Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Labor in turmoil...again

Rudd won't ever be PM again, says Crean

By Paul Osborne,

AAP Updated January 31, 2012, 11:37 am

Former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd and his caucus supporters need to accept he will never return to the leadership and should rally behind his successor Julia Gillard, one-time leader Simon Crean says.
Mr Crean's call came on Tuesday as the first Newspoll for the year showed the coalition maintains a landslide-winning lead of 54 per cent of the two-party preferred vote to Labor's 46 per cent. But Ms Gillard remains preferred prime minister among voters, three points ahead of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott on 40 per cent.
Labor minister Simon Crean says changing leaders is not the answer, following poor opinion polls.Mr Abbott, who attracted a 55 per cent dissatisfaction rating in the poll published in The Australian, is due to make a keynote speech on Tuesday at the National Press Club in Canberra to outline his plans for a stronger economy and nation. Ms Gillard is in Sydney for briefings with the boards of the Reserve Bank and Australian Securities Exchange, ahead of an address in Melbourne on Wednesday where she'll talk up the nation's economic prospects and set out her priorities for the year.

The tilt by the two leaders toward economic issues on Tuesday comes amid speculation a growing number of Labor backbenchers, particularly in Queensland and NSW, are concerned Ms Gillard is failing to make any gains with voters and may rally behind Mr Rudd.

The Newspoll showed satisfaction with Ms Gillard had dropped to 33 per cent, from 36 per cent last year, while her dissatisfaction rating was level with Mr Abbott's 55 per cent. But Mr Crean said it was time for MPs to move on from Mr Rudd. "One thing the Labor party has got to learn is that it doesn't solve its polling problems by simply changing the leader," he told ABC TV on Tuesday.

Mr Crean, himself a former Labor leader, said a challenge by Mr Rudd before the 2013 federal election was not inevitable because the foreign minister did not have the numbers.
"There is no capacity for challenge. There is no contender that has the numbers. And the sooner the party wakes up to that ... the better off we will be," Mr Crean told Fairfax radio.
"He (Mr Rudd) can't be prime minister again."He's got to accept that."

Mr Crean said it would be better for the government to try to sell its economic credentials and achievements like tackling climate change, while pointing to Mr Abbott's negativity.
"I think everyone (in the party) is solidly behind the view that the opposition is vulnerable, our agenda and our record is enormously strong and we're best concentrated on accentuating our positives and reminding people of Tony Abbott's negatives," Mr Crean told the ABC television.

Former Labor powerbroker Graham Richardson said the government had lost ground over its broken promise on poker machine reform with Independent Andrew Wilkie. "She (Ms Gillard) was always going to lose ground on the poker machine issue because it is about trust," he said. "I think it's a much better result then having all the pubs and clubs against you but still it hurt her."

Mr Richardson said he doubted Mr Rudd would reclaim the leadership because he didn't have the numbers in caucus. "But he's desperately trying, there's no doubt he and his supporters are out there every day bashing away," he said. "She is going to have a very tough year."

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Cape York World Heritage listing ?

Move to protect Cape York areas threatened by mining plans

Heather Beck
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
© The Cairns Post

Appeal: Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has been asked to enact emergency powers to protect four areas of Cape York potentially affected by mining proposals.

The Wilderness Society has appealed to Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to enact emergency powers to protect four areas of Cape York threatened by mining proposals.

TWS Northern Australia campaigner Gavan McFadzean wrote to Mr Burke late last week requesting urgent intervention to ensure the areas’ natural and cultural values are not destroyed while the public consultation process is under way.

TWS has identified the areas surrounding Rio Tinto’s South of Embley project near Weipa, Aust-Pac Capital’s Wongai Coal Mine project north of Cooktown, and Cape Alumina’s Bauxite Hills and Pisolite Hills projects in the Skardon and Wenlock river basins as being most at risk. Section 324JL - 324JQ of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 gives

Mr Burke emergency listing powers, if he is persuaded the areas deserve National Heritage status and are under significant and imminent threat. "The mining boom is driving an outbreak of new mining proposals on Cape York Peninsula for coal, bauxite, kaolin and mineral sands," Mr McFadzean said. "These mines will bring destructive land clearing, water extraction, pollution, dams, dredging, vast road networks and other industrial infrastructure to pristine and remote locations in Cape York Peninsula – destroying the very values for which the region is being assessed for World Heritage and National Heritage listing."

