My version of how Council & others oversaw the demise of Griffith

It was way back on 21st August 2014 that our research group started to make contact with Council to try to make meaningful contact with Barnaby Joyce. We had seen the skeletons of Valencia orange trees and were aware of the cancerous properties of the replacement orange concentrate with no Vitamin C and no antioxidants. We have hundreds of signatures on a petition.

We were looking for leadership in the community and selected the Mayor and Paul Pierotti as two of the strongest contenders. We sent this letter to the Mayor:

Peter is in hospital in Leeton and Jean is in Canberra for treatment. I would like a meeting with you and Paul Pierotti separately or together. We feel that we have reached a very promising stage but we want to get Council and the Business group actively on side as opposed being  somewhat interested in our agenda.

Our plan was inspired by our memories of Government action to save us during World War II. Price control was one measure for promoting stability in f difficult times.

Our two part plan to save the Valencia orange industry has evolved to its final format. Initially our plan was for legislation to ensure that Valencia farmers are paid $350.00 per tonne (or other agreed amount) by juice manufacturers indexed to CPI. One of our associates advised that if fertiliser, fuel and other farm inputs rise well above CPI the benefits to the farmer would be lost . We now call for legislation for parity pricing for oranges which are to be used for juice manufacture. This would have a Government  authority adjust the parity pricing based on farm inputs.

The other part of our plan is for at least an additional 200,000 tonnes per year of Valencia oranges per annum. We then project that if the contamination problem (customers being concerned that juice marked as ‘Australian made’ can be predominantly contaminated) there could be at least a 12% increase per year in farmer income.

The other aspect is that the increase to the farmers has at least a 3:1 community factor.

We look for assistance with :

  1. Warren Truss who is overdue from responding to the letter presented at a public meeting on 27th July 2013.
  2. Barnaby Joyce   to discuss  the four page letter he sent me.
  3. A critique of this plan

At the meeting there no  discussion on  even one word of our plan. Paul made comments that the Business Chamber is not political and then later he even stood as a Senate candidate for Australian Liberty Alliance. Another  comment was that if I was 20 years younger that I could have made a difference.

I told them that in my decades at meetings as an engineer and as a consultant in four countries that I had  never been involved in such an ineffective meeting.

The next day I called for a meeting with the Mayor. After a very frosty start we then had a very effective meeting where he agreed - based on  item C4  of the Community Strategic Plan - to arrange for meetings with Barnaby Joyce, Warren Truss and two others.

Weeks passed and then in the ‘Area News’ there was a picture of the Mayor, Barnaby Joyce and Michael  McCormack. I sent a message to the Mayor and his response was memorable. He asked me to take his name from my email list.

Much earlier than that Griffith City Councillor John Dal Broi in the ’Area News’ of  2nd March 2001 ‘had made an impassioned plea  on behalf of the local citrus industry, calling for help from Prime Minister John Howard to save it from disaster.

‘He said there is currently a 4% tariff on Brazilian frozen orange concentrate coming into Australia, while if Australians ever wanted to export to Brazil they would pay 47 per cent.’

I was desperate to keep faith with the hundreds who had signed our petition. I became aware of the two people – Greg Lawrence and Nicola  James - who were in the Council’s Economic Development group. They had been talking up Griffith’s manufacturing employing more people than those employed on Valencia orange family farms. Greg had the embarrassing job of advising that it was an unfortunate error that he had omitted to include citrus growers as a group who were featured in the development of Griffith.

Greg advised that it was not in his scope to discuss the damage caused to the Valencia orange industry  by the importing of much cheaper but  cancerous orange concentrate from Brazil.

His assistant Nicola James gave me an insight into the portion of Council which interests me.

‘Council’s Economic Development unit has its own set of KPIs, projects and external KPIs relating to certain funding obligations and programs that we abide by. We do not have the resources, capacity or the capability to undertake or participate in your ‘Parity Pricing for Valencia Growers ‘ program. We are facilitators and have limited capacity to lobby – this is largely done by our senior managers and elected members and is usually a direct result of a Council decision.’

Nicola must have learned something from the Mayor when she added:

‘I understand your passion and drive to help those who have signed your petition….I would very much appreciate you taking me and Greg off your email list.’

The Mayor likes (is it solidarity?) and insists that all councillors only respond as he directs them to.

