent' director and Chairman.

To start my delusion of CEC before delving back as far as events in 2008, CEC did finally lodge accounts yesterday afternoon. However, bottom line on the CEC net position showed net assets of negative $41million? You should compare this with the ASX release just a few weeks before on 29 April which stated...
  • "Following the above impairments the accounts would show Negative Net Assets of around $27.6 million."
Oops, just a bit of a divergence here boys? In less than two weeks? So, lets go back in time to 2008.

Cairns entered 2008 on the back of a large debt fueled construction boom despite the first ripples of the GFC in late 2007 in the USA. At the end of February 2008 CEC surprised the market with a bad result and some recent high profile value investors fled (ie 452 Capital) the share register. This result preceded calls by the bank, CBA, to reduce property related debt.

CEC, in 2008, then announced a joint venture deal on its substantial land bank with Trinity Properties. These companies were previously closely aligned when CEC floated and shared directors including Keith Delacey and a senior Trinity exec. This deal collapsed early in 2008 with accusations that the CEC properties didn't stack up to values. Property write downs in that year by CEC don't seem to align with the indicated shortfall in property values in the failed JV.

CEC has had many opportunities to do something and has frequently referred to possible joint ventures, syndications, or capital raisings. Almost any company listed on ASX with any property related activity raised huge capital in 2008/2009. Selling assets was not the sole option of CEC to satisfy the bank.

So why didn't CEC follow the market? Did the directors make judgements based on Roy Lavis (26%) maintaining control rather than the interest of all shareholders?

The most striking deterioration at CEC since it listed in 2004 was not the financials but the quality of the board. In 2004 it was an outstanding board. It is now Roy, his son, and an 'independent' Chairman, who replaced Warren Entsch, with political connections also as main background and Entsch's renowned sycophancy with Roy. It's an appallingly weak board which should scare any investor.

Small CEC shareholders deserve a damned lot more than has been delivered here.

Entschy's bullshit quote of the week

It's another case of the pot calling the Senator black.

This morning on ABC Far North radio, Warren Entsch, the MP for Lie-hard [pronounced Leichhardt] came out with a stunning revelation following Senator Jan McLucas' response to the Budget and how it has supported the Cairns region...

"The Ray Jones [road] upgrade should be done by local companies..."


He went on to say how Labor where the masters of re-announcement, something that they did during the last election campaign ad nauseam, especially in relation to the funding for the upgrade of the southern access highway. Very true.

However, today's swipe on ABC by Warren Entsch can't go unchecked, when, just a few short weeks ago he was caught out spending thousands of dollars on his new website, with a Brisbane company.

A number of prominent local internet and web businesses in Cairns, expressed outrage and called him a hypocrite when CairnsBlog exposed the story in March. It's a label that won't go away and everytime he starts bleating on about jobs for locals, people will see the hypocrisy and duplicitous position of our MP.

Hambo Development, justpurple, Precedence, and Rutten Technologies, were just some of the local net businesses incensed at not only being excluded from any tender process, but being told by the Federal MP that there wasn't "expertise to be provided locally.”

On the 17th March, Rob Rutten wrote to Warren Entsch [full letter on right] asking why his new website wasn't produced in Cairns.

"As a part of the Cairns website development community, I am astounded that as a elected member representing this area, that you did not engage a local firm to design and develop your website," Rob Rutten wrote to Warren Entsch in March. "While I did not expect a personal invitation to develop your site - I have made inquiries in the developers community and have not found a single developer who was asked to quote on your website."

"Your comment [on Facebook] goes on to say that the site was done in Brisbane as the content management system was 'unable to be provided locally,'" Rob Rutten wrote.

"Understanding both the technology and the local developer community, I cannot hold this to be true. Websites with far greater complexity and scope are regularly developed locally," Rutten said. "In your media releases I see that you fight for the tourism industry industry as they 'drive the economy' and that you 'demand that preference is given to local business' for building industry."

"Your decision to develop your website with a Brisbane based firm demonstrates the opposite and effectively takes money and jobs from this region. Your comments about the inability of local businesses to provide services is a vote of no confidence in your electorate," Rob Rutten wrote.

Two months on, and Rob Rutten has had no reply to his letter.