A Rio Tinto Alcan spokesman said despite repeated offers, TWS had declined to discuss the project with them. "We are committed to a thorough and transparent environmental impact assessment process for the South of Embley Project," he said. "We will continue to work with all interested stakeholders to ensure the project is delivered with the best possible environmental outcomes."

Mr Burke said he was aware some groups had requested emergency heritage listings in the Cape. "As with all such requests I’ve asked my department to have a look at it," he said. "I would caution that emergency heritage listings are extremely rare.’’

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Cairns Base Hospital funding | a festering thorn for Bligh Government

Cairns doctors call for more funding for health services in the Far North

Tarina White
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
© The Cairns Post

CAIRNS doctors are urging the State Government to give more money to health services in the Far North after Townsville Hospital received millions of dollars for a new paediatric intensive care unit.

Dr Sandy Donald said Cairns Base Hospital was critically underfunded and the latest health dollars for Townsville further widened the gap in medical care offered in the two cities.

"People in Far North Queensland do not have the same access to services as people in Townsville or Brisbane because of the lower funding to our hospital," he said. "We feel like we’re forgotten North Queensland. It’s an overwhelming frustration."

Premier Anna Bligh announced recurrent funding for the new paediatric intensive care unit in Townsville was estimated to be $8.75 million over the next two years. The new unit was expected to open in July with two paediatric beds with a goal of expanding to eight beds. Dr Donald said the new facility was a bonus for the region, but he would like the State Government to provide a funding commitment for services that were desperately needed in Cairns, including neurosurgery, a second neurologist and urology.

Senior Medical Staff Association president Dr Peter Boyd said doctors were frustrated that Cairns Base was in the second tier for funding, while Townsville Hospital was in the top tier, despite comparable population catchment areas and workloads.

He said putting Cairns Base Hospital in the top tier would potentially allow a further $50 million to flow into hospital services. "Across most fields we’re under-resourced," Dr Boyd said.

Health Minister Geoff Wilson said Cairns Base Hospital was undergoing a $454 million redevelopment and received more than $90 million extra this year. He said Cairns’ radiation oncology service had opened recently and the State Government was planning to build a new health facility at Edmonton and expand birthing services. "These are all new services being delivered to Cairns under the Bligh Government’s commitment to deliver more services closer to home," Mr Wilson said.
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Monday, 30 January 2012

Cairns City Forum | Question the CRC Candidates

A concerned group of citizens of Cairns have gathered to organise 3 public forums to take place in City Place, Lake Street, where the candidates in the upcoming local elections will be available to whomever wants to ask questions and become more informed about their choices.

This is not a debate - this is a chance for each candidate to state their policies, and for the public to learn what and who they are voting for, and to interact with their representatives in a manner that is not normally provided. In this open and democratic space, democracy will take place.

The first of the 3 forums will commence at 2:30pm on Sunday, February 5th. All 3 forums will be mediated by Toastmasters International and are sponsored and supported by Events NQ, and funded by local individuals and businesses.

So come along, get involved! Get to know the people whose names will be on that ballot sheet when you go into that booth in weeks to come. This is democracy in action.

Forums 2 and 3 of 3 will be held in April. For more information, please visit

Thanks! See you on Sunday!

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    Lizard Island secret uncoverd

    Lizard Island in world's top 101

    Nick Dalton
    Monday, January 30, 2012
    © The Cairns Post

    LIZARD Island off Cooktown in Far North Queensland has been named in the prestigious Tatler magazine's list of the world's 101 best hotels.
    The island resort, 240km north of Cairns and 27km offshore, was one of eight Australian properties on the list published in Tatler’s 2012 Travel Guide. Makepeace Island at Noosa and Hayman Island in the Whitsundays were also listed. "Lizard Island has long been regarded as a favourite destination for those in the know who enjoy Lizard's location on the Great Barrier Reef and exceptional service, however receiving international recognition from such a prestigious magazine as Tatler is excellent," she said.

