Friday 28 September 2012

Questions need to be answered about Cairns MP Gavin King's secret email

The leaked email leaked from Cairns Regional Council by Cairns MP Gavin King, still has a number of glaring questions unanswered.

The confidential email that Gavin King sent to to Mayor Bob Manning and his Deputy Terry James, was a deliberate attempt to hide the agenda of City Place redevelopment without any involvement from the community.

King was communicating about official business from his Parliamentary email address, yet deliberately chose to send it not to Council, but to Manning's and James' private home email accounts.   Why?

This was no mistake, but a concerted and deliberate action to hide dialogue about an important debate at the heart of our city.

What other emails has Gavin King sent secretly to Councillors and the Mayor since being elected to serve and represent the people of Cairns?

With today's announcement that King, and with Federal MP Entsch and Councillors will meet to sort the mess out around City Place and their priorities, the email from King that exposed LNPs agenda for Cairns' CBD, showed a real desire to exclude the people and any consultation with the community.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Obama of Barr for President?

My friend is a USA citizen, has just received his voting paper for this year's US Presidental elections.

If you like peace and freedom, Roseanne Barr might be a good option.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Hillbilly blog identities exposed is a good thing

The self-proclaimed 'satirical analysis' Hillbilly Watch blog, that cites itself a watchdog of 4CA Radio host John Mackenzie, has outed in Federal Parliament by the Member for Leichhardt Warren Entch.

Local blogger and Facebook political moderator Ross Parisi said, the toothless tiger ACMA, will now be called upon to investigate and scrutinise whether HillbillyWatch has breached the law.

It's headline crys...
  • "Cairns bigot and loudmouth John Cueball (formerly the worst toupee in the business) MacKenzie, washed-up radio lout, and his cronies like the former Cairns Post, now LNP MP (Misogynist Prick) for Cairns Gavin "Don't Rape Me" King."
HillbillyWatch started up just over two years ago and has always published under the curtain of anonymity, all the time firing at anyone they wished. The often childish and vile name-calling has been it's hallmark, instead of mature and strong public debate.

Warren Entsch used his parliamentary privilege to out one of those behind Hillbilly Watch...
  • "I rise to name and shame Brian Lawrence McCarty, the main blogger behind," Warren Entch said in the federal Parliament on Monday.

    McCarty is a 58-year-old American who lives at 7 Whitehaven Court in Clifton Beach. Information accessible online shows McCarty worked as a sound engineer in Hollywood but moved to Cairns in 1998. He attempted two web ventures, and, and I am told both turned out badly.

    I have received written advice from a former associate that McCarty, desperate to refinance Coral Sea Studios, attempted investment fraud using fa
    ke website content and stolen identities. Since 2008, he has been working at the Baskin Robbins ice-cream franchise on Cairns Esplanade, describing himself as guest relations manager. This associate identifies McCarty as having a severe personality disorder, with a dark side driven to, 'defame strangers and damage their businesses'
Besides McCarty, there are others involved covertly with HillbillyWatch.

Deryck Thompson, of the Machans Beach Community Association, a supporter of Val Schier and the Labor Party.

McCarty gave a small donation to Cr Linda Cooper's successful re-election bid on Cairns Regional Council, without disclosing his address, a breach of the Local Government Act.

Deryck Thompson donated $1,150. It's odd that Schier would be associated with such people, especially McCarty.  There are other identities involved with contributing to Hillbilly Watch.

Brian McCarty and his cohorts have been going by the alias of 'Mick Glennie' of Edgehill.

There is a wealth of critical attacks about McCarty's dodgy business dealings online.

Whilst I was the community relations officer at the Red Cross Blood Service, I had some ugly run ins with Brian McCarty. His Baskin Robbins ice cream business on the Esplanade wanted to offer some vouchers to blood donors, but his demands were outrageous and I was warned by other staff to avoid dealing with him. He became aggressive and verbally violent on the phone. He then wrote to the Australia chief of the Red Cross venting his anger and threatening all in sundry.

