by staff writers
Pork-barrelling on a grand scale is rolling out around Queensland during the final six weeks of the election campaign. Works projects, some unnecessary or asked for, are being financed by a bankrupt Labor Party Government like there is no tomorrow.
The Far Northern seat of Cook, held with a slim margin by the absent, indigenous member Cynthia Lui is no exception.
Lui and her staff have lived in Cairns since she was elected in 2017 and with the blessing of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk moved her Mareeba office there earlier this year “to make it easier for Torres Strait Islanders to meet her” she told an incredulous constituency.
Now the pigeons have come home to roost and she is facing the expected recriminations from a detached electorate.
Recent door-knocking efforts of Mareeba residents have not gone down well for the hapless Lui with many hostile rejections and rebuffs from fed-up voters calling her out for shifting her electorate office to Cairns.
Labor sources claim their rank-and-file members have deserted her and she has been forced to call on southern members and unionists for polling booth and campaign assistance.
Lui invited Mareeba party members and local identities to her planned campaign launch on Saturday night but had to cancel due to a low number of acceptances.
The sources said there had been no financial assistance from some of the well-heeled local branches who have openly called her a “traitor.”
Following recent, record spending on Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait, today the State Government is strategically opening a new Mareeba ambulance station preceded by ABC news announcements of new X-ray equipment for the Mareeba Hospital.
In July the Main Roads Department started a $45 million upgrade of the Kennedy Highway between Mareeba and Kuranda. Investigations have revealed there were no requests or demands made for these works by councils or motoring organisations.
For decades motorists and politicians have demanded the dangerous Kuranda Range road be upgraded but the government chose to improve the highway instead leaving a tortuous bottle neck at Kuranda which will not improve the range congestion one bit.
Meanwhile at least five other candidates are contesting Cook making life even harder for the inconspicuous girl from Yam Island in the Torres Strait who naively thought the people of Cook would tolerate her chosen indifference.
Lui’s only saviour from a stunning defeat will be the usual voting fraud across the electorate. Complaints by booth workers to the Electoral Commission of Queensland resulting from the 2017 election were ignored. At the Bamaga booth the returning officer did not count the 500 ballot papers after voting finished, instead taking the ballot box home for the night.
Statutory declarations from scrutineers were given to the ECQ about the uncounted votes and potential fraud but the ballots were included in the final tally which saw Lui elected as the new member.
Pre-polling at remote Aboriginal communities conducted by the ECQ flying to each community in the run-up to an election is where much of the voting fraud occurs.
It is of note the offending returning officer currently is under police fraud squad investigation for alleged misappropriation of funds from the local council.
For Queensland Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk the penny just dropped – Labor is on the nose, in fact it is putrid in the north and most other parts of the state except the spoilt south east corner.
For the past three days the entire State Cabinet descended on a languishing Cairns where the ALP has three state MP’s and another at nearby Mareeba.
The Labor Party has realised that strong opposition from Katters Australian Party and LNP candidates in the four, key Labor held seats could see all four sitting members exit parliament after the October 31 election and the Premier lose government.
Like a drowning man clutching at straws the Premier is lashing out with obscure, expensive projects trying to ooze into the duopoly’s pork barrel.
But the genie is already out of the barrel with the Bradfield Inland Irrigation Scheme, incidentally, which federal MP Bob Katter has been talking up for three decades.
Katter’s Australian Party Leader Robbie Katter warned North Queenslanders to be wary of lip service from both Labor and the LNP as the Brisbane-based parties attempt to out-bid one another as the number one supporters of the game-changing Revised Bradfield Scheme.
Mr Katter has thrown cold water on an announcement today by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk that economist Professor Ross Garnaut will head the State Government’s review of proposals for the long-awaited, drought-busting scheme first proposed in the 1930s.
The discredited, token, ALP mouthpiece Professor Ross Garnaut should stick to economics for which he could have been trained.
Most people will remember Garnaut’s dire predictions resulting from his inquiry into so-called global warming.
According to Garnaut’s wild predictions ten years ago, those living along the eastern coastline would now be snorkelling to their front doors under three metres of ocean.
Compounding her ridiculous policy thought bubbles, the Premier said she would spend millions of dollars planting trees on Cape York Peninsula. This stupid idea has enraged Cape York pastoralists who said they had spent a lifetime trying to get rid of excessive trees and thickening undergrowth to grow grass for stock.
One said there are “far many more trees on the Peninsula now than in 1770 when Captain Cook sailed past.”
