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. 

Response to QNews’ – “Our own gay State of Origin”

This first appeared on the Brisbane Pride Festival Website MAY 20, 2012

To all Brisbane Pride Members, Friends, Volunteers and the GLBTIQ Community at large,

In issue 299 of QNews an article entitled Our Own Gay State of Origin was published that contained erroneous facts about Brisbane Pride Festival.

The Brisbane Pride Festival would like to set the record straight.

Brisbane Pride Festival does not have an exclusive deal with any publication, Sydney based or otherwise.

We do have a media sponsorship agreement with Star Observer.

Star Observer successfully tendered for and won this position.

QNews was invited to tender and chose not to be part of the process that may have enabled them to be the media sponsor for this years festival. As a sign of good will QNews was even contacted by phone to remind them of the deadline, and still they did not submit a tender.

The deadline for invitees to accept was within the legal guidelines of tender law and QNews amongst other invitees had ample time to reply. The deadline was not Christmas as suggested in the article.

One condition of this tender was that any indication of exclusivity from the media sponsor would not be tolerated by Brisbane Pride Festival.

Brisbane Pride Festival has the right to accept any offers of support and or advertising specials that they deem fit. Brisbane Pride Festival has to this date sent all media releases to all publications of interest including QNews. To date Qnews is the only publication not to print these press releases.

Brisbane Pride Festival has received a commitment of support for Queensland Pride magazine, who despite Brisbane Prides Festival’s media sponsorship with Star Observer see fit to bring to their readers issues of community interest. Brisbane Pride Festival has a strong and positive relationship with both Star Observer and Queensland Pride.

Brisbane Pride Festival Committee is male heavy at the moment but not male exclusive.

The committee has a proud Lesbian member who is in charge of womens interest and youth.

Brisbane Pride Festival works in close conjunction with City Lickers, Scarlet and LHAG, all devoting their efforts to the advancement of the Lesbian and womens community at large.

Brisbane Pride Festival Committee has had six members resign within this financial year. Each of these resignee’s have been contacted and stated that at no time were they ostracised by the rest of the committee. All have resigned for personal reasons, not Pride related reasons.

The Brisbane Pride Festival Committee is not dwindling, in fact it has grown by one member more than has resigned over the last three months.

In conclusion Brisbane Pride Festival is a legal, compliant registered Non For Profit organisation, headed by a team of hard working volunteers dedicated to representing the interests of the entire greater LGBTIQ community. Brisbane Pride Festival is bound by a constitution that ensures the protection of the community we represent and has serious legal consequences if found to be non compliant.

It is Brisbane Pride Festival’s view that the entire community regardless of which letter of the title if any they fall under are represented to the best of the committees ability.

It is the committees view that articles such as the one in QNews do not represent the community or indeed the spirit of it.

It is Brisbane Pride Festival’s opinion that rather than harbouring support for the community in all its forms, this article is in fact divisional and derisive of the community.

It is also insulting to a hard working team of volunteers who give up of their own time to sit on a committee, volunteer to assist at events and of course the members themselves. In striking at Brisbane Pride Festival in such a vicious way, it is the Committees opinion that QNews has struck at the community it so loudly likes to claim it represents.

Brisbane Pride Festival’s, records, books, financials and minutes are open to public scrutiny from its members, who are the community.

Brisbane Pride Festival is owned by its members, QNews is owned by one single business man.

Brisbane Pride Festival is a non for profit association committed to supporting the community and its needs by a constitution. QNews is a commercial business designed to create a single owner with an income.

For the reasons listed above and the irresponsible use of journalistic integrity in allowing an article so incorrect to be published Brisbane Pride Festival is no longer able to support or endorse QNews as a true community publication.


Deeje Hancock


For and on behalf of

Our own GAY State of Origin

This story first appeared in Q News on 20 May 2012



Queensland is under threat with Sydney wanting to take over the stakes of gay media. In recent years, many mainstream independent publications have disappeared or been swallowed up by larger Sydney based companies. Gay media is no different and right now Queensland has the battle of its life to retain one of the last independent gay magazines in Australia. Sadly we do not have the large subsidies offered by Sydney and Melbourne businesses to help run magazines in Queensland, where business is hurting and still trying to recover from the devastation of floods, cyclones and the negative on-flow effect to tourism, mining and other major economic driving forces.