    Lizard Island is a national park covering 1013ha with 24 sandy beaches and a lagoon.
    Magazine travel editor Melinda Stevens said they searched for "stunning" resorts and hotels. "We want hotels to be as stunning as they can. Go on, we dare them, but we also want to feel the love," she said. "This year, the guide, celebrates the hotels that suck us in with the sheer force of their personality."

    A Lizard Island spokeswoman said they were delighted to be in the list.
    Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy said the eight Australian properties were firm evidence of the growing quality of the country’s tourism offering.
    "It’s great that Australia’s tourism product is getting talked up in this way," he said. "The inclusion of no less than eight of our top hotels in Tatler’s top 101 list dispels the myth perpetuated by some commentators that the quality of Australia's tourism offering is not world class, when the facts continue to show we deliver on global leading product."

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    Cairns Regional Council | Jack Andrew Wilkie-Jans | Vision /policy statement

    Jack Andrew Wilkie-Jans
    Cairns Regional Council Division9

    29th January 2012

    I can talk about all that Cairns has until the cows come home, but we all know its pros that's why we still live here right?!

    Cairns has a growing reputation as the Arts & Cultural Capital of Regional Australia. This is due to the unprecedented support for arts and cultural activities in the region by the council. As an artist and an arts worker I know the importance of a strong community culture. Art is society and a strong art scene is a strong society.

    But as a community minded person I see the chain-reaction that a strong and reputable cultural and festive side of Cairns has on the other aspects of life here. A strong national reputation for arts and culture and community activities equals tourism, equals income, equals stronger employment and so on and so on.

    As an arts worker, I see the same faces all the time (which is great and I'm happy to see them) but why aren't more people in the community coming to these events? I have spoken to many young people and their answer is that they simply don't hear about art events. My aim is to be able to engage a wider cross-section of the community in the arts and cultural based agenda. I'd also like to see more local fresh fruit and organic produce at markets or stalls around town. I'd like to engage the community as a whole in Indigenous cultural awareness; not the dream-time culture people know the modern day Indigenous culture.

    Why when I drove past Chinaman Creek the other day did I find they had stripped the bush land down, knowing this is a refuge spot for many ATSI peoples who are homeless? The bush land was their security and privacy. Actions like this, for whatever reason, are designed to be a band-aid solution to an extensive problem. It's not about a quick fix, moving them on...into what- a jail cell?! Let's create a refuge like many other communities have done a simple place for those of my people who are less fortunate than I to go and know is theirs. I'd like to see more unity when it comes to leadership in this city. I don't play the blame game when it's just for the sake of banter. I believe in supporting both sides of a discussion. To focus on the positive! I also believe in supporting the proposed cultural precinct centre- provided the promises made at the start are followed through. Promises included one very notable one that as much of the materials and man-power needed to build the facility will be sourced locally. I watch this development with bated breath as I'm sure most of you do as well. There is more, but my text box is running out of space.

    As for my area, Division 9, I'd like to see an end to building on the mountain side; I'd like to be able to keep what little remains of our cane fields (although many of those fields are up for sale and development). I don't know why one would want to build on them anyway as they're situated on flood plains! I'd like to see the streets around Smithfield SHS and the Smithfield Library with more lights.

