Monday, 27 February 2012

Cairns Councillor Sno Bonneau withdraws from election

Cairns Regional Councillor Sno Bonneau will not contest the local government election at the end of April.

In announcing his decision he cited his 17 years of service to the community.

The northern beaches councillor is subject to a Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation with the findings due to be announced in the next 24 hours.

Bonneau CMC decision to be announced


The 13-month investigation launched by Queensland's Crime and Misconduct Commission into the actions of Cairns Regional Councillor Sno Bonneau, has now concluded and will be released this week.


The Department of Local Government and Planning was charged with the investigation and, after nine months of interviews and submissions, passed its findings to a Regional Review Panel to determine a finding.

Councillor Rob Pyne took a series of concerns to Council's CEO in February 2011, after he became aware of numerous times when Sno Bonneau participated in votes without declaring a conflict of interest or leaving the Council chamber.

''I had a professional obligation to bring these matters before the CEO," Councillor Pyne said. ''In fact, when such information of conflict or possible wrong-doing comes to the attention of a councillor, we cannot not take action.''

MacDonnells Law presented to all Cairns councillors their obligations under the Local Government Act. Under Sections 172 to 174, Councillor’s Conduct At Meetings, the Disclosure rules of material personal interest, there are ''mandatory requirements'' and a ''Councillor must:Disclose; Leave the room.''

In October 2011 Councillor Blake who is also being investigated under similar charges by a different complainant, said he was ''confused''.

''The votes identified in Ms Aitken’s complaint had occurred during a 'grey period' when the Local Government Act changed the way councillors declared their interests,'' Cr Blake told the Cairns Post. "Councillors were about their obligations to declare financial interests in the chamber because they hadn’t been properly briefed.''

"This vexatious complaint is driven by Val’s [Mayor Schier] failed Cairns 1st teammates," Cr Blake said. "Because I distaste her politics and her approach to running this city, I have been subjected to yet another vexatious attempt to bring me down at the ratepayers’ expense."

Janine AItken urged the council chief executive Lyn Russell, to forward the matter to the CMC because Alan Blake had apparently failed to declare a financial interest in at least 14 votes that had gone before the council since 2008.

''Cr Blake had repeatedly cast his vote in favour of company directors and property developers who donated thousands of dollars to his 2008 election campaign,'' Ms Aitken says.

A councillor can be fined up to $10,000.00 for failing to disclose a potential conflict of interest; or
not leaving the meeting room when required to.

Here's the full presentation to all Councillors from MacDonnells Law. It appears that Sections 172/174 as stated on page 9 of the councillors' presentation, is crystal clear.




Sunday, 26 February 2012

LNP's US-run hospitals

Campbell Newman's CanDo anything LNP website appears to be littered with a collection of images from everywhere.

Have a look at this one highlighting the woes in the State health system. There's a nice young female, an African American doctor with US-style medial clothing, not to mention the pearly-white teeth with a smile of confidence.

Is this where they will come from in LNP-run hospitals?


Saturday, 25 February 2012

Our new Prime Minister... Julia Rudd

Saturday SoapBlog: Marjorie Claire - Using 'slut' is offensive

The annual Slut Walk protest and has just been held around the world including events in Cairns, however the use of the world ''slut'' does not sit well with everyone, including mum and feminist, Marjorie Claire.

Slut walk is about protesting against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman's appearance. The event became more pertinent this year in light of LNP's Cairns candidate, Gavin King, using language that said "If a woman drinks to excess during a night out on the town, is she partly to blame for being raped or assaulted? As uncomfortable and difficult as this question is, the answer surely is yes." King said, in part, follows Police advice asking woman to not put themselves in a vulnerable situation. King's article has sparked State-wide protest action.

Along with her daughter, Marjorie helped with the local production of The Vagina Monologues, that embraces women to be strong and combat hate front on.

Words like ''gay'' and ''queer'' were 'reclaimed' in a similar way to own hurtful and hateful words. She says words are powerful, but ''slut'' is not helpful.


I hear and see on Facebook women calling each other and themselves 'sluts'.

This subject has become particularly prevalent of late due to the 'Slutwalk' event in Cairns.

I have stated previously why the word is so personally offensive to me, but I now realise that there is a bigger picture thing happening here. I want to know if calling each other 'sluts' is meant to be like some ocker calling out 'hey Blue, you old bastard'?

Are we, men and women, now to use the term as in 'hey Red, you slut, how are you?' Is it to become a new form of endearment? If so, is it meant to take the sting out of the word?

Are women going to be empowered in any way by using the word as an endearment? Just how does this work?

Hey, I know a truly beautiful word that's mighty powerful. In fact it's one of the most powerful words in the world. Millions have and still are suffering torture, deprivations and even death for it - that's how powerful my word is.

The word is freedom.

Freedom - sort of rolls off your tongue beautifully and easily and it's only power of alienation is against those who seek to destroy it - unlike the word 'slut'.
Freedom is definitely worth me fighting for and am more than happy too.

Freedom to dress as I want, freedom to get drunk if I want, freedom to walk around after dark if I choose, freedom to sleep with whomever I want and freedom to say no at any point in an intimate situation.

I wish for all women to have freedom from all male constructs on their basic human rights. I especially wish for all women the freedom to fight for these rights in their own inimitable way without resorting to one-up-man-ship games with men.

What I do and who I do it with - inside the law - is between me and my conscience, in my case, God, and not between me and man.

'Disempowering' the current meaning of the word 'slut' means that one day the word will be in common usage just like the word 'bastard' - and becomes a term of endearment. Is this what we really want? I certainly don't. Even without any meaning attached the word is ugly. Honey, sweetheart, darling. etc - all much prettier words.

My suggested solution: Why don't we get rid of the word altogether?

Words have been disappearing from the dictionary through lack of use for since dictionaries first came into being. An example is the word 'slattern' - forerunner to the word 'slut' - it's no longer used so let's do the same for the word 'slut'.

Let's educate ourselves and men that there is no such word as 'slut' which should be easy in these enlightened times. Really, do we actually know any 'sluts' or is it just another male construct to keep women in their place? Think about it.

