It started when MacKenzie demanded payment from the Schier council for the previously unpaid hour provided to MacKenzie mate Kevin Byrne (and previous Mayors), a "Cash for Comment" scandal that ultimately saw the City Manager replaced and council exonerated.
With his hostility towards the Mayor barely contained MacKenzie then turned on the community-driven project to replace the current, grossly inadequate Civic Theatre with a modern, up-to-date project first proposed by Mayor Byrne, but expanded by the forward thinking Val Schier. The proposal addresses the need for theatre space adjacent to the money-spinning convention centre, addresses the regional shortfall in museum space, and provides a point of pride for the community. State government thru their control of the Cairns Ports, reacting in part to community concerns that all the waterfront land was being sold-off to hotel and unit projects, offered up the seaside site adjacent to the convention centre, a site that is a coup for this mayor and council. An artist's conception of the project was circulated to the community, and quickly seized on by MacKenzie as the "Val-Cano", a term of derision he's used to denigrate both the Mayor and the project.
Over a two-year project MacKenzie has attempted to derail the project along with his "300 Hillbilly" listeners. The arguments against the project expressed daily at behest of MacKenzie were specious at best:
- We should save port land for the port
- We should put it in Munroe Martin Park and drive out the aboriginals
- Retired "Rate Payers" shouldn't have to pay for it; screw renters and young people
- All "artsy" people are faggots and shouldn't get anything
After whipping up his 300 listeners into a misogynist anti-Council, anti-Scheir frenzy, and several weeks of non-stop promotion, a public meeting was held last night at the Cairns High School auditorium. The meeting was organised by Barry Neale, who has organised successful meetings with this "Residents against Aboriginals and Crime" group - dedicated to getting all the non-white residents of Cairns to "go back where they came from". And hundreds of posters were put up all around the city by Raj Patel, a daily hillbilly caller and owner of the discredited Snap Printing on Florence Street. Apparently Raj has missed the mocking, phony-accented Indian that MacKenzie uses to racially vilify his ethnic group on a regular basis.
And even in this biased, one-sided promotion of this event, MacKenzie and his dwindling number of listeners failed to generate the "tide of negativity" needed to derail the project. With MacKenzie boasting "polls" of his listeners of over 90% AGAINST the project, one would have expected a lynch-mob of thousands would gather to shout at the Mayor and shut down the project. Nothing of the kind occurred. Confirming what we've known all along - John MacKenzie is a dinosaur representing the past, the hateful, the uneducated - the entire ratbaggery of the Cairns community.
Clearly, the community has spoken loudly in favour of the Cultural Precinct as advanced by our forward-thinking Mayor and (some) members of the Cairns Regional Council!
The best the hillbillies could muster was a vote against the site on the waterfront, this despite Cairns Port's continued assertions (including Master Plans going back 20 years) that this waterfront land is unsuitable for heavy port uses, has adequate port space elsewhere in the inlet, and will be used for hotels/units if not used by the community for this project.
The MacKenzie hillbillies have lost resoundingly.
The community has spoken.
Now the council needs to get on with it. Several of the councillors who've thought MacKenzie's listeners represented a widespread community opinion have been duped. They should admit they've been scammed by ol' Rugnut and get behind the Mayor to get this project underway.