I then went down to the Cairns Esplanade and asked neighbouring business what they knew of McCarty. A tour agent said he had a history of yelling at people, and would often lock up cycles that were packed near his store so the owners couldn't retrieve them. In another ugly incident, McCarty stormed in to McDonalds one Monday morning after an violent stabbing that left the victim's blood along the footpath, and demanded that they clean it up.

Of course it's been no secret that Warren Entsch has been on a mission for sometime to curtail or close down Blogs and online discussions that are critical of himself and others.

Last year I wrote two pieces critical of Entsch, and he was on a mission thereafter to attack me.

In March last year I wrote about Warren's new Parliamentary website that he got a Brisbane business to do, to the outcry of local web developers and designers. In October 2010 I wrote about Entsch's media advisor whose business owed more than $250,000 to a raft of media business in Cairns, an ironic and compromising position to be in I cited. These two stories enraged Warren and he told many that he would be making it his priority to outlaw and close down blogs.

Of course, prior to this I had interviewed Warren on many occasions as Labor's tenure in Cairns was appalling and worth throwing out. These are many stories and video interviews still on CairnsBlog of Entsch supporting the access that I extended to his point of views.

Another local identity who has been attacked by Hillbilly is local author and marketing consultant Andrew Griffiths. Andrew is a strong advocate for social media, however has detested the anonymous carry of like HillbillyWatch.

"As for Hillbilly Watch – the only things he has left out [about me] is that I A) eat babies B) cause cancer and C) was responsible for 911," Andrew Griffiths told CairnsBlog. "To be honest I just laugh at this crap. Anyone who knows me – knows me. But he will get his day. I assume it is Brian McCarty – who is a lunatic as you know. I also love the fact that he writes like a little spoilt brat. The only thing he didn't do was threaten to give me a wedgie. But as always, I hate bullies – and I hate people that are too gutless to speak up and confront someone head on."

"I have always respected you for doing that Mike – I haven't respected a lot of your contributors though I have to say," Andrew Griffiths said.

Local activist Bryan Law has also welcome McCarty's name being published.

"I'm happy to see Mr McCarty exposed. Some of the abuse he writes and incites is of a very low calibre and if he tires of abusing public figures he has a go at their spouses and children... often with all the sophistication of a disordered sex pervert. I'm glad he's been named," Bryan Law said. "The issue isn't defamation, it's accountability and it cuts both ways. [CairnsBlog owner] Michael Moore has been sued and harassed by former Councillor Alan Blake because he published openly. Hillbilly Hack is vile but safe because he hides."

Here's the video from Colin Riddell of Entsch's speech in the Federal Parliament.

Warren Entsch has called the antics of HillbillyWatch "cyberbullying" and says there's a "disgusting lack of accountability in social media." There's a case to answer there, but there is a distinct right by any citizen to publicly criticise politicians in a manner that is open and transparent.

"In Cairns, public figures have become the target of an American-registered website called, which claims to be a satirical pro-Cairns blog but in reality is a forum for trashing
reputations and fuelling obscenities," Warren Entsch told the Federal Parliament on Monday night. "Much of what is posted is too vulgar to mention in this place. The
site focuses on a local radio host, describing him as a 'caustic, divisive, destructive, and cancerous plague on Cairns'."

"A local Member [Gavin King] is referred to as 'the MP (misogynist prick) for Cairns, the 'don't rape me' paid local liar for the LNP," Entsch said. "A council candidate [Barry Neall] is labelled as a 'bitter old bigot who runs a website known euphemistically as 'Residents against Aboriginals?', and vocal conservationist Colin Riddell, who has just successfully campaigned to have a cruelty provision, particularly in relation to turtles and dugongs, enacted in the State Parliament, is advised to 'take it right up the keister from his LNP mates … do you like it this way Colon?"