Palaszczuk is a dead duck and she knows her time is up. She has two local dud MP’s, Cynthia Lui and Craig Crawford who have been unable to stem the outward flow of Labor support.
Cairnsnews can reveal neither has the support of their local branch members and both have found it extremely hard to find polling booth workers or to get any assistance with their campaigns.
Labor sources claim unions have been asked to help but there has been no local assistance forthcoming.
The source said polling booth volunteers from unions would probably come from southern Queensland, provided Covid rules allow it.
Crawford as Fire and Emergency Services Minister has managed to disenfranchise and lose more than 11,000 volunteers from the Rural Fire Service over mandatory blue cards and unrealistic, dangerous, bureaucratic changes to fire ground operations.
RFS members say morale has never been worse or have they ever lost so many volunteers because of political stupidity.
Lui has been missing in action from her electorate of Cook since she was first elected in 2017.
Cook stretches north from Mareeba to the PNG border. Earlier this year she made her frequent absence from the electorate permanent by moving her Mareeba office and staff to Cairns where she lives.
The Labor Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui has spent months of her time putting together legislation to enshrine Torres Strait Islander adoption tradition into law while motorists are being killed on the neglected streets of the largest town in her electorate.
Lui, from Yam Island in the Torres Strait, controversially moved her office from Mareeba, out of the electorate to Cairns earlier this year, leaving the lower half of Cook without representation.
She said constituents from the Torres Strait found it hard to contact her in Mareeba, one hour’s drive from Cairns.
She relocated the office to the Commonwealth Centre in Cairns to enable a handful of Torres Strait constituents to meet with her after arriving on subsidised flights from Horn Island.
Ms Lui has dumped the 22,000 residents of Mareeba and Douglas Shires leaving them without state representation.
A spokesman for the largest traditional owner group in the Torres Strait told Cairnsnews the child-rearing practices bill introduced by Ms Lui on Thursday into State Parliament was actually related to an Aboriginal custom and not that of Torres Strait Islanders.
Ms Lui has had an electorate office on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait ever since she was elected.
Meanwhile a female motorcyclist was killed in an accident on congested Byrnes Street in Mareeba on Tuesday when a four wheel drive vehicle drove into the rear of her stationary motorcycle while trying to turn into a service station.
Mareeba has been suffering extreme traffic congestion as thousands of tourist vehicles converged on the arterial main street bottleneck this week, heading north after Covid restrictions were lifted.
The Tablelands’ first set of traffic lights, recently erected at a major intersection in the CBD have caused chaos with local traffic forming long queues during peak hours.
Successive State Governments have refused to construct a heavy vehicle, main street bypass, gazetted for 35 years, to divert hundreds of large trucks driving through the CBD each week while parked cars and converging traffic play Russian roulette with smelly semi-trailers full of Cairns rubbish or others carrying dangerous goods.
A heavy vehicle bypass would have enabled The Main Roads Department to leave the large roundabout intact. The Labor government took the soft option of installing lights for $3.5 million instead of building a more expensive bypass.
Federal Member Bob Katter last week opened an office in Mareeba. He says his staff will help to fill the electoral void left by Ms Lui.
Mr Katter said he was “moving heaven and earth” to get funding for the construction of a heavy vehicle bypass, stipulating the work should go only to local contractors.
Today the farming town of Mareeba, to the west of Cairns with a population of 15,000, came of age. The first permanent traffic lights ever seen on the Atherton Tablelands were turned on this afternoon but the traffic outcome was not what The Main Roads Department had expected.
Costing $3.47 million, the new lights at the Byrnes and Rankin Street intersection were predicted to improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
Instead a traffic jam of Rodeo Procession proportion saw cars and trucks backed up for more than one kilometre along the main thoroughfare of Byrnes Street for more than an hour, coinciding with school departures at 3pm.
Mareeba Shire Council has had almost no involvement with the construction of the lights and the new intersection as Byrnes St is the responsibility of TMR.
Residents and business proprietors have questioned why traffic lights replaced a large roundabout when a gazetted but unmade vehicle bypass skirts the CBD which would alleviate the extremely high volume of traffic movements along Byrnes Street.
Katters Australian Party spokesman for FNQ Alan Webb said the bypass should have been constructed a decade ago removing the need for traffic lights and taking large trucks out of the main street.
“These single semitrailers carrying Cairns garbage, soon cane trucks and heavy trucks traveling to the west and north every day are an accident waiting to happen,” Mr Webb said.