    I ride the bus line every morning and night to and from home- yes I dig the flaws in public transport system believe you me- and I notice a lot of dark spots where most nights people get off or on... I have also noticed that there is pretty much nothing for young people to do on this side of Cairns. I have however noticed many young people chillin' at the Milk Bars at Trinity Beach, maybe we need to invest a little more for the locals when it comes to beach living and leisure? I was told by a bus driver that Trinity Park is one of the worst spots for buses getting stoned by teenagers; I'd need to find out why this is so, and work on a grassroots level with youth, schools and police to investigate the real issues at hand that are leading young people to such activities. On the whole Division 9 is a fantastic place to live, and as far as I can tell, one of the happiest places to be in Cairns and I'm looking forward to representing you all in office either next year or next time!
    Three goals I shall advocate for as Councilor on the Cairns Regional Council
    ISSUE 1:
    Obviously Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander issues i.e. the Park People...solutions might be to encourage (as councilor or otherwise) Cultural Awareness Programs to be held for all patrol officers and also, China Man Creek (as is popular with my countrymen) or somewhere else as a reserve patch of land much like Jagera Park in Brisbane where they are free to go and be moved on to rather than a jail cell- this can be a council initiative and work closely with State Gov. to implement. The simple matter of ensuring Council still adheres to protocol at meetings and with consultation on projects planned (as introduced by Mayor Val Schier). Also greater involvement by Council to work with State and Fed. Gov reps to identify and facilitate consultation with A&TSI peoples regarding A&TSI issues as they arise in the Cairns region.

    ISSUE 2:
    The use of Council funded initiatives, open a specific funding opportunity, for arts & cultural activities (exhibitions, programs, festivals etc) designed to engage with Youth- the hiring of trained experts with Youth at risk, artists, elders etc to facilitate such programs; with the outcome to be engaging and informing Youth at Risk of career pathways via artistic expression. This, project specific, can focus on substance abuse and misuse, crime and suicide; working with Youth Link & YETI etc is crucial.

    ISSUE 3:
    Ways to get Cairns out there, arts & culture, so of course will pledge my support to festivals and CIAF. Also ways to encourage, strengthen and build the market for local and regional (tablelands) organic and bio-dynamic produce. Ian Thomas and I have discussed this a long while ago and we believe that by making licensing for markets, stalls etc this may work in the long run...perhaps even a fete. I know that the man from the Tablelands who currently runs the Fresh Food Box program with local primary schools had this idea, of an organic food fair, and approached Redlynch SS. However, due to political differences, the P&C refused his innovative offer. This is where council could step in...also, in support of issue 2, we could engage with Community Vegie (organic) gardens with Youth At Risk, work with Correctional Services and offer this as an alternative to community service work on Council property. Employ a Peter Cundall type to be main facilitator. This works well in Napranum in Cape York for youth at risk and is run by and old couple who work with the kids and then sell the produce, eventually offering them positions on the farm in a WOOFER type capacity.

    Anyway thanks for sticking around to read this much. The above are just a few things I've noticed around town. I am looking forward to hearing your ideas, suggestions and what not.
    To get in touch with me to know more, or to tell me more please email me at:  jack.wilkie.jans@gmail.com.

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    Novak Djokovic wins Autralian tennis Open

    Novak Djokovic proves king in epic final over Rafael Nadal
    Novak Djokovic
    Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic shakes hands with Rafael Nadal after the longest final in Grand Slam history. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

    Novak Djokovic confirmed his credentials as one of the great champions of tennis when defeating Rafael Nadal in a remarkable and record-breaking Australian Open final.

    The defending champion overcame a 4-2 deficit in the deciding set to win 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5) 7-5 in a 5.53-hour epic that will be recognised as an all-time classic given it became the longest grand slam final ever and also the longest Australian Open match ever.

    That there was another twist should not surprise. After breaking Nadal at 5-all, Djokovic moved to within two points of the match only for Nadal to scramble from side to side to somehow gain a break point.

    Djokovic, after crunching a backhand with all his might, crossed himself repeatedly seeking the divine intervention clearly needed to finish this contest.

    His prayer was answered, with a Nadal shot clipping the net chord and bouncing out to give him championship point. A forehand sealed it. Words, though, can not do justice to how remarkable the match was.

    Djokovic, rightly, will be lauded as a deserving champion but Nadal underlined his reputation as one of the most courageous players to grace Rod Laver Arena. He, too, returned from the brink in the fourth set to ensure this match a place in history.

