Former Queensland Premier and veteran National Party politician Rob Borbidge might have meant it in 2001, when he announced he was quitting politics after getting stomped at the polls by Peter Beattie. But the smell of the ballot box seems to have once again filled his nostrils and those of his Gold Coast fan base that includes some of the usual suspects who like to have a say in the way the Gold Coast is being run. Of course you don’t need to be a Member of Parliament, the Mayor or even a Gold Coast City Councillor, but it sure helps. Or own a newspaper!
So the push for Mayor Borbidge is gathering pace and, sure enough, the Gold Coast Bulletin, which has long had an unusual affinity with local National Party identities, can be counted as an admirer if not a “booster”. But beyond building his media profile and speaking out against the current council and its way of doing business, clearly Borbidge also needs to reconnect with the local business community even while he remains as yet publicly uncommitted to standing for Mayor.
Enter into the picture local events organiser Lesley Tyler and the Gold Coast Bulletin. On behalf of the paper she helps organise its “Bully and the Feast” business luncheons but also has other close ties to the Bulletin, including serving as manager of the Bulletin-backed Gold Coast Ambassadors Awards program. The Ambassadors was established in 2003 to reward the “unsung heroes of the Gold Coast’. She even has her own Ambassadors gong for her services to tourism. Her citation, to be found online at theBulletinwebsite, reads:
Lesley is a one-woman advertisement for the Gold Coast.She is constantly working to promote the Gold Coast and is the type of tourism stalwart who is always stopping to help out tourists with directions or point them in the direction of the best spots in town.
She is probably best known as the woman behind the Gold Coast Ambassadors.
She also plays a big hand in the popular Bully and the Feast lunches, and works to help a variety of local charities.The bubbly tourism figure has a genuine love for the city and is a tireless worker in promoting the Gold Coast to the rest of the world.
Now these commercial links between Ms Tyler and the Bulletin, are all perfectly normal in undertaking joint activities. Just as when this plug in her letter to the editor appeared in the paper on February the 2nd ahead of the Bulletin business luncheon appearance of Rob Borbidge, no problem there either.
Feast for a Premier
With all the controversy on the gold Coast at the moment I think this Friday’s Bully and the Feast luncheon will raise some serious topics.We are privileged to have a former premier Rob Borbidge as a guest panellist taking questions from the audience on “What We Need To Do”.
It is great to see so many people from business and social communities coming along shortly to have their say and put their opinions across and hearing Mr Borbidge’s thought on many issues that can affect us.If you want raise a point or concern, please join us for lunch at the Gold Coast Arts Centre. Your comments are important.
Manager, Gold coast Ambassadors
Undoubtedly the citation and this letter establish an ongoing relationship linking Ms Tyler, The Gold Coast Ambassadors and the Bully and the Feast luncheon, aside from any other business she may undertake on the paper’s behalf. Again nothing untoward in any of this, but then we have the following letter in the Bulletin from Lesley Tyler on February 14, it read as follows:
Borbidge is right man for mayor
After listening to former Queensland premier Rob Borbidge speak at the Bully and the Feast luncheon recently, I am convinced he will make a fantastic Gold Coast Mayor should he decide to run.I disagree with Deputy Mayor Cr Power, who suggests Mr Borbidge should run as a divisional councillor and not for the mayoral position.
I think Rob Borbidge has already proved his ability and has the qualifications to run the Gold coast in the top job.After all, he did run Queensland as our premier.Perhaps David is feeling some heat knowing Rob will most certainly give him a run for his money.
So in the space of 12 days writing in the same forum Ms Tyler has gone from helping plug her own event, to then commenting on the suitability of Rob Borbidge to be the next Gold Coast Mayor based on what she heard at this lunch. Except now her management status is no longer included which surely it should be as she is hardly a neutral observer? Nor has the Bulletin acknowledged her potential conflict of interest by failing to disclose her relationship to either the luncheon or the paper.
The Gold Coast Bulletin is continually whipping the Gold Coast City Council over what it sees as a lack of transparency and all manner of implied conflicts of interest in the council’s day-to-day dealings. Such themes are now also the mantra of Rob Borbidge as he talks himself up and the current council down, and presumably why Lesley Tyler is so enamoured by the prospect of him becoming Mayor. Funny how transparency seems to have a way of switching itself on and off depending on who is applying it at the time?
The Bulletin reported immediately after his lunch that included “a swag of local political and business chiefs”, that while he could confirm he had been approached by a number of people to run for Mayor at the next election more than three years away, it was something he’d need to discuss with his family first.
“We will see what happens in the future.” Indeed we will!