Election Ripples: the women speaking out against the ‘boy’s club’ myth

One of the more powerful injections into the Noosa election campaign this week came from a group of accomplished local women calling themselves ‘Team Frank’.

Yes, it was clear who they were barracking for, but this was a heartfelt call for a higher standard of political discourse in Noosa.  And it was what some would consider a long-overdue response to the slow, venomous drip from ‘the usual suspects’ that has spun the narrative that whenever the Council ‘blokes’ vote for the environment, or the Town Plan or to curb STA it is part of some sort of sinister “boy’s club”.   

This narrative, spread by a handful of candidates and a small platoon of trolls depicts the ‘blokes’ as bullying and intimidating in the course of Council debates which are clearly and objectively (to those who actually watch) routine and respectful differences of opinion.

“Differences of opinion and open debate help form quality policy. When debate is shut down out of fear, personal attack or legal threats, Noosa Chamber is no longer operating in a democratic environment. Residents are the losers when debate is stifled using gender-based claims.”

Trish.  Team Frank.

Another of the team refers to the deeper damage this false narrative can do.

“Everyone on our team has daughters (and in some cases, granddaughters) learning from us. What do they learn when disagreements become false claims of bullying? Strong women should model fair debate, not baseless accusations. When such claims silence discussion, it harms our community and deeply affects those accused and their families. Let’s lead by example.”

Kerry. Team Frank.

The letter goes on to make a case – based on voting – to suggest the men in Council have far stronger records in the last two terms for environment issues, defending the Noosa Plan and trying to contain the spread of STA.

Read the full letter from Team Frank here.

(Disclosure: One of the ‘team Frank’ members is a contributor to Noosa Matters)

Candidate forums.  The good, the bad and the ugly

Elsewhere in Noosa Matters we have reported on the extraordinary political intervention in the local campaign by the shire’s biggest lobby group, Tourism Noosa.  Before attending their upcoming members-only forum at The Boathouse on February 27th, candidates have been asked to answer some heavily loaded questions demanding, in essence, that they either support Council’s annual $2.5 million payment to Tourism Noosa or otherwise explain why not – and incur the wrath of their members.

Last week, we reported on the Noosa Chamber of Commerce which is also organising a candidates’ forum at The J on February 28th, while at the same time the chamber’s leadership is openly promoting one mayoral candidate and appearing more and more like a sub-branch of the LNP.

But wait, there’s more.  The most outlandish attempt at a forum was put together by a group of conspiracy theorists and Sovereign Citizens who want to stage a “Sunday Roast” of candidates AND make them pay for the privilege.  This strange event was to be staged at Tewantin State School on February 25th, until someone in the Education Department twigged to what was about to happen and pulled the plug.  

At last report this sideshow alley event was shifted to the Tinbeerwah Hall. What will be interesting, if it does go ahead, is whether any candidates agree to the demand that they first “qualify” by answering a bizarre set of questions such as;

  • “Do you support democracy and the Australian Constitution Act 1901?” and 
  • “Will you demand council perform proper due diligence on climate change science or stay out of the climate agenda until it is?”  

We look forward to seeing which candidates, if any, support this fringe group by attending.

And the ‘good’?  Well, there is one that may fit this description – planned by the Cooroy Chamber of Commerce at the Cooroy Memorial Hall on February 22nd.  It’s the only forum that looks genuinely apolitical, rather than an ambush for unsuspecting candidates.

Encroachment for sale

Just weeks before the election, Eastern beach locals have had a graphic reminder of the Encroachment issue which has been bubbling away for some time.

This Peregian Beach house has just sold – reportedly for a cool $8-million, although we can’t confirm that – along with, well, almost unbelievable ocean views for a house tucked in behind the dunes.  

Peregian, Marcus and Sunshine Beach are all ‘ground zero’ of the battle over encroachment on the public, Council-controlled, dune reserve.  In Sunshine Beach it’s the dress circle owners constructing stairways through the fragile dune system.  Further South it’s the rampant problem of owners destroying native vegetation and extending lawns into the dune, and of course – carving themselves that million-dollar view.

Noosa Council has a new encroachment policy that promises action on new and ongoing destruction, with education and encouragement for those who’ve been doing it for years, followed by stronger action if that doesn’t work. 

How seriously the new Council takes this issue will be a test of whether it’s prepared to get serious on environment protection and take on the well-heeled dune-destroyers along our beaches.

Coincidentally, next Friday this vexing issue is the subject of Noosa Parks Association’s Friday Forum at Wallace House, when well-known bushcare battler Jude Tulloch of the Marcus Beach Bushcare Association will talk about the challenge of getting the new Council to take encroachment seriously.


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