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.
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.