    It is a match so superb that it will be discussed whenever the great grand slam finals are discussed. It is also a most fitting finale to an extraordinary Australian Open.

    From Bernard Tomic's come-from-behind victory over Fernando Verdasco to the epic semi-finals between the world's four best players, the quality of tennis on display has been staggering.

    Melbourne conquered yet again, the one grand slam frontier not yet breached at Roland Garros is the next obvious target for Djokovic at the end of May. Shortly before last year's US Open, Nadal made an admission startling given his status as a champion. He conceded in an interview in New York that Djokovic had him beaten mentally.

    He knew it. His rival knew it. The interview confirmed what the world suspected. Djokovic does to Nadal when the Spaniard does to Roger Federer at grand slam level. The Serbian, of course, claimed the US Crown. And it is difficult to argue that he has not set the pattern for 2012 given his victory after dropping the opening set.

    History favoured the Spaniard from there given his incredible grand slam record after winning the first set. Prior to last night, Nadal had lost just once in the 134 grand slam matches after claiming the first set. That average is halved now but one suspects that is not the thing that will most worry the Spaniard.

    Djokovic must be credited for his stamina given he what has been a brutal second week in his defence. In a quarter-final against David Ferrer, the world No 1 looked in extreme distress with the breathing difficulties that plagued him again in his thriller against Andy Murray. His semi-final win over the Scot on Friday night was an epic, with Djokovic stretched to the limit to win 7-5 in the fifth in a match just shy of five hours.

    Last night's opening, too, was brutal. But that Djokovic remained strong even after losing an opening first set lasting 80 minutes underlines his durability. The time Nadal needed to clinch the first set was only two minutes shy of that taken by Victoria Azarenka to rout Maria Sharapova a night earlier.

    Earlier in the tournament, Djokovic actually sent Nicolas Mahut - the man who lost to John Isner in the longest match ever played at Wimbledon two years ago - packing from Melbourne in less time. From there it was Djokovic who raised the bar. The now five-time grand slam winner seized the momentum early in the second set with an outstanding low volley that cleaned the baseline.

    Nadal, of course, continued to fight and sparked a surge of energy in a crowd flattened by the stifling, still conditions in Rod Laver Arena when launching a comeback from two set points to break Djokovic for 5-4.

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    Sunday, 29 January 2012

    Alan Bond's life again in turmoil

    Alan Bond's tower of strength Diana Bliss found dead


    Tragic: Alan Bond and Di Bliss, who was found dead yesterday. Picture: Alf Sorbello Source: The Sunday Telegraph

    Diana Bliss, the troubled wife of former tycoon Alan Bond, has been found dead in her backyard pool in Perth.

    Her quiet, determined personality may have been chalk to Eileen Bond's cheese, but Di Bliss was considered the high-flier's tower of strength during his tumultuous, topsy-turvy business career.

    Bliss, 57, was discovered at the luxury two-storey Hawkstone St property in the Perth beachside suburb of Cottesloe she shared with Bond after a man telephoned St John Ambulance about 11.30am (WST) yesterday.

    Alan Bond could not have found a partner so different to the woman known as "Big Red",  the effervescent Eileen, who was so much a part of the raucous Perth social scene during the heady days of the 1980s, when Moet Chandon was taken with breakfast and the likes of Laurie Connell and Brian Burke pulled the business and political strings in what the rest of Australia called the wild west.

    In fact, when she arrived on Bond's arm after the pair were married in 1995, the "Perthonalities " who made up the WA social elite really didn't know what to make of her.
     Here was a woman of culture, a theatre producer who had worked in London, a girl from out of town New South Wales who had snared the man both loved and loathed, ridiculed and revered, by both the Australian public and the media.

    And while Bond made sure she stayed at an arm's length from the media, she protected him as well she could from an aggressive media both felt had turned on them, particularly after Bond's stint in Karnett prison farm on the outskirts of Perth after the biggest corporate collapse in Australia's history.

