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Letter: Council's Facebook debacle changed my life

DRAMA AND INTRIGUE: To hell with television, says this 83-year-old letter writer,
DRAMA AND INTRIGUE: To hell with television, says this 83-year-old letter writer, "The Gympie Times has taken over”.

LETTER WRITER SAYS THE DRAMA HAS HELPED HIM GIVE UP TV

INTEREST in my subject was aroused by the breathtaking huge headline on The Gympie Times front page Wednesday, October 26, "Shut It Down Or We Will Sue You”.

How could you not turn swiftly to Page 3 for the story.

Of course, it was about the council wanting to silence that Facebook site.

Bad luck for Pauline Hanson whose picture on the same page would normally be the highlight.

As it turned out the story included even more than I expected.

The letter came from MinterEllison, purportedly representing Gympie Regional Council, although later events indicate "the Council” was only Cr Curran and the CEO.

I wondered why the letter was from MinterEllison because I know they are renowned and probably the largest law firm in Queensland.

I checked their web site and found they have 300 employees and occupy space in WaterfrontPlace in Brisbane, the best known and most prestigious office building in Queensland.

Imagine the cost of space in that building and consequent fees.

Wow. Check their site yourself.

This whole event never stops prompting questions, some of which are:

Why go to Brisbane and MinterEllison, almost 200km from Mary St, when there must be hundreds of competent lawyers either in, or much closer to, Gympie?

Are Cr Curran and the CEO so scared of Ms Walker that they used such a prestige firm to maybe try to frighten the life out of her?

Why weren't other councillors involved in the decision for the letter?

Reporting in The Gympie Times that day and beyond indicates they were not.

It prompts one to wonder if haste and or panic may have played a part.

Cr Curran's response on Page 8 of the paper that day also prompts questions and a response.

Much of his writing there seems to be inspired by the way other politicians never provide enough correct detail to support their claims and remarks.

Why not tell us what are the defamatory comments on the Facebook page?

I have read the page and find it quite innocuous.

It is easy to ignore any loony comments there.

Maybe I will be sued by Ms Walker after that comment.

Why not tell us what are the "unsubstantiated allegations” he refers to?

He would certainly have my support if I knew what they are.

What are the "private details about staff members and their families”?

Again, I would add my keen support.

Another. "Our people have a right to feel safe at work”.

How many, who, and why do they feel unsafe? Surely not from that Facebook page. My keen support again if he provided detail.

One comment I do take exception to is "Our people are our priority... " meaning staff.

There is no mention of priority for the owners - the ratepayers - they pay the bills and deserve better. Without them there would be no council.

In conclusion I offer the following:

Firstly, this Gympie saga reminds me of one of my favorite movies ever.

It is Erin Brochovich, based on a true story, where Erin, without any legal knowledge, takes on a huge American corporation which uses a major, high powered law firm to try to destroy her.

She wins and becomes world famous.

If you don't know the movie just Google the title for its details.

The only thing missing is that Ms Walker, going on her picture in The Gympie Times, certainly does not look like Julia Roberts who plays Erin.

Secondly, I have never seen such an own goal as Cr Curran and the CEO have scored. I learned many years ago that "errors create opportunities”. Here are two such opportunities handed over on a plate.

1. Surely the Gympie Times circulation will have increased significantly by ratepayers buying the paper seeking to read the mass of letters to the editor which this subject has aroused.

2. Ms Walker and her Facebook page got huge publicity/advertising from the headline and the entries which followed on pages 3 and 8. The membership and comments will have risen dramatically.

How much would it cost to buy that massive space in the paper as well as the front page headline which is doubtful would be available for purchase anyway? Not one cent spent. Ms Walker must still be smiling.

Please note that I am not a member of the Facebook page, I have not signed the petition, I have spoken to Ms Walker.

Hopefully that will dispel any unsubstantiated nonsense in letters to The Gympie Times.

At 83 years-of-age I have been spending much of my time watching TV and reading books.

My life has changed now. To hell with TV and books! The Gympie Times has taken over.

Roy Archibald,

Gympie.

Topics:  bernard smith facebook gympie regional council letters letters to the editor opinion

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