The message 'Slutwalk' is sending out is focused on just one minor, but still horrific, issue of the entire rape experience.

I did not ask to get raped because I was perceived by male lawyers, male policemen, male judges, whatever to be dressed as a slut.

I did not ask to be raped at all, hence I want the freedoms I spoke about in the beginning of this discourse.

Let's put our energy, empathy, intelligence etc on fighting for freedom?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Which muppet should run the country?

Which muppet should run the country?

The smug know-it-all or the nervous ranga? Tune in next week...


Job seekers: Unique talent sought

This listing appeared on a job-seekers website today.

Cairns Council to video and broadcast meetings live

Under new State legislation, Cairns Regional Council will be required to video and broadcast meetings over the internet from January next year.


It is expected the cost could be as much as $100,00, but some Council staff suggest it would be a ''great deal less.''

Amid accusations of ''Big Brother'' watching over councils and their meetings, the move is been welcomed by many in the community, along with Councillor Rob Pyne, an advocate for greater scrutiny of public decision-making.

The Queensland opposition has asked Labor to drop the compliance regulation that is being introduced by January 2013, without debate or consultation.

“Local councils should be allowed to decide, and at very least, to have this new regulation debated before another costly policy gets slapped on them,” David Gibson, LNP spokesperson for Local Government said.

“The plan to force councils to video record and internet broadcast all meetings would cost Queensland ratepayers many millions of dollars a year. At a time when Queenslanders are feeling real pain from cost of living increases, the last thing they need is more rate increases forced on them by the long-term Labor government.''

“Labor has caused a breakdown in the relationship between councils and the state government by forcing amalgamations, cutting grants and subsidies, shifting state costs on to councils, and meddling in local council elections,” David Gibson said.

Besides Cairns Regional Council, the following councils will also be mandated to introduce meeting recording and broadcast from January 2013:- Fraser Coast Regional Council; Gold Coast City Council; Ipswich City Council; Logan City Council; Mackay Regional Council; Moreton Bay Regional Council; Redland City Council; Rockhampton Regional Council; Sunshine Coast Regional Council; Toowoomba Regional Council; Townsville City Council. Brisbane City Council will have to broadcast meetings from July 1st this year.

Here's New Zealand Parliament that has been broadcasting debates live from the debating chamber for many years, and archiving them onto YouTube for the public to access...

Share your old photos and memories of Cairns yesteryear


A new Facebook home page has been created for people to post old photos, newspaper clippings and memories of Cairns.

Cairns of yesteryear - celebrating our past, is open to anyone to view and contribute content or comments.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Rudd resigns as Foreign Minister; distraction for Queensland election

Kevin Rudd has resigned as Foreign Minister, saying the leadership wrangle is a distraction for the Queensland election.

''I will not be part of the leadership soap opera,'' Rudd told a news conference in Washington.

This will prevent Gillard's intention to sack the ''disloyal'' Minister.

''The refusal of the Prime Minister to repudiate criticisms by Simon Crean and other Labor figures means I do not feel I have the Prime Minster's support,'' Rudd said. ''The simple truth is that I cannot continue to serve as foreign minister if I do not have Prime Minister Gillard's support.''

The ABC has reported that he talk with his family and community then make a decision if he will run for the leadership role next week.

''I will not be involved in a stealth attack on a sitting prime minister and that the future of the ALP depended on removing the influence of factions within the party.''

''I also don't want any more distractions for my good friend and colleague in Queensland, Anna Bligh, who is in for the fight of her life,'' Kevin Rudd said.

''The [Federal] Government is heading towards defeat at the next election and must focus on who has the best chance of defeating Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. There is one overriding question for my caucus colleagues, and that is who is best placed to defeat Tony Abbott at the next election.''

LNP’s dredging Trinity Inlet is “reckless and irresponsible”

Barron River MP Steve Wettenhall MP has slammed the LNP’s election announcement that it would dredge Trinity Inlet as “reckless and irresponsible”.

“How can anyone responsibly commit to a project of this scale without knowing the environmental impact, the true cost, or what the economic benefits would really be,” Steve Wettenhall, MP for Barron River said today.

“You don’t need to be an expert to appreciate that dredging is a high impact activity, particularly in such an environmentally sensitive location like Trinity Inlet. Where will the thousands of tonnes of dredge spoil be dumped? Will the mud and slush affect coral reefs, wash up on the northern beaches or destroy seagrass? What impact will dredging have on the Inlet and Bay fishery? These important questions remain unanswered,” Steve Wettenhall said.

Wettenhall says Campbell Newman has dismissed valid concerns in a “don’t you worry about that” style reminiscent of the National Party government.

He says the Bligh government had already recognised the importance of cruise ships visiting Cairns.

“That’s why we invested over $11M in an award winning redevelopment of the heritage listed cruise liner terminal,” Steve Wettenhall said. “But even if the Inlet was dredged, there’s no guarantee that the bigger boats will come so you have to know that the enormous cost is justified by the economic benefit.''

“The $40M the LNP has committed appears to seriously underestimate the true cost of dredging the Inlet, however even $40M would go a long way toward securing new airline access such as direct flights to Cairns from China and Singapore.''

Labor has said it's vital to know the environmental impact and economic benefit of dredging Trinity Inlet, as well if it is the best way to attract more tourists to Cairns.

LNP flip-flopping on asset sales: Queensland Rail will be sold

The LNP confirmed if it won office it would sell the state government's remaining $3 billion stake in QR National later this year to help pay down state debt.


Opposition treasury spokesman Tim Nicholls said a decision had yet to be made about whether it would be done in one large block or over a number of tranches, as with Telstra, the Australian Financial Review reported yesterday.

This letter [see right] from Campbell Newman to the Electrical Trades Union in January seems to say the opposite.

''The LNP have no plans for asset sales,'' Newman wrote. ''We have consistently said that any plan to sell off state-owned assets should be taken to the people before an election so that the community can have its say.''