     When I interviewed Bond in Cowes in 2000, when the victorious crew of Australia 11 reunited on the Isle of Wight to celebrate to 150th anniversary of the staging of the first America's Cup, she sat right next to him on a wooden bench, nudging him and instructing him on what she thought were appropriate or inappropriate questions.

    Bond wanted to talk sailing, while I wanted to talk anything but, and her body language was aggressively, politely protective toward the man 16 years her senior. And an hour later when they both walked along the finger jetty to join the celebrating crew aboard Black Swan, Warren Jones's motor yacht and official tender for the yacht both back in 1983 and at Cowes, it was Bliss, not Bond, who quietly but forcefully pushed through the crowd of onlookers to make sure that her husband – the driving force behind what many still consider Australia's greatest sporting achievement – to get aboard and felt comfortable among the legendary sailors, some of whom were clearly embarrassed to be seen with the fallen tycoon who had made them famous.

    For the past 15 years, Di Bliss has been by her husband's side both in Perth and in London. Bond's fall from grace is well documented, but friends say she never once lost faith in her husband's ability to bounce back. She was a constant visitor throughout his four year stint behind bars, and met him at the front gate of Karnett when he was released in 2000.
    Their love apparently blossomed in the 1980s when Red and Bond were at the height of their influence. Ms Bliss is believed to have got on very well with Bond's later mother, Kathleen. It was once reported that Bliss inherited Kathleen's intimate jewellry.

    "She was a terrific lady, and was just what Alan needed at the time, I suspect"," said one close friend who refused to be identified. "She stuck with him through thick and thin, and I think a lot of people admired her for that. Living with Alan would not have been easy."

    Another prominent Perth socialite said that Ms Bliss had been suffering depression for some years, and had been admitted to a private clinic in London last year. It is not known if she was admitted to any clinic in Perth recently.

    But it was Perth where the pair decided to finally pull up stumps. While Bond was still keen to return to London for various business engagements over the summer, it is believed they both had decided to spend more time in the west.

    While full details will emerge over the next few days, early reports say Bond found her floating in the backyard pool and tried desperately to resuscitate her. This has yet to be confirmed, as it is not known if Bond is in the country. An autopsy is expected to be carried out within days.

    Police last night released a statement saying there were no suspicious circumstances.
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    Cairns Regional Election | Tanya Brooks-Cooper | Div. 8 | Vision/ Policy statement.

    I am opening my Blog to all candidtates who are nominating for the Cairns Regional Council election now to be held of 28 th April 2012.

    You are welcome to put forward your vision/policy statement on how you would represent your nominated Division and its position in the context of regional Cairns.

    If you would like your vision/policy statement to be 'out there' via my Blog, then all you have to do is to email it.

    My email address is  ross@rossparisi.com 

    Tanya Brooks-Cooper who will nominate for Division 8, is the first of the contributions.
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    Hi! I’m Tanya Brooks-Cooper and I’m running for election in Division 8.

    I’m a long time Cairns resident. I went to school here, university here, got married here and had my babies here. I’m a community sector manager by trade and have years of experience creating strong teams to work sustainably in our community. I have strong community sector non-profit business management experience  and I also dabble in marketing for some of our local businesses on the side. I’m a supporter of a number of community organisations and volunteer my time and energy wherever I can. Our whole family is trained and participates in volunteering in the emergency services (except Blake since he is only one – but he still attends training and meetings!) and we happily give our time to keeping our community safe in times of natural disasters.

    I’m very excited to be running as an Independent candidate in this election. My family is funding my election campaign out of our savings. I believe that your voice as a division will be heard more effectively as I build relationships within the Council and with other Councillors after you vote for me. I can listen, work with you and all of the other Councillors, research and create plans and project ideas across the board without being aligned to any one group. I have a strong practice base in sustainable, researched positions and love working as a team and valuing differing skills and expertise to come to a place where we all are working to one vision. I have experience working in multidisciplinary teams and in hostile environments (if it comes to that) and I am a strong negotiator and passionate believer in being productive and professional at all times. In short, I’m a great team leader and an even better team player. The role of Council is to lead our community forward, to provide quality, cost effective services and to connect people to this place we live in so we live here happily and safely.

