Once the first event was over, the guests retired for the remainder of the afternoon to rest and prepare for the gala event, that being an Island Business Ball which would be starting at 8pm. I had managed to organise an 18-piece live jazz band to provide the music for the night, and they arrived on the island an hour after the lunch event had come to a close at 2pm. The band members were booked into a nearby hotel, and while they were settling into their accommodation I was coordinating final preparations for the night event.
At 5pm I received a call from reception asking me to come to reception right away. On arrival there, annoyed that I had been dragged away from home where I was enjoying a few moments of rest after a very busy day, I was stunned to see a black Humvee parked in the front driveway and two very large strong men standing beside the vehicle.
“What is all this about?” I asked the receptionist who pointed to the vehicle and the two guards standing near it.
“Sir, the gentlemen you see here asked to see the owner of the resort, not the manager, but the owner,” the receptionist replied.
“Ask Mr Hills and his special guest to come here straight away please,” I instructed the receptionist. I turned and began to step towards the vehicle when one of the men put his hand up to indicate for me to stop, but I kept walking towards the car. The guard took a few steps forward and once again signalled for me to stop. This time I did as he indicated but only for a short moment as I saw Frank and Judge Andrews walking into the reception area. I then continued to make my way towards the car, until I was face to face with the guard.
“I suggest you either let me pass or you, your friend, and this vehicle get off my property.”
I took a step to one side and began to walk around the guard. Suddenly he took hold of me and forced me to the ground, placing a knee into my back. Seeing what had just happened to me, Frank soon appeared and said forcefully, “I demand to know why you have physically assaulted the owner of this property which you are now trespassing on.” The guard ignored my groans of agonising pain and ignored Franks demands.
The back door of the Humvee opened and the guard was told to stand down by a man in an expensive suit who was hanging up from a conversation on his mobile. Frank recognised the man as a wealthy businessman and recently re-elected Mayor of Townsville, Anton McMasters. Frank walked straight up to him, ignoring the guard who was hovering close by.
“Mr Mayor, my name is Frank Hills, and I have just witnessed your goon here assaulting the owner of this property, and I will be taking this matter to the authorities,” Frank said to the man he knew was a very arrogant and intimidating businessman, who had been in the media many times for ways he had dealt with business deals that were not going the way he wanted them to go.
“Well, Mr Hills, all I saw was my security ensuring that my vehicle and I are protected from any unnecessary risks,” the mayor said with a smirk on his face.
“Mr Mayor, I clearly saw and heard Mr Wellstead ask the guard to either let him pass or get off his property. Since the guard didn’t do as he was asked, the moment he put his hand on Mr Wellstead after he attempted to walk around the guard, you and your guards were trespassing on private property,” Frank stated.
The mayor laughed at what Frank had just said and had not noticed the other man that was standing not too far away watching the whole event take place.
“I would like to see you try and prove that. It’s just your word against mine as far as I can see here,” the mayor said still with a broad smile.
Frank was starting to get very annoyed with this corporate bully. Then he noticed two police officers standing not far away from Judge Andrews.
“Mr Mayor, may I properly introduce myself and my good friend who is standing over there? My full title is Frank Hills, Barrister in Law & QC, and my friend there is His Honour Judge Samuel Andrews of the Australian Supreme Court, and as an officer of the court, you sir, and your two goons are now under arrest for assault and trespassing,” Frank said as he nodded to the two police officers who stepped forward to take control of the situation.
When the two goons tried to stop the mayor from being arrested, they were soon subdued by pepper spray and handcuffed. Once they were under control, the mayor began to shout that his staff were being mistreated by the police, and that they were going over the top with the arrests. He was finally handcuffed and told to quieten down. The island doctor arrived and began to examine my injuries, and while this was being done the resort manager asked me if there was anything he could do while I rested for the remainder of the day before the big event that night.
I ran through a number of items that needed checking which included having the two copies made of the security footage, before I was told by Frank that it would be a good idea to have any injuries photographed as evidence.
Less than an hour later it was on the news:
“Tonight on the 6 o’clock news, we have a report that has just come in that controversial Mayor of Townsville, Mr Anton McMasters, has been arrested and charged with assault, trespassing and resisting arrest, after the mayor and his two body guards arrived unannounced at a resort on Magnetic Island this afternoon.
It is alleged that the guards assaulted the 21-year-old owner of the resort as he stepped towards the mayor’s vehicle to find out the reason for his visit. What Mr McMasters did not expect was that the owner has two guests staying at the resort, who witnessed the whole event, one being Barrister & QC Mr Frank Hills the other Supreme Court Judge Samuel Andrews. We will bring more details once they are available.”
I was taken to the community medical centre, where I was treated for severe bruising on the back, arms and wrists from being roughly held down by the guard. The police requested that I go to the police station to make a statement and have photos taken of the injuries.
It was almost 7pm by the time I arrived back home. I went to bed to rest for a while before getting ready to attend the ball. When I woke up and looked at the clock it was 9pm, and as I tried to sit up I collapsed again due to the pain I was feeling. I soon found Kyle’s smiling face standing nearby.
“Ok, boss, you have to stay in bed. The doctor came and saw you when you arrived back and suggested that you stay in bed for at least two days. That means not attending the Gala Ball, but just resting and getting better,” Kyle said as he helped me to get comfortable again. I didn’t complain. I was too tired and sore to argue and took a sip of water from the glass that Kyle brought up to my lips. It was then that I heard the music coming from the Gala Ball.