''This is in stark contrast to Labor who at the last election explicitly ruled out assets sales, and then broke their promise and commenced a fire-sale of Queensland's assets immediately after the election,'' Newman wrote to the ETU.

However it now seems he wants a quid each way, saying he has no intention for asset sales unless we had a mandate.

Cairns ETU organiser Stuart Traill has asked LNP candidate Gavin King for his position.

''Please remember your comments to me on John McKenzie's Radio 4CA show,'' Stuart Traill told Gavin King today. ''You were highly critical of the ALP Governments asset sales and your criticism of the four ALP sitting members not being a genuine voice by not backing the overwhelming view of the public that were vocal against asset sales?''

This leaves only the Katter Australian Party who have said they will not support any asset sales.

"Once again, it is very clear that there is no difference between the ALP and LNP on key policies and now they are locked together in plans for further privatisation after the next election,'' said Aidan McLindon.

"Queenslanders have a clear choice at the next election, they can vote for the ALP and LNP and see Queensland’s assets flogged off for short term political gain, or they can vote for Katter’s Australian Party and elect a government which will hold and build services and infrastructure."

Gillard will call leadership spill on Tuesday

Prime Minister and leader of the Labor Party, Julia Gillard, will sack Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister if she wins a leadership spill next Tuesday.

Gillard supporters say they have the numbers for the leadership challenge.

Those backing Rudd say there are ''more than 30'' who will support him as leader, however, this is not enough.

Nevertheless, how Gillard could go to an election with that many believing she should no be leader, will be untenable.

The Federal leadership wrangles will have a negative effect on Queensland Labor's chances.

Historic waterfront White's Shed to be inspected for $350,000

Stratford contractor Richard Field Constructions has been awarded the Cairns Regional Council tender for investigative and undertake works on White’s Shed, to the tune of $351,000.

They will undertake a structural inspection of the historic White’s Shed, situated on the Cairns waterfront site, along with removal of the concrete flooring and the temporary removal of timber flooring to allow for an examination of the heritage-listed building.

The investigation aims to establish the structural integrity of the building so that detailed plans can be drawn up for its refurbishment within the requirements of its heritage status.

It is believed that it's retention, unlike the 103-year-old Cairns Yacht Club building demolished by the State Government in 2008 and sanctioned by the Cairns Council, will form part of the redeveloped site for the entertainment precinct. In the case of the fated-Yacht Club building, there was little historic preservation undertaken.

White’s Shed was originally a sugar storage and handling facility built in the 1920's and is one of the few remaining structures of its time.

Labor ''violates kids' rights to a mum and dad" - Australian Family Association

A flyer being distributed in the electorate Ashgrove where LNP hopeful Campbell Newman is running. It attacks sitting Labor MP Kate Jones, who was believed to be behind the anti-Gavin King leaflet.

It was sent to letterboxes in the seat of Ashgrove by Christian lobby group the Australian Family Association, who will be sending out similar flyers in a number of seats, according to their website:

''Marriage law is all about the welfare of future biological children to that relationship, and that is why marriage requires lifelong commitment and exclusivity,'' the association says.

''The de facto spouse arrangements are enough recognition for genuine same-sex relationships providing equal access to services. Changing marriage law to include same-sex couples would eliminate the entire reason for marriage law in the first place; that is, the social regulation of procreative potential in favour of children.''

Both Campbell Newman and the LNP tweeted this morning they had nothing to do with the flyer after being accused of links to it on the social networking site.

AFA spokeswoman Tempe Harvey told AAP the association was not supported by the LNP.

‘‘We’ve only put out the one flyer,’’ she said. ‘‘We want civil union laws repealed which is the same policy as the LNP’s but we are not supported by them.’’

Labor to make Townsville the ''second capital of Queensland''

With Cairns still in an economic slump - that many businesses believe is in its forth year, coupled with steady high unemployment, Labor has bypassed a serious injection for the region and announced that they have always had a big vision for Townsville.

''We really want to turbocharge the region’s future with a 20-year vision for Townsville,'' Anna Bligh said in a statement this morning.'

''Townsville is an important major regional centre – it’s Australia’s largest tropical city, the largest service centre in the nation’s north and the key centre for economic and population growth in North Queensland. That’s why it makes sense to promote it as the state’s second capital city.''

Labor have seven priority actions termed ‘turbochargers’, that aim to provide direction for Townsville over the next 20 years. These turbochargers include:

Decentralisation – including locating public servants within the Townsville region in the CBD and identifying whole or sections of government departments suitable for decentralisation to the region;

National broadband network roll-out – including setting up a committee to guide priorities and promote opportunities in Townsville arising from the NBN;

Townsville State Development Area – including a detailed planning study and fast track processes to help facilitate privately owned land to be development ready;

Central business district revitalisation – provide incentives for new development to revitalise the CBD;

Northern Queensland defence hub – recognise that Townsville is the centre of the North Queensland defence hub and establish a joint federal-state- local advisory body to advise on the growth of this hub;

Douglas Knowledge Precinct – consolidate James Cook University and Townsville hospital as a ‘health and knowledge precinct’;

Northern Queensland Convention and Entertainment Centre – undertake feasibility work on the possible development of convention and entertainment facilities within the CBD.

One year on today from the Christchurch earthquake that killed 185

Today at 12:51pm, there will be memorial services across New Zealand, one year on from the February earthquake in Christchurch that destroyed the historic city forever.

