Sunday, 1 May 2011



Dom (Dominic) Piper, the Division 7 Councillor, and his wife Margie sat side by side, sipping cold chardonnays, on their big leather lounge, watching the local evening news on their gigantic wall screen.

"He's a sociopath!" broke in Margie, angrily, as Cush spoke arrogantly down to the WIN television journalist.
Dom grunted.  The thought had occurred to him many times.  He also wondered if Horsey was one too.

"You can relocate a flying fox roost," Margie said, rising from the lounge, to get another chardonnay.
Dom didn't know this.  "Is that right?" he asked, handing out his glass for a refill.

"Melbourne and Sydney did," Margie replied.  "You can check it up on the internet yourself.  There isn't any need to kill the poor little creatures."

Dom thought he would do that, after dinner that night.  Might even have a side swipe at Cush over it, he thought as the third glass of chardonnary kicked in with a bit of courage.

"You know he's up to something," he told Margie as she sat down again.  "I see him and Horsey with their heads together a lot, and one day I just overheard Cush say something about Munro Martin Park.  He actually said, and I kid you not, "It's too good to sit there just being used by a bunch of alcos and deadbeats."

Margie widened her eyes in astonishment.  "Ohhhh nooo, not Munro Martin Park!"  She was aghast.
Dom nodded thoughtfully.
"Has anyone raised suspicions over the sale of that waterfront land?" she asked.  "Or has it all blown over now?"
"No-one, apart from Lovelady and Mingin," replied Dom shaking his head, thinking back a few months when a parcel of land right along the Cairns waterfront had been sold by the Council to a Hong Kong developer.  Apparently it was  THE parcel of land which Ports North had given to the Cairns Regional Council years ago and which the last Mayor, Val Schier, had designated as the site for an Entertainment Precinct.
The community had just gone ape-shit over the proposal, with many residents believing the Precinct would eventually be paid for by the ratepayers.  The architects had designed the precinct and the community were being asked for their ideas when there was a State Election.  The Government changed hands and next minute the new Premier demanded the $40 million State Government funding back.  "Brisbane and the South East corner need the money desperately for reconstruction," he said. 

So when Cush and his Team were campaigning, they campaigned heavily on the fact that they would not build any Entertainment Precinct, or any "cultural" precinct for that matter.  Cush made it plain that Council would not "squander money" to pander to the tastes of a few silverspoons.  The public loved it!  So the Government funding which was to have built a new performing arts theatre and a new regional museum was sent back to Brisbane.  Where it  quickly gurgled down the black hole called "re-building Brisbane" and was never seen again.  The people of Cairns were ecstatic, especially when the Premier announced that the $40 million had been "set aside for the new regional hospital to commence building at Edmonton in 2020."

Oh letters flowed into "The Cairns Post" praising the good sense of the Premier.  People phoned the local radio station full of admiration for the new Premier.  That the previous Labor Government had said the hospital would not commence until 2020 was forgotten in the rush to thank the new Premier for nothing.
Cush had laughed at that.  Proof, he thought, of how quickly people forget.

One of the very first things Cush did upon taking office of the Mayoralty was to set in motion the sale of that parcel of land.  "We need to get this city moving again!" he announced in a mkedia statement.  "A Hong Kong corporation is keen to build some high rise apartment block and a hotel on the spot.  We would be negligent as a Council with a deficit operating budget if we didn't sell the land and try and bring our accounts up to scratch. Besides we need to get those cranes back up in our skies! "
Everyone agreed with the Mayor.  It was the right thing to do.  No-one had wanted the bloody Entertainment Precinct anyway.  So the people sang Cush's praises all over again.  "The Cairns Post" called him a "no nonsense, practical man, instantly demonstrating the type of strong leadership Cairns had so
desperately wanted for so long."

What no-one knew was that the Hong Kong Corporation was fronted by Horsey's son-in-law, a dubious corporate criminal by the name of Kim LeeKee, who after acquiring the property for X number of million Australian dollars, then promptly sold it to another Hong Kong Corporation for X+3 million Australian dollars.  It was all legitimate too, under Hong Kong law.  Kim LeeKee had made Horsey, Cush, and two other Councillors half a million dollars each, keeping back one million for himself, all in the time space of a couple of hours on the internet sending emails.

Somehow though, Councillors Lovelady and Mingin were suspicious.  So, too, was Councillor Piper.
Although he couldn't finger it, he just had a gut feeling something awful was going on.


Cush sat at his favorite table at his favorite Esplanade dining spot, eating his plateful of fried bacon, eggs and sausages, washed down by a pot of hot black coffee.  On a side plate, sat several slices of thickly buttered toast.  Just what he always ate for breakfast these days!  His ex wife Joyce had given him meusli, fruit juice and fruit compotes for breakfast.  Never again!

He was feeling pretty upbeat and proud of himself as he read "The Cairns Post".  There was a story about the killing of the flying foxes, on page six.  It was only a few paragraphs, and "The Cairns Post" had done itself proud by publishing the usual photograph of Councillor Lovelady with all her hair blowing across her face.  Her mouth was open and these long strands of blonde hair had stuck to her tongue.  Cush laughed.  The Editor of "The Cairns Post" had once dubbed her "Lady Hairmouth" and occasionally referred to her as the "hairmouthed Councillor".  Cush thought that was very witty.  They published another photograph of Lovelady too, one where her long hair had caught up under her armpit, so that there was this huge bushy blonde thatch under her arm.  There had been a nice little caption below the photograph of the fashionability of hairy armpits for women.

"The Cairns Post" had published a good photograph of himself, looking very grave and quoted him as saying. "The flying foxes have proven very dangerous to tourists and residents alike.  Some people have been bitten and had to have rabies vaccinations.  As a city with a tourist reputation, we cannot allow this to happen."

They had quoted Lovelady as saying it was "barbaric, cruel and insensitive."

Cush turned over to find the Editorial.  His smile grew wider as he read.  It was top stuff, the Editor writing that .."the right decision has been made once again by His Worship the Mayor, Colonel Ken Cush.  He acted decisively and promptly to save the citizens and tourists of Cairns from random attacks by flying foxes who were known to carry awful diseases. "  Cush read on....."Colonel Cush has demonstrated again and again with his no nonsense sale of the waterfront land to a Hong Kong developer, his cessation of spending on bicycle lanes and on arts and welfare, that he is a strong leader driving Cairns in the right direction."

Cush leaned back and slurped on his coffee, looking again at his watch.  8.30am.  Plenty of time to saunter back to the Cairns Regional Council offices.  Suddenly he was aware of a small presence at his table.
He looked down to see a tiny head, with two large eyes, and a snotty crusty nose resting on his table top.
It was that awful little rugrat from yesterday!  The one who bawled out to him about the flying foxes.

Cush scowled at her.  The obnoxious little troll stood back, pointed her finger at him and screamed again, "Poor little flying fuckers!  You norty, you NORTY!"
Next minute the bald headed extraterrestrial arrived and grabbed the little girl and rushed off with her.
"Stop it Monsoon," he heard the bald headed one say.

As he walked slowly to the Council Offices in Spence Street, Cush wondered what sort of person would name their daughter "Monsoon".


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