“Sicilians are great liars. The best in the world. I’m Sicilian. My father was the world heavy-weight champion of Sicilian liars. From growing up with him I learned the pantomime. There are seventeen different things a guy can do when he lies to give himself away. A guys got seventeen pantomimes. A woman’s got twenty, but a guy’s got seventeen… but, if you know them, like you know your own face, they beat lie detectors all to hell. Now, what we got here is a little game of show and tell. You don’t wanna show me nothin’, but you’re tellin me everything” – Vincenzo Coccotti (True Romance, 1993)
True Romance would have to be one of my favourite movies of all time. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend you do. It features an all star cast including Christopher Walken as a slick, Sicilian mobster and Dennis Hopper playing the estranged father of a guy who accidentally ripped off the mob. These two share one of the greatest scenes in cinema history. The quote above is from this scene and is one of my favourite quotes. In a nutshell, Coccotti is explaining how difficult it is to maintain a lie. There are 17 tells he claims, 20 for women. In the context of this scene, he is also saying it is far easier to tell the truth, and that is usually the best option for everyone.
This quote came to mind when preparing to write this article. Not because I am suggesting anyone is lying. Far from it. Let that be stated in black and white right now – The following article does not accuse anyone of anything untoward. This is an opinion piece and as with every article the following disclaimer applies –
In this quote Vincent Coccotti is stressing to Clifford Worley that the easier option is to tell the truth. Which is why the quote came to mind. Representatives of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation have come out in the last 24 hours to the Sydney Morning Herald to clarify a Daily Telegraph article published following an investigative article posted by Surelynot.live and the recent follow up. I do not believe their response has been dishonest, nor am I suggesting that to be the case. But why are they making the simple task of telling the truth so damn hard?
It’s not uncommon for untrue statements to be made in or by the media. Just look at the scandalous actions of SMH State Political Editor, Kirsty Needham over the weekend. To publish findings based on hand picked data that was analysed and documented with an aim to mislead to further push an agenda is huge betrayal of trust. The fact she was attempting to strengthen an agenda that has been fuelled by deception, emotional manipulation and statistical fraud from the start is unforgiveable.
We’ve had polls taken down when results haven’t suited the broadcaster. We’ve had Premier Mike Baird fudge the numbers and lie to the entire state only to be called out by the very man responsible for collating the data, the Director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Don Weatherburn. Even SMH admitted as such, showing that there are at least some journalists with integrity over at Fairfax. Despite being comprehensively debunked, we still see everyone from the familiar faces at St Vincent’s to tiresome comments section loudmouths perpetuating the ignorance.
Another popular justification is London has lockouts, which is yet another lie. London is a 24 hour city and will still be introducing a night mayor, like other 24 hour cities such as Paris, Zurich and Amsterdam. I don’t believe these people are deliberately trying to be dishonest though. They genuinely believe what they are saying is the truth, and it was once. But the information they point to is irrelevant in 2016. Much like the entire argument, it’s outdated and obsolete.
To top it off we have numerous members of NSW Parliament on record lying and contradicting themselves on the day the laws were passed. Members voted in favour of legislation that most had not properly considered and many had not even read. Many members are on record saying they do not believe in and do not support the laws, but said “Ah, what the hell. Let’s vote for them anyway #yolo”. Some voted in favour because they feared for their seat at the next election, some voted in favour because they were fooled by irrational, anecdotal evidence and some voted in favour to win political favour. A fair chunk of the room even voted in favour out of spite. This is yet another absolute betrayal from those in power and aside from a select handful of cool heads in the room that day, they should each be made accountable for their actions, or at the very least explain their conduct. Then again, it is Macquarie Street we’re talking about. Fool on us for expecting any better.
They say lockouts save lives. They do not. Cole Miller was tragically killed after being attacked in Fortitude Valley around 3.30am. Half an hour after lock out. Not only was he out on the streets because was he unable to enter a venue, everybody else was out on the streets because they couldn’t enter a venue. This creates a volatile environment where some are angry and aggressive after being rightfully denied entry from a venue (by staff for the state they’re in as well as the law.) Mixed in with that you have people who just want to get home. A recipe for disaster if ever there was one, a situation that was often presented as a hypothetical, warning of the dangers lock out laws present. Unfortunately, that hypothetical is now reality in Queensland. Yet pro lockout advocates sickeningly used this tragedy to further their cause. I sincerely hope we never have an incident in Sydney where a young, vulnerable individual is attacked and ultimately killed after being locked out, separated from friends and left stranded on the street shortly after 1.30am. What would the advocates have to say then?
Based on everything we have seen, there is not a single, solitary reason for the laws to still be in effect. Hell, there was never a reason for them to be introduced in the first place. Every attempt to justify them has been debunked. There are no valid basis and there never was. There is zero explanation whatsoever for any rational, reasonable adult in New South Wales to support these laws.
