Cairns detention centre and petition expose antithetical political powers

The Speaker of Queensland’s Parliament House and Member for Mulgrave, the Honourable Curtis Pitt, has reignited the debate on the Cairns youth detention centre this past week.

In what could be described as a minor concession to the serious community backlash, Mr. Pitt has come out in the Cairns Post suggesting that Cairns may not be the location for the new youth detention centre.

What is the Cairns youth detention centre?

However, the Department of Youth Justice issued a press release early in 2024 describing the design elements of the 40-bed, home-like accommodation and therapeutic design and rehabilitation facility, needing to have “sufficient distance from high-density residential areas” (neither Edmonton or Gordonvale are high density classified).

And what is sufficient do you ask? Well, it’s anyone’s guess.

Are families and surrounding rural suburbs “sufficient distance”?

Lookout Babinda, Aloomba, Second Beach near Yarrabah or Goldsborough Valley.

Are these suburbs in the sufficient distance category because they all exist in the Cairns Regional Council jurisdiction away from high-density residential areas?

In addition, the department said the detention centre must also be close to the offender’s families (mostly indigenous people are inferred in the wording), workforce, courts, police, heath, justice services and sewerage services and hidden away behind vegetation (natural screening).

Indigenous traditional owners are specifically called on for consultation. Residents got a mention too. But they are not at the decision-making table and certainly not on the email list.

Yet, the department made no mention of the most vulnerable in community having special consideration in the design and location selection phase.

What about our elderly, women and families with children?

We already know this cohort are most impacted by community-based rehabilitation corrections systems, whether it be break-ins, stolen cars, sexual offending and armed robberies.

And while our bread winners, home care givers and seniors are uneconomic for political craftsmanship, their votes and voices matter when the community rally in opposition to the government’s grip on power. But if that’s not all.

Inappropriate community consultation

In a show of complete disdain for our community, the Member for Mulgrave commented to the Cairns Post journalist Samuel Davis in an article; “Hands off our farm: Family pledges to stop any proposal by the state government to build a dentition facility on their Mount Peter property”, 18th April 2024, that it would be “inappropriate” to seek community consultation on a future facility’s location”.

Inappropriate to consult. Really?

Democracy couldn’t be under threat from the secret business of public/private partnerships now could it?

Adaptation of home-living for criminal youth

If that level of concern doesn’t tickle your sense of what is inappropriate of political representation, the government has identified that the Cairns detention centre facility will be designed as an adaption of home-living.

Community rehabilitation and mass surveillance are key pillars too. But the motherload of political control hierarchy is the use of methodologies known as Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and carceral geography.

CPTED and carceral geography defines a spacial grid or zone in which practices and experiences of confinement and coercive control is applied by Corrections, Police Officers, Authorised Persons and even contracted private security.

Community surveillance by design

The CPTED uses three levels of control; the public, authorised persons and surveillance devices. These systems monitor the geographic grid which includes public zones prescribed by the State government and their administrative agencies such as local councils and prescribed stakeholders.

Digital monitoring devices are essential for this draconian surveillance system to function. And this is where the detention centre and its dependency on public safety infrastructure and community safety propaganda becomes dystopian to it’s core.

Cairns Regional Council testing zone for MACP

The Cairns Regional Council has been piloting these systems for a couple years. Coincidentally, this Cairns pilot commenced on the eve of a new law creating a state agency with its own CEO called the Multi-Agency Cooperation Panel (MACP).

The MACP was implemented in the dying days of the Palaszczuk government. The MACP was embedded no less in the Queensland Community Safety Act 2024.

Bi-partisan Labor and LNP support to bring back breach of bail as an offence (in breach of the United Nations covenants and mothballed in the Human Right Act), and returning the presumption for arrest powers to police was also included in the Queensland Community Safety Act 2024.

Have a guess what the Cairns Regional Council called their pilot? Yes, you got it. The Community Safety Plan CBD Pilot (CSPCBDP).

Previous Councillors complicit in the don’t say to play scheme

Under the previous Council administration, all councillors, including the supposed conservative and freedom loving ones, voted in favour of approving an initial $3 Million budget for the CSPCBDP white paper.

The paper had one recommendation. Endorse and delegate the implementation of the CSPCBDP to Council CEO. The paper had “Nil” Interested parties in the consultation and a declaration that no strategy had been identified. Of course, all of these disclosures by that Council were not true.

