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the Breeze

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The Local Government election for Redland City Council has been watched with interest by many, with the analysis now underway. Perhaps the most interesting contest has been in Division 4 which covers Coochiemudlo Island and a section of the Redlands mainland. Young and vivacious 24-year-old mum Angel Crowden took on long-standing councillor Lance Hewlett, and didn’t she give him a run for his money. When you break, down the figures, Angel Crowden won everywhere, except at the finish line. Unusually, she won at every polling booth on election day, Saturday, March 16. On Coochiemudlo Island itself, Angel Crowden finished ahead by a massive 20% of the vote, 59.95 to 40.05. At Victoria Point she won comfortably on election day 52 to 47%, Victoria Point Central 55 to 45%. and Victoria Point South 60 to 40%. You would think on those numbers she would have been a ’shoe-in’. Not so. When it came to the Early Voting figures and postal voting, the opposite was the case. Lance Hewlett won the early voting 56 to 44% and was well ahead in postal voting. He would go on to win the Division  52 to 47%. Amazing. We are led to believe visiting some aged care homes was beneficial to his campaign. There were similar early leads and late swings for the same reasons in Divisions 5 and 2 with Shane Rendalls and Peter Mitchell leading by just a few percentage points just prior to going to press.


Election pundits are predicting that Miles Queensland Government will be in for a major landslide defeat in October. Such have been the swings in the recent Ipswich by-elections, usually Labor heartland. According to Des Houghton in the Courier Mail, he says the Labor Party will suffer something ‘far worse’ than defeat in the October election, reckoning several ‘bright young performers’ to be pushed over the electoral cliff. “ long queue of LP backbenchers and ministers now face political oblivion,” Houghton says. Several Labor bright lights’ are then mentioned, including our own Member for Redlands, Kim Richards. If similar swings that have occurred are duplicated here in October, Kim Richards will be gone. To be fair, we reckon Kim is one of the hardest-working politicians we have ever seen. She has achieved much, aided by her being a member of the Government. That Government is now on the ‘nose’ electorally. Could her personal popularity beat the trend? Time will tell.


I am delighted to inform you that Bay Islands Multi Sports and Recreation Association Inc (BIMSARA) president Ros Stiles has advised that the organisation will again be hosting LUMI Light Up My Island again this year. Due to some changes in the committee, the 2023 event was cancelled. But now it is back on track with the first LUMI volunteer group and workshop session held late in March.  LUMI Lantern Festival will be held on June the 22nd between 3 and 8pm at 2-50 Union St, Russell Island.  It is where the Australia Day event was held, adjacent to the Resilience Centre and island tennis courts. BIMSARA recognises the islands went above and beyond for Australia Day. Keep an eye out for further LUMI developments.


To the casual and very interested political observers, it seems the wheels are falling off the State Labor Government at a spectacular rate. And it also seems that some (or most) of the blame can be levelled at the ‘new’ Premier, Steven Miles. We have never seen anyone look so uncomfortable and out of sync in such a prominent position. Our readers will known that we wanted our State Member for Redlands, Kim Richards, to challenge for the role leading in to the State election later this year. Miles has gone from one disaster to another, with the Olympic opportunities being thrown out, his latest bungle. (Victoria Park suggestion is imaginative and prepares Queensland for the future; saving Lang Park is a dead duck because of its age; and the QE11 revampment will be a disaster - wasn’t great for the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the ‘winking’ kangaroo  - we were there Ed). We know realistically that Kim won’t get involved in a leadership challenge, because she doesn’t have the ‘right’ Union credentials. Someone needs to, because it ain’t going to get any better the way it is headed!


You may have read the story elsewhere in this edition about Coochiemudlo resident Steve Went and his metal detector. Steve found some old military dog tags on the Coochie beach and traced them to returned serviceman, Myron Allen, who was grateful to get them back after all these years. Well, there is an additional story to the tale. It seems Myron had been diagnosed with terminal, inoperable cancer. And so, Myron had only one thing on his bucket list. The former Army aviation soldier mentioned to a friend he would love a Chinook to land at his kids’ school, but with his experience in aviation planning, he dismissed the idea as unachievable. So, when he heard the distinctive heavy rotor beat of a CH-47 earlier in the week around Brisbane, he thought nothing of it. But, as he watched a CH-47 Chinook touch down at the Kurwongbah State School oval, he burst into tears. He was told he was there for a school meeting, but as they wheeled him towards the oval, he realised what was happening “You don’t have a meeting at an oval, so I knew what was going on and cried the whole way down,” Mr Allen said. The Chinook was piloted by Commanding Officer 5th Aviation Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Lean, who Mr Allen remembered as a fresh-faced lieutenant from his time as a mission support ground crewman. Kurwongbah Principal  Leanne Odorico said when she was contacted by Lieutenant Colonel Lean the school pulled out all stops to make it happen. “We found out the Chinook was flying down this week, and even though we had other events happening, we knew we couldn’t miss this opportunity,” Ms Odorico said. The school children were given an up-close look at the helicopter and spoke with the flight crew. Mr Allen’s sons, Elijah and Jonah, were given the privilege of sitting in the cockpit and trying on a flight helmet. Born and raised in the UK, Mr Allen moved to Australia in 2005 after meeting his Australian wife, Linda, on holiday in England. He joined the Army in 2009 and posted to 5th Aviation Regiment, later deploying to East Timor in 2011 as part of the Timor Leste Aviation Group. Whilst there, he won a competition to rename the aviation base in Dili ‘Camp Creado’, in honour of Timorese boys who helped Australian soldiers in World War 2. An artist since childhood, in 2013 Mr Allen began a series of manga-style graphic novels to help soldiers come to terms with mental health issues. After news of his novels got out, he was contacted by Army multimedia technicians and asked if he would consider changing jobs – posting to the 1st Intelligence Battalion after transferring. “Collecting and manipulating data to affect the battle space was fascinating. It was hard, stressful work, but it was one of the proudest things I have done in my life,” Mr Allen said. Mr Allen was medically discharged in 2018 because of stress response syndrome, which resulted in anxiety and depression.  “The Army took really good care of me after it was discovered to be work-related. They have done everything they can for me,” Mr Allen said. Mr Allen focused on being a full-time dad, which allowed Linda to concentrate on her career. He also volunteered at his children’s school and taught art therapy at retirement homes. After experiencing stomach pain and multiple consults, he was diagnosed with cancer.  “Sitting down with your kids on the bed telling them your dad’s going to die soon is a very difficult conversation to have,” he said. “I gave my 11-year-old my dog tags (the set lost on Coochie beach) and said, this is the only set, you have them, and I’ll always be with you through them.” Mr Allen is now focused on fighting for as long as he can to be with his family, and wants his children to remember their time together. “The Chinook visit enabled me to build a legacy memory for my children,” he said “They will always remember the time dad arbitrarily requested a helicopter to land at their school for them to jump into, and Army said yes.”



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