    I’m passionate about our region and creating a vibrant city where we can live safely and happily. I’m committed to working towards a community with a strong safety net to catch us if we fall, and to have opportunities to keep our workforce accessible, interesting and challenging.

    I’m in the process of getting some printing done for the final rounds of doorknocking in this campaign. Please have a read of the materials here, or in your mailbox, and drop me a line or give me a call to check in with where I’m at and what you think of the ideas I have for the region. I’m also looking for volunteers to assist on election day and with door knocking, so if what I say resonates with you, please let me know!

    So some key platforms people have talked to me about and I’m now talking to you about!

    ·         Increasing our sustainable practices and development.

    We are in the wonderful position of being the gateway to nature’s wonderlands. We can lead the way in sustainable development, business practices and tourism and ensure we are at the front of the line to promote, preserve and create a place we all want to live and have people visit. We already have some amazing examples of this happening, we need to promote, cross populate the practice and then start creating employment streams and education plans to link our community to this practice base. We are lucky to have this amazing place to live. Let’s enjoy living here, lets share it sustainably with the rest of the world, let’s master plan our community sprawl so it works for all of us and let’s create business pathways that mean our kids can get educated here and then want to stay here to keep us vibrant.

    ·         Enhancing the unique community feel of the suburbs in Division 8.

    Division 8 has such contrasts between the different areas within it. It’s sprawled out across the northern side of Cairns. Each individual nook has its own feel, it’s own people, it’s own sense of community. I love this about Division 8 which is why I’m putting my hand up to represent you all. I think it’s vital we retain this sense of who we are, that we plan for growth in a way that captures and enhances these feelings and cultures, and that we work on highlighting and strengthen what is happening where you live. That’s not to say areas don’t have issues, and while we need to address these, I believe in asset based community development which works on the premise of creating a place to promote the amazing stuff, and then working community with community on the issues. I’d really love to hear from you what is working in your neighbourhood and what you’d like to see improved, and can you also give me how you think that might work? You are, after all, the experts in what you need to live happily!

    Just to put some runs on the board, I am aware that there is a lack of youth activities in the northern beaches. I’ve been an active member in the past on working to promote and coordinate activities and will lead this charge, including strategies around access and equity. I am aware there are large drainage issues through some neighbourhoods, and I’ve already lobbied and had a win for one family so you know I’ll go to bat to sort these issues out for you if you are experiencing them too. I know public transport is an issue, and I’m happy to work on tackling that state issue with gusto. I know we have access issues into schools in our region, and I’m happy to try and coordinate solutions to keep our most precious residents safe. I know you are worried about how new houses and zoning is affecting your neighbourhoods, so I’ll work to make sure these developments are sustainable, appropriate and will fit your area as best we can. I know you are worried about your beaches, your parks, your recreation spaces and keeping your kids and teenagers safe. I am too. Let’s work together on that. There is so much that is already wonderful about Division 8, let’s work on bridging the gaps we have with some good ideas, fresh energy and new eyes!

    ·         Promoting our local arts, business, culture and enterprise to ensure we are economically resilient.

    There is a lot of talk about GFC’s and tough economies. I don’t have to tell you that. We are all living it. It’s my strong belief we have lots happening in the region that doesn’t get enough airtime. I know of small, work at home Mum’s in my Division who are creating little buzzy businesses who are feeling quite alone and struggling to get word out they are there. I know small business is finding it tough to keep keeping on. As a region we need a vision, some strong leadership and some coordination on how we promote ourselves. We need to stay strong, to buy local, to contract locally where we can, and to promote via whatever mechanisms we can, the word on who is doing what in our community. It’s exciting the innovation I’m finding when I’m door knocking and talking to people about what they do. I’m learning so much and I think it needs sharing so we can all benefit. We are a strong community. We are a vibrant community. We just need to take a minute, catch our breath, and forge forward through the tough times together.

    ·         Protecting our hill slopes.

