The Williams Team, it ain’t easy being independent, and murky media matters

Mayor Williams: rounding up her preferred candidates

Mayor Williams: rounding up her preferred candidates

James Harling, opposing Councillor Lance Hewlett in Division 4, is the candidate we had to have.

The Mayor’s supporters would never have allowed Mr. Hewlett, one of her real pains in the neck, to scoot back into his chair in the chamber unopposed.

Whether they chose Mr. Harling, or he chose them, hardly matters. This election will produce eleven councillors – and the main difference between them will be whether they are – or are not – on the Mayor’s Team.

The Williams Team

Paul Gleeson

Paul Gleeson

Mr. Harling appears to have already gained the Williams seal of approval (yellow belt) with his warm welcome to the campaign from one of the Mayor’s hardest-hitting keyboard warriors, Paul Gleeson, the councillor for Capalaba. Mr. Gleeson posted a pic of a Vote Harling tee-shirt, with the commendation ‘Victoria Point gets an upgrade.’ Whether Hewlett to Harling counts as an upgrade remains to be debated.

But Mr. Gleeson has at least revealed one more candidate’s alliance. And what about the rest? Surely we have a right to know all candidates’ political, personal and business affiliations, well before the election, especially the new faces standing for the first time.

We’ll get a better idea if Karen Williams repeats the tactic she used in her sweep to power in 2012. She declared that she led a team, who’d been identified as agreeing with her Back To Basics policies. Candidates whom she named and famed on this highly-publicised team gained immediate electoral kudos. Several won their Divisions.

But those councillors Williams wanted out – needed out, if she was to control the Council – found themselves staring out of billboards and flyers with crosses stamped on their faces and demands they be exterminated at the polling booths. Enough were, to deliver the Mayor the majority she needed. Ugly, but effective.

It ain’t easy being independent

Karyn Owen

Karyn Owen

This time around the same scenario will likely unfold. Already, some of the wannabes are trying to straddle the impossible divide – presenting themselves as genuine neighbourhood independents, untouched by bias or favouritism – oh, except they can’t wait to help the Mayor give her opponents in the chamber a good kicking, by being there for her whenever there’s a vote.

Division 3 hopeful, Karyn Owen (above) appears to have belly-flopped at her first attempt to hurdle this contradiction.

Ms Owen is proudly independent- aren’t they all – but on her Facebook page she eagerly on-posts the Mayor’s blogs and comments, Paul Gleeson is finding a lot to Like, and Ms. Owen has promised to fight what she describes as the “strong block of five councillors” who regularly oppose the Mayor. It’s hard to imagine a clearer undertaking to support Karen Williams and her team in the Council chamber.

But when Redland City Bulletin journalist, Judith Kerr, followed the logic and described her as a Karen William’s supporter, she was lashed by a very cross Ms. Owen for “sensationalistic unprofessional journalism”. Whew! I guess that’s shorthand for ‘how dare you accuse me of being a Williams supporter, when all the evidence suggests I am?”

Ms. Owen blazed on to show she was no slouch in the “sensationalistic” stakes herself, by demanding Ms. Kerr be sacked from her newspaper job, and/or banished from the council chambers. It was a dumb call on several levels.

It was never going to happen. Judith Kerr is a savvy, professional reporter of politics in this city. No one else has her combination of local knowledge and contacts, and the access to the major players her influence commands. One paragraph in The Bulletin has more reach and impact than a hundred pages of Facebook invective. It’s trusted as an independent source, but to keep that reputation through an election cycle, Ms. Kerr must seen to be given the editorial support she needs to tell us what the hell is going on.

Murky media matters

If Ms Owen is really looking for something in the media to worry about, with a lower degree of difficulty, she should check out a Redlands online news startup that’s hit town just in time to weigh in on election issues. A complete coincidence, of course.

Garry Hargrave and Karen Williams

Chamber of Commerce President Garry Hargrave and Mayor Karen Williams

It’s called RedlandPlusMore and it’s a joint venture between TouchPoint Media and the Redland City Chamber of Commerce. So what? Well, the president of the Chamber, Garry Hargrave, is a truly great friend of Mayor Williams, and a very public supporter of her political career. This is not a photo of two people who loath each other ……

We must hope that the journalism on RedlandPlusMore is not influenced by the Hargrave-Williams connection. How will RedlandPlusMore handle divisive issues like the huge Shoreline housing development on Redland Bay? Mayor Williams is Shoreline’s champion in Council. Garry Hargrave is Principal of Shoreline Redlands Pty Ltd.

