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The Magpie

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018   |   145 comments

As They Say, The More Things Change Etc … But Now, They Don’t Even Try To Hide The Arrogant Blatant Carpetbagging

This time, it’s more a case of jobs for the girls rather than the boys, but one particularly cynical appointment signal a run for a higher trough (sorry, office) …

Also, Mayor Mullet displays the exquisite timing of Wile E Coyote in the Roadrunner with her latest  announcement in her election campaign smarm offensive …

… and now at last, authorities are involved in the bullying of Sandra Richards, the Rollingstone widow locked off her property, and the TCC has been jolted out of their complacency and possible collusion in the disgraceful issue …

… and another twist in the on again- off again rollercoaster ride of multi-million dollar CBD lifesaver project The Hive.

From Brisbane With Love … And Perks

About eight months ago, The Magpie predicted our fair city would soon be host to a seasoned local government politician from down south, to wit, this gal ….

Shayne Sutton

Shayne Sutton

Ms Sutton took everyone by surprise last October when the long serving (14 years) councillor for Morningside in Brisbane suddenly resigned. She made the move after her husband, Stephen Beckett packed his Labor-logoed carpetbag to head our way as the Impaler-appointed Townsville City Council Community Engagement boss.

The ‘Pie also predicted that with an impressive local government CV, Ms Sutton would in all likelihood find herself a spot on Mayor Mullet’s ‘independent’ council team come the next election. And that could be exactly the planned scenario, now that we suddenly see that Shayne Sutton has just been appointed to the Mooney-led Townsville Hospital Board. This from the government gazette just out.


Screen shot 2018-05-30 at 9.57.02 AM

There once was a time when these positions went to a long term local worthies with deep roots in the community, often with business backgrounds and some with health care experience.

Ms Sutton’s appointment on the other hand, after less than 6 months in the city, is an out-and-out political appointment, no doubt recommended by His Radiance and rubber stamped by Premier Alphabet’s Brisbane bum polishers. Ms Sutton’s last gig on Brisbane Council was Opposition spokeswoman on Planning and Infrastructure, so for 14 years has been on the public teat. Since she was the youngest councillor elected in Brisbane at age 25, she certainly can’t have had much real world experience under her belt. So was there no one else suitable for the position, out of all the hundreds of business and retired professionals folk who have been a part of this community for years, decades indeed?

This is political arrogance personified. The ‘Pie doesn’t know Ms Sutton and it doesn’t matter that her record appears to be a solid and dedicated one in Brisbane. Little wonder then, she has confessed to loving the political life. What’s not to love?

So wait just a sec. The ‘Pie isn’t on about the about the money, which is just meeting attendance fees, really isn’t much of an issue. But just have a look back at that Gazette entry. Her appointment is for one year only, as versus two for the other nominated member.

So could it be that the Hospital Board will be the vehicle to get her deeper into community matters and contacts, and with a few bob on the side for meeting fees, and then free her up just in time for an election campaign on Mayor Mullet’s team? It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a clear plan, surely, for someone with her background.

So the intriguing issue now becomes this: who gets the tap on the shoulder (political talk for stiletto between the shoulder blades) to make a spot for her?

And here’s the biggest laugh (through your tears), folks.

It’s odds on that Mayor Mullet will send one of the current mob of council drones on a nice overseas junket as a farewell present courtesy of the ratepayers. ‘She wouldn’t dare”, you cry!

Oh yes she would, it’s standard practice around this town, as Mayor Mullet of all people, should know. This from The Magpie blog a couple of years ago.

It means opening the door for more councillor freebies and wastage of precious ratepayer dollars on – ta da – sister city junkets, which have been largely sidelined in recent years. The Mooney era went ape-shit with them for awhile, with His Radiance even managing to use them in 2003 as a personal political tool, sending at least one councillor – Toni Kirkpatrick – on a three week sister-city holiday to Japan as a kiss-off for her ‘voluntary more time with the family’ resignation to make way for – would you believe, one Jenny Hill.

Oh, this is gunna be fun, fun, fun,

But If You Think That Is Blatant …

… try this bit of rolled gold Nanny State flim flam, from none other than Mr Shayne Sutton, aka Stephen Becket.