"Dangerously, this site is not afraid to insinuate sexual misconduct, and the articles generate spiteful remarks with no fear of reprisals, let alone consideration of their target's mental health," Warren Entsch said. "One local resident who is frequently targeted heard I was going to tackle this issue. She told me, 'Freedom of speech does not come with a carte blanche licence to ridicule, defame and publish blatant untruths about others under the cowardice of anonymity. The vitriol exhibited is unacceptable to those who try to live by a code of decency and respect for all. Its originator must be made accountable.' "

"This is a site that targets individuals, and while it may not be physical violence it can easily take the form of these written attacks. I am often vilified, but my policy is to simply ignore it as these people thrive on acknowledgement. In this case, while I do not want to offer it any promotion, I am speaking out because I will
not be left with blood on my hands if this harassment gets to be too much for one of its victims'" Entsch says.

"The major problem with these social forums is that while complaints can be lodged with the relevant authorities, the task of revealing their identities, or prosecuting, is extremely difficult," Entsch said. "These people, and I understand that there are a number of contributors to Hillbillywatch, are hiding behind anonymity."

"Well, no more. If they want to publish on Twitter, Facebook or online forums, they should be transparent and accountable for the impact their comments may have."

"Free speech is one thing, and I have nothing against clever satire. But I strongly support any moves by this House to put better processes," Warren Entsch says.

Entsch is right to expose Brian McCarty.

Whilst the Blogsphere is big enough for everyone with a view, when people hide behind fake or invisible identities and take aim at anyone without revealing themselves, it's a cowardly way to contribute to the public or political debate.

I believe there is a place for all kinds of exposure and strong criticism of public officials and politicians. In fact that is where social media and blogs have over-taken mainstream media and newspapers by far. However this doesn't allow for disgusting name-calling, outright abuse and cheap shots, all whilst hiding anonymously behind a fake name and website.


I have amended the story above after a complaint from Todd Hartley, CEO of Choice Australia Management, to remove his name from any connection with Hillbilly Watch. I unconditionally appologise for any harm caused by this.

"Your erroneous comments have caused significant concern to me.  I request you note the error on your blog and apologise to me for the damage caused by this error," Todd Hartley wrote to CairnsBlog.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Cairns Council will act on CBD transit plan, rebuffing Queensland State Government

Cairns Regional Council is shirking the Queensland Government, accusing that it has failed to adequately fund and commit to the Lake Street Transit upgrade.

"I'm really disappointed Cairns MP Gavin King and his capitulation on the CBD," Councillor Richie Bates said today. "There was plenty of good news ahead and Council is ready to fix Lake Street's issues."

"Despite the failure of the State Government to fund and carry out their transport infrastructure obligations, Council is prepared to get the job done."

Bates says that the redirection of over $30 million in funding from the CBD into the Bruce Highway as another example of the neglect that the economically-depressed city is feeling at the hands of the new LNP government.

"Yesterday's assault on a Lake Street Sunbus driver emphasises the importance and urgency of fixing the City Centre and it's transport issues," Richie Bates says. "Adequate consultation with all the stakeholders will be will be a key component of the Council-driven project as it moves forward."

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Mareeba and Port Douglas a step closer to Council de-amalgamation

The former Douglas and Mareeba Shires have passed the first process to de-amalgamate from Tablelands Regional Council and Cairns Regional Council.

Local Government Minister David Crisafulli has announced that the former Douglas Shire and Mareeba Shire Council will be examined by Boundaries Commissioner Colin Meng for possible de-amalgamations.

Robert Hanan of Friends of Douglas Shire is pleased with the decision, but is cautious about any early celebration.

"It's still a long way to go," Hanan told CairnsBlog. "This is a good decision, and our financial modelling showed that we did a good submission."

Hanan said he hopes that if the de-amalgamation is successful, the re-established Douglas Shire should expect some money back from Cairns Regional Council that consumed Douglas when the former Labor State Government merged the Councils in 2007.

"There's a strong argument for the return of some money. We will be footing a $3 million bill for this," Robert Hanan said.

Douglas Shire included the boundary just north of Ellis Beach, Wangetti, Port Douglas, Mossman, Daintree, Cape Tribulation, to just South of Wiujal Wujal Aboriginal community, along the Bloomfield Track route.