“I know (Member for Kennedy) Bob Katter has been in talks with TMR in Cairns and federal authorities in Canberra about funding for the bypass but neither the state government nor the federal government want to know about it.”
Mareeba mother, Ann-Marie Keating was quite worried when it took the school bus an extra 40 minutes to go past the gate to their small farm, 6 klms from town.
“I had picked up the kids from school because of the traffic and it took me over 40 minutes to get home instead of 15 and the bus was just behind me,” Ms Keating said.
“On Monday I don’t know if the bus will come early to get the kids to school on time. The kids will have to get up early to make it then if it is 40 minutes late again it will be a long day for them.
“It could be a very long day on the bus for kids from further out.
“There were temporary traffic lights set up at Centenary Park and Anzac Avenue intersection that made the congestion worse than Cairns.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui has been contacted for comment.
LAST month, the Gudang/Yadhaykenu Aboriginal Corporation took tenure of 211 ha of land in Cape York, including the abandoned Pajinka Resort and it is reported that Chinese investors are negotiating with the Traditional Owners to purchase the land.
KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter shares the concerns of Northern Peninsula Area Mayor, Eddie Newman, that a takeover of the resort by offshore Chinese investors would lead to a dire situation for the Traditional Owners, and would be a major national security threat for Australia.
“I have been reliably informed that Chinese buyers have visited the northern tip of Cape York on at least two occasions to inspect the abandoned resort, with a particular interest in photographing the northern rugged coastline,” Mr Katter said.
“Concerns raised by Mayor Eddie Newman are that due to no consultation there has been no safeguards for local jobs and no reassurance that the profits will actually go back into the local community.”
Options for rebuilding the resort will be discussed at the Gudang/Yadhaykenu Aboriginal Corporation’s annual general meeting tomorrow, Friday December 6.
“Why would they want the most northern point of Australia? The closest point to Papua New Guinea,” asked Mr Katter.
“There are numerous questions here and I would think the answers are pretty ugly.”
Mr Katter has taken the step of meeting with Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, who has the power to block such foreign investment if it were to proceed.
“Losing control of the Torres Straits would be a national security disaster,” Mr Katter said.
“They’ve already handed over the Port of Darwin and given away the Ord in Western Australia. Almost every big cattle aggregation is foreign owned.
“The defence and security of this nation is precipitation for extreme anger in the United States and, infinitely more importantly, for every Australian who is just simply fed up with watching day after day the sell off of their country.
“The suits are parading around saying isn’t this foreign investment marvellous, but one day they’ll wake up in
a country that isn’t their own.”
The Labor Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, from Yam Island in the Torres Strait, is urging northern recreational anglers to record their catches.
In the Cairns Post ‘Household Fish Quiz’ Cynthia is asking weekend fishermen to make and send these records to the Fisheries Department so they can collate the numbers and species being landed.
Any fisherman who falls for this entrapment would be a complete fool.
By hook, line or sinker Cynthia’s carefully woven spider web is enticing you to tell big brother about your catch so the Marxists of the State Labor Government can introduce much tougher legislation to regulate amateur and sports fishermen.
Look at what the Labor Government has just done to the professional fishing fleet.
The hard pressed fishermen of the local fleet have been forced to spend thousands to install GPS devices which record their vessel’s every movement in real time even if crossing a ‘Green’ area to get to regulated fishing grounds.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries intends to make fishmeal of those few struggling commercial fishermen left in the north.
Up and up will go the cost of ‘fishing licences’ (and fish) and soon you will need a licence to buy a rod or hook.
We urge all fishermen, commercial or amateur to revolt against the fascist Queensland Government. There is not a court of competent jurisdiction in Australia.
Read senator-in-exile Rod Culleton’s foray into the UK court system which has systematically overturned any authority of an Australian court which functions under the fictitious ‘Queen of Australia.’
Don’t fall for it Queensland fishermen. Never ever vote for the communists of the ALP! – contributed by a recreational fisherman
The decision by Member for Cook Cynthia Lui to move her electorate from Mareeba to Cairns is the latest slap in the face from Labor to rural, regional and remote Queenslanders, State KAP Leader Robbie Katter has said.
Mr Katter said while there were great challenges faced by MPs who represent large electorates, he was astounded that the Member for Cook had backed down from a pre-election promise and opted to move her office to Cairns.
Cairns is not in the Cook electorate.
The Traeger MP said Ms Lui’s relocation decision flew in the face of fighting against service centralisation and giving smaller communities a genuine voice in the Queensland Parliament.