Since the Telegraph published the story, it has been picked up by the Daily Mail and Music Feeds amongst others and is all over social media. Curiously, SMH chose not to. That was until they spoke to Ralph Kelly himself some time Monday afternoon. Sources assure me attempts were made by other outlets to contact Ralph from 10am Sunday, yet he ignored all correspondence and chose to go straight to Fairfax journalist Kate Aubusson who has penned a number of articles expressing support of the legislation. Why he would not respond to the very first person who asked is strange. Personally I would like to set the record straight as soon as possible. What is even stranger is the Foundation has been aware of the report since Friday and still chose not to come out with a statement, opting to shut down their entire online presence and go into total lockdown. They made the conscious decision to wait for a preferred journalist from their preferred media outlet.
There were a few statements in R Kelly’s rebuttal that raised a few eyebrows so we would like to seek some clarification. As mentioned earlier, none of us here believe anything untoward is happening, but people are making the simple task of telling the truth a far more difficult task than it needs to be. Let’s go through them individually and hopefully we can get a clearer picture, so we can all get back to our common goal.
The figures did not reflect more than half a million dollars paid to the Salvation Army by charity sponsors to run the charity’s cornerstone program, Mr Kelly said
This figures will be addressed in further detail shortly but before looking at anything, it needs to be noted the salary is well above average. The average salary for a CEO of a charity is $15,000 less than what Ralph is being paid. The average salary for a Director is $35,000 less.
“My salary was approved by all of the [TKYF] board members [and] all of the directors and it was disappointing to see that [the Daily Telegraph] reported that without waiting to speak to the directors or myself,” Mr Kelly said.
Firstly, I would like to know why he did not respond when attempts to contact him we apparently made.
But let’s talk about the director approval. Ralph is correct. “Directors resolved effective December 1st 2013 to enter into an employment agreement with Ralph Kelly, a Director of the company” Given the date, there are few things that need to be asked.
Foundation Director Dr Michael Carr-Gregg resigned on November 3rd 2013
Foundation Director and Headmaster of the Kings School Dr Tim Hawkes resigned on November 14th 2013
The timing is unusual as is the lack of any information regarding their resignation. Especially considering the long term association Dr Hawkes has had with the family. Extensive searches were unable to locate a single article or piece of information mentioning both Ralph and Dr Hawkes. There are a plethora in the year and half between the tragic death of Thomas Kelly and Dr Hawkes resignation, including many reporting on the launch of TKYF. But nothing since. Looking at articles from end of 2013 onwards you would have no idea the two had ever met, let alone been closely associated.
The information suggests the three Directors who voted were Dr Gordian Fulde, Macquarie Bank Executive Director Guy Reynolds and Associate Professor Jane Burns. Professor Burns resigned a few weeks later, on January 20th 2013.
If that is true, HE ONLY NEEDED 2 VOTES. And his good buddies Dr Fulde & Guy Reynolds were always in the bag. Maybe Professor Burns voted in favour too. Maybe she didn’t and that’s why she was forced out. Maybe Dr Hawkes and/or Dr Carr-Gregg weren’t keen on the idea and were forced out or quit in disgust. Who knows, but the fact remains he has clearly attempted to make it sound like a bigger thing than it was
No explanation was ever given for their resignation, no statements were ever made. In a way they all share a similar professional and educational background. Perhaps because of this they felt they were not suited to their responsibilities and their positions were untenable. Those who stayed are still there and are amongst Ralph’s staunchest allies.
Between December 2014 and February 2016 the Salvation Army has received $540,000 to operate the Take Kare Safe Spaces in the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross, Mr Kelly told Fairfax Media
This is a very commendable achievement and should be applauded. However the specifics are somewhat misleading, and further clarification would be helpful
On 15 September 2014, Council resolved to approve the receipt of $30,000 (ex. GST) funding from the Department of Justice and a further cash grant of up to $40,000 (ex. GST) to the Salvation Army to operate a Safe Space pilot and the Take Kare Ambassador program.
The success of the program since it began just before Christmas has led to further funding of $400,000 a year for the next three years from the City of Sydney, NSW Government, Macquarie Group Foundation, Crown Resorts Foundation and the Packer Family Foundation. This additional funding will allow the program to expand its operations from the inner city to Kings Cross.
The City provided funding for the pilot and due to its success, funding was extended until the end of May 2015. On 27 April, Council approved a total cash grant of $320,000 for the Salvation Army to deliver the program year-round for the 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18 financial years, and to expand the program into Kings Cross.
