Redland City Mayor Karen Williams recently attacked Redlands2030 in comments on her website. We don’t mind being attacked but we object to her making false and misleading accusations.
In her diatribe she called us the “Mean Team”. Students of Australian swimming history would know that a similar label, ‘The Mean Machine’ was given to the mens 4X100 relay team at the 1982 Commonwealth Games, and many other successful Australian swimming teams since.
It’s fairly certain that the Mayor wasn’t commenting on our swimming abilities, since the rest of her article was a major dummy spit.
We don’t mind if the Mayor attacks Redlands2030
We are not a political party and we don’t have members who are candidates for elected office. We are a small community group promoting community engagement in government decision making. Redlands2030 operates a website, facebook page and email newsletter publishing fact based reports and making editorial comment.
Unlike many Facebook pages which comment on Redlands local politics, Redlands2030 has always been upfront about who we are and and what we are doing. For many weeks, we met with people at the Cleveland markets.
We think that it’s important for political discussion to be based on evidence, on telling the truth. When we detect spin, myths and self serving nonsense, we try to find out what’s really going on. We have been critical of many aspects of Mayor Williams’ administration. It seems she doesn’t take kindly to criticism, from us or anyone else.
We don’t care if the Mayor or any other politician attacks Redlands2030. It’s what happens in a political democracy.
But we expect her to tell the truth
Although we think that “shoot the messenger” is juvenile behaviour indicating poor judgement, we accept that it is part of the rough and tumble of political discourse.
What we won’t accept is when the Mayor tries to attack us with information that is obviously untrue. In her recent diatribe she made two statements, deliberately or recklessly, about Redlands2030 which we know to be untrue – unacceptable behaviour for a person occupying political office. These falsehoods are detailed below.
Redlands2030 acted responsibly by asking the Mayor to rectify her publication of these falsehoods. We also referred our complaint about the Mayor’s unacceptable conduct to the Redland City Council in accordance with Council procedures.
Because the Mayor chose to make these misleading statements publicly, and has not rectified her inappropriate actions, we are now publishing our referral to Council to ensure that the community is appropriately informed.
This is not the first time that the Mayor has attempted to mislead the community.
The Development Industry Reference Group
One of her Council’s initiatives was to set up a secretive forum for a select group of local property developers and consultants to interface with the Council: the now infamous Development Industry Reference Group (DIRG).
At first the Council attempted to deny that this group existed. When the cat was out of the bag, the Mayor stridently stated on many occasions that DIRG was “completely operational”.
Eventually, the DIRG minutes obtained through a Right to Information Request showed that the Mayor had, on many occasions, been misleading the community about the nature of discussions between developers and senior council officers.
These discussions were clearly not limited to “operational matters”. They included subjects like the Draft City Plan, the South East Queensland Regional Plan and various planning studies that could influence rezonings.
More information about our investigation of the DIRG, and the Mayor’s misleading statements that the DIRG was “COMPLETELY operational”, is set out in Redland2030’s detailed report.
Mayor Karen Williams cannot be trusted to tell the truth
The Mayor’s recent attack on Redlands2030, based on false accusations, is deceitful. Her untrue statements about the DIRG being “completely operational” were deceitful. The Mayor has been running up a trust deficit.
We suggest that anything which the Mayor says, of a politically self serving nature, should be carefully fact checked.
Redlands2030 complaint about the conduct or performance of Councillor Karen Williams
Here is the text of a complaint referred by Redlands2030 Inc. to Redland City Council on 18 February 2016
The complaint is that Cr Williams has:
• Not complied with the Policy Code of conduct for councillors, specifically item 3.3 which requires that councillors “commit to honest, fair and respectful engagement with the community”.
• Not complied with Council’s social media guidelines which require councillors to “Ensure that all content published is accurate and not misleading”
The basis of the complaint is that Cr Williams has published statements in a recent blog post which are untrue, are damaging to Redlands2030 and have the effect of significantly misleading the community about important matters during an election period.
Here is a link to the blog post which is the cause of this complaint:
Details of the untruths in the blog post are set out in the email below which was sent to Ms Williams yesterday.
To date I have not received any response from Cr Williams.
Since it is possible that she may correct or delete her blog post, I attach screen shots of relevant parts to ensure that you can properly assess this complaint.
I suggest that a record of this offending material be promptly created by Council as part of the investigation into this complaint.
In view of the fact that we are in an election period I request that this complaint be attended to as expeditiously as possible.
I note that Redlands2030 may also refer this matter to the District Returning Officer regarding potential breaches of the Local Government Electoral Act 2011.
Secretary Redlands2030 Inc.
Redlands2030 email to Mayor Karen Williams
Here is the text of an email sent from Redlands2030 to Mayor Williams on 17 February:
The blog post which you published on 16 February titled “Redlands 2030 – The Mean Team” contains statements which are untrue, are damaging to Redlands2030 and have the effect of significantly misleading the community about important matters during an election period.
On behalf of Redlands2030 I require that you:
• Amend your blog post to remove the untruthful statements.
• Publish a retraction and apology on your website and anywhere else where you have posted the original blog post e.g. your Facebook page.
Details of two significant falsehoods in your blog post are detailed below
1. The purported Redlands2030 ‘team ticket’
In your blog post you state:
“Even more enlightening is the leaked Redlands 2030 team ticket about to land in your letterboxes produced by Team Redland 2030 and pictured below.“
On behalf of Redlands2030 Inc. I can advise you categorically that the item which you pictured was not prepared by or at the behest of or on behalf of Redlands2030.
The pictured document is nothing to do with Redlands2030 and we were unaware of its existence until you published it on your website.
You will note that the item which you have pictured and described as a “Redlands2030 team ticket” does not include any logo or other material identifying it as a document published by Redlands2030.
A prudent person would have undertaken some fact checking to see if Redlands2030 was responsible for the production of this document.
By saying that it is “the leaked Redlands2030 team ticket” you have acted recklessly or deliberately to mislead the Redlands community during an election period.
It may be the case that your actions have contravened provisions of the Local Government Electoral Act’s e.g. section 182 Misleading Voters.
2. Access to a database generated by Redland City Council
In your blog post you state:
“In addition, they now seem to have underhandedly been given access to a database generated by Redland City Council and funded by ratepayers to drive unsolicited emails with unsubstantiated misinformation through the community.”
I can categorically advise you that Redlands2030 has not been given access to any Redland City Council database of email addresses, underhandedly or in any other way.
As well as being factually incorrect your statement casts unwarranted aspersions on the character of many people associated with Redland City Council (present and past).
It is a second instance, in the same blog post, where you have acted recklessly or deliberately to mislead the community by making an untrue statement.
Redlands2030 understands that you are unhappy with the focus that Redlands2030 has placed upon your administration and that you make seek to make comments about us in an attempt to promote your political aspirations.
However, you must not publish information about Redlands2030 which is false.
We look forward to your prompt response, rectifying the damage that you have caused by publishing these falsehoods.
Secretary Redlands2030 Inc.
Let’s correct the record about Tom Taranto
Tom Taranto was a founding member of Redlands2030. He decided to nominate as a candidate for Division 2 Cleveland and North Stradbroke Island. It is his democratic right to do so. However, before nominating as a candidate, he resigned his membership of Redlands2030 to ensure that there could be no perception of any conflict of interest between his political aspirations and Redlands2030’s editorial policies.