Monday, September 13, 2010

Polling the neighbourhood, starting Monday 20th.

Time for a proper rant!

I am getting a little sick and tired of the people at The Cairns Post,, the CairnsBlog, any other blog (including mine!) assuming that they know what is best for the local population. It is irritating to think that most of us have a core group of about 200 people that we rely on for information, views, opinions and new directions. There are too many locals without a voice, who prefer to remain quiet and talk amongst their own group of friends and foes but don't have anyone in that group with a blog, so essentially, aren't being listened to or heard by those of us with the luxury of a written platform.

I am a card carrying member of the Labor Party. I support the Labor Party's core beliefs and am a strong advocate for them when I feel it is necessary. I also have no compunctions in giving the party a kick up the bum if I feel that is required instead. I pride myself on being able to see the merits in both sides of an argument and have found myself having meaningful debates with followers of the Liberal Party where we both came away better informed. The bulk of my friends outside the party are Liberal voters so if I did not have some measure of objectivity, I would lose my friends, my childrens friends and a pretty awesome support base I rely on when times are tough.

I live in Bentley Park. This means that the majority of my sounding boards are also from the southern corridor. Our views, our wants and our needs as a community are vastly different from those at the beaches or the city. I make an effort to reach out further than my own backyard but I know that this area is my passion so I am better positioned to advocate for this side of town than any other area.

It's time that the whole thing changed. It's time that the entire Cairns Region was 'polled' and we found out what the silent majority want for their home city. All of the media, in all of it's forms, are filled with the news that affects the noisy sectors of the communities, these are the lobbyists, the activists, the teachers, the student bodies and the journos. Most people do not fit into any of these categories, so who is listening to them?

Some of the comments I recieve on this blog or via Facebook and e-mail state that they have conversations with sectors of the community and their comment to me comprises of the results of those conversations. In effect, they are giving me the information and insights into THEIR groups of friends and foes. I currently have 1300 people visiting my blog per month. It's not much I know, but for a blog that's been running for three months, it's not bad either. Most of the comments I recieve are positive ones and those that aren't are always informative. This may not be the biggest blog or have the readership of a newspaper but I am going to do something different starting next Monday, the 20th September, and I am hoping that you will all spread the word so that this particular idea becomes beneficial to all of the region.

This week I am visiting the residents of Friendship Street in Bentley Park. I chose this street because I like the name and it suits the idea behind this. I will go to every house on this street, introduce myself and ask them to tell me a bit about themselves. Some might refuse, and that's their choice, but for those who don't, next Monday's blog will be about them. No names, no addresses (besides the street name) but THEIR views. They will be asked about the Cultural Precinct, the alternative with the football field, Sugarworld re-development, public housing, whether they have children or Grandchildren and what they would spend $50 on if someone handed it to them.

Every week I will choose another street, all in the southern parts of town. I will try to find out what every resident of my area wants, needs and hopes for. Will they use the Cultural Precinct? Will they use Sugarworld Slides? Would they object to public housing in their street and do they have an opinion on the one proposed for Palm Cove?

I will endeavour, by the time the next election is due, to visit as many streets as possible, get as many views as possible and to give a voice to the entire area. I strongly encourage those of you living on the North side of Cairns to find someone in your area, willing to donate some time to the cause, send the results to me, and I will get that information out there too. One person for each Division of Cairns would be great and if we can find them, I will give each one equal time and space on here. If I can figure out a way to fit it in, I will travel all over the place myself. Maybe between the few of us, we can make a real difference to Cairns future directions.

I think it's time we found out EXACTLY how many people want what's currently on offer and what the priorities of Cairns should be.

I will continue to write my own personal views as I have always done, I am too opinionated not to, but I would dearly love the support of you all on this blog, every Monday, starting next week.

I can't wait to see what the results will be. See you then!

(send information, submissions, questions and answers to )


  1. I love the sound of this, Leigh! Really looking forward to reading more about it. Perhaps the current councillors might avail themselves of this too. I know Kirsten Lesina (my councillor!) is out and about and talking to people, but what about the others?

  2. Good luck with this Leigh. I have done my own survey with people I know or meet. The demographics seem to determine what they want. Older people want the Cultural Centre, firstly the performing arts centre, followed by a museum. Children are only interested in the museum.
    Businesspeople see the benefits of having an upgraded convention facility capable of undertaking international conventions, then the football stadium. And young people 15-30 all want the football stadium!