4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News

4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News
4CA - Queensland's Home for Fake News Led by John "Cueball" Mackenzie

07 April 2016


With the election now over, and the start of a new Cairns (un)Regional Council term at hand, progressives in Cairns are left wondering about the future of our community with this team at the helm.

Frankly, we're not much concerned about Bob "Sleepy" Manning and his "big ideas".  This is a mayor and council obsessed with turning a profit and spending as little as possible on the growth of our community.  Keeping council rates at minimal levels to "help the battlers" does little to inject the enthusiasm and spark necessary for a community growing at Cairns' historical rates.   This Sleepy Manning philosophy of government is the reason we've had an inadequate, too-small replacement for our current inadequate, too-small Civic Theatre shoved down our throats with no consultation. It's the reason we'll never see anything like the proposed light rail system (which would require a local government investment of over $280M plus the state and federal components).  It's the reason so much of Cairns still has no kerb and channeling - even on major thoroughfares.

The Manning team is rumoured to have spent upwards of ten times the money then spent by their opposition.  Who benefits from spending this much money on council positions?  We all know the answer to that one.

And when the state and federal governments see a community like Cairns unwilling to take risks and invest in their future, they quickly recognise that their investments in Cairns should reflect this council position.  Hence, no money is forthcoming from them. The bureaucrats remember how all their time and effort was expended to secure over $125M for the waterfront Cultural Precinct and CBD upgrades, only to see their work squandered by Manning and Gavin King.  They're not likely to work very hard to help us again in the future.

We however believe there is a much more serious issue plaguing Cairns.  While residents blame politicians on both sides of the aisle for the malaise that's gripped Far North Queensland, we prefer to look at the bigger picture. And one of our huge problems is the one-sided and amateurish news media that is doing bugger all to hold our politicians to account.

There is no journalistic integrity available to the residents of Cairns and Far North Queensland.  Not when our "local" newspaper is mostly written and assembled 350km away and our local TV news has "anchors" that do a half-dozen or more "local" news bulletins a day.   

The publishers of journalism must show an ultimate allegiance to the citizens.  They must strive to put the public interest and the truth above their own self-interest or assumptions. This core journalistic principal is absent in the Cairns Fourth Estate.  Hence the electorate struggles for the truth and the "big end of town" can rule the roost by manipulating just a few lazy and talentless news writers.  

A case in point is last week's "secret" visit to Cairns by the carny barker known as Tony Fung.  The post reported ahead of time on this "secret" visit,  because it was fed to them.  And the Cairns Post returned the favour by feeding the community a stripped down, one-sided, bullshit-laden story.  Where is their allegiance to the citizenry?

And at the same time Tony Fung was spruiking a stripped-down, staged development, his PR team was giving the original $8billion "Fantasy Land" story to overseas news media.  Lies designed to extract money from apparently ignorant investors.

The oddest part of the Cairns Post story is how the same Fung event was covered by OTHER News Limited-owned outlets.  The report on Fung in the Australian about the project was far more balanced and probing than the dreck we got from Nick Dalton at the Cairns Post.  Possibly the worst news reporter in the southern hemisphere.

Dalton promotes the new Fung proposal by saying the first stage of $2B includes "4000 hotel rooms".   The original $8B proposal was said to have 8000 rooms.  How can this be?   Dalton takes any nonsense and prints it.  And the $2B proposal has an aquarium, theatre, exhibit halls, golf course - in fact ALL the same amenities as before.  For 75% less.

And despite public announcements that the project will proceed WITHOUT a casino, Dalton quotes local engineer Pat Flanagan as saying "The project WILL include a casino"  (Emphasis added - ed.)

The same report in The Australian is far more balanced and questioning of the project, thanks to reporter Emma Reynolds.   In her story she points out all the big questions that have plagued the project - the Aquis location being planned in a 10-year floodplain, the missing plans for roads, bridges, water, water treatment, transport,  and schools.

And not a peep out of the Cairns Post and Nick Dalton about the announced Mainland Chinese partners in the project - CCCC International Holding and Tandellen Group Ltd.  CCCC Group has been disbarred by the International Monetary Fund for any funded projects due to "big rigging".  And Tandellen apparently has direct connections to the Chinese Communist Party and Military.   These aren't hard facts to discover - they're deliberately ignored by reporters at the Cairns Post who believe they're role is to act as PR firm for any nonsense that crosses their desk.  Or is pushed across their desk by Bob Manning, Warren Entsch, or whoever is the politician of the day.