Here's the numbers...
  • ‎24 - seconds – how long the ground violently shook for on February 22nd 2011
  • 837 - buildings have been demolished, so far
  • 39 - ‘significant quakes’ GeoNet has recorded over a magnitude of 5.0 since September 4th 2010’s 7.1 quake
  • 7000 - classified as being in suburban red zone, where the land is not economically viable to repair
  • 9,490 - YouTube video results for ‘Christchurch earthquake’
  • $2 billion - Christchurch City Council’s predicted cost to rebuild city infrastructure
  • 2900 - Portaloos issued to residents at peak
  • 4 - million tonnes of rubble carted away from commercial and residential areas
  • 1200 - police officers from Christchurch and nationwide on duty 7 days following February quake
  • 330 - assisting Australian police sworn in to NZ Police
  • 185 - died as a result of the earthquake
  • 11,310 - people uprooted two weeks after February quake
  • 59% - of red zoned properties still occupied in October
  • 300km - of sewer pipes and about 124km of water pipes are being fixed
  • $30 billion - Reserve Bank’s estimated total cost of earthquake claims
  • 200 - animals SPCA cared for in days directly after quake
  • Significant quake events in Christchurch:- September 4, 2010, February 22, 2011, June 13, 2011, December 23, 2011
  • 10,150 - quakes of varying magnitude since September 4, 2010
There are still quakes occurring most days, 17 months after the first one, in September 2010, one of the longest occurring of continual seismic activity recorded in an urban area. Four people missing in the quake, were never located.

Manunda woman found dead at Stratford


The body of a 20-year-old Manunda woman, who went missing last week, was located at Stratford overnight.

Shelby Fullalove was last seen at Kamerunga Shelby Fullalove on Friday afternoon.

It is believed the death is non-suspicious.

Police will prepare a report for the Coroner on the death.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

AUDIO: Alan Jones, the Kevin Rudd of radio

You've probably the heard the swearing and potty mouth of former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Now listen to how it's really done.

This is from the master of shock jock radio, Sydney's Alan Jones. It's a compilation showing his temper and arrogance that Bob Katter seems to like as his new best mate.

Alan can often be heard on Cairns radio in the afternoons when we can't be bother producing anything locally.

AUDIO Player


Bicycle rider survey

Local cyclists, along with residents, workers, students and visitors – who ride in Cairns, should complete the Cairns RiderView Survey.

The survey has been put together by Council and Bicycle Network and is aimed to provide a snapshot of bicycle usage from the riders’ perspective. The results will be used for future bike planning and decision-making.

Rob Pyne discusses Bonneau's defamation lawsuit

Last week in an unprecedented move, long-serving Cairns Regional Councillor Sno Bonneau filed a $300,000 defamation case against fellow councillor, Rob Pyne, in retaliation for a complaint made against him, that became a Crime and Misconduct investigation.

The complaint focused on numerous donations that Bonneau received and then did not declare conflicts when voting. Pyne says the Local Government Act is very clear about declaring conflicts of interests. "Is it allowable for a Councilor to receive a donation from a business or developer and then vote on a matter affecting that donor," he asks.

"Clearly I won't be discouraged, intimidated or bullied. Whatever the cost," Rob Pyne says.

Yesterday, on Radio 4CA Councillor Pyne discussed the latest events with Mike 'Locco' O'Loughlin.


Locco
ROB, I WANT TO TALK TO YOU CONCERNING THE ARTICLE ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE CAIRNS POST LAST WEEK. YOU WERE SAYING TO ME OFF AIR THAT YOU WERE DISAPOINTED WITH THE COVERAGE IN THE MEDIA.

I AM OF COURSE, TALKING ABOUT THE POSSIBLE DEFAMATION ACTION AGAINST YOU. OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE LIMITS TO WHAT WE CAN TALK ABOUT, BUT ARE YOU HAPPY TO SPEAK ABOUT THAT?

Rob
I am happy to talk about it. Coverage of this last week seemed to focus on the personal aspects of this matter, but far more important, is the crucial question relating to campaign donations and political patronage.

There is a specific matter that will be ruled on, so as long as we stick to that I don’t think there is a problem.

Loco
HOW DID THIS ALL COME ABOUT?

Rob
When concerns regarding a sitting Councillor came to me from a number of residents over 12 months ago, I reported the allegations to the CEO of Cairns Regional Council, from there they went to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) and currently await determination by a Regional Conduct Review Panel.

Loco
IT IS INTERESTING TO HEAR YOU SAY THAT, AS THE MEDIA COVERAGE FOCUSED ON THE PERSONALITIES INVOLVED, BUT THERE IS A SUBSTANTIVE ISSUE TO BE INVOLVED ISN’T THERE?

Rob
Yes, what has to be determined is, “is it allowable for a Councilor to receive a donation from a business or developer and then vote on a matter affecting that donor? Also, is it allowable for a Councillor to do this at a meeting without disclosing to the meeting any perceived conflict of interest.” Now clearly I don’t think it is appropriate. I hope it is not ruled as allowable conduct, as it is not consistent with my expectations or I believe, those of the wider community.

Loco
WHO WILL MAKE THIS DECISION?

Rob
Well, the information I provided await determination by a Regional Conduct Review Panel. The first time such a panel has been convened to resolve this issue as far as I am aware. They will make their ruling within weeks.

Loco
WHAT IF THEY DETERMINE THAT WHAT HAS BEEN DONE DOES NOT BREACH THE ACT OR REGULATIONS?

Rob
I am hopeful that will not be the case, but if it is ruled appropriate behaviour, the individual in question may sue for defamation and I may be up for a bucket load in cash that don’t have, but that certainly won’t make it right!

Loco
THAT WOULD CERTAINLY MAKE ANYONE SERIOUSLY THINK TWICE BEFORE RAISING SUCH ALLEGATIONS IN THE FUTURE!

Rob
When I stood for Council, I promised to act as a watchdog and stand up for transparency and accountability. This will not change that one bit!

This will only sharpen my focus on those in senior positions, whether appointed or elected. They have a responsibility to the rest of us, and when there is any suggestion that the trust the public have placed in them has been breached, I will make sure that is investigated.

I will continue to do this on Council, whoever is elected on April 28th. Attempts at intimidation via legal threats or other means are sure to fail. For me, keeping people in power honest is an important part of what I am about.

Loco
IT CERTAINLY IS ALL HAPPENING IN LOCAL POLITICS AT THE MOMENT.

YOU CLEARLY WILL NOT BE TAKING A BACKWARD STEP, SO WE AWAIT THE OUTCOME WITH INTEREST. STAY WELL AND WE WILL TALK AGAIN SOON.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Lesina's first official day as Labor candidate called "staggeringly naive" and "disturbing"

Just hours into Labor's Cairns candidate for the State election, and she has been slammed by some local tourism operators for comments about attracting new airlines to the region.