One Sydney gay paper recently offered advertisers free adverts to Queensland businesses to win over “all their advertising” to effectively try and wipe out QNews. Thankfully almost all those who tried advertsing with them have returned to QNews after receiving little or no response from their Sydney magazine advertising. A senior Queensland bureaucrat also pointed out that Queensland organisations funded by the Queensland Government could be in breach of state policy if they spent government funds in magazines that were not distributed predominately in Queensland unless they were targeting areas such as tourism, and that just one complaint to the CMC could see them liable to serious repercussions.

QNews is now proudly the only independent magazine servicing Queensland, based in Queensland and owned by Queensland, with 100% of resources churned back into our community. Whilst the bigger companies fight to try and seduce Queensland businesses and community groups, the Sydney based papers objectives are to simply take money from Queensland to feed back into their bottom line in Sydney. This means we have our own battle raging and QNews will not lay down.

Only QNews has an extensive reach into every part of our region, which includes the Northern Territory, Northern NSW and throughout Queensland, from the Gold Coast to Roma, to the far north of Port Douglas and most places in between. Unlike other magazines, QNews proudly delivers state-wide and invests $77,000 for regional delivery for less than $1,000 return annually, ensuring a printed gay magazine reaches all regional
areas. QNews understands the importance of servicing a state where more people live outside our capital city than in it, a state population distribution unique to only Queensland and Tasmania (who both have the highest suicide statistics).

QNews has also created community resource websites such as that supports over 120 groups and services & provides FREE connection with our community at large. QNews actively works with all levels of government to help improve our community. QNews is able to exist thanks to a team of people, some of whom have volunteered their efforts for over ten years, including doctors, lawyers, psychologists etc. They work hard to help make this part of the world a better place. 

Recently QNews was shocked to learn that after many years of support, some community groups have been seduced by “exclusive deals” with Sydney based magazines, a similar situation to the one that nearly caused the second financial collapse of Mardi Gras.  Exclusive deals mean they exclude QNews from being able to help or assist such groups. As an example, Brisbane Pride Festival (BPF) has been supported by QNews for many years, especially last year when they found themselves in financial difficulty. QNews provided BPF large amounts of free advertising and also staged a Fair Day Brisbane Carnivale, directing part of the profits back into BPF, with the rest being donated to youth suicide prevention.

Additionally, QNews sold the BPF guide that lead to a $7,000 cash donation to BPF. Immediately after the festival we wrote to BPF and congratulated them on their financial recovery and hard work, whilst also offering assistance with the 2012 festival, asking how we could offer our resources. QNews strongly urged BPF to associate with and seek support from all gay & straight media outlets, including QNews, to help re-build their brand and to avoid exclusive deals. We were told by inside sources BPF would do everything possible to help facilitate working with a Sydney based publication that portrays itself as a Queensland publication when it really only distributes a minimal amount of magazines Brisbane only. QNews was advised that we would have to tender to spend QNews resources to sponsor BPF and this would need done before Christmas, leaving only a few days. BPF got their way and now have an exclusive deal with a Sydney based publication. It is estimated that the new BPF gay newspaper sponsor distribute only 12% of their publication to Queensland.

The new BPF committee has also raised a few eyebrows when they decided to reject the offer of a free venue to host an event in June and instead chose to commit an estimated $10,000 to hire and fit out a venue instead. Further to this, QNews received complaints that BPF committee meetings have ostracised some of the more respected brains trust of the committee, causing them to resign. Their dwindling committee also has no active lesbian participation at all. QNews will revisit BPF next year and hope a new committee will bring new ideas energy to this long running festival. We also hope that BPF remains independent and is not taken over by another group or southern interests.

QNews offers support and substantial amounts of free and sponsorship to all community groups. We divide
the sponsorship up across our regions and are proud of many achievements thanks to the support of our team. We will remain fiercely independent and we also deliver excellent results for those people and companies who support us through advertising. So next time you support one of our advertisers, please remind them you found them in QNews.

We would like to say a big thank you to our readers for supporting QNews and allowing us to help around 200,000 GLBT Queenslanders, Northern NSW & NT people stay connected. We can assure you that your QNews is winning this State of Origin, as evidenced by the number of advertisers that have tried the new Sydney based newspaper and returned to QNews plus the support we have received from our readers. The true test
is that QNews continues to be the most popular printed gay press to be picked up and is 10 times more popular at some distribution points. Thank you Queensland!

FOOTNOTE: To set the record straight, QNews is a team of over 20 people who are mostly volunteers.  Although we operate as a business only a few staff are paid, only fair as it is their full time job. The owner of QNews does not draw a wage nor profits.  What we make gets pumped back into our community, with around 120 groups benefiting thanks to the generosity of our team.

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