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