There are faintly ominous signs that the gang at TouchPoint Media, who, let’s be fair, need to make a buck out of what they publish, may already see things much as the Chamber president, and the Mayor, would want them to be seen. Mark Millar seems to do the journalism and PR, and Laurie Ward handles the web marketing. Laurie is deeply impressed by Mark’s skills, and recounts how Mark cleverly neutralised a situation with echoes of Shoreline – pesky locals dumping on Council and business.

Ungrateful residents at Mt. Cotton were trying to stop a super-furnace being built near their homes, to burn chicken waste for electricity. Not only did the residents fail to see what a wondrous plus the furnace would be, writes Laurie, they “were creating issues that were slowing down the process and endangering the successful launch of the project. The information that they were issuing was patently false and misleading but in the absence of any positive PR, it was the only voice and the scare campaign was working.

Mark set about planning an intensive campaign (that)… resulted in the project being approved by the courts, and was signed off by all government departments, with letters of endorsement from federal and local ministers. Just as importantly, the campaign informed the local community about the truth of the project and gave them peace of mind.

That’s a great result and one that Mark and everyone in Redland City can be proud of.

Except, it wasn’t a great result. No government has signed off on anything. That the courts approved the project is nonsense, and suggesting that Mark’s prowess won over the judges, is probably contemptuous of the court. After 10 years of legal wrangling, hundreds of citizen objections, negative council reports, and extension after extension, the bio-mass power plant remains over the horizon. It runs out of options, again, on 20th September this year. And no, the protestors haven’t retreated an inch.

TouchPoint is free to go about its business and write what it wants, but if you read RedlandPlusMore, bear in mind that its written by a PR business that worked hard to discredit a group of Redlands citizens who were trying to protect their patch of the city.

And it’s published in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, lead by a President who, we can be pretty sure, is just as enthusiastic about a Karen Williams victory this time round as he was in 2012.


Peter Wear – 21st January 2016

First published on Coochiemudlo Decides. Peter Wear is a resident of Coochiemudlo in Division 4.


Republished by Redlands2030 – 7 February 2016

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12 thoughts on “The Williams Team, it ain’t easy being independent, and murky media matters

  1. Paul Golle seems to have jumped in hard on Martha.Is he prepared to catagorically state that he is not aligned with the Williams team and under take to resign if subsequently is shown to so be

  2. I think it’s time to state my position and why I am running for council. First of all I am standing for the residents and citizens of Division 3 as an impartial advocate. I am devoid of any contributions or donations from developers or factional elements. Do not ask me to pick a side in relation to a councillor holding the title of Mayor.
    I do not answer to a Mayor, I answer to the 10000 residents of the Division I am standing for.
    I have a vast array of qualifications and have been in both the private and government sectors of which yes one is the military. More recently I was involved with international projects of training and sustaining environmental outcomes that allow societies to thrive out of long term conflict and I am currently enrolled in Law School.
    Division 3 has been in my view unrepresented due to the interaction and stacking of that division by local members from the Federal Government in 2012. Those influences in my opinion, only wish to manipulate the outcomes of council in order to sustain the status quo of continuing urban sprawl and small lot housing. This influence has generated an apathetic approach to governance and has shown individuals holding the position of councillor to be lax in their approach.
    In my view this is still continuing in Division 3, with two candidates closely associated to the Federal member and current council faction, claiming to be independent and have a clear agenda of supporting the current regime of delusional decisions, which will see the Redlands as another sleeper suburb, complete with dangerous environmental impacts and social structures, that are not within the scope of what we the people desire for the Redlands.
    I am not a member of any political organisation and I am not transiting anywhere as suggested by those with a vested interest in running a smear campaign.
    It is my goal as an independent candidate to stand for the people and take their positions to the table of council, in order to produce the best possible outcomes and service for div 3 and the people of the Redlands, based on close community consultation.
    I am but one vote out of 10 possible votes and those votes cannot be tainted by agendas or outside influence that reflect a connection to a few who feel using the Redlands as their own private monopoly game, is the best way to preserve our life style and environment.
    I do not support small lot development and do not see the need for more and more rental properties in the area, supported by high density dwellings.
    I have watched the area become a sprawling mass of housing estates, while local business diminishes and have some very simple strategies and ideas to enhance our local business, without damage to the environment, but will provide an immediate cash injection into the local economy.
    Toondah Harbour needs to be protected, at the same time provided with a makeover that does not see the natural environment affected in such a way, that it changes the ecosystem in place and kills off the already thriving life that inhabits the area.
    The Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
    Right now the factions within are quite prepared to mitigate these treaties and allow the degradation of the local environment in order to sustain unneeded residential apartments at the cost of an ecosystem that will be lost forever.
    Division 3 deserves competent representation. The residents pay for a service and to have a representative at the table of local government, which is free of factional undertakings.
    I have proven leadership and advocacy abilities and will do my job within the legislative requirements.