The only councillor who was prepared to respond was following an interview I was granted with an FM Radio Station. I believe in free speech and my right to debate with elected members of any of the three tiers of Government. The manager and I disagreed and when he said that the station was sponsoring – in conjunction with the Business Chamber - a convenor who is a councillor and they all prohibit debate it proved to our research group a very unfortunate situation which seems to exist in Griffith.

The council member did email me and I am able to spread this into various media outlets (except  local FM):

The convener emailed me these examples of what I consider to be hypocrisy:

‘If you wish to exercise your democratic right and not attend that is up to you. I am not as gutless as those who will not respond to debate challenges

‘   as you strive to join the so called establishment.  I am writing a book 'The Failure of the Australian Establishment'  - the last thing I want to do is to join them. 

‘Stop launching at people and stand up and be counted. I have stood up to be counted and  challenged him to a debate but as expected he  is gutless.

‘Your persistence in seeking a debate is tiresome.’ That is a gem worth repeating in Social Media and other media (except FM radio). 

Shireen, I am seeking to learn by baby steps, first, how I can access your amended system to involve Niall Blair directly in a debate which I hope to have with Austin Evans with the subject of ‘Ban importation of cancerous orange concentrate.’

The office of the previous Premier sent two emails to Niall Blair and to me calling for meaningful discussions on this subject. Niall has never made contact. It is my belief that a person with the title of Deputy Director General DPI Agriculture wanted to become a  hero by answering me on behalf of Niall Blair. At the start I had to wait until ‘in due course.’ Once the going got tough he said something which I   received in a similar vein from the Mayor of Griffith:

‘Should you raise the same matters again you will not be provided with a response.’   

The other item I want to learn in detail has been dragging on for much longer.

As advised I was  promised access to Barnaby invoking item C4 of the Griffith City Council Community Strategic Plan. The Mayor’s response was to ask me to take his name from my email list.

At a later time I invoked item C4 with the General Manager to get access with Barnaby via Sussan Ley but the GM would not respond to me. I sent a fax to the Minister for Local Government Paul Toole to ask whether item C4 of the Community Strategic Plan is a toothless tiger.

Paul did not answer but one person suggested I should ‘continue to pursue the matter with your Council.’

Another person said ‘I encourage you to raise your concerns directly with the ministers having overall responsibility for agricultural issues.’

Paul was moved to another portfolio and Gabrielle has not answered. Is it possible to correspond logically with anyone?   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Sussan’s office did send me Barnaby’s address. This time I sent a copy of my book about Barnaby by registered mail. It came back ‘Return to Sender.’

I managed to get the following  letter into the local newspaper the ‘Area News:’

Open Letter to Sussan Ley

Now that the by-election is over I will resume debates with Sussan Ley. I will be enlisting the aid of Geoffrey Hudson who wrote in the ‘Area News’ of 9th October  about me that ‘he chose to address a stuffed toy rabbit called Sussan rather than Sussan herself.’

The background to this is that I believe that I have achieved an Australian first by obtaining agreement for at least three debates with a Federal member. Referring to them as debates is a bit of a misnomer because in the ‘debate’ on Saving the Australian Big Four Banks I have asked Sussan the Politician many times whether she is aware that our banks are already 40% owned by J P Morgan. HSBC and Citigroup. Geoffrey Hudson, assistance from you would be very welcome.

The agreed debate about banning cancerous orange concentrate was even more bizarre. In Volume 3 of ‘Is Australia a True Democracy?’  chapter 4 is called ‘Diversions, fob offs and ignoring of opponents.’

Instead of Sussan talking to me she assigned her Media Manager Steven Block to discuss the details prior to direct discussion with Sussan the Politician. Diversions and fob offs occurred for months.  I wanted to know what Sussan my member felt but  Steve decided to go to Barnaby Joyce. I have been trying to contact Barnaby for four years. He does not have the courage to face up to issues.

Steve’s final message was ‘As indicated I will continue to chase and come back to you when we have something.’ That was over a year ago. Geoffrey Hudson, if you could get an answer which would help us return Australian profitable control of Australian orange juice manufacturing you would be providing the community with a great service. My only option seems to be to write another script for a debate for You Tube between Sussan the Rabbit and me.

 Pundits are already suggesting that the Liberals might lose Farrer in 2019.

In the 'Area News' of 25th Ocy tober 2017 there was a header 'How Griffith Saved the Nationals.' The Estbalishment continues to protect Barnaby Joyce, Niall Blair and now Austin Evans