Andrew Fraser Speaks to Ray Hadley About the proposed Civic Space Project

The following is an interview between former State MP for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, and Ray Hadley on TripleM Coffs Coast, and more wisely via 2GB, that was held this morning.

The main topic is the Coffs Harbour City Council and the proposed Gordon Street Cultural Centre and new Council Chambers.

Click the link below to hear the interview.

5 thoughts on “Andrew Fraser Speaks to Ray Hadley About the proposed Civic Space Project

  1. Largely incoherent but the point came across.

    When this degree of disparaging attention and ridicule is laid on the project, the Council, and Coffs as a major and well-known regional centre, in a tabloid media program, there aint no sunshine up the line in the political system.

    No Premier or Minister will go into bat for this project under these media circumstances. It’s too easy to disparage, too hard to sell, even if the idea was good, was wanted, and made economic sense. Denise Knight might think herself a political player, run local platitudes and try-hard populist lines in what she seems to see as a political game, but she’s on a hiding to nothing on this one. And she wants to set up the very meeting where she’ll learn that lesson – to put what’s coming to her kindly.

    If she continues in seeking that meeting, what she’s utterly blind to is that others than Ray Hadley will pick it up. As I said before, Denise Knight is running high risk of being held over in the national media as example of how not to deal with a crisis – and that’s the easist angle the national media players will take.

    Honestly, she’s in very serious trouble and I can only suggest one more time that the way forward is to stop the project, make the sensible public announcement, and learn from this experience for how better to serve the community need. It is by far the best option for her, for the feckless Councillors lost in it, for the concept of a cultural centre, and for us.

    Time to come to your senses, Denise. Enough is enough.

  2. It’s a profoundly unsual situation for our local region and certainly for Denise Knight. Taking a step back, it’s also fascinating. If anyone’s interested, some further observations follow, for what they’re worth.

    Regional media in Australia is exceptionally generous. Local televesion, especially so. We often take that generosity for granted, if not always.

    Someone like Denise Knight can do good things as a Councillor, gain a media profile, be interviewed so many times that that microphone is part of the shrubbery – she could even place it properly herself. The walk in, the lot, all second nature. Quickly learn to smile, be upspirited, shine the eyes, short phrases to better make the edit. The only disturbing factors are in not finding a cute quote making it in, or the whole thing, or someone has the hide the present an alternative view.

    In no time at all, you’re a media force.

    All of that happens within the comfort of a media that doesn’t want to rock the boat. Sure, you can get a basting – but only if your actions or words bring it on. Local media is about stories. Viewers need to swallow when they eat dinner at night. The last thing local media does is assassinate.

    I wonder if Denise Knight has become accustomed to that comfort.

    What she’s done now, though, is send trigger calls to a very different media. These people don’t care if your life is ruined. Shock jock media makes its living from aggravating its base, getting them salivating, and the only way it can then satisfy that frenzy (not always, more in degrees) is by proving the righteousness of the listener/viewer hunger by presenting change: see, look what we delivered. A scalp serves that purpose perfectly.

    More thoughtful media explores the story, we know all this. It does so in various degrees, from polite discussion to heated debate to (truly!) surgical extent. Thus, the actions of Denise Knight are right this minute – she need do no more – ready for picking, to be tabled for discussion. In a polite discussion her actions and decisions would be placed as questions. Even at that decent national-level broadcast the net result is her name would be distilled to the take-out message: “how not to handle a crisis”. In other forums she’d be excoriated. That situation, right now, is not transitory. It could be picked up in three months, six months, just as easily as it could tomorrow.

    It’s disturbing to say so, but Denise Knight, through a distorted sense of media deftness, and a persona that presents as inauthentic, by her inclusion or by her responding would only make things exponentially worse. Imagine if a national media program picked up her decision, her actions, sought some background, saw the controversy, and decided to run with it. Look at some other viewpoints, company cutbacks/caution/austerity say, compare them, and there’s the program. Ripper, all good. THEN they contact Denise.

    Best not say what could happen next.

    It’s no cause for gloating or retribution to wonder upon this, because it’s unutterably dangerous and damaging and Denise Knight does not deserve being hurt. But the point is she could. She is clearly a passionate person and is just not suited nor trained to engage with media personnel who really do know how to play the game.

    Unfortunately, too, Coffs wears it. Want to serve the Coffs Coast community? Don’t diminish the name for a start.

    Finally, has anyone had an employee do the business’s buying? Watch them (if you are in this situation, you know very well to watch them.) Within a day or less that employer feels like it’s their money to spend. They get the same buzz. “I just spent $200,00 this month,” is what they feel after hitting the buy button. The point here is that dealing in big sums of money continually – well, it loses the sting of how much it really is.

    Our situation here is red hot because we’re not talking a toilet block – but that is enough, sometimes, for people or a person to be thrown on the national fire. So when Denise Knight and the Councillors talk about this project the figure in their minds is not the one the national viewing public see, nor the figure that the big media players see. As I said, some would go you for a toilet block. Have a look at the figure Denise Knight and the Councillors are tied to, in rounded-out generous text:.


    That’s what the big media players see. And they see it in the context of hundreds of stories of hardship and loss on their desk every day, in this world-wide economic crisis.

  3. It appears from today’s home-delivered ‘Advocate’, that the CHCC PR machine has been in overdrive since Hadley’s interview with Hancock.

    First we have on page 5, another bias, full of spin and tales of woe article on how flummoxed, “hurt” and “shocked” the mayor was after the interview. Nevertheless, like all good martyrs, she’s picked herself up and dusted herself off and now, “Mayor Knight is getting on with business”.

    In an attempt to reinforce the mayor’s stand, the article gives undeserving prominence to shadow Greg Warren’s accusation of Hancock’s political interference, which according to him, sets “a dangerous precedence”. Nevermind not mentioning in the same article that poll after poll, including one that the Advocate itself recently conducted, show overwhelmingly that the majority of Coffs community are against the CCS. Also the Advocate reporter doesn’t explore the bleeding obvious, that Warren may simply be using the occasion opportunistically at our expense to conduct some political point scoring. Democracy? Greg Who?

    Then ‘Your say’, on page 10, two of the mayors rusted on supporters are trotted out with the same old tired and disproved mantras and arguments that the CCS will lead to “jobs and growth”, and that the CCS “is widely supported by the quiet people of Coffs Harbour despite a noisy minority opposing it”. I just wonder if these two letter-writers are on the mayor’s speed dial ready and armed with their pens to show there are at least one or two supporters out there?

    Then finally we come to “From the Mayor’s Desk” on page 9, where the mayor in an upbeat manner, plays down any “confusion” over the CCS and is “happy” to announce there will be no pause and it will proceed, regardless of the directive by the OLG Minister to pause the project.

    The rest of her column is devoted to more spin and deception dressed up in a desperate sales pitch.

    Now who was it that called it the “CHCC Pravda”?

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