    Paul Gollè Candidate for Division 3

  3. Yes, what does “independent” mean?
    Alan Beard, candidate for Division 8, declares on his mail out that he is an “Independent” candidate – no political party ties, entirely self-funded.
    But not independent of Mayor Williams?
    Four years of supporting Mayor Williams does not sound like representing the interests of residents.
    But there’s a punch line:
    Mr Beard says: “I will work with Mayor Karen Williams to reduce traffic congestion in Redland City.”

  4. Mr Golle seems to wearing more than his share of scuttlebutt….he must have upset someone (or two).

    But the put down for Karen Owen is a clever. Her allegation about Judith Kerr deserved the retort .

    Whew! I guess that’s shorthand for ‘how dare you accuse me of being a Williams supporter, when all the evidence suggests I am?”

    Great satire, should be more of it. But the responses usually come through Facebook. Lets get back to that.

  5. and let’s not forget Peter Mitchell who has the warm support of Ms Williams to get rid of that pesky Craig Oglivie who keeps putting up community based propositions and queries

  6. FYI,
    This is from the UK Government Agency Data, which was available to Redland MPs and Redland City Councillors when they voted for the Mt Cotton Biomass, The Williams six all approved it.
    Air Emissions Data for the 3 poultry plants in the UK, this is what comes out in the air, CADMIUM,CARBON MONOXCIDE, CHROMIUM,LEAD,MERCURY,NICKEL,DIOXINS,HYDROGEN CHLORIDE,NITROGEN OXIDES and COPPER. Now who do you believe? The British Governments EPA or some local MPs and Councillors who try to tell the people that all that came out of the plant was a little Ash at the bottom and clean steam out the chimney. If they cannot look after the Redlands population, Vote them out, you know who they are.

  7. Re: The Williams Team, it ain’t easy being independent, and murky media matters article.

    I heartily agree that the election is murky already. Today I did some research into the candidates for Div 3 and I am very worried. It seems that at least 3 of the candidates are Karen Williams supporters Penny Donald [Andrew Lamings office manager so has to support the current Mayor]; Paul Golle who seems to be in the Williams camp even though he protests his independence and then we have Ms Karen Owens who is also definitely in Ms Williams camp.

    That leaves us with Ms Hardman. I had a look at her voting record on Council but the excel sheet was simply too difficult to understand. I originally looked at attending the debate but when I read a little more on both Golle and Williams I decided to keep my $45 in my coffers to help pay for a removalist should this be needed rather than be used to support the election of either candidate.

    Perhaps this forum could precise the sitting Councillors voting record?

    I have been so looking forward to this election but now not sure where to turn.

    • Good evening Martha
      1. Who told you I was in the Williams Team/camp?
      2. I am happy to discuss the issues you have raised.
      3. I am not in the Williams camp as you have described and I would appreciate being contacted first before broadcasting who I am allegedly aligned with in an open forum, truth is I am aligned to no one and I am ready to stand as an advocate for the Redlands and more importantly Division 3.
      Paul Gollè Candidiate.

    • As far as I know, Kim Hardman isn’t standing for re-election. I certainly haven’t seen any signs. So that leaves us with:
      Ms Owen, who has, as seen above, been outed as a Williamsista
      Ms Donald, who hardly needs to be outed as a Williamsista, given that she will be a proxy for Andrew Laming
      Mr Golle, who is an unknown quantity and would appear to be the default candidate for anyone concerned about the ethics of the controlling bloc. I have heard the allegations that he will be an absentee and is/has been associated with the LNP, but he has denied both and that may well be mischievous scuttlebutt.

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