Kirsten Lesina has been called "staggeringly naive" and "disturbing" by Fred Ariel of Raging Thunder, after she reacted to the LNP's plan to invest in an $8 million aviation slush fund.

''Attracting new airlines to the north will hurt tourism to the north will hurt tourism by pitching regional airports against each other when they should be working together,'' Kirsten Lesina said.

Fred Ariel's comments were supported by Charles Woodward of CAPTA group Peppi Iovannella from Down Under Dive

Ariel is a member of the Liberal Party.

"These comments appear to be staggeringly naive and so wide of the mark that they absolutely laughable and yet disturbing,'' Mr Ariel said in a statement. ''It displays "horrifyingly ignorance. Tourism in this region has suffered because we have so few aviation links to the burgeoning markets in Asia.''

"It is of great concern that someone wanting to represent Cairns in State Parliament holds views that reveals a fundamental lack of understanding of what is needed to reignite tourism in Cairns and Far North Queensland."

''I am critical of the LNP policy to share $8 million over four years between three airports,'' Kirsten Lesina said. ''That is a drop in the bucket. I'm completely supportive of more direct flights into Cairns.''

Just three weeks ago, the Labor candidate was steamrolled over comments she made to remove the word ''base'' from Cairns Base Hospital.

''At least she is consistent. Remember the solution to our health problems is to change the name of the hospital,'' Katrina Breen, an LNP campaign worker said.

It's looking like a dog fight, all the way to the finish line.

A dirty little ship

The Queen Mary II anchored off Cairns this weekend.

Is this the best pootograph that the
Cairns Poost can come up with to show the world? The even had the mirth to say the grand lady "dropped in". Looks like she did indeed.

We have been told that ships through the Great Barrier Reef are banned from releasing grey water.

I look forward to readers observations on what this shitty ship is up too, or a more suitable caption.

Sno Bonneau suspended

Well, Sno's website is suspended... taste of things to come?

FNQ Greens last off the blocks in State election race

Local Greens party organisers have been criticised as ''control freaks'' and a lack of openness on the eve of finally announcing candidates for the March 24th State election.

With such an eagerly-awaited State election, every other party has been activity campaigning for months, raising awareness and issues, well before the Premier's election announcement in January, with the noticeable omission of The Greens.

Local Green organisers have exposed themselves to ridicule by not announcing candidates earlier, with minor parties and independent candidates having already made substantial progress.

Local media have been contacting The Greens in the last month, but candidate selection has been kept ''top secret'', until one month out from the State election.

Long-serving Greens supporter, Steve Brech, who claimed he was the Cairns candidate right up to last week with a website online, seems to be one of those organisers who lacks a sense of political timing.

Tomorrow, State Greens Senator Larissa Waters, will arrive in Cairns to help local FNQ Greens announce their line-up, bar a candidate for Cook - an environmental hot-spot for the controversial Wild Rivers legislation before the State Parliament.

CAIRNS
Geoff Holland, environmental and community activist, will run for the seat of Cairns. Holland has led the charge against the State Government and Cairns Regional Council who want bus access along Lake Street, destroying City Place.

He has been a prolific local community campaigner in recent years, helping facilitate the popular Cairns-coev online discussion forum on environmental, community and sustainable development issues.

Geoff Holland touts the preservation of mangroves surrounding Cairns airport, along with City Place as a pedestrian-only precinct, the top of his list. He also advocates no further military expansion in Cairns and discourages visits by war ships to the local port. Holland has been criticised within the party for not acknowledging culture and cultural sustainability in his focus.

BARRON RIVER
Dr Elaine Harding, a communications and strategic planning consultant, will run for Barron River. A former university lecturer in environmental science,
Harding served as the coordinator of the public advocacy group, Cairns and Far North Environment Centre in 2008, and has a background in environmental studies and biological science.

Her focus is to increase opportunities for small businesses, as well as expanding after-school and vacation programs for young people, and is also passionate about protection riverine and coastal wetlands.

Dr Harding wants to promote a more ethical standard of behaviour for public servants based on integrity, accountability and inclusiveness.

MULGRAVE
Jim Cavill is the Greens candidate for Mulgrave. The former fitter and turner, he advocates conservation of the natural environment, along with transport, health and employment.

Cavill is a member of the Cairns Bicycle Users Group and has lobbied for new cycleways. Cavill says that development in Mulgrave will require transport infrastructure to be supported by rail lines between Babinda and Cairns city. He says the failure of successive Governments is visible to every resident of Mulgrave, citing a lack of local health services in the electorate.

DALRYMPLE
Jess Jones, who ran for The Greens in the Federal election for Kennedy, will contest the seat of Dalrymple. She is a youth and community development worker.

Jones advocates training in rural areas to support businesses and schools to deliver local outcomes, to invigorate cultural life of local communities.

COOK
No candidate has been found for the large and important electorate of Cook, encompassing Cape York, that is home to the controversial Wild Rivers legislation - supported by Labor, that the LNP say will be thrown out if elected.

Councillor Lesina steps down from Cairns Regional Council

Cairns Regional Councillor for division 4, Councillor Kirsten Lesina, served her last day on Friday.

"I officially resigned as a Councillor over the weekend," Kirsten Lesina said today. "It has been great working with Rob Pyne, Mayor Val Schier, Councillor Diane Forsyth and Julia Leu over the past four years."

"I am now in for the fight of my life to win the seat of Cairns."

Lesina has formally stepped down as a Cairns Regional Councillor and relinquished her Council duties to campaign for the State seat of Cairns for Labor. She has asked the Mayor to look after the division until the April 28th election.

Councillor Diane Forsyth wished her all the best on her departure. "It has been a pleasure working with Kirsten, I will miss her valuable contribution on Council," Forsyth said. "She will make a brilliant local Member for Cairns."

Councillor Lesina, or just Kirsten Lesina, as her Facebook page now reads, is the youngest-ever to be elected in Cairns local body politics at the age of 21 in 2008, beating the record held by former Mulgrave Shire Ross Parisi.