He said he was not surprised by reports that Mareeba locals were up in arms about the move.
“In the interest of taking a stand against centralisation, I would like to call on the Member for Cook to reverse this decision,” Mr Katter said.
“Regional Members of Parliament like myself and Ms Lui need to send a clear message to smaller communities that they matter and that their voices will be heard,” he said.
“Relocating from Mareeba is one thing, but moving to Cairns which is not even in the Cook electorate sends a terrible message to the people of the North.”
Mr Katter said the State Labor Party had a shocking track record of removing services from the bush and ignoring the views and voices of rural communities.
“It is my experience that as an MP in these types of electorates, you need make a point of going to the people you represent and not waiting for them to come to you,” he said.
“I clock up tens of thousands of kilometres every year and spend many days and nights away from home because I get out of my office and am on the road or in the air trying to get to people.
“The KAP is fighting to keep services in the bush, meanwhile the Palaszczuk Government, with their own representatives, are taking services away – even a humble electorate office is not immune.
“This is astounding.”
The Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui, has ended speculation she plans to relocate her Mareeba electorate office to Cairns.
In a media release Ms Lui confirmed she will shift the office to Cairns but had not taken the decision lightly.
“This year, I have been out talking and listening to the people of Cook and one issue that was raised time and time again was having an office space that is readily accessible to everyone,” Ms Lui said.
“I acknowledge the view that Cairns is not in the Cook electorate, it is however, the most central location for the large number of constituents who live in the Cook electorate.
“Historically the Cook electorate office has been in Cairns. The move to Mareeba was a decision made during the Campbell Newman Government.
“I will still continue to work hard for the people of Mareeba by visiting regularly and holding mobile offices.”
Speculation has been mounting for several weeks among Mareeba Labor Party members that Ms Lui had asked the Speaker of Parliament, Curtis Pitt to relocate the Post Office Arcade office to Cairns.
A spokesman for the Speaker said it was up to each Member to decide the location of their electorate office and “it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”
Mareeba ALP member Anne-Marie Keating said she was “very disappointed” that Ms Lui had decided to “disenfranchise Mareeba residents, leaving them no representation.
“Pensioners and indigenous people won’t be able to get help with government agencies because the office is in Cairns and trying to sort out issues over the phone will be impossible,” Ms Keating said.
“Just because Ms Lui and her staff live in Cairns is not an excuse to move the office. She promised not to shift the office at the pre-selection meeting and this was one of the conditions on which she was nominated as a candidate.”
Ms Lui also has an office on Thursday Island.
Confusion reigns in the Mareeba office of the indigenous Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui.
Constituents in the Cook electorate since Ms Lui occupied her office earlier this year, have complained they cannot meet her face to face. Just who is the member?
They first have to get past her close minders, former Labor senator, Jan McLucas and former Labor candidate for Leichardt, Sharon Howes.
Both staffers guard Ms Lui jealously, and as one Labor insider put it, “…they will have to keep Cynthia wrapped in cotton wool….”
On Wednesday Ms Lui, originally from Yam Island in the Torres Strait, was engulfed in controversy when she shamelessly backed the stringent legislative amendments to the hated Vegetation Management Act in parliament which will again see Cape York Peninsula sterilised of any development.
Chairman of the indigenous Cape York Land Council Richie Ah Mat told the ABC he would fight the new laws to the bitter end and had already instructed lawyers to ascertain if the VMA breached the Native Title Act.
Unfortunately for Mr Ah Mat, the Land Council knew well before it agreed to back the Labor Party at the state election, these new laws would be enacted.
A life member of the ALP who asked to remain anonymous, was critical of the anti-clearing laws which he said would again stop any development of vast Aboriginal freehold land holdings on the Cape.
“Richie is just playing the game. He knew this was coming but they backed Cynthia Lui at the election, doing other deals with the Labor Party which will be of great benefit to members of the Land Council,” the disgruntled life member claimed.
“The Land Council was told by the government if they don’t support them at the election they will simply turn off the money.
“Richie and the Land Council are paying lip service and are lackeys of whatever party is in power.
“They won’t bite the hand that feeds them.”
Leader of Katters Australian Party, Robbie Katter warned regional Labor members, in particular Ms Lui the party would target them at the next election for “disregarding the wishes of their electorates” by allowing the government to shut down any development on their land.
Cairns News has been contacted by a member of an influential Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) who complained the VMA had scuttled their plans to create a productive cattle breeding property in the north of the Cape.
“We are very angry,” she said.