“The Jazz band - they are very talented. I’m glad I chose them for the event,” I said as I smiled and closed my eyes.
The next time I woke up, it was daylight. I could hear the sea gulls down at the beach. Kyle walked in into my bedroom with a big smile and holding a breakfast tray which he set down on the bench, before assisting me get comfortable in a semi sitting position and placing the tray on the bed over my lap.
I looked at the clock and it was almost 9am. I grabbed the television remote and turned the television on.
“Today on the 9am Morning News, controversial Townsville Mayor, Mr Anton McMasters, elected to have his case heard before a magistrate, and pleaded not guilty to the charges of assault, trespass and resisting arrest.
Our news reporter has learnt that the court has been presented with statements from two very prominent officers of the court, plus security video footage of the whole event, which clearly proves Mr McMasters and his two security goons, as they have been referred, guilty of all three charges.
When the magistrate asked for his response to the evidence presented, Mr McMasters stated that it was all fabricated and all a lie. The magistrate has referred the case to the District Court to be heard by a Judge in three weeks’ time. Also, Mr McMasters has been denied bail and will be remanded to the medium security remand prison till his case is heard.
In other news, the Townsville council will be having an emergency meeting tonight to decide what to do about this situation. The CEO of the Townsville Council would not comment, but the Chair of the Townsville Rate Payers Association said this morning that she for one will be making sure her voice representing the ratepayers will be heard tonight, and that Mr McMasters should be sacked effective immediately.”
I chose to change the channel as I didn’t want to hear any more about what had happened. I asked Kyle to go to my office and retrieve my laptop computer and the novel that was on my desk that I was currently reading. Just before lunch time I received a visit from Samuel Andrews and Frank Hills, who said they were pleased to see that I was on the mend.
I was then told by Frank that a meeting was held on Magnetic Island, involving members of the three key community groups on the island, that being the Tourism & Businesses Magnetic Island Association, the Magnetic Island Ratepayers & Residents Association, and the Magnetic Island Community Development Association.
They had voted unanimously for Magnetic Island to have its own Local Government Authority, consisting of representatives from all three Association groups plus some individual community representatives to be known as the Magnetic Island Community Council.The community of Magnetic Island was now seeking a meeting with the Queensland Minister for Local Government to try and get this approved.
“This all sounds very interesting, Frank, but why are you telling me this?” I asked him.
“Because, my dear boy, the whole community is very impressed with what you have done to the resort which was very run down and on the verge of bankruptcy, and what you have done to establish a conference centre - the first for the island, plus with the gala ball that you had last night, which was a huge hit, and I think will probably end up being an annual event. They want you to be a community member of this council,” Frank replied with a big grin on his face.
I was a bit stunned at what Frank had just said and was not sure how to reply to it. It took some moments to get this idea through my head and eventually I said, “Let me think about it, Frank. I need time to see how I could fit into this organisation without it affecting my time at the resort.”
Frank nodded acceptance of my decision.
“I have submitted a recommendation to the Minister of Local Government in favour of this proposal for the island to have its own local government. I hope that it will be enough to get the idea accepted,” Judge Andrews said with a smile.
Two days later I accepted the offer for a position on the council if it came about, and with my special guests all returning to their homes, I was informed that a second community meeting would be held the following day to nominate the 3 community members that would be on the steering committee, plus the three members each from the three business organisations.
The following day I made my way to the large function room of the only high-class resort on the island where the meeting was to be held. I was surprised to see about 350 or more people in attendance - a lot more than I had expected. Once the meeting was brought to order, there was a total of 7 nominations for the community member positions, and 4 nominations for each of the 3 business organisation positions. It only took a short ½ hour for the 12 positions to be selected, with myself in one of the community positions.
It was announced that the following weekend election forms would be available for selecting members for the steering committee which would be known as MISC - Magnetic Island Steering Committee - and this committee would work towards getting its own local government, plus establishing its own constitution, rules and regulations.
On the weekend the over 17,000 permanent residents went to the polling booth at the 5 main localities on the island to make their decisions. The election forms included a separate section to elect a Committee Chairperson & Deputy Chairperson.
Like all other permanent residents, I went and made my selection, which was me as a member but not as an executive, and after two days of elections, the polling booths were closed and all the nomination boxes were placed on the ferry and sent to an accounting firm on the mainland to work out the results.
The results would be published in the Magnetic Island newspaper, which was out every Thursday evening. Everyone on the island waited patiently for the results to be printed, with the newspapers’ editor being the one responsible to ensure that the information was not released before the newspapers arrived on the island from the printers on the mainland.
When the newspapers arrived at the resort, it was Kyle who delivered one to me as I sat in my office in the bungalow.
“MISC – MAGNETIC ISLAND STEERING COMMITTEE ELECTION RESULTS
Tourism & Businesses Magnetic Island Association
Mr D.L Amesbury, Ms S.K Green, Miss O.B Penman
Magnetic Island Ratepayers & Residents Association
Ms H.I Stedman, Mr J.G Herrison, Ms Y.E Lee
Magnetic Island Community Development Association
Ms J.T Tanner, Mr N.C Jacanas, Ms A.D Parsons
Magnetic Island Community Members
Mr G.A Wellstead, Miss U.L Oestrogen, Ms, R F Harmen
Magnetic Island Steering Committee Executive Members
Mr G.A Wellstead – Chair (64% of the vote)
Ms S.K Green – Deputy Chair (22% of the vote)
These results were collated and checked by the Dupass Accounting Firm, Townsville.”
Copyright February 2018, Preston Wigglesworth, All Rights are Reserved