Criticism was lobbied at Ms Lesina for not resigning her duties as a paid city councillor at the time of the State election announcement in January, as she had already commenced active election campaigning, whilst continuing her duties as a councillor. Her campaign website admitted the dual role: "Kirsten Lesina is the Labor Candidate for the State seat of Cairns and is also currently the Councillor for Division Four on the Cairns Regional Council... and needs your help to become the State Member for Cairns.''

Opposition politicians also suggested her drive for the State seat of Cairns before completing one term as a councillor, displayed contempt and a ''desire to be a career politician.''

Mayor Val Schier praised her election in 2008, saying at the time it was one of the highlights of the election of her Cairns 1st team.

Lesina's preselection for the seat of Cairns as the Labor candidate in May last year, was a divisive move within the Party's right faction, to keep the popular union, sporting and community advocate, Richie Bates, off the ticket.

Bates is a strong and vocal advocate against Labor's privitisation of State assets, that included parts of Queensland Rail. Although he won the local preselection ballot - 31 votes to Lesina's 27, Labor's electoral college system allowed for additional votes from factions and representatives not in the local area and tipped more votes to support Lesina from the Party's right. Kirsten Lesina was also backed by sitting Cairns MP Desley Boyle and Premier Anna Bligh, who also intervened to support the selection.

The quietly-spoken Lesina, a fourth generation Cairns resident, graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from James Cook University in 2008. Whilst on Council, she has focused on youth issues so younger citizens can engage in Local Government. Lesina spear-headed Cairns YEA!, the Council’s youth advisory group.

She also promoted better animal management and saw the establishment of the regions first fully-fenced dog park at De Jarlais Street in Earlville.

Labor supporter and friend of Lesina, David Anthony, says there's no need for a chance in the State Government.

"Who needs a change of government when you have a progressive Labor Government that continually rejuvenates and modernises to keep in touch and maintain relevance in a changing world," David Anthony said. "That's why the ALP is the most successful political party in the world and one of the highest achieving. Kirsten Lesina is more than just the face of modern Labor, she represents its future as well."

Last week Lesina asked her Facebook audience, whom she has decided to keep confidential, for suggestions for a campaign song. Here were the top suggestions...
  • Let's Stick Together by Bryan Ferry
  • We shall overcome
  • Takin' care of business
  • I want to go home
  • Take a Chance on Me by ABBA
  • Your The Voice by John Farnham
  • Catch my Fall by Billy Idol
Ross Parisi suggested ‎'Eye of the Tiger'. "I knew someone would suggest that. It's been done too often sorry," Kirsten Lesina responded.

Labor stalwart Wendy Davie recommended 'How much is that Doggy in the Window?' I'd say around $84 billion, give or take.

Stolen Cairns mobile located using 'Find Phone' app

Cairns police located a stolen mobile phone using a ''find my phone'' application after is was stolen in the early hours of Saturday morning.


The discovery followed an incident when a woman’s handbag was snatched as she was walking along Spence Street just after midnight.

Three teenage boys on cycles rode past them and grabbed the woman’s handbag.

''The pair gave chase but soon lost sight of the youths,'' a Cairns Police spokesperson said. ''The women attended Cairns Police Station and advised officers of the alleged theft and that a mobile phone in the handbag was equipped with a ‘find my phone’ application.''

Police attended a Cairns address a short time later and allegedly located stolen property, including pushbikes.

Three teenagers, aged 13, 14 and 15 years, will be dealt with under the Youth Justices Act in relation to stealing and receiving offences.
  • You can download the Find my Phone application from Apple or Android.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Queensland electoral rolls re-opened till Saturday 25th February

Electoral rolls for Queensland voters have re-opened, ahead of the March and April State and Council elections.

Those wanting to enrol to vote or change details, you now have one more week - until Saturday 25th February.

In Cairns, the Electoral office is located at level 2, 104 Grafton Street. It will be open all day Saturday 25th February, for those who want to enrol in person, or online enrollment, including postal votes. Telephone 1300 881 665 .
  • Queensland State election - Saturday 24th March
  • Council election - Saturday 28th April


Katter’s Australian Party will not preference ALP or LNP

Katter’s Australian Party will not preference either the ALP or LNP at the Queensland State Election.


"[The] Party's position on preferences is very simple," Bernard Gaynor, campaign coordinator has said today. ''All those Queenslanders who want to get rid of Anna Bligh and her failed Labor government must vote 1 for Katter’s Australian Party and then number every box.''

''We will not be preferencing Labor and will not be preferencing the LNP.''

Katter's Party says Queensland has ''suffered tremendously'' under Labor, and the LNP is no better.

''Both [LNP and Labor] are committed to selling off State assets, including the electricity industry. This will only add to the cost of living for everyday Queenslanders,'' Bernard Gaynor says. ''Both parties are committed to an out of control CSG industry and both seek to deprive.''

Queensland leader Aidan McLindon says that policies undertaken by the ALP and LNP across Australia had sold Australia out and sold its assets off.

“Queenslanders have the opportunity to lead the fightback against these policies on behalf of all Australians,” said Mr McLindon. “Now is the time that we must vote for Australia and vote for our country because too much has already been lost. There is not much time left to save Australia’s manufacturing, tourism and agricultural industries.”

“Too much of farming land is owned by foreign governments and companies. Multi-national mining giants have more control over property than the Australians living on it. Too many of our factories and manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas.”

McLindon says that even white collar jobs are at risk with the banks training up foreigners to replace Australians in what is nothing more than a blatant cash grab at the expense of Aussie families.

“Our assets are being flogged off at an alarming pace and in the most deceitful manner. It doesn’t matter whether it is an ALP or LNP government. Bligh sold Queensland’s assets and just across the border the LNP government is auctioning off the power industry, despite being elected on a promise to protect it,” Aiden McLindon says.

Perfect day for a gracious lady of the seas

TwitPic by James Orland
The Queen Mary II has just anchored off Yorkeys Knob.