Following the death of their son, Thomas Kelly’s parents established the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation. Its purpose is to make sure our children come home safely. This week, the Government announced 11 August 2015 LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY 2271 the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation will receive $100,000 per year over the next three years to deliver the Safe Space and Take Kare Ambassador Program. This important funding of $100,000 per year, coming from the Department of Justice, which I am very proud to lead, is focused on minimising alcohol-fuelled violence. This is a program that gives practical, on-the-street assistance and support to help young people get home safely. – August 11th 2015
The Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation reduces alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour amongst young people in Australia by raising community awareness and contributing to the formation of government regulation and industry practice to lead to behavioural change. www.thomaskellyyouthfoundation.org.au
Funds raised: $62,100
Ralph discusses where the money will be spent during his pitch to TFN
Based on the dates specified and various sources that are locatable, we can potentially account for the following –
$320k per year grant, 15/16, 16/17, 17/18 – City of Sydney Council + $30k at launch
$100k per year grant, 15/16, 16/17, 17,18 – NSW Department of Justice + $40k at launch
$62k one of grant via the Funding Network & Macquarie Bank
If we exclude the launch amounts just from these sources we have $482k that would be paid during that time period, $552k if we do include the launch grants. Information can no longer be found from Crown or Packer Philanthropy sources. Which is highly unusual. Regardless, those numbers are there or thereabouts with what was told to SMH.
However, the majority of that funding is attributed to the current financial year, with all but the launch sums and the Macquarie / TFN grant being given on or after July 1st 2015. Given the Ralph was very specific in the dates he mentioned, so that holds weight. Is there information that can not be located? If there is not the simply, what do these have amounts to do with how much Ralph was paid in previous financial years? The response appears to be a deliberate deflection and gives no justification for his salary during the time period in question. If there are figures that aren’t clearly available, then one must ask why they can’t be found.
One thing I noticed while watching the pitch is Ralph makes the following statement –
“our foundation is not about violence, it’s about teaching our youths responsible drinking”
This is an odd statement, but one I always believed was the case. The whole pitch is basically an attack on alcohol. He casually makes comments like “5,500 deaths a year attributed to alcohol” in the middle of talking about a different subject. Any sales person knows this tactic! However when their website came back online Friday night and they had changed their tune somewhat. They removed references to “alcohol” from their homepage and had issued the following statement –
And various oddities
Again, this is all quite bizarre and begs the question “Why?”
Why is it looking as though telling the truth is difficult?
“The majority of these funds are paid directly to the Salvation Army under an arrangement with TKYF and its sponsors,” TKYF chairman Philip Crawford said in a statement.
This is covered in depth above, but it is worth noting these agreements are nowhere to be found. Crown does not acknowledge the foundations involvement with their relationship with the Salvos.
“To date the Take Kare Safe Space has trained 273 volunteers who, along with the Salvation Army, have staffed the Take Kare Safe Spaces for over 15,000 hours and helped 13,600 people in 2015,” Mr Crawford said.
“TKYF has in place a governance structure to ensure that the foundation is managed prudently and that funds raised are earmarked in accordance with their purpose.”
The costs of this program have still not been properly clarified. According to the evaluation report from the first trial, potential savings related to emergency services we listed at almost $5 million per year. But this is based on estimates, anecdotal evidence and hypotheticals. The 12 week Take Kare Pilot Budget used to assess the viability of the program and presumably determine funding includes a cost of $47,246.40 for volunteers.
More details are here, on the Salvos website and on the City of Sydney website. The program is also discussed here. It would be helpful to see where the value for money is and what it actually does. As mentioned previously, the trial period covered a NYE, and “interventions” seem very undefined. The people want clarity.
His family and staff have received numerous threats since an article decrying the lock outs laws went viral earlier this month
Nobody deserves abuse or threats. Unfortunately there are the odd unhinged individuals who lack the mental capacity to properly articulate themselves who may have resorted to abusive messages. Poorly written messages no doubt. I personally do not recall seeing any threats and can obviously no longer check. But if indeed there were threats, I personally condemn those who made them and call on NSW Police to investigate them.
Following the publication of his salary, Mr Kelly said he was forced to temporarily shut down the foundation’s website and Facebook page after they were inundated with abusive messages.
To clarify, to the best of my knowledge the website did not go down after the article referred to by SMH. The website went down on Friday February 19th 2016. But more importantly, it was not just the Foundations website and Facebook page. It was Kathy Kelly’s motivational speaker website, it was Ralph Kelly’s linkedin page and curiously the page on The Funding Network website where the 13/14 annual report was found was also down. There was nowhere for people to leave comments there. All you could find there was financial records. Not many would have even known of the connection. Why did that go down? Why were there so many changes to the website? All in all, everything was in lock down for about 12 hours. Saturday February 20th 2106, everything appeared to be back to normal.
“The foundation is working with all sorts of organisations, the City of Sydney, the Hotels Association of Australia, the police, hospitals – to make this city safer, which should be everyone’s focus,” he said.
Again, this is just posturing and deflecting. In all these answers a lot of questions have been raised. Wasn’t this supposed to be a simple, honest clarification? This has proven extremely very difficult. We still don’t have a justification for the salary and we now have many more questions.
The people of NSW look forward to hearing some answers.