Dain­tree power: why Billy baulked

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

MEM­BER for Cook Billy Gor­don may have walked away from a prom­ise to take ac­tion on power so­lu­tions in the Dain­tree for as lit­tle as per­ceived in­volve­ment from fed­eral MP Warren Entsch.

In 2016 the re­ported that Mr Gor­don was pre­par­ing to sub­mit a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill to par­lia­ment ad­dress­ing con­cerns about power sup­ply to the Dain­tree.

Mr Gor­don had in­deed been ap­proached to sub­mit a bill – but ac­cord­ing to him he never went “on pub­lic record” to say that he would. Speak­ing to the two weeks ago he said “what I did say was I would def­i­nitely look at a pri­vate mem­ber’s bill.”

But things went fur­ther than vague prom­ises.

Ac­cord­ing to the man who sug­gested the bill to Mr Gor­don, the man­ager of the Cape Tribu­la­tion Beach House, Matthew Is­abella, Mr Gor­don shook his hand dur­ing a meet­ing and said he would “have the pri­vate mem­ber’s bill sub­mit­ted to par­lia­ment within a week” last Au­gust.

The com­mu­nity ral­lied be­hind the news that Mr Gor­don was about to do some­thing and did all the work for him – he was given a bill by the Dain­tree Rain­for­est Power Com­mit­tee, and the leg­work of gaug­ing crossbench sup­port was done by Mr Is­abella who flew to Bris­bane to talk with Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

But Mr Gor­don ex­pressed con­cerns about the bill he was given – a month af­ter Mr Gor­don gave his as­sur­ances he was on it, he mes­saged Mr Is­abella on Face­book to say he was wa­ver­ing be­cause fed­eral MP for Le­ich­hardt Warren Entsch was in­volved.

“To be hon­est re­ally con­cerned about the pol­i­tics be­hind the scenes on this one,” said Mr Gor­don in mes­sages viewed by the

“…Not as straight for­ward as it seems. Did you re­alise the doc­u­ment you email (sic) us was writ­ten by Entsch’s office? This (ex­ple­tive) makes me a lit­tle ap­pre­hen­sive to say the least.”

Mr Gor­don cited the prop­er­ties of the word doc­u­ment as the source of his sus­pi­cions. He has had no fur­ther con­tact with any­one in the Dain­tree about the is­sue since.

As it turns out, Mr Entsch’s office had been in­volved in pre- par­ing the bill – Mr Entsch ex­plained he’d been in con­tact with the Dain­tree com­mu­nity on the power sup­ply is­sue for many years, and the know-how of his office had pre­vi­ously been used to pre­pare a bill.

“My office as­sisted in putting it to­gether, we gave it back to them and said go and find Billy, he’s your lo­cal mem­ber it’s ap­pro­pri­ate that he should sub­mit it,” he told the

He was scathing of the no­tion Mr Gor­don had backed away merely be­cause of his in­volve­ment. “This is just a bull(ex­ple­tive) ex­cuse from Billy Gor­don,” he said.

“He could have claimed credit for that. I wasn’t go­ing to el­bow in and say wait a minute, we wrote this so we should get some credit for it.”

The re­sult of Mr Gor­don’s cold feet was the Dain­tree com­mu­nity los­ing a chance to push for­ward on an is­sue that’s plagued it for years.

Chair­man of the Dain­tree Rain­for­est Power Com­mit­tee Russell O’Do­herty said if Mr Gor­don had backed away be­cause of the per­ceived in­volve­ment of Mr Entsch’s office, “I think that’s pa­thetic. For him to just walk away on that premise is pretty bloody poor.”

He was cir­cum­spect about the sit­u­a­tion though, say­ing “these things hap­pen, (but) I don’t trust Billy at all.”

Mr Gor­don was con­tacted for com­ment, but did not re­spond by dead­line.

Billy Gor­don

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