A CairnsBlog fan on-board, snapped this photo and sent it a few minutes ago, showing the Yorkeys headland from around 4 kms offshore.

Weather-wise, it's a near perfect day for the grand ship's arrival in Far North Queensland.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Kevin Rudd is a f*#king angry vegemite

World's largest ocean liner, Queen Mary II, anchors off Yorkeys Knob

The Police and Cairns Regional Council have joined forces to close the popular boat ramp at Yorkeys Knob and the access road on Sunday, when the world's largest ocean liner anchors off shore.

The RMS Queen Mary II will anchor off Yorkeys Knob at 8am Sunday morning and up to 3,000 passengers and 1,200 crew will visit Cairns for the day.

The Yorkeys Knob boat ramp will be closed all day Sunday and the access road to the Yorkeys Boat Club on Buckley Street, will be restricted.

However the Queen Mary II will be visible from the Yorkeys Knob beach, and good vantage points along the Cairns Esplanade, Holloways Beach, Machans Beach and from beaches north of Trinity Beach.

You can't say ''vagina'' on Cairns radio; 'Monologues'' show this weekend

In an effort to promote The Vagina Monologues show in Cairns this weekend, almost every local commercial radio station refused to say the word 'vagina' as it might upset children - besides ABC Far North.


This weekend - both Saturday and Sunday evenings - The Vagina Monologues comes to Cairns. It will be presented by local community members with proceeds going to Ruths Women's Shelter. Renowned Brisbane-based Burlesque group Scoundrelles Sorority, will also treat the audience to a few numbers.

"When we asked local radio stations to put the word out on their community notices, we were respectfully informed that the commercial radio stations in our region could not promote our fundraiser because they couldn't say the word 'vagina' on the radio," Fiona Henderson told CairnsBlog.

''This was even in the context of a play title, because 'small children might be listening', we were told. I'm not sure if you can say nose, ear, elbow or, heaven forbid, neck?''

However, morning 'radio jocks were heard this week spouting "sucks balls" repeatedly throughout a morning show that they deemed appropriate.

''It's not a dirty word, it's a term which refers to part of the human anatomy of half the population,'' Fiona Henderson says.

''We are going to say the word over and over, loudly and proudly. We will celebrate vaginas, we will honour vaginas, laugh about vaginas and maybe even cry about vaginas. But we will not be ashamed of our welcoming, unique, adaptive, strong, and resilient vaginas."

Maybe Cairns' radio stations could have said "sheath" or "scabbard", which is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials?

Local radio bosses might want to avail themselves of the infamous Monty Python song, I bet they won't play this song on the radio.

This weekend Red Pavilion, a community theatre group that promotes women's issues, will present The Vagina Monologues at JCU's Boathouse. Monologues is being presented to coincide with global Vday activities, that seek an end to violence against woman and girls.

Yesterday Cairns Regional Councillor Diane Forsyth addressed the first-ever Cairns Slut Walk, a movement that protests against explaining or excusing rape by referring to any aspect of a woman's appearance.

For 35 years the non-profit Ruth's Women's Shelter has been supporting women and children to escape domestic and family violence in the Cairns Region.
  • WHEN Saturday and Sunday, doors open at 6.30 pm, Show 7.30 pm
    WHERE The Boathouse, James Cook University, Smithfield
    COST A bank note
    EXTRAS Raffles and door prizes
    BAR OPEN proceeds to JCU Student Union

Saturday SoapBlog: Bryan Law - Why Gavin King must be elected

Former Green and Labor supporter and prominent national peace activist, Bryan Law says that the Queensland seat of Cairns will fall from Labor's historic grip next month, and controversial LNP candidate Gavin King must be elected.

Bryan Law says that King has been there for peace activists consistently for six years and he fully supports and endorses his election on 24 March.

Law says the ALP ''sux big-time'' and invites CairnsBlog readers to indulge his take on Gavin King, Kirsten Lesina, the ALP dirt machine, and the way ''Labor degrades us all in its bossism and contempt'', asking voters to make a little electoral history next month.


Why Gavin King must be elected on March 24

The Problem

In 2012 mainstream politics is phoney. It’s degraded and degrading. The ALP has become a travesty. While it claims to be a party for social justice and equity, its record over the past two decades has been one of bossism and slavery to big business.

Focusing on the Queensland government we’ve seen the white-anting of our health system, the privatisation of irreplaceable public assets, open disputes with working unions, gross failure in Aboriginal affairs, and a first-class effort to portray mediocre hacks as “outstanding” intellects and office-holders. As Treasurer and Deputy Premier, Andrew Fraser has overseen the bankruptcy of Queensland’s Treasury, and the subordination of policy to managerial incompetence. Yet according to his own media unit, he is “the greatest Treasurer” Queensland’s ever had.

A key dynamic in Labor’s failure has been the pre-selection of MPs who are notable only for their obedience to factional bosses. For example: MP for Barron River Steve Wettenhall in 2011 was completely spineless around the ALP policy commitment to decriminalise abortion, which is clearly part of the Party platform. The Minister for Women, Karen Struthers, made a good deal of political capital in 2009 by promising women’s groups this policy would be enacted. They both chickened out when so instructed by Party bosses.

In October 2010 a young couple stood trial in the Cairns Supreme Court charged with procuring an abortion. A coalition of community groups supported the couple, and used the trial to agitate for the Labor government to keep its promise. Every Labor MP in far north Queensland ran away and hid. Steve Wettenhall sent the organising group a (confidential) letter saying he was strongly in favour of their objectives, but had to hide because Party bosses said no.

So instead of being honest, implementing their promise, and keeping faith with the citizens whose votes they rely on for government, the ALP decided instead to shaft its supporters in the hope of avoiding controversy. The problem is that this is the only kind of behaviour we see from the ALP, which sets the standard of politics firmly in the gutter.

Gavin King

I first met Gavin King in December 2005, in Alice Springs, where he was working as a journalist for the News Ltd title The Centralian Advocate. I was with a group called Christians Against ALL Terrorism. We intended to enter the Pine Gap spy base and conduct a citizens inspection.

