Ray Mackereth an Unreasonable Manager: WorkCover

Ray Mackereth‘s key lieutenant Brenton Larcombe was left mentally broken under the ruling demands of his boss, leaving him unable to work according to documents filed with WorkCover Queensland, including some prepared on behalf of the high profile Brisbane gay business identity.

In a startling admission, Mr Mackereth accepted to Workcover Queensland that his management style caused to break his staff member’s spirit which including heavy handed management and even planning on docking Larcombe’s pay unilaterally.

Mr Mackereth also sacked Brenton Larcombe whileon sick leave, in an action that breached both worker’s compensation laws and the Fair Work Act according to experts who spoke to RayMackereth.com on the condition on anonymity.

Larcombe’s doctor advised WorkCover he was exposed t 12 months worth of unreasonable management action and stressed the severity which suggest that Ray Mackereth was engaging in behaviours that are akin to him being a workplace bully.

WCQ logo

WorkCover Queensland found that Mr Mackereth had behaved unreasonably, allowing a psychological claim for a workplace injury

The picture painted is starkly different from the image that Mr Mackereth paints of him being a champion of youth suicide prevention while closer to home, according to Mr Larcome he nearly created it, with him telling RayMackereth.com “he nearly pushed me over the edge”.

Dr Fiona Bisshop who was the GP looking after Brenton Larcombe, referred him to a psychologist after Mackereth’s alleged behaviour. WorkCover Queensland approved the claim, despite the fact that psychological claims are excluded from Queensland’s  compensation scheme if the employer could demonstrate “reasonable management action” that was “taken in a reasonable way” suggesting that Mr Mackereth failed on at least one of those counts

Mr Mackereth is also alleged to have ended Klub Kruise after owing nearly $190,000 in staff entitlements and taxes and other debts.


Ray Mackereth in Federal Circuit Court for Unpaid Employee Entitlements

Ray Mackereth accused of being an old hand at living off his employees’ entitlements

Gay titles accused over distribution data

This story first appeared in The Australian on 7 October 2013

Advertisers were also told the publication was widely distributed in southeast Queensland when the documents suggested only 310 copies were delivered outside of Brisbane. Source: Herald Sun

AN Office of Fair Trading investigation has been launched into allegations that two of Australia’s largest gay street press publishers, Sydney-based Evolution Publishing and Brisbane’s QNews, had misled advertisers by inflating their distribution numbers by as much as 300 per cent.

In one case, Evolution claimed its fortnightly title Queensland Pride was distributing 15,740 copies per issue at the end of last year when only 4970 copies were going out, according to information provided to the OFT in Queensland.

Advertisers were also told the publication was widely distributed in southeast Queensland when the documents suggested only 310 copies were delivered outside of Brisbane.

Evolution, which also produces titles including SX in NSW, Melbourne Community Voice and South Australia’s Blaze, was wound up in May but a new company, Evo Media, run by the same people and publishing the same titles, launched immediately after.

According to distribution manifests being looked at by the OFT, QNews claimed 14,370 copies of its fortnightly newspaper QNews hit the streets in the last quarter of 2012 when only 7785 editions were actually printed.

The manifests showed that since 2010 QNews appeared not to have printed more than 10,000 copies of any of its publications, with most averaging about 8500 copies or fewer, despite claims it was distributing as many as 16,250 copies.

An OFT spokeswoman said it did not provide details on open investigations. “They are being investigated, that’s the only comment we can make,” she said.

In its 2012 media kit QNews warned prospective advertisers about publications exaggerating their figures. After questions about its distribution practices, QNews has changed the information on its website, removing references to how many copies it prints and scaling back readership and distribution claims. QNews director and publisher Ray Mackereth said he was not aware of any investigation and the company had never “intentionally” reported incorrect distribution numbers.

“Our distribution is entirely available on our website. We try to keep it all as up to date as we can,” he said. No one from Evolution could be contacted to comment on the OFT investigation. Hundreds of small businesses and community groups advertise in the gay street press, including the Gay and Lesbian Business Network, which has had more than $15,000 in government aid to run ads in the publications.

Evolution’s former Victorian manager, Shane Bridges, said he had received complaints from advertisers and distribution points about poor responses to their advertising and from distribution points about not receiving enough copies of Melbourne Community Voice and other publications from the company. “MCV got down to 4950 copies being printed when it was meant to be triple that,” Mr Bridges said.