Isis, Livingston and Noosa Shires have been approved for review. and each will have to find money to pay for the cost to separate. A decision is expected by the end of November.

Cairns MP Gavin King forgets to mention huge staff cuts in Preventative Health

With massive Government sector job cuts across Queensland, an important Preventative Health team has been cut in half, something that new Cairns MP Gavin King failed to disclose in recent discussions on ABC.

The loss of 50 jobs in Preventative Health could have major impacts on some Indigenous communities where syphilis outbreaks can cause many other serious health issues, including for pregnant mothers.

Cairns MP and LNP newcomer Gavin King has only talked about 400 jobs with the Dept of Environment and 20 odd jobs in Tourism. This deception needs exposing. Why he forgot to mention the 50 dedicated preventative health care specialists from the Cairns Public Health Unit, who were all axed from their positions last week, is extraordinary. The staff cuts in this vital public health unit has failed to rate a mention in King's radio interviews.

The Federal Government’s Initiative of ‘Closing the Gap’ in Indigenous health will remain unachievable in Queensland if only front line health service provision is relied upon.

In fact, not one media outlet has published this information. The Nurses Union, a very large and powerful group of health workers, seems to want to protect those that are front line. Many people work behind the scenes to make the nurses able to function efficiently and do their jobs.

Others such as those in Public Health, work to keep people out of hospital, and to stop the spread of infectious diseases.

When 50 health professionals from the Cairns Public Health Unit were told by the new Liberal National Party State Government that their services were no longer required, given just two weeks, to finish up, local State MP Gavin King, along with other media, failed to mention the decimation of these healthcare workers. King deliberately ignored this fact when he spoke to Fiona Sewell on ABC radio. He mentioned the 20 jobs axed from Department of Tourism, but all from Corporate Office in Brisbane. He mentioned the 400 jobs from the Department of Environment, but only 2 local jobs.

The majority of these positions are made up of nurses, doctors and other specialised health care workers who all have a mandatory tertiary qualifications in health, and many have a Masters of Public Health as well. These officers are each specialised in their own fields and have spent many years in their chosen career in public health.

The Cairns Public Health Unit services a population of over 250,000 people.

These specialised and dedicated team of professionals work to keep the general public informed of health risks like smoking, unsafe sex, handling bats etc), to stop the spread of infectious diseases (Hendra virus Dengue fever, tuberculosis, influenza, salmonella food poisoning etc), to maintain clean and safe drinking water (checking of water supplies for E coli or other contaminants), and many other activities that protect the population they serve. Much of their work involves in trying to improve conditions in Indigenous communities. After all, North Queensland has nearly half of the Queensland's Indigenous population living here.

One such specialist, celebrated her 20 years with Queensland Health last Wednesday, only to discover two days later, that she no longer had a job. This person is known internationally for her work on improving Indigenous nutrition in Papua New Guinea and Far North Queensland. It beggars belief that this well-renown health professional has been put out on the scrap heap along with her colleagues.

Another dedicated specialist in sexual health has been overseeing a syphilis outbreak in a remote Indigenous community. Much of this work involves contact tracing and ensuring patients receive the appropriate treatment. Sexual health officers from Cairns have had to go to this community to help test and treat patients in order to eradicate this infection. Cases of the disease are still being reported.

It seems that those that are left in Corporate Office in Brisbane, think that Thursday Island is off the coast of Cardwell.

Queensland has taken a step back 20 years and will never achieve Closing the Gap in Indigenous health in Queensland, without the preventative work going on behind the front line services.

Monday 17 September 2012

Another $1.2 million on another report for Cairns Entertainment Centre

Cairns Regional Council has voted to spend $1.2 million for another report for a performing arts centre.

This is in addition to $12 million that has already been spent on planning for this facility at two other locations but previous Councils. Only Councillors Robert Pyne and Julia Leu voted against the expenditure.

