Not a Referendum on the CEP, Election was about Val and everyone knows it!


I have been pondering the attitude that the election was a referendum on the CEP.  It was a small factor only. People tell me that the reasons that Val Schier didn’t get elected were:

  • Perception that she had been unable to “control” a council of “independents” and that the council was dysfunctional (this of course was not the truth but it’s all about perceptions created)
  • Belief that Bob Manning is an experienced  “businessman” and will have the skills to create more jobs, reduce unemployment, stimulate business etc
  • The perception that Val Schier was a:

Liar – “she said she wouldn’t put up rates and she did”; no-one wanted to know that every council in Qld had put up rates

Too “arty farty” and “green” and doesn’t understand about the economy.

Poor image created by the first two and a half years of Cairns Post anti-Val journalism and attacks by Gavin King right up til he resigned;  John Mackenzie’s campaign against her and council for 4 years; and in his “my say” commentary during his weekly channel 7 stint.

  • Undermining by Councillors who leaked to the Cairns Post and other media.  It wasn’t until Andrew Holman’s term as editor of the CP  – and professional journos like Brad Ryan and Daniel Strudwick were employed that there was fair reporting – that he created a culture that stopped the trivial tit for tat leaks that had been a feature of the first couple of years
  • Some misogyny: “we’ve got rid of Anna Bligh, we’ll get rid of Val Schier and then we’ll get rid of Gillard;” “we’ve given women a chance and they’ve blown it.”
  • Some anti-Labor sentiment; “Val Schier’s a Labor lackey”
  • Global (Greece, the EU, the States) and national FEAR  about the economy and finances; this drives people back to conservatives and stability. They think that “back to basics” is the way to go and are afraid of “vision”
  • Fear also generated by the CEP: “We don’t need it and we can’t afford it;”  “ It’s going to break the council”
  • Amalgamation.  Bill Shannon was one of only 3 mayors of amalgamated councils across the state who survived.  Brad Carter in Rockhampton and Peter Taylor – a conservative – in Toowoomba each got only 15% of the vote and there weren’t any CEPs in sight there
  • Votes against incumbents: the majority of sitting mayors were defeated and they didn’t have CEPs either.

Val didn’t have a snowflakes chance in hell of winning and the Cairns Entertainment Precinct had very little to do with it!

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