National distribution company MMPD worked for Evolution and “continually” complained that there were “simply not enough issues printed” and it could not fulfil its distribution manifests, said MMPD managing director Simon Coulter. “The whole point of MMPD’s service was targeted to each distribution outlet, down to the local cafe, so the advertising would work with the exact demographic targeted,” Mr Coulter said. “Evolution’s failure to print even half of what they promised undermined the whole process, so it is a shame to hear we were blamed by their staff.”

Miles Heffernan is a freelance writer who has previously contributed to QNews.

Boycott Call Against Ray Mackereth’s Q News

This first appeared in Samesame.com.au on 24 Octoer 2012.

The owner of Queensland gay magazine QNews is facing a community-driven boycott campaign as suspicion about his involvement in the defunding of a local gay men’s health network intensifies.

Rumours have circulated for some time in the Brisbane LGBT community that Ray Mackereth met with key government officials to convince them that Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC) did not deserve the millions it gets from the state. Then as Campbell Newman’s team swept into power earlier this year, QAHC’s funding was swiftly cut off, seemingly with little or no consultation with its stakeholders in the gay and HIV prevention communities, ostensibly as part of the new government’s controversial cost-cutting measures.

Concerned that Mackereth aimed to profit from QAHC’s demise, as the government’s new HIV awareness campaign is now advertising in QNews, the recently-created LGBT activism blog The Stirrer went public with the allegation yesterday, under the title ‘Gay Businessman Claims He Brought Down Queensland AIDS Council’.

The story, which quotes unnamed ‘well placed sources’ close to the situation, spread quickly via social networks to a mixture of responses yesterday. Its author was a previous contributor to QNews, who says he left the magazine as the QAHC situation developed.

Several commenters via social networks backed up the article’s central claim, saying Mackereth had “bragged” about his involvement in QAHC’s defunding. “He’s a traitor to our community,” read a typical comment, and it wasn’t long before a Boycott QNews Facebook page appeared.

Noticeably absent from the blog’s exposé is a reaction from Mackereth himself. Speaking to Same Same yesterday evening, he flatly denies all the allegations in the article, describing them as “completely untrue” and the work of “people with a vendetta” against him and his business. Last night he was even considering legal action, eager for the article to be taken down.

Mackereth’s lengthy statement now appears on the QNews website, in which he says he has always been a supporter of QAHC, and has never lobbied the government for its defunding.

“Let me state very clearly – not only are these allegations total nonsense, they are just plain wrong and downright offensive,” he reacts.

“We (at QNews) have long prided ourselves with the strong relationships we have built with Queensland’s LGBT community groups and I hope that we continue to do so.”

A statement from QNews Publisher Ray Mackereth responding to vicious lies and untruths

This First Appeared in Q News on 23 October 2012

A statement from QNews Publisher Ray Mackereth responding to vicious lies and untruths.



Recent statements as part of an attack and trolling campaign against me and my businesses including Qnews on the internet are untrue and have no foundation whatsoever. I am shocked to the core that they have been made.

I am responding to the recent false claims that somehow I was involved in having QAHC defunded. The fact is that the first time I ever met or spoke to Lawrence Springborg about anything was about a week after he announced his decision to cut QAHC’s funding. There was no prior meeting. There was no communication. There was no lobbying.

It should also be noted that the author failed to disclose the fact that he was recently involved in a commercial dispute regarding Klub Kruise – a Brisbane men’s club and a dispute between the two shareholders – the manager Brenton Larcombe and me. Because of that dispute, I refused to speak to the author of these false allegations recently.

If the allegations in the article were true, they are disgusting, horrible, a major breach of trust and of proper process. The fact is, they’re not true, never have been and never will be, even if said a thousand times over. I am appalled that the allegations have been made. There is no conspiracy. There was no meeting in trench coats at night in car parks. Elvis is dead! Neil Armstrong really did land on the Moon!

I call upon the author who wrote the article, and those who have republished it as though it were gospel without bothering to get the facts to apologise. I also call on them to retract these untruths immediately.

Let me state very clearly – not only are these allegations total nonsense, they are just plain wrong and downright offensive.

It is worth noting that I did speak with a politician in the lead up to the State Election held earlier this year. That conversation wasn’t with Lawrence Springborg, but with Labor’s former Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser. While meeting with him to help push through civil union legislation, I encouraged Mr Fraser to increase funding to HIV prevention in Queensland because, I like many others was concerned by the rising HIV rates seen in this state over the last decade.

QNews has been a long time supporter of QAHC and we continue to do so as evidenced even in our most recent issues. To repeat, the allegation that I or any of the staff of QNews met either the Health Minister or his advisors prior to the de-funding of QAHC’s HIV funding is false.