  • APPOINTMENT OF CONSULTANTS ................................................................. 64
    P. Tabulo: 26/7/18-05: #3717198
    Moved: Mayor Bob MANNING
    Seconded: SCHILLING

    1. Council appoints the consultants as listed below for the preparation of the Concept Plan for a Performing Arts Centre as required in the Heads of Agreement with Ports North. These appointments are made in accordance with Local Government (Finance, Plans and Reporting) Regulation 2010, section 184 because of the specialised nature of the services that are sought, together with their experience and association with the previous Cairns Entertainment Precinct, making it impractical for Council to invite quotes or tenders for this Concept Plan stage.

    2. Savills Project Management be appointed to manage the preparation of the
    above Concept Plan and to undertake Phase 1 of the preparation of the Business Case as also required in the above Agreement for the sum of $328,640.

    3. The scope of the Business Plan be agreed with the State and Federal

    4. Council delegates authority in accordance with Section 257 of the Local
    Government Act 2009 to the Chief Executive Officer to finalise any matters relating to the appointment of consultants for the proposed Performing Arts Centre and to also resolve contracts from the Cairns Entertainment Precinct project that will not be necessary to progress the Performing Arts Complex.

    Performing Arts Complex- Concept Plan Consultants

    Consultant Discipline Proposed Fee including Expenses
    CA Cox Rayner Architect $372,099
    WT Partnership Cost Planner $46,000
    Acoustic Studio Acoustic Engineer $87,012
    Schuler Shook Theatre Planner $70,170 25
    Arup Structural Engineer $86,100
    Arup Mechanical Engineer $74,500
    Arup Traffic Engineer $50,000
    Cardno Civil Engineer $61,975
    SPP Hydraulic Engineer $71,500
    Steensen Varming Electrical Engineer $46,000
    Steensen Varming Vertical Transport Engineer $5,000
    Certis BCA Consultant $32,000
    Cundall ESD Consultant $34,950
    Urbis Town Planner $35,500
    PricewaterhouseCoopers Economist $138,811

    TOTAL 1,211,617

    Motion Carried
    Councillors Pyne and Leu voting against the motion

Sunday 16 September 2012

Brisbane-centric LNP must stump up for Cairns   

LNP Cabinet Ministers should be embarrassed showing their faces in Cairns at this weekend’s Community Cabinet after delivering their first State Budget in Parliament which scrapped infrastructure, slashed services and cut jobs in the region.
Member for Mulgrave and Shadow Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, said the LNP’s 2012 State Budget almost wiped Cairns off the funding map with the scrapping of major infrastructure projects and critical underfunding of others.
"Treasurer Tim Nicholls could easily find $3.5 million in the State Budget as a first instalment for planning the Premier's pet project --  a new Executive Building for himself and his Ministers in the Brisbane CBD," Mr Pitt said.
"But as the Cairns Chamber of Commerce has said the LNP needs to start developing an 'outside-of-Brisbane mindset'. So far all the LNP Government has delivered for Cairns and the Far North are cuts to jobs and services.
“It is the height of rudeness for the Newman Cabinet to try and come to Cairns the weekend after the meanest Budget in a generation is delivered and try to sell their slash-and-burn policies to the people of Queensland.
“I think the people of Cairns will see the LNP’s transparent spin for what it is. Once again, as the Cairns Chamber of Commerce says, ‘token commitments rather than definitive plans for action’ and ‘give-a-dog-a-bone’ commitments' are not good enough for our city and our region."
Mr Pitt said the Member for Cairns Gavin King should be ashamed he has now officially lost more than $90 million for the people of Cairns with further implications across Far North Queensland.
“Mr King has lost the $57.3 million Cairns Entertainment Precinct and $33 million worth of investment in the Cairns CBD upgrade, with the LNP only allocating $5 million for the CBD upgrade,” Mr Pitt said.
“It should be noted however that after all the claims by Mr King of co-called ‘phantom money’ in the last budget under Labor, there is no funding identified for the upgrading of the $5 million for the upgrading of the Cairns CBD in the budget papers.
“The people of Cairns should be incredibly disappointed that Mr King has let the LNP Government rip infrastructure investment out of Far North Queensland.
“This will have wide-ranging impact on jobs and industry in the whole Far North.
“Even when the LNP commits $40 million for the Trinity Inlet dredging project, it is well short of the expected cost of between $80-100 million.
“This and other cost blow-outs show how shonky the LNP’s election policy costings were."
Mr Pitt said on top of scrapping infrastructure projects in Cairns the LNP government has also slashed hundreds of government jobs in the region.
“In response to last week’s Budget, hundreds of people took to the streets in Cairns to protest the LNP Government’s axing of 14,000 jobs,” he said.
“A couple of weeks ago we saw concerned doctors and nurses protesting outside Cairns Base Hospital in response to the revelation the LNP are slashing nearly 3000 Queensland Health jobs.
“The people of Cairns are seeing this mean and tricky LNP Government for what they really are.”