In fact, an emergency management strategy in the paper had already been chosen but not disclosed to the public. If the public knew of the strategy details, which has coercive emergency powers, they would have questioned the design and may have caused a critical public debate.

The public would have discovered the coercive powers are being applied to a definition of anti-social behaviour that is draconian and anti-democratic.

Just as Mr. Pitt thinks community consultation about a tangible detention centre is “inappropriate”, interested parties to consultation about the Council’s anti-social emergency pilot was “Nil”.

Secrecy is paramount, community consultation policy of last resort

Connecting the dots back to the Cairns detention centre and the environmental design and geographic systems of control, the Cairns Safe Nights Precinct has been the experimental lab of the State government’s new Community Safety strategy.

Or should we say, rather, emergency social strategy to curb social dysfunction created by failed crime and justice policies since early 2000s?

The Council strategy is highly sensitive and secretive.

The former Cairns Mayor Bob Manning, appearing before a parliamentary hearing in Cairns on the proposed State Community Safety Bill, in the witness box, chose not to even mention that his Council had just adopted the Community Safety CBD Pilot 6 months earlier.

Why would a Mayor fail to the mention his Council’s own marquee community safety strategy at a State community safety hearing? A don’t say to play scheme is why.

Secrecy comes at a cost to community leaders

CJAG President, Aaron McLeod, called out the former Deputy Mayor for misleading victims of crime over the “nil” interested parties and “no strategy” community safety CBD pilot paper on radio.

Gavin King on 4CA radio in October 2023 named Terry James. Within 10 days, the Premier’s office made an urgent unscheduled trip to Cairns to announce the new detention centre policy.

All the secrecy and no community consultation chicken come home to roost.

Our President was ex-communicated by Terry James in an email and I quote; “Based on the content of your interview (below) with Gavin King, I personally will not be dealing with you again.”

The don’t say to play scheme at work again.

Emergency powers comes with the stench of cronyism

This Council pilot is strategically important in testing the CPTED and carceral geographic systems.

It enables the “community safety” hypothesis to be managed and controlled. It doesn’t mean stop or eliminate harm. It means lower crime to an appropriate level for political purposes. In risk management speak. It is called ALARP – as low as reasonably practice.

This risk management strategy, generally an acumen of enterprise, is the most pervasive innovation in political governance of our life times because it allow anti-trust levels of regulations accustom to competition policy and applies it a governance system with impunity from regulatory accountability.

And that the new family-like youth detention centre design is enabled to function for police and corrections authorities reliant on these emergency powers and risk appetites without commensurate trust accountability.

It is compelling political communications of disinformation on society, essentially providing a powerful political tool for technocrats within the bureaucracies to dial up or down community fear and anxiety.

There is no other efficient means of applying domestic institutional terror on our population with absolute impunity, secrecy and community ignorance then the Multi Agency Cooperation Panel terms of reference.

Many bureaucrats and complicit councillors will disagree with this observation.

But 4 years of research in the sectors and industries driving the technology and social enterprises of justice, health, child safety and community services motivation and incentives for economic growth suggests we may have to agree to disagree.

Community corrections policies and surveillance state is failing

For the the new therapy detention centre model to work, the Council pilot must test the community corrections systems of an unaccountable State government. This means the detention centre should be built within the spectrum of the surveillance infrastructure state.

Unfortunately, from a community safety perspective, the Council pilot has been a failure.

On 2nd July 2024, this past week, a police blitz on the Cairns CBD as part of Taskforce Guardian yielded 111 offenders charged with 355 offences.

But the Acting Detective Inspector, Alina Bell, said and I quote;  “By us saturating these areas and ensuring police are present, we do see a reduction in those people displaying that anti-social behaviour”, Cairns Post 3rd July 2024.

As far as the CPTED system is concerned, police are the second tier of authorised person in the surveillance framework, along with public proximity and camera devices.

Yet, the Council pilot has been operational for over 18 months with eyes on offenders 24 hours a day.

Resources are saturated on the Cairns CBD with Council staff, private security, police, public reporting and surveillance cameras. The costs to rate payers and taxpayers are exorbitant.

Why were these 111 offenders not arrested earlier by local Police Officers supported with an overlay of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and carceral geography technologies?

In the past 3 months, the QPS Crime Map has logged 987 offences in the Cairns CBD precinct.