"No, I haven't had any reply from Warren Entsch," Rob Rutten told CairnsBlog today. "This is not good enough," Rutten says. "He said that only part of the contract was done down south. As a developer I know it is most of the paid work. The rest would have been completed by his staff, which doesn't benefit local businesses at all."

"He has also said that there is no expertise in the area - hogwash! Bigger and better sites are regularly built in our very tech-savvy city," says Rutten. "Entsch said the photography was done locally - of course! - they are photos of Cairns for crying out loud. This still doesn't make a website."

"He said that he asked local developers - who exactly? He said it's a 'one-off job with specific and complex requirements.' There are lots of businesses locally that have demonstrated experience in more complex sites than his. Is he saying we aren't good enough?" Rob Rutten asks. "He said it's a one-off job - From direct experience this kind of job will need continued maintenance, updating and support that will all go down south from here on. Funny that the Brisbane developer pulled Warren's job from their online portfolio as soon as this blew up. Looks like even they are embarrassed."

However, I have to give some dues to Warren in this tangled mess. It wasn't entirely his fault. He said as much that he knows little about websites and internet stuff. You see, when I first shared this tale, I connected the dots of how this website was authorised, and why it stood no chance of being done in Cairns. Ever.

As I wrote previously, soon after the election, Warren Entsch appointed the media-savvy Danae Jones as his senior media advisor, on a Government salary in excess of $80,000, however Jones' company, In Touch In Business was in the process of being placed into liquidation. Creditors around Cairns were aware there were problems for months, and some had not been paid for most of 2010.

I pondered at the time how much of Jones' perilous business situation was revealed to the incoming MP. Warren expressed surprise when I confronted him with the news in late October, just after being elected as the new MP.

Jones' defunct business In Touch In Business owes $257,000 to around 70 local media internet, printing and publishing businesses. Many of these local businesses now refuse to deal with Jones in the fallout of her business, in fact, some have told CairnsBlog that Jones was trading with them "right up to the election" after the receivers had been notified of the downfall of the business. Create Design was one such company that is still seeking payment for Warren Entsch's election campaign accounts that Jones asked them to do on behalf of In Touch Media. The LNP have denied that this was the case.

With this in mind, it's unlikely that Entsch's new website was ever going to be produced, let alone tendered, to a local Cairns company.

Fulton House in McLeod Street, which housed the In Touch office, was sold in December by Penridge Commercial. The asking price was $1.5m, three times the purchase price. The asset of the house was kept in a separate holding company, with Jones and her partner as the only directors.

Businesses contacted on the list that were owed money by Jones, have not received a cent.

When I asked Warren Entsch in October if Danae Jones' relationship with local media might be compromised, given that many of her creditors are in the media and public relations business, he said "That's not going to affect her at all," Entsch said at the time.

It's interesting to note that not only was the website image removed from the DataSearch's skite portfolio - the Brisbane company that produced Entsch's internet site - within hours of the CairnsBlog article on March 22nd, but the comments and discussion that ensured on Warren Entsch's Facebook page have also since been removed.

Needless to say, here it is, so you can compare.

I mean, we don't want any negative scrutiny over this do we?

Warren's Facebook's friends have skyrocketed from 34 to 68 (I'm number 68).

If he has no confidence in our locals, why should we have any confidence in him?

And why does this all matter anyway? Well, the unemployment in Cairns is still one of the highest in the country. Business are still closing and many are hurting from our poor ongoing economic situation. When politicians carry on like this, they show they don't really understand how such a decision can affect people. Other MPs websites, including Curtis Pitt and Jason O'Brien, and former MP Jim Turnour, were all produced by local companies.

There's one final twist in this tawdry tale. It appears that Danae Jones, on top of her parliamentary job, is back in business again. Call it moonlighting if you wish - not dissimilar to a former high-profile Cairns Council employee.

Using the same PO Box as the companies In Touch Media and In Touch In Business in liquidation, this media release about Airlines PNG, that Danae Jones wrote and distributed, did the rounds recently...
  • From: Danae Jones danae@danaejones.com.au
    Sent: Thursday, 31 March 2011 12:53 PM
    Subject: Media Release - Airlines PNG Responds To Kokoda Accident Report

    Hi Everyone,
    Please see attached Airlines PNG's response to the Kokoda Accident Report released today from the Papua New Guinea Accident Investigation Commission (AIC)

    Airlines PNG has welcomed the report.