Tuesday 4 September 2012

'Crocodiles must go from Cairns and Port Douglas' - Michael Trout MP

The MP for Barron River, Michael Trout, says crocs must go. There must be no more deliberating on the safety or otherwise of crocodiles, he says. Action must be taken now before a life is lost.

“There’s no time for pussyfooting around the crocodile debate," Member for Barron River, Michael Trout says. “Our crocodiles are proliferating, with record numbers being sighted around Far North Queensland from Port Douglas to Innisfail.”

“Our tourism industry will be the endangered species if the issue of removal of these dangerous reptiles is not addressed immediately. It’s only a matter of time and another human is going to be attacked. We’ve just recently nearly lost a child, and I really wonder how the parent felt about the comment that the croc was probably after the pet dog."

“If the pet dog had not been there, the child would have been the target. If the dog was taken in front of the child, the child would be traumatised for life.”

Trout says there was only one path to go down now, and that is zero tolerance with crocodiles being removed from all populated areas.

“Crocodiles don’t stay in one place. Spring is here, and during Spring, crocodiles start moving around again," Michael Trout says. “Anyone at Clifton or Palm Cove will tell you about crocodiles swimming parallel to the shore between the two beaches, and numerous crocodiles have been spotted between the two beaches in the estuarine creeks and on the beach in recent years. Last year the beach was closed week after week following numerous sightings."

“I’m just amazed we haven’t had a fatality recently, but if we don’t act now, there will be consequences,” he said. "At Lake Placid, once a popular recreation/swimming area for locals and tourists alike, is now deserted following several crocodile sightings. Crocodile signs and grim warnings have replaced splashing and laughter on a hot day as salties move into freshwater areas. The Kiosk is closed along with everything else. Rafting companies can’t allow their customers to enjoy a swim after a half day tour."

“We have enough problem enticing tourists to Cairns during the summer due to stingers, but now we have a proliferation of crocodiles in estuaries and on beaches in our northern suburbs, in popular swimming areas such as Lake Placid, and crocs turning up in drains and waterways in the middle of the city."

“One of the most popular, iconic family activities in Queensland is Surf Life Saving. The majority of Queenslanders at some stage of their lives have spent their leisure times on the beach, safe in the knowledge that life savers were present to ensure their safety.

“Now Surf Life Saving Clubs are having difficulty persuading parents to let their children attend nipper training and events. Numbers are dropping significantly, and our Life Savers of the future are diminishing rapidly in turn.

“One particular outrigger canoe club operating out of Port Douglas reports an alarming increase in sightings and a few frightening incidences," out says. “Undoubtedly the crocs are becoming more game, to the point where one was hit with a paddle while canoes were leaving the ramp. A sleeping dog was taken from the back of a moored yacht on the piles."

“I won’t rest until this matter is dealt with in the only way – removal of the crocodiles – not only for the sake of preserving life, but to avoid the death of tourism. I’m not talking about culling, just removal. It’s time to take action, and that doesn’t just mean removing a few rogue crocs from around well used boat ramps."

Michael Trout says that since he started campaigning before the last election, this was one of the biggest issues facing the region that he has pledged to take action on.