Cynthia Lui has been associated with politics for most of her life and should know how the flawed system operates.
Her father, Gaetano Lui was a close associate and supporter of the late Queensland National Party Premier Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen and remains a tenacious conservative voter, according to sources on Thursday Island.
When he was Chairman of the Torres Strait Regional Authority in 1996, Mr Lui was a strong voice behind the push for autonomy for the Straits.
Discussing self-rule for the Torres Strait, Gaetano Lui, stated, “ the central force behind this plan [for the TSRA] is our strong commitment to empowering our people to determine their own affairs. It is about controlling our own destiny and putting power back in the hands of our people.” (from HRC)
While the ALP holds power in the state and his daughter holds the seat of Cook, the Torres Strait will remain a part of Queensland. The indigenous people of Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait will have no say under a state or federal ALP government.
“This is why Cynthia’s father never got a mention during the election campaign,” said the Labor insider.
Editor: Our editorial policy when dealing with indigenous informants usually is one of anonymity. Recriminations can be culturally dangerous in some situations.
from Robert J Lee
Paying homage to non-existent blackfellas for ‘allowing an Anzac ceremony to be held on their land’ by the ALP Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui has upset RSL members and a part of the Mareeba audience.
Cairns News was contacted by ex-servicemen and an audience member attacking Mrs Lui and a Mareeba Shire Councillor for politicising what should have been a speech about those fallen soldiers, sailors and airmen who were being commemorated.
One returned serviceman, who did not wish to be named after ABC Radio beat up a story about a wrong wreath being placed on the cenotaph by Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, said he did not want to be harassed or misrepresented by ABC reporters.
“I am very upset about the local member and a councillor talking about thanking blackfellas for the use of their land who have no bearing upon this ceremony,” the ex-serviceman said.
“Since when is it their land?
“How dare the lunatic left of the Labor Party try to hijack an Anzac ceremony.”ends
Cairns is the car stealing capital – 767 stolen in 2017 and 38 cars stolen in March 2018
Nearly 100 Cairns region residents fed up with spiralling juvenile crime, unanimously passed a resolution at a meeting in Woree on Saturday instructing the State Government to immediately implement the renowned Petford Farm Rehabilitation Program.
Founder of the program, Geoff Guest OAM, 91, explained to the audience how over 35 years he had successfully transformed more than 3000 troubled youths and adults into a stable lifestyle by offering a holistic solution to substance and alcohol abuse.
He said the transition to normality could not be achieved without incorporating the families of offenders, teaching them proper nutrition and that diet was as important as a loving family environment to break the cycle of anti-social behaviour and re-offending.
“At Petford over the years we taught the kids self-respect and how to respect others and by teaching them horsemanship, fencing, cattle work and tidying up after themselves then cooking at night,” Mr Guest said.
“My late wife Norma made sure there was always a good meal after a day’s work and there was no need to rely on sugar hits from soft drinks or alcohol to keep going.”
Supporting Mr Guest were Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch and State Member for Hill Shane Knuth.
The former Member for Mulgrave Naomi Wilson was present and also backed Mr Guest’s strategy.
Attila Feher-Holan, the founder of the neighbourhood watch group Cairns Knights, chaired the meeting and was scathing of the four local Labor Party state politicians who did not show up.
“The disrespect shown to constituents by the Labor members has not gone unnoticed and I ask if they have any intention at all of stopping the terrible crime wave local people are experiencing,” Mr Feher-Holan said.
“I personally asked Cynthia Lui, Michael Healy, Craig Crawford and Curtis Pitt if they would attend a meeting to help fix this awful problem but only Michael Healy accepted then pulled out after the government discovered he was coming.”
Long-time Petford supporter Professor Ernest Hunter, formerly Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service and Adjunct Professor at James Cook University, explained how the Petford Program had been so successful.
“One can’t work without the other and Geoff Guest incorporated a strict health and diet regime with a remote location and did not rely on any pharmaceutical drugs or more conventional methods of rehabilitation,” Professor Hunter said.
Member for Kennedy Bob Katter told the meeting how he had sought advice from different Aboriginal groups when formulating his Relocation Sentencing policy which allows Magistrates to sentence young offenders to a remote rehabilitation facility instead of going to jail.
“What happens is amateur criminals go to detention or jail and come out as professionals,” Mr Katter said.
“Jail for young offenders is not the answer.”
Mr Guest said he had been asked by Innisfail and Townsville residents to stage further meetings because of the high crime rates in their communities.-contributed