    Should you have any questions whatsoever feel free to email me or call me on: 0487 901 054.

    Danae Jones
    Danae Jones Consulting
    Mob: 0487 901 054
    P.O.Box 928E, Earlville, QLD 4870

    Save a tree. Don't print this e-mail unless it's really necessary.
    ABN# 51 282 131 511
The ABN was only registered in February this year.

You can view the full media release here.

Wait a minute, I thought Danae had a job? A taxpayer-funded job. Wonder if Wazza is aware of this?

Interesting how some seem to be a law unto themselves, but if you work for the Government, then I guess you are the law.

Sydney Peace Foundation honors Assange

It's great news, and a huge snub for the Australian Government for the trailblazing Aussie and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange being awarded this year's Sydney Peace Medal.

The Sydney Peace Foundation said IT awarded the honour to Assange in recognition of the need “for greater transparency and accountability of governments," Professor Stuart Rees said.

The Australian Federal Government refused to intervene or offer any diplomatic assistance last year after unrelated and dubious charges of rape were leveled at Julian Assange, in a US effort to seek extradition from the UK so they can take charges.
“By challenging centuries old practices of government secrecy and by championing people’s right to know, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange have created the potential for a new order in journalism and in the free flow of information."

Julian Assange referred to the whistle-blowers whjo leak classified material to him as "heroes" - a direct reference to 23-year-old US soldier Bradley Manning, who is locked up indefinitely pending some dodgy military trail, after he leaked thousands of documents to WikiLeaks.

"WikiLeaks had played a significant role in the recent Arab uprisings in north Africa by releasing US diplomatic cables in December that were later translated into Arabic and French," Julian Assange said at the award ceremony in London.

"WikiLeaks was part of England's historic free speech traditions, these go back in the UK to the time of the English Civil War of the 1640s. The real value of this award, and the Sydney Peace Foundation is that it makes explicit the link between peace and justice," Assange said. "“It does not take the safe feel good option of shunning controversy by uttering platitudes. Instead it goes into difficult terrain by identifying organisations and individuals who are directly engaged in struggles of one kind or another."

“With WikiLeaks we are all engaged in a struggle, a generational struggle for a proposition that citizens have a right and a duty to scrutinise the state."

Friday 6 May 2011

Councillor Kirsten's rear shows her true colours

As part of my on-going series of our local politician's cars, following the highly successful Blakemobile published in January (not to be confused with another Blakemobile photo from two years ago).

I can tell you that the now-infamous Blakemobile photo from January, secretly released in the cover of darkness by Councillor Rob Pyne, is now subject to a protracted and bitter wrangle( read: conciliation.)

Today, it's the youngest Councillor ever elected in the world, well Cairns, Kirsten Lesina, and her rear end.

Thursday 5 May 2011

Would-be MP Freebody can't do a simple media statement

The Liberal National Party or LNP as they want to be called, are in full-swing using any opportunity to pump out the political cringe catch-phrase of the century, in honor of their un-crowned leader, Campbell 'can-do' Newman.

If this is the best savvy marketing advice that they can come up with, then Queensland politics is quickly becoming a race between dumb and dumbest.

The amazingly unique and bizarre selection the LNP have on offer for Cairns voters in the probably November State election, is none other than Paul Freebody.

This self-pronounced
'Christian' who exposes anything but such values, has a host of tragic media blunders to his credit. Luckily for new arrivals to our community, they're emerging again so they won't be disappointed. This underwater waterpark developer that would rather wriggle out of what has to be the dodgiest Cairns development proposal in the last 50 years, to wriggle into a cushy well-paid parliamentary perk job, is hoping to drop the average IQ of his constituents.

Yesterday morning, as Paul clambered into his Abbott Street high-rise office, he fired off a press release, intended for Dennis Quick for approval, the Liberals political stalwart. However the erroneous and poorly-written statement, made its way to all and sundry around town...
  • From Paul Freebody Paul@freebodygroup.com.au
    Date 4 May 2011 09:32
  • Subject Approval please DQ if you are happy with wording?

  • "Approval please DQ if you are happy with wording?
    ["DQ" = Dennis Quick]

  • LNP Candidate for Cairns Paul Freebody has hit out at the Labor Government saying Despite the Bligh Labor Government having now sold off railways, ports, Airports and forests , Queensland is still heading towards $80 billion of debt and $540,000 an hour in interest payments thanks to Labor’s economic mismanagement . Mr Freebody said any business mind person can see this is just not sustainable. To have such resources in our state and to lose our AAA credit rating is an indictment on the poor performance of this long term, tired Government.

