Failure to Respond

In a Statement released on 23 October 2012 Mr Mackereth, publisher of QNews said

“Recent statements as part of an attack and trolling campaign against me and my businesses including Qnews on the internet are untrue and have no foundation whatsoever. I am shocked to the core that they have been made.”

He asked the journalist to apologise and has implied that the journalist is part of a cyber-bullying campaign.

The following are the correspondences between Mr Mackereth and Miles Heffernan (and have been re-formatted for presentation only and to remove names of sources or to not publish information that could be defamatory). 1 telephone call, one text and three emails all remained unresponded to. Mr Mackereth contends that he did reply for an unrelated (and incorrect representation) of a “commercial dispute”.

The context of these emails speak for themselves as being directly related to the issue at hand including that it was disclosed that they were for publication in The Stirrer:

1st Email (Day of QAHC Press Release)

From: Miles Heffernan 

Subject: Comment Requested RE HIV Results from the Kirby Institute

Date: 16 October 2012 6:10:23 PM AEST

To: Ray Mackereth  & Cameron Thomson (Minister Springborg’s Media Advisor) 

 Dear Cameron and Ray

 I refer you to the following release: http://www.qahc.org.au/files/shared/docs/Media_Release_-_HIV_reduced_in_Queensland.pdf.

 Key findings from the ‘HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections in Australia Annual Surveillance Report 2012’ show that for the year 2011:

 Number of HIV diagnoses decreased in Queensland (242(2) in 2010, 222 in 2011)

 Number of HIV diagnoses increased in NSW and Victoria (351 and 280 respectively in 2010, 389 and 328 in 2011)

 Rate of HIV diagnoses decreased in Queensland (5.4 in 2010 to 4.8 in 2011)

 Rate of HIV diagnoses increased in NSW and Victoria (4.9 and 4.9 respectively in 2010 to 5.3 and 5.7 in 2011)

 Given these results, how do you say the “We shouldn’t need this advert campaign” was a good use of taxpayer dollars. In the case of QNews, do you believe what has previously been published is appropriate.

 There is a perception and indeed an allegation that QNews made false representations to the Queensland government about the HIV rates and this was a catalyst or influencing factor in the defunding of QAHC. What do you say to this?

 What is the risk to the Queensland gay men now that there has been a defunding of QAHC, if any?

 What strategies does the Queensland government have to match the reduced HIV infection rates, if any that have been produced from last year?

 Mr Mackereth, a source has advised that you have openly admitted to your role in the defunding of QAHC and indeed bragged about this. The source says that you or your representative(s) were engaging with the the Queensland government for over one month before the defunding announcement.

 Mr Mackereth, did you have any involvement in David Graham being appointed to the ministerial advisory board?

 Does the Queensland Government or the minister regret defunding of QAHC in light of these result?

 Does QNews regret its involvement in the defunding of QAHC?

 Does Mr Mackereth regret his involvement in the defunding of QAHC?

 Was the real and motivating reason for the defunding of QAHC that they thought they were close to the Labor party or they conducted lobbying? Is that why the new ministerial advisory committee is not allowed to lobby, or if this is not the case what is they position of the minister on this point.

 I have a deadline of 5pm tomorrow, Wednesday. Please reply by then of if this is not feasible, please contact the writer.

 The story will be published in The Stirrer following my recent investigation into this decision.

 A Liberal/Nartional party source has alleged that (name and position removed for legal reasons) being keen to not be seen to favour a policy within his own sexual orientation and that this has resulted in a hyper-homophobic approach to policy. Does this minister have a comment on this?

 Miles Heffernan

2nd Email

From: Miles Heffernan

Subject: additional questions

Date: 17 October 2012 11:50:54 AM AEST

To: Ray Mackereth 

Ray,

(A Source disclosed to Mr Mackereth so he could fairly respond) has gone on record saying that you instructed him, as (an employee) of Klub Kruise, to not attend QAHC SOPV meetings as this would result in some defunding with the goal for that money to be diverted to QNews or to you. Is this true?

Additionally why did you remove QAHC safe sex messages from the Klub Kruise website?
.
Please respond today as early as possible. The minister’s office has replied already.

Miles

3rd Email

From: Miles Heffernan

Subject: Further follow up

Date: 18 October 2012 12:17:39 PM AEST

To: Ray Mackereth

 Ray,

I am wanting to give you a chance to be represented fairly.

As you have not responded to my call or emails I thought one final chance to respond.

It has been alleged by three people that you claim to be instrumental in facilitating the defunding of QAHC. Do you agree with this and do you have any comment?

Did you meet with or otherwise communicate with government employees or members of the health minister’s office to lobby for the defunding of QAHC.

I am in receipt of a written statement saying you boasted about your role to a LGBT business leader in the defunding of QAHC. Is this true? Have you any comment?

Other Correspondence

Miles Heffernan also called Mr Mackereth which was unanswered. A separate text was sent by Mr Mackereth’s paging service, totalling five opportunities for Mr Mackereth to make contact, none of which were taken up on.

Commercial Dispute

Miles Heffernan is happy to disclose that he told Mr Mackereth that it was disgusting that he was living in a 4 story mansion in Brisbane’s prestigious Paddington, with 360 degree views of Brisbane while he went out of his way to ensure his staff did not get paid their superannuation and entitlements and misled the liquidators as to the true nature of Klub Kruise’s assets. This however had no bearing on this story but may be the basis of a future story.

The Well Placed Source

The well placed source we referred to is independent of Mr Mackereth’s business dealings with Klub Kruise Pty Limited (In Liquidation) including any former employees or minor shareholders that he thought to bring in to the story. Their statement can be read separately here. Reference to a specific person involved with Klub Kruise Pty Limited by Mr Mackereth only further misrepresents of the reality that we have various sources on record about this, one who agreed to a full statement to be published.

Trolling and Alleged Agenda

The journalist knows of no trolling campaign and has not been part of one. The issue sits in isolation and only became a story after the results of the Kirby Institute Report became public and QAHC did a media release.

This story is not part of a pattern to harm Mr Mackereth and Mr Heffernan denies any allegation that he is being vicious or telling lies. He maintains there is no “campaign” against Mr Mackereth and he is happy for his conduct to be scrutunised by the independent body the rules of journalist misconduct.

Mackereth Can Complain

Miles Heffernan is a financial member (Freelance Journalist) of the Media, Entertainment, Arts Alliance. Mr Mackereth has the right to complaint about Mr Heffernan’s conduct to them simply by following the process outlined on their  website. Given there seriousness of his allegations and the strong wording of his statement, if Mr Mackereth is genuinely aggrieved, he should immediately complain to the MEAA.

Outside of any complaint made by Mr Mackereth, it is up to the readers to determine if Mr Mackereth had been treated fairly and is a victim of cyber bullying by the journalist.

Contact Miles Heffernan Directly

Miles Heffernan welcomes any questions about his conduct or to clarify any part of The Stirrer’s Story. Other than to protect sources, he has nothing to hide.

If anyone knows of other times that Mr Mackereth has made claims about QAHC, then you can contact the journalist directly here in confidence in accordance with the MEAA Code of Ethics, you will be protected.

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About the author

Miles has worked as an advocate and mediator for most of his life. His previous career was focussed on employment and discrimination cases. He now is a journalist and writer with a keen interest in LGBTI affairs and national politics. He plays on Twitter under @mileshef.