Coastal Sun February 21st 2002 – I’m Not a Liar! Says Sun Reporter / Answering Olive / Cold Comfort?

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I’m Not a Liar! says Sun Reporter

Last week the Sun reported an interview between Brett Mason and the NSW Premier, Bob Carr. Mr Carr stated that the charcoal plant was going ahead. 2EC, the local radio station reported on Monday that Mr. Carr did not recall speaking with the media. (Eurobodalla Sun reporter Brett Mason) The Sun questioned Brett about the incident. “I am very upset that the Premier does not appear to recall my interview. I would hate people, especially in Batemans Bay to think that I lied. This is exactly what happened.

“Rodney Morley, local charcoal plant supporter, and I were at Circular Quay with about 20 other Eurobodalla fire-fighters, when we noticed the Premier walking through the crowd. I decided to approach him and ask him about the charcoal plant. Rodney came with me as he wanted to tell the Premier of his support.

“I was wearing a large, clear press pass on my shirt that included the name of my paper and my photo. I introduced myself as Brett Mason from the Eurobodalla Sun.

“The Premier replied, ‘Pleased to meet you’, then Rodney introduced himself and began speaking about the plant. As they spoke, I made no secret of the fact that I was recording the conversation on my notepad.

“The Premier clearly stated that he had spoken to council.

“After Rodney finished, I asked them for a photograph. The Premier shook Rodney’s hand and congratulated him on being ‘very mature’ about the debate. They posed for several photographs then Rodney departed.

“I then asked the Premier about the rumoured political motivation behind the Lithgow smelter as reported in the paper. He humphed that the rumours were absurd. I was in the middle of another question when the television cameras appeared and the Premier moved away.”

Brett re-interviewed Rodney on February 14 and again on February 18. On both occasions Rodney stated that the Sun article was correct.

February 14:
Brett asked, “Rodney, will you confirm that the article in the Sun was correct.”

Rodney replied, “Yes that’s right he said it’s a done deal. The quotes were right.”

February 18:
Brett said, “I have just heard the Premier say that he did not speak any media about the charcoal issue. This means he thinks the quotes are untrue. Rodney replied “That’s what I heard him say and what you heard him say. That’s what the Premier said – ‘it’s going through don’t you worry about it.’ That’s what he said.”

Editor’s Note:
During his months with the paper, Brett learned the ‘rules’ of reporting from our award winning Senior Editor, Jim Baker. Brett recorded all conversations, including the quotes in his notebook, exactly as they were spoken.

Brett also rang the Sun during the parade after his scoop and reported it word for word. He may be a junior reporter but he understands the necessity of recording only the facts, without embellishment.

Premier Carr must have had a momentary lapse in memory due to the excitement of the day.

Letters to the Editor

Answering Olive

The Editor

Yesterday at council, Olive Moriarity questioned the validity of the Charcoalition, one of the many groups and organizations around NSW protesting against the charcoal factory.

Charcoalition is a sub-committee of the Coastwatchers Association Inc. Coastwatchers has a $10 million public liability insurance policy.

Charcoalition is not however the only body protesting this monstrosity in Mogo, either by rallying or making submissions against the EIS.

Shellharbour Council, The ACT government, the Eurobodalla Shire Council, the Greens, the Longbeach Association, The Mossy Point Community Association, the Broulee Community Association, The Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Board – the list is too long to number and growing daily.

We are an association that respects the people’s right to speak out against inappropriate development. We also respect the people’s right to speak for a development. In fact, it is on record in our minutes that Cr Dance, who has consistently said he was pro the factory, should be respected even if we don’t agree with him, however this respect took a nose-dive after he used an obscene gesture to make a point.

Our research was done by scholars, educated beyond tertiary level in the parts of the EIS that was appropriate to their respective fields. We were well aware that one must stick to the facts without resorting to untruths or the submissions would have no validity.

We would respect you as well Olive, if we thought that you had researched the topic thoroughly and understood all the issues. The job figures, you often quote, have been challenged by Eurobodalla Shire Council among many others.

N Ford
Mossy Point

Cold comfort?

The Editor

It must come as a source of great comfort to the electorate of the Shire that David Laugher no longer wishes to represent them. I should imagine the feeling is mutual. If he won¹t resign forwith he should be removed from office until he has gained at least some comprehension of the true role of a local councillor. He might start by learning the basics of drafting a motion – without consistently making infantile mistakes.

Interested voters might like to organise a petition urging the Minister of Local Government to remove this man from office.

It must also be remembered that Councillor Green who addressed the electorate as ‘rabble’ was not elected by popular vote. Having gained fewer votes than other more worthy candidates she was ‘co-opted’ onto the council by preference votes to bolster the (late) mayor.

The antics of Dance, although of questionable taste, do not damage his position as a councillor. However the electorate might well return his gesture in kind should he have the temerity to stand at the next election. Finally the Mayor Peter Cairney is quite at liberty to ignore the vote taken to muzzle him. It holds no weight in common law. At best it will provide a chuckle at the confused naivety of the five who so foolishly made their whingeing a matter of public record.

Freedom of speech is a democratic right and this country with its allies fought two world wars to ensure its continuance. The foolish five must allow the same courtesy to the duly elected Mayor as they stridently demand for themselves.

While we the electorate of course retain the right to laugh at their simpleton antics.

Max Tickner


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