There is not a farthing of investigation in the Cairns Post journalism.  No statement is fact-checked. Ever.  Dalton has never once asked Fung about where the construction and operational workers will come from.  No hard question is ever asked, because the Cairns Post is little more than a PR extension of the business community.  To the detriment of the community at large.

So it's no surprise when the story of the massive, multi-year ground pollution of the airport is ignored for years DESPITE INSIDERS GIVING THE INFORMATION TO THE CAIRNS POST FOR YEARS!

You've got to wonder how these horrible journalists drag their sorry arses into the city to rewrite the press releases day after day.  Have they no pride in themselves and their community?

John MacKenzie, the only other (with admittedly limited reach) voice of the media in Cairns routinely blames everything on the "ratbag greenies".  So arrogant was he during the election that he encouraged Cr. John Schilling to  launch bitter and false personal attacks on Mayoral candidate Jim Brooks with impunity.  MacKenzie routinely allows commentary "on the air" that is in violation of the law.  Only after the lawyers went after 4CA's owners did MacKenzie and his other radio station brethren come to heel.  It is a sad confirmation on the collapse of media in Cairns.

Those of us here during the 90's remember the robust debate about the appropriateness and environmental impact of the Skyrail project.  Sure MacKenzie attacked the "ratbag greenies" for not rolling over, but the Cairns Post presented both sides of the issue in the fair and balanced way.  Debate was vigorous but respectful.  The result was that the community got a much better project than what was originally proposed - it was constructed in a less-invasive manner and was required to include safeguards that, in hindsight, made the difference.  We all benefit from open, robust consultation that is organized around a fair and robust news media.

As a federal election begins to loom on the horizon, it's obvious that Warren Entsch is already confident that the Cairns Post won't ask any hard questions.  Why has the "insurance crisis" now collapsed with the homeowner as the loser?  Why are our regional medical facilities so grossly underfunded?  And the Cairns Post has no problem publishing Entsch brainfarts - the tunnel under the Trinity Inlet a gross example of something so technically unfeasible to be a joke, and yet the Cairns Post gave it cover space!

While blogs in Cairns have made up some of the missing investigative analysis, bloggers alone can't be the core of a healthy community.  Clearly the Cairns Post is operating outside of the norms of even NewsCorp operations in other cities around Australia.  

It's time the Cairns Post, the ABC, and other news media started doing their jobs.


Anonymous said...

Very succinct article HBW. I too remember reporting in the 90's, a very different beast to what we have today. Now we have corrupt and biased media either reporting one sided stories or reporting utter shite. And as you say HBW, the Compost has known of the problems with Kevin Browns airport for several years but due to nepotism has chosen not to report the facts. Hell, even Entsch could say that the world is yellow and we are all from Neptune and the Compost would report it. Nick Dalton's surname is a great definition of him and his reporting - Dalton, as in the toilet ceramic Dalton, too which lots of Kevin BROWNS and Bob Mannings get 'dropped off'.

Anonymous said...

Small correction HBW. King actually supported the CEP, despite ridiculing Val Schier at every opportunity. Of course , once elected, he stood idly by while the funding for the CEP was handed back to Brisbane by Manning and the local LNP bigwigs as per their pre-election deal. King said and did nothing as the faithful Brisbane puppet he turned out to be.

McKenzie just had a vomit-inducing interview with the editor of the CP, Julian Tomlinson, who named Andrew Bolt as one of his heroes and inspirations...Say no more.

Anonymous said...

The post are too close to the boys club so that becomes their priority. Not us. Now they fight for a fair go but they never do it when it counts.

Second Anonymous said...

There is an old adage "never stand between a Mayor and a bucket of money" but amazingly this Mayor now in his second term has never been held to account for refusing about $100 million in cash plus the land for the Entertainment Precinct. can't imagine that happening in any other city

NOBODY HAS HELD HIM TO ACCOUNT EXCEPT HBW. The media in this city are either "frozen at the wheel" (to use an LNP slogan against the current state government)or are just plain uncontroversial lazy... or???

Campbell Newman had a thought bubble in the lead up to the 2012 election based on the current Mayors "It's strategic port land" mantra and came up with a downsized $40 million for dredging to bring the biggest and best cruise ships to Cairns in a policy that was at the very least a "cargo cult" philosophy.

And the media and Chamber and Advance Cairns wannabees bought it.

Even though Newman's government did not.

Then they sat on the report and refused to release it.