In the past 12 months, 4099 offences have been lodged by QPS in the CBD Precinct, bordered by McLeod Street and Florence to the Esplanade and down to the navy base at HMAS Cairns in Portsmith.

In the previous 12 months, 3,643 offences were lodged by QPS in the CBD, which is an 11% increase in anti-social behaviour since the Community Safety Plan CBD Pilot commenced in July 2022.

Be mindful, back in 2008, barely 30 incidents of anti-social behaviour including drunkenness was recorded by authorities per month in the Cairns CBD. By December 2021, over 1,000 incidents per month were recorded by the Cairns Regional Council. This was a 4,000% increase in anti-social behaviour in 15 years.

Ever since Cairns Regional council aligned with the Australian Safe Communities Foundation Inc. on behalf of the World Health Organisation Centre on Community Safety, community safety and public health has gotten worse.

If ever there is smoking gun to disastrous community policing and justice reforms. There it is. The causal analysis is unequivocal in the origins of the post modern crime industry.

World Health Organisation alignment is antithetical to democracy and domestic peace

And now we have the entire system applying the World Health Organisation approach to community safety including the State government and Cairns Regional Council seeking to convince the public that a family-like rehabilitation detention centre is going to improve community safety.

It is absolute nonsense! And, the facts make it clear.

Who knows, perhaps the Honourable Curtis Pitt has read the statistics on the worsening crime problem in the Cairns CBD pilot zone since 2022 where the technology and strategies are failing. An 11 percent increase in offences in the past 12 months. That’s 11 percent more victims of crime.

Additionally, the government narrative on community safety has taken a major blow.

Since police watchhouses were designated detention centres in Queensland, after the health-centred rehabilitation youth justice strategy of 2019-2023 was a catastrophic failure, community safety has improved within the last 6 months.

Imprisonment is a deterrent to the overwhelming majority of borderline offenders and repeat offenders.

While offenders serve their term in incarceration and return to the public in any case, when imprisonment was presumed a deterrent to criminal behaviour, there was much less crime in the community, especially from the youth cohort.

Wake up call for law makers and judges

A 40-bed, home-like facility isn’t a deterrent but an incentive to become occupational criminals that terrorise our communities on bail, parole and community rehabilitation orders by woke judges and law makers.

Parents of serious youth offenders don’t want to be harassed and shamed by their children. Detention is respite to many of them.

Therefore, Mr Pitt’s assertions that the detention centre may not be built in the local government area of the Cairns Regional Council is disingenuous and at worst downright dishonest. At least as far as claiming he is listening to the community.

Remember, Mr Pitt said it was “inappropriate” to consult with community in April 2024. What has changed for the local member in 3 months?

Why wouldn’t the Cairns community be outraged with a 4,000% increase in bad behaviour on the Cairns CBD streets?

God forbid. Someone might disagree with an emergency power protecting community safety. Police protecting property and person yes. But community safety is a design to detain, arrest or silence everyone who commits anti-social behaviour, even for disagreeing with the prescribed authority.

Sure, the target is youth today.

But tomorrow under the cloud of a future health pandemic or public safety endemic, it will be everyone in the public subjected to these controls.

The reader might think this is far fetched? But “anti-social behaviour” in the Council one recommendation paper is defined as “incivility” and “non-compliance”.

Any one got a spare mask to go to the shop?

Welcome to a society captured by bureaucratic totalitarianism.

That ol chestnut – honest debate and peaceful resistance

We must resist this type of political and institutional attack on our democracy and peaceful way of life.

Over 2500 residents of Cairns have signed CJAG’s petition calling for the Cairns detention centre to be located outside of Cairns. It’s location must be in an area where low or no density population exists.

Kinetic rehabilitation in an academy structure must occur in a remote location in the interest of actual community safety.

CJAG has promoted this peaceful approach to policy design. It is call the CJAG Way.

CJAG Chapters of Community Leadership is where the collaboration and consultation occurs.

In spite of our good friend Mr. Pitt’s preferences for head-in-the-sand consultation, the Member for Mulgrave’s predisposition for protecting his own government’s measures of emergency governance and inappropriate means of representation, is antithetical to an open, transparent and egalitarian society of Australia.

But it only works if the public perform their single most important civil duties – get involved in community justice matters and vote the antithetical politicians and government’s out of office at the ballot box.