The first I heard of QAHC being de-funded was when I was advised to read a Sunday Mail article. After that, QNews sought to meet with both Qld Health and the Minister’s office, as well as Paul Martin, the Executive Director of QAHC so we could write up the story. As this was a significant story, both the editor and I sought to meet face to face with both Mr Springborg and Mr Martin – that is what the media does.

Given the LNP’s reluctance to respond to us throughout the election campaign, we were surprised when, after the de-funding decision had been announced, Lawrence Springborg offered to meet Qnews and other media to explain why he had made the decision to defund QAHC, telling us it was because HIV figures had risen for many years in Queensland (something both sides still agree on today).

When we asked to meet face to face with Paul Martin, the Executive Director of QAHC, he told us that he did not want to meet personally, he instead said he would only answer written questions sent to him but needed time to consider his responses. Mr Martin chose to respond with answers mostly cut and pasted from previous statements and media releases. There remains an open invitation from QNews to Paul Martin and or the QAHC board to meet and discuss any issues that they like.

Both I and the team at QNews have been long term advocates of HIV prevention and will continue to do so. In 2006 QNews ran and funded a 12 month HIV prevention campaign throughout the magazine. In addition, we produced posters that referred people with questions to QAHC and also ACON (AIDS Council of NSW). Basically I put my money where my mouth was and financed this campaign. Importantly we were told 2006 is one of the only years that new HIV rates showed improvement in Queensland.

QNews met with senior QAHC people over the last year, including their Sexual Health Program Manager Chris Clemenston, to ask QAHC to supply HIV prevention information and stories for FREE editorial inclusion, but sadly no stories were forthcoming from QAHC for over 18 months despite the numerous offers of support.

This smear campaign does not stand to any logic either, as it offensively and falsely suggests that QNews pushed for the de-funding of QAHC for financial gain. QAHC was a major advertiser in QNews. Why would I seek to de-fund them? The amount that Queensland Health spends on advertising HIV Prevention adverts currently running in QNews is but a drop in the ocean compared to the safe sex messages that were previously spent by QAHC. Our opposition publication Queensland Pride is also running the current HIV prevention campaign, and NO, they didn’t help to de-fund QAHC either.

The article also suggested that there was something wrong in my speaking to Farmer Dave, David Graham. The reality is different. Dave was recently criticised for being a broad supporter of the LNP while also being critical of the LNP over surrogacy. Vicious remarks were made of Dave online. I offered my support to Dave for having the guts to take the stand that he did about the LNP’s position about surrogacy. I happen to believe that gay rights, and HIV issues are above party politics, and that Dave needed support and ought NOT to have been bullied.

QNews is made up of an amazing team of people, many of them volunteers. We help to support around 120 community groups and will continue to do so. We are in the business of building communities and many people involved are proud of our long track record of supporting our community. We are the only gay LGBT newspaper based here in Queensland and we continue to support all of our state plus Northern NSW who relate to us in a big way. We also believe there is no place for bullies in this world and will not tolerate erroneous accusations and conspiracy theories that try and tarnish the hard work of what we have been able to achieve over many years.

We have long prided ourselves with the strong relationships we have built with Queensland’s LGBT community groups and I hope that we continue to do so.

Ray Mackereth

Publisher QNews


PS there is aso a hate campaing by the same one person on Facebook.  If you want to help QNews and stop the bullying then please ask Facebook to close the QNews hate page.  Thank you.

Gay Businessman Claims He Brought Down Queensland AIDS Council

This story first appeared in The Stirrer.

Gay Businessman Claims He Brought Down Queensland AIDS Council

October 23, 2012 – HealthPolitics – Tagged:  – 3 Comments

Ray Mackereth, owner of gay publication QNews, is now profiting from full page advertisements in the wake of Queensland’s Healthy Communities’ (QAHC) demise after claiming to be responsible for its downfall. Mackereth is a former sole director of popular Brisbane Sex on Premises Venue (SOPV) Klub Kruise, and is said to have held at least one undisclosed meeting with key ministerial staff, pushing for the defunding of QAHC.

Close to the time of the announcement Mackereth was also seen meeting one of the soon-to-be-appointed advisory committee members, Big Brother Housemate, “Farmer” David Graham, who was a former poster boy for QAHC’s Rip and Roll campaign.

New HIV infections in Queensland have been declining for nearly two full years, bucking the national trend, which is on the increase. This follows claims by state Health Minister Lawrence Springborg that infection rates in Queensland were rising and the peak HIV prevention body had failed. But questions have been raised about the Minister’s source for his assertions.