Gavin King joined us for the event. He spent an evening with us as we prepared and walked into the base. He kept all his agreements with us, and took photos and notes of our actions. For doing that he was threatened with arrest by the Australian Federal Police and had his camera and photos confiscated. While the action clearly had news value, and Gavin was a working journalist rather than a peace activist, he was honest, reliable and a pleasure to deal with.

Gavin moved to Cairns in 2007 to work for the Cairns Post. He was a great help in early 2008 in publicising a problem the Pine Gap crew were having with ASIO and the AFP around our trial.

Secret court orders had been made against us in a closed court. Gavin had to take legal advice before publishing, and was at some risk. He publicly revealed what was going on. Between the front page story Gavin gave us, and shorter pieces by AAP and the Sydney Morning Herald, the secret orders were withdrawn – and we proceeded to a much fairer trial.

Twice in two years that I know of, Gavin took a personal risk to practice the principles of his profession. He stood up for free speech and the public’s right to know. I can live with disagreement. No-one is perfect. We all make mistakes. What I need to know about any man or woman is the integrity, authenticity, and credibility that lies behind what they say. I know Gavin is highly principled, and he puts those principles into practice.

More importantly, Gavin can be relied upon to stick by his principles when the going gets tough.

Since 2007 Gavin has kept in touch with our little peace group, met with visiting peace activists, and engaged with the issues of peace and war. In October 2011 he facilitated a workshop with US activist Kathy Kelly. I can look forward to Gavin taking a seat in Parliament.

Kirsten Lesina

I don’t know Kirsten well at all. She has never attended a peace meeting or event. As a Cairns Regional Councillor she’s out of my division, and has never engaged with anything important to my interests. I have no knowledge of how she deals with the difficult parts of life.

What I do know is that, during the pre-selection process for Cairns, Kirsten Lesina allowed herself to be used in a dirty factional dispute where Labor Unity arseholed Richie Bates (union organiser of decades standing) because of his position in the privatisation dispute. Kirsten agreed to undermine Richie at the invitation of a spiteful Desley Boyle.

During that process, Kirsten sent an e-mail to a colleague saying she’d join whatever faction could give her a seat in Parliament. She said “I am unaligned at present. I will join the faction that supports me in getting pre-selected.”

It’s unacceptable to me that wannabe politicians subordinate principle to personal preferment. How can Lesina even pretend to principle when she’s effectively for sale to the highest bidder? Or does “maximise personal profit” count as a principle in today’s ALP?

The disgusting, horrible ALP dirt machine

On 14 June 2008, Gavin King wrote an opinion column about the dangers of alcohol bingeing and sexual assault for women in Cairns. In the column, Gavin wrote “That doesn’t excuse the mongrels who commit such crimes.”

The opinion piece was sparked by a comment from Snr Constable Cary Coolican of Cairns Police, who said of sexual assault allegations “During investigations, it has become apparent that many of the victims have been under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substance at the time of the offence and do not recall the act itself or the circumstances surrounding their complaint,” Sen-Constable Coolican. This was reported in the Cairns Post on 12 June.

For those who think language is important, Gavin referred to “women” or “young women” throughout his column. The sub-editor gave the news story a headline about “girls”. The article and opinion column caused a minor flurry in Cairns and then disappeared.

It was brought back on 19 September 2011 by an anonymous blogger in Cairns who runs a spoof site called Hillbilly Watch. If you want to catch up with Labor hack humour, bias and vitriol, this is the site to visit. If you know who the unaccountable voice is, please let me in on the secret.

Gavin wasn’t pre-selected until 2 October 2011. The Hillbilly blog was simply an acknowledgement by the Labor dirt machine that Mr King’s preselection posed a real threat to their own poor candidate. The dirt machine was gearing up. Note the language by Hillbilly hack; “Gavin King Excuses Rape”.

On 4 February 2012 the story emerged in the mainstream media under the headline “Drunk girls to blame for rape”.

The story was by-lined by Evan Schwarten, a scion of the Rockhampton Schwartens, heavyweights in the Queensland ALP. Schwarten took his material direct from the Hillbilly hack. Notice how the language of dirt grows ever more extreme and detached from reality as the machine grows ever more desperate. ’Women ought take some responsibility for their safety’, becomes “Gavin King encourages rape” (unattributed) or “girls blamed for rape” (attributed). The exaggeration part of a calculated effort to inflame emotion and create division. This kind of behaviour degrades our polity.

The Premier, the Treasurer, the Minister for Women’s Affairs, and a sad parade of Labor leaders, have got down into the dirt and perpetuated the attacks of an anonymous, unaccountable Labor blogger.

Last week the Premier, Anna Bligh, caused a pamphlet to be circulated around the electorate of Ashgrove and Brisbane which portrayed the Schwarten distortion as a quote from Gavin, and tried to claim that Campbell Newman condoned rape. “Drunk girls to blame for rape”. Our Premier is just triffic at lies and dirt. I expect to see a lot more of it between now and 24th March. How sad.

Recap
  • The ALP has lied to women in Queensland by refusing to implement its party platform on abortion.
  • The ALP has lied to the people of Queensland about privatisation and the condition of our economy.
  • The ALP preselects candidates on the basis of their obedience to factional bosses.
  • The ALP believes in character assassination and the politics of dirt.
  • The ALP is so good at the politics of dirt it’s the very first (and only?) tool they reach for.
  • We’d be criminally stupid to vote ALP in Cairns
I have both positive and negative reasons for endorsing Gavin King. He is a talented and principled young man willing to take a personal risk for what he believes in. He will at least listen to my friends in the peace movement as he makes decisions and advocates for Cairns in the state parliament. Gavin King is committed to social justice and community engagement.

The Queensland ALP is rotten to the core, and will only grow worse if rewarded by a return to office.

In closing, here’s a King column in the Cairns Post that Hillbilly hack didn’t want to re-print. Among other things it recounts the Union activism of Gavin’s father, and his bitter disappointment with the ALP’s betrayal of the working class.

And that's why I support Gavin.