    Mr Freebody said “Labor has borrowed to pay the bills, not to invest in future infrastructure. The Campbell Newman LNP team will save you money and deliver more by getting action on the basics and cutting waste. We’ll forward plan, not live for the moment.”

    The End...."

As one Cairns councillor said to me, "he's still not sure about capitals and where full stops go but has managed the spelling I see."

I wish it was the end, as Paul puts it, however at 2:35pm this afternoon, he fired out another media missive:
  • Press Release Cairns Post only

    Inlet widening a Can Do and Will Do for LNP

    Following a series of briefings, LNP candidate for Cairns Paul Freebody confirmed today that he had gained support from LNP Leader, Campbell Newman to explore the options available in terms of infrastructure capabilities, to dredge the inlet to allow all sizes ships to be able to dock at the Port.

    “There are many opportunities to bring business to Cairns via our port,” Mr Freebody said.

    [and on and on and on, went the dribble.]
Needless to say, this one marked "Cairns Post only" was sent to everyone.

22 minutes later, out it came again, with an addendum:
  • "Sorry everyone , I thought Paul said CP , however he explained it should always go to all media outlets. Hence I forgot to change the header. Sorry for confusion.
    - Amanda."
If you want to reminisce of Freebody's former faux pas, check out when he didn't get his way as Cairns Regional Council postponed his waterworld development approval. He burst onto radio and slammed all the female Councillors as "witches and bitches." He was forced to apologise.

However we needn't be too surprised by Paul's use and abuse of the English language and his inability to communicate coherently like an adult.

In the March 2008 Council election, Paul Freebody lost to first-time candidate Kirstin Lesina, in the narrowest of margins. His opponent picked him up on his election leaflets, that was riddled with errors and exposed an incompetent communicator. Kathy Plath, who was also running for re-election, allowed Paul to do her leaflets as well. Talk about a death wish. Both were not re-elected.

Freebody subsequently went on the attack against Lesina for exposing his error-riddled election propaganda, and in a condescending and derogatory outburst, with a touch of his hallmark sexist tone, remarked ''Kirsten, focus on what’s good for the community, and don’t get into gutter politics. You’re better than that love. I know you’re young.''

And we thought we'd all seen the last of this abusive and arrogant political freeloader? Needless to say, thanks also to many CairnsBlog readers, I've been amassing a wealth of information from past business associates that includes recorded telephone calls; faked profit and loss statements; death threats; abuse and verbal threats of violence; police investigations of his son using a mobile phone to bully others, all from the man who wants to represent the people of Cairns.

May your god help us.

Monday 2 May 2011

Film fundraiser this Thursday for peace, freedom and blogging!

You're invited.

This Thursday evening at The Boathouse, James Cook University of Colonialism, Smithfield campus, we're holding a shared fundraiser for CairnsBlog to support the defamation action taken by Cairns Regional Councillor Alan Blake. It will also support Bryan Law towards his Ploughshares action.

It's on at 7pm, this Thursday 5th May - $25 a head.

We'll be screening a couple of unique real-life political dramas and you can enjoy a mixed bag of nibbles, nostalgia, and revolution.

There'll be a cash bar, as the revolution won’t go far.

Come one, come all (yeah, even you MG).

Bin Laden dead, says the US

The US President is about to give a press conference and do what America loves doing: glorify and relish in death and war.

Reports say that Osama Bin Laden has been killed in Afghanistan and that the US has his body.

What will this change? Nothing. Probably just inflame and spark a whole new rage and violent reaction from the fiends of the land of the brave and free. Yeah.

The Chaser's skit Liz and Phil didn't like

Sunday 1 May 2011

Q & A on ABC Tuesday night

An interesting line up on this week's Q & A...

Simon Crean - Minister for Regional Australia
Sophie Mirabella - Shadow Minister for Industry
Tony Windsor - Independent Member for New England
Eliza Brown - Local Winegrower and Director, Brown Brothers Wines
Nick Klomp - Dean of Science, Charles Sturt University
Alana Johnson - Victorian Rural Woman of the Year, 2010