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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Dealership or Leadership?

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Interview with Mell and Zara from the Byron Comedy Fest

After a year under a COVID-19 hiatus, The Byron Comedy Fest is back! Next Thursday sees this fledgling event open the doors to its second weekend presenting all that is fabulous and funny. Set on the Byron beachfront at the Byron Surf Club and styled as a classy bespoke beachside speakeasy, this event is the creative lovechild of besties Zara Noruzi and Mell Coppin.

I went to the well-attended candidates’ night at Lennox and it was really informative.

After listening to the ward and mayoral candidates it came down to this: you can vote for the deal-makers, who fold their cards early on because it’s the ‘best deal’, or you can vote for those who offer real Leadership.

Leaders are those who don’t hesitate to stand up and be counted. Dealers give themselves away by over-spruiking their importance in being part of ‘The Club’. In reality they’re just cobwebs that need sweeping.

The highlight of the night was Seabird Rescue’s Keith Williams. If you want to talk about Leadership and who actually put Ballina on international maps, try saying ‘SEABIRD RESCUE’. Seabird CEO Keith Williams has been there. As a former senior advisor to the Gold Coast City Council mayor, he knows how the system works and has a track record of making good things happen.

A past CEO of a number of community organisations. A Leader at the national level with the tourism industry. Keith has been the senior player for the GCCC on the Sea Change Task Force, an important behind-the-scenes national initiative. He’s been a senior staffer responsible for parks and gardens in Cairns. If you want a Leader who knows when and how to look behind staff reports, say ‘Keith Williams’.

Our fishing industry should be racing to vote for him because when Keith Williams says he’ll do everything he can to improve the river, he knows what needs to be done. He has all the hallmarks of a genuine Leader, not just another Dealer. I’m greatly impressed.

Sadly, a major disappointment was Phil Meehan. His campaign literature sounds just right but on the night his real self emerged; he’s desperate to be a lifetime Dealer in the Old Boys’ Club. Up close he doesn’t sound to be half of what his written words say or his wife has already delivered. Give him a big miss.

The election is on us; the old boys are hanging up their boots. As a former councillor I can’t tell you enough how impressed and excited I am with Keith Williams’s abilities. He’s a gift. For a quality council give Keith Williams your first preference. I certainly will.

Alan Rich
Lennox Head, retired Ballina councillor 


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