And now Springborg in a wild dash of populist politics still commits to dredging although deep down (pun) after an election knows it will not and can not happen.

Dickheads like the Senior bloke bombard our senses every few weeks in the local rag saying that dredging has been happening for 100 years.

AND IT IS STILL OCCURING AND WILL HAPPEN - maintenance dredging of Trinity Inlet commenced before Christmas - there were Ministerial statements but the local rag conveniently ignored them as it would be against their narrative.

So nobody saw pictures of the vessel relocated from Brisbane harbor to carry out maintenance dredging? Come on, someone must have noticed. The Ministerial statement was because there was associated noise.

Capital dredging is a different issue and the $$$ figures do not stack up, or the EIS, or the UN, or the Feds. Only fools continue to believe the cargo cult myth that a deeper/wider harbor will bring untold (no statistics) riches which will not benefit mums, dads and kids - but maybe few at the top end of our city.

And Hillbilly you are wrong when you say it is the blog everyone reads but nobody admits. In my world everyone admits to HBW.

Anonymous said...

well said wendy

Anonymous said...

Well said HillbillyWatch and good points second anonymous.
It's interesting to compare Cairns council with those around it. To the north, Douglas has re-elected progressive mayor Julia Leu and replaced the two non-performing councillors with fresh, new, community involved candidates. South of Cairns the voters have put a Labor mayor and ALL her team in power in Townsville. In Cairns? The same tired old mayor with all his old cronies and a new LNP stooge in Gordonvale. Such a loss to the council that Sandra Charlton missed out. Cairns will bumble along, not realising its potential until the voters of Cairns wake up and realise just how far we are lagging behind.

Anonymous said...

Journalism is a job and like any job if you don't make any money most smart people will find another job. How can journalist make a living in the digital age. Newspaper sales are diving. Advertising revenue down. On the internet people won't pay for news. And people have more distractions and don't pay as much attention to the news these days.

Observer said...

Unbiased reporting from the corporate media machine?? You must be joking. Look at just which names are being released by the corporate media in "The Panama Papers". Oh sure they have named the Prime Minister of Iceland (who the fuck cares about Iceland?) and given David Cameron the British PM a bit of a nudge, nudge, wink, wink concerning his fathers business affairs, but where are all the Americans, and where is Malcolm Turnbull and other Australians mentioned? Instead we see where they are cherry picking which tax avoiding rogues get the exposure such as those from countries the West doesn't like much. The public is being fed bullshit information leading to the view that the scoundrels ruining the worlds economies mostly only exist in either the Middle East or Asia, instead of in the West.

Anonymous said...

As I have said before, the cairns post is a summary of the courier mail which in turn is a summary of the Australian, all of which are owned by a foreign national who through his ownership tells us what we can or cannot read.
Me, I stopped reading any of them a few years ago. Finally, a word of advice. Never believe anything you read in a news paper unless it is a blatant and obvious news story. The stories are usually extravagated to suit an agenda, have built in propaganda to highlight and issue which never existed in the first place or are paid advertisments in the guise of a story, i.e some new wonder drug found in a rain forrest, invest now or we will all die. If a story is around and reported for at least three times in the days ahead then it is probably true as someone would have sued the pants of someone by then. the end

the ponz said...

A big shout out to all dumbarse Cairns residents...you get the pollies youse deserve.Ha Ha suck it up you hillbillies and don't forget to pay your taxes ha ha.

Anonymous said...

No onsite parking for the new aquarium how did that sneak thru council?

Anonymous said...

I agree. Dumbass voters allow this shit to happen. Now you pay the reaper for 4 more years. Hillbillys

Anonymous said...

The Composts number one spin doctor Dopey Dalton also wrote a puff piece the other day about how the airport international numbers are growing exponentially. What he failed to tell is that most of those numbers are related to cheap ass low cost flights and the clientele spend fuck all in Cairns. Another smoke and mirrors act. Cairns airport hasn't gained newsworthy or the financially viable robust services of a regular full service carrier in years. Not since Brown and Antonson came on board.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha the Compost is reporting that airport CEO Kevin Brown has resigned and is heading to Perth. Poor Perth, ha ha ha. At least Cairns is rid of him finally. Imagine his management lapdogs scrambling now, who will protect their incompetence they will be wondering? Will the little bloke from Assets apply for CEO? Or will it be the loud mouth Irish plastic surgery Sheila? Or the other chick from HR with the huge ass? All of them think they are in with a shot at the job. How sad and delusional.