Mackereth was known to be an open critic of the direction that QAHC had taken and had confided in people close to him that it was “his duty” to see an alternative health promoter appointed.

The Stirrer put specific questions to Health Minister Lawrence Springborg’s office about Mackereth’s actions. A spokeperson for the minister did not deny the involvement of Mackereth, saying:

“You’ve heard the minister’s criticisms of QAHC and its stance many times. That’s his view. He has established the ministerial advisory committee which is broadly representative and will look to them for guidance. That’s not to deny input to any other stake-holding group which may want to raise issues from these areas of policy.”

When pressed, the Health Minister’s spokesperson said that the only role Mackereth played was as a “journalist” and that he was there only to “ask questions” of the Minister and that he was not informing the minister on his decision to defund QAHC. He was also not able to confirm with certainty whether Mackereth met with ministerial staff prior to the defunding announcement of QAHC’.

However according to a well placed source, Mackereth claims he met with the minister’s office prior to the defunding of QAHC and spoke in great detail about how he was instrumental in QAHC’s downfall.

It is unclear whether this is the posturing of a disgruntled business leader, claiming credit where it is not due, or whether he in is fact a key player with the ear of the minister or his key personnel, and was the architect of QAHC’s defunding, as he has publicly claimed.

Paul Martin from QAHC said that he was well aware of the allegations. The Stirrer’s well placed source has also provided a written statement outlining in detail how Mackereth claimed to be the architect of QAHC’s defunding.

The source is a manager of a leading LGBT targeted business and the statement details how Mackereth bragged about his involvement in the defunding of QAHC. After reading the source’s statement Martin toldThe Stirrer:

“If true, these revelations bring further into question the decision and motivation for defunding Healthy Communities. The involvement of a gay community businessman, conspiring behind closed doors with the LNP to remove Queensland’s main LGBT community organisation would be a major breach of trust and of proper process.

QAHC was a customer of QNews, of which Mackereth is publisher and sole director. QNews was losing advertising revenue as QAHC diversified its marketing spend away from just print to online and outdoor media.

QNews stood to benefit financially if a new health promoter were to re-embrace a print media marketing strategy. And such a change in strategy by the Queensland Government has now occurred, with full page safe sex advertisements currently being run. Martin expressed concern about these latest revelations

“Healthy Communities has had some people we know and trust approach us directly over the past few months to tell us that they heard directly from Ray Mackereth, where he has boasting to them that them he  had meetings with the Minister for Health and his staff in relation to the defunding of Healthy Communities and was actively working to have us defunded.

“While we have heard several suggestions, it is not known directly by us why Ray Mackereth has allegedly taken a negative view of Healthy Communities.  Mr Mackereth has not contacted the Executive Director or Board with any complaints.

As HIV infection rates bounce nationally by 8%, Queensland’s has reduced by nearly the same amount, a 16% improvement, according to the Kirby Institute’s HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexually Transmissible Infections in Australia Annual Surveillance Report 2012

These results come just months after the health minister Lawrence Springborg sacked QAHC claiming poor performance and citing an increase in HIV as the reason.

A spokesperson for the health minister suggested those results were a one-off, which meant little in isolation, saying “one swallow does not make a summer”, and pointed to two statements in the Kirby Institute report:

“In regard to HIV, the institute is not prepared to accept a trend based on a single year.

“Increasing rates of HIV diagnosis in Queensland and Western Australia over previous years have stabilised, at around 5.0 and 4.3 per 100 000 population,respectively.’

This “one off” position is contradicted by the Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young, who said “the downward trend continued in the first nine months of this year”, suggesting that the results are not an aberration.

She added, “This is likely to be due to a combination of prevention activities undertaken in Queensland over the past few years”,  apparently referring to QAHC, which was the principal agency responsible for prevention among gay men.

The health minister has come under fire for sacking QAHC. The replacement advisory committee has already lost one high profile community member Dr Wendell Rosevear because of the politics involved.

Klub Kruise, the sex-on-premises venue that Mackereth owned, went into liquidation after allegedly failing to pay taxes and employee entitlements soon after QAHC’s defunding, according to former employees. Mr Mackereth did not return emails or our call. The new owners of Number 29 Cruise Club, that replaced Klub Kruise did not wish to comment.

Statement by QAHC: Follow the link to read the full statement from QAHC.

What Mackereth told me: an account of a conversation in which these claims were made

DISCLOSURE: The journalist personally knows all of the parties written about due to being a former contributor to QNews. He resigned from QNews over the coverage of the QAHC defunding. Strenuous efforts were made to get Mackereth’s side of the story but he failed to respond. 

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