    Our environment is so precious and we need to protect, preserve and enhance it. I am all for sustainable, environmentally friendly, development for the Cairns region.

    ·         Greater support for sustainable transport.

    As a region we have far to go on providing transport options for getting around our region. We need to create safe, sustainable, weather friendly, environmentally friendly ways  of getting around. The bike paths are a great start, however we need to work on our public transport system (an issue I know the beaches struggle with), and our shared commuter space. Perhaps a free bus loop is an idea, linking free or low cost parking in the outer regions of the city centre, and linking through the city regularly. Perhaps it’s promoting car pooling, though that will be a challenge for families with children. Perhaps the bike system like the Brisbane City Council has installed is another idea? Though in our heat, perhaps it won’t work. You will have ideas, share them with me. I’m listening.

    ·         Commitment to creating Cairns as a safe, liveable city.

    Our Division is a busy, growing, changing Division. That’s what makes it exciting to have an opportunity to represent you. There are things we can improve on. For example, lighting on the beaches at night, improvements in recreational spaces, promotion of Council and Community services so you know where to get assistance if you need it. We have some excellent work happening in the background, however you need to know what is being discussed and if you want to, how  you can participate. This region is about us, the community, and our visitors. Let’s work together to make it a place we all want to live and stay.

    There is so much more to say and even more to do. Please check out my website www.tbcfor8.com or find me on facebook and twitter at Tanyafor8. Get in touch if you have ideas, concerns or plans you want to share, or if you want to volunteer. (The volunteer shirts are funky – you can see them on the website!)

    Thanks for reading.

    Warmest Wishes


    Tanya Brooks-Cooper

    Did you know I'm throwing my hat in the ring for the 2012 Cairns Regional Council Election?

    Check out my online contact points:
    0432 340 349
    Find me on facebook and twitter at Tanyafor8

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    Friday, 27 January 2012

    Why on earth would an adviser be the cause of such chaos

    Gillard adviser Tony Hodges resigns after tip-off sparked violent protest
    Tony Abbott's statement

    Junior adviser to Julia Gillard has resigned after revealing Tony Abbott's presence at an Australia Day function yesterday in a move that sparked a violent protest by Aboriginal activists.

    Media adviser Tony Hodges was forced to stand aside after the "error of judgment", the Prime Minister's office confirmed tonight. It said Mr Hodges informed a "stakeholder" of Mr Abbott's attendance at an Australia Day function with Ms Gillard, and the information was subsequently passed on to members of the Aboriginal tent embassy. "During that discussion, the staff member did not in any way suggest or encourage violence or demonstration," a spokesman for Ms Gillard said. "Nevertheless, given the circumstances of yesterday's function at the Lobby Restaurant, this action was an error of judgment. As such, the staff member's resignation has been accepted."

    Earlier, radio presenter Ray Hadley reported a staffer to Ms Gillard had rung Aboriginal tent embassy protester Barbara Shaw, or another protester, that Mr Abbott had called for the embassy to be torn down. "Once she was told that, she was also told Mr Abbott was across the road (and) 'maybe you can give them a bit of a liven up'," the 2GB presenter told his audience.

    The statement from Ms Gillard's office did not address the allegation that Mr Hodges sought to inform tent embassy activists of Mr Abbott's alleged comments. Mr Abbott earlier declared he'd been "verballed", saying he had not said the tent embassy should be removed.
    "I never said that and I don't think that," he said. "I made the point that a lot has happened in 40 years and I think that we have moved on from the issues of 40 years ago which caused the Aboriginal tent embassy to be set up."

    Ms Shaw, who told the protesters Mr Abbott wanted the tent embassy disbanded, said she heard of Mr Abbott's comments from "a fly on the wall"."I heard Tony Abbott's name being thrown about and I asked what the hiccup was," Ms Shaw said. "So whoever told me was a member of the general public."

    Mr Hodges was a well-regarded member of Ms Gillard's staff who had also worked for former prime minister Kevin Rudd. It took the Prime Minister's office more than six hours to address the allegations.
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