Embattled LNP Assistant Minister Ray Stevens gets aggro while being questioned by IA editor David Donovan outside a pre-polling booth on the Gold Coast today.
It would be almost funny if it wasn’t so disgraceful — the conduct of LNP Assistant Minister Ray Stevens outside the Mermaid Beach pre-polling booth on the Gold Coast this morning (21/1/15).
I had just interviewed fellow Mermaid Beach candidates Alex Caraco (PUP) and Gary Pead (ALP) when I approached ‘Mermaid’ Ray to talk to him about the controversial project in which he stands to gain millions after a “fortuitous” Newman Government law change.
Of course, readers of IA would know that there are serious questions to be answered by Stevens about this project, especially about Stevens serious alleged conflict of interest and possible deceptive conduct regarding the Integrity Commission. Readers would also know I have been endeavouring to speak to him about this matter for months, but he has been avoiding me — just like he has been avoiding all other journalists.
He was sitting in a comfortable chair under a marquee outside the booth and after introducing myself and holding out my hand ‒ which he refused to take ‒ I asked Stevens if he would talk to me about the project.
He declined and directed me to his office. I told him, truthfully, that I had been trying through his office for a long time and had no success. He dismissed this out of hand.
As politely as I could, I then began to ask him some of the pertinent questions, starting with
“Mr Stevens, why won’t you release the Integrity Commissioner’s advice.”
Upon hearing this, Stevens leapt to his feet and chased after a young bearded man walking past, apparently to hand him a how to vote card. I followed Stevens continuing to ask him questions:
“Mr Stevens, do you have something to hide?
“Shouldn’t the voters of Mermaid beach know about your involvement, Mr Stevens?”
It was then, after walking back inside his tent, while I stood outside, that Mermaid Ray really lost the plot — but without saying a word. I can only surmise that he didn’t realise the exchange was being filmed, since I was only holding my miniature digital audio recorder towards him.
You can see why he thought he could behave disgracefully, because by saying nothing there was little of substance from the audio.
Here is the audio (I apologise for its poor quality) of the exchange:
Stevens then quickly darted to stand just inside the marquee, with me just outside.
He held his hands out wide, as inviting me to do something. Come inside? Have a go? Who knows.
I continued asking questions:
“How much money do you expect to make from the cablecar development?”
He leaned over towards me and, still silent, started waving his arms up and down as I repeated the question a few times.
“You’re not saying anything, Mr Stevens,” I said, suddenly reminded of another famous meltdown.
He started doing a dance and gyrating around — this is a Minister of the Crown, we’re talking about, let me remind you.
“You’re not saying anything Mr Stevens,” I said again and he started making little duck beaks with his hands inches from my face.
As I asked belligerent Mermaid Ray:
“Is this the way you treat your electors, Mr Stevens?”
he made slapping motions in the air close to my face, then turned and walked away.
“Why are you avoiding the media over the cableway,” I asked him and he came back and made shooing motions near me.
The whole incident was over in a couple of minutes, but any residual respect I may have had for this local MP had evaporated long before I walked away.
Stevens may have thought his aggressive, juvenile behaviour would never be seen, however sadly for him, the entire exchange was being videotaped on phone by a booth volunteer. This young gentleman was allegedly confronted by Stevens soon after, with the MP allegedly trying to intimidate into not releasing the video.
Luckily for us ‒ and the voters of Mermaid Beach ‒ the volunteer was made of sterner stuff.
Here is the video of the volunteer, which has been overdubbed with my audio:
Irrespective of the probity of Stevens’ actions over the Skyride, about which he obviously refuses to talk, it is clear that he is not a fit candidate for any public office whatsoever. In fact, wouldn’t let him walk my dog, who is far more courteous and polite than Ray Stevens.
Ray Stevens should be disendorsed by the LNP.
This probably won’t happen, however I urge you to share this story amongst everyone in Mermaid Beach. This man ‒ and I use that term reluctantly ‒ deserves to be punished on January 31 by the voters of Mermaid, because he clearly holds them in utter contempt.
If you are voting in Queensland this month, put the LNP last — as shown by today’s events, that’s where they appear to have put you.
The video was filmed by Alex Caraco's volunteer James Gallavin. You can follow David Donovan on Twitter @davrosz.
Mermaid Ray may come to regret the fact he mistakenly thought I was only taping the audio of today's extraordinary interview.— Dave Donovan (@davrosz) January 21, 2015
Here's what I was trying to talk to Mermaid Ray Stevens about. My previous story, the Integrity of Mermaid Ray: https://t.co/JzJv1gmUQe— Dave Donovan (@davrosz) January 21, 2015
'Colourful' GC MP 'Mermaid Ray' fumes about vendettas, despite refusing to release Integrity Commissioner's advice. pic.twitter.com/p5BzzH79Lw— Dave Donovan (@davrosz) January 18, 2015
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