Bulletin fronter

In a nutshell, as The Astonisher reported, the council has called for tenders for something called a Townsville Water Security Marketing and Communications Campaign … to ‘promote positive behaviour changes among residents’. The mayor will throw millions at this re-heated hash of an idea – an insulting one at that – telling us how best to used water.  But hang on, didn’t the mayor keep saying there was no water problem, and then after a massive backtrack, said she’d fixed it up anyway?

Screen shot 2018-02-01 at 2.16.15 PM

Last September????

Mayor Mullet has taken a back seat on the promotion of this daft wasteful idea, firmly placing Becket in the firing line of community ire, because the timing of this gift to some mob of southern urgers who know a quick, easy quid when they see one, couldn’t have been worse.

Remember that mayoral fanfare about TV gardener Jamie Durie was to front a $10million campaign to educate we yokels how to look after our gardens with less water? That disappeared into the ether without a single word of explanation from our ‘transparent’ council, but it was exactly what this new proposal precisely mimics, with Mr Becket condescendingly chirping ‘…the council needs to communicate with the community about how we as a community can become more water wise?

(What’s this ‘we’ stuff, Stephen? )

But the belly laugh here is Mayor Mullet’s timing of this latest piece of patronising flapdoodle … it came just hours before this …

Screen shot 2018-06-02 at 8.55.33 PM

And this in the SMH.

Whether Mr Durie received any fee from Townsville ratepayers, money that has now gone down his cleverly constructed money sinkhole, is anybody’s guess, one doubts transparency down in Walker Street would stretch that far.

A couple of things in this stick out like Rover’s genitals.

First, Becket was careful not to name a figure on this rort which without any doubt will favour a Labor cohort. All he said about getting the wherewithal was that the dough would come out of the $225M Queensland Government funding package for the pipeline project. But suggesting that such a spurious and patronising campaign, run by some outfit – who would not have a single clue about the realities of North Queensland life beyond jollies to Cairns and the Whitsundays for tax deductible conferences – will last for 26 months … yes, MONTHS, that is … puts it in the tens of millions. So will the names Pure Projects, Empower or an affiliate of the Nous group all line up at the trough? We’ll be watching.

But here’s the biggest question of all, when it comes to pissing ratepayer money up against the wall … isn’t this sort of thing what we prop up Townsville Enterprise to do? If they’re not getting the gig, why the hell are we paying them anything? Hang on, if it comes to that, isn’t this exactly Stephen Becket’s job description – Community Engagement ?

This town has become rort central, and the sad thing is, the majority of citizens are becoming desensitised to , and accepting of, that fact.

It’s just like people are starting to feel about Trump.

Rollingstone Update: Investigating Why There Was No Investigation

It’s been three long years of being given the run around and being stonewalled by authorities, including the Townsville City Council, and persistent requests by Rollingstone property owner, elderly widow Sandra Richards to investigate a suspicious fire and the local bush fire brigades ‘inadequate’ response to it, but finally,  a probe is now well underway.

This week, investigators from the Rural Fire Brigade HQ in Brisbane lobbed in town, and immediately headed out to Sandra Richard’s property at Rollingstone.

Richards meeting

Sandra Richards and her property caretaker discuss their claims with a fire officer from Brisbane during the week.

They are seriously looking into a fire on that property which does not appear to have be adequately or professionally handled by the local bush brigade.

Sandra Richard’s son Cameron insists the fire which burnt down a considerable amount of expensive fencing and telephone line was either deliberately lit or ignored, and he believes certain officers were complicit in the matter.

This entire saga, as told to The Magpie by Cameron Richards and others who have spoken to Sandra Richards, has a background that would rival a Hollywood pot boiler … only this isn’t make believe, and some very real skullduggery appears to be afoot. Elements – too complicated and voluminous to table here all at once … involves land speculation, shadowy international finance, coercion, threats and intimidation of an ageing but resolute woman, a family rift, and claims of highly questionable legal tactics by a well known Townsville solicitor and one of his staff.

There are also questions about an unexplained reversal of a council decision regarding roads and access to the property, the original OK leading Mrs Richards to spend $25,000 on a new road. Talks have now begun with the council in an effort to rectify that situation.

The police have now received two formal complaints from Cameron Richards on behalf of his mother regarding associated matters which may involve criminal behaviour, but any further action by the wallopers is yet to be decided.

The Magpie will be keeping a close eye on matters as they proceed.

But Here’s One For Irony Corner.

Richards medal

This national medal was awarded by the Rural Fire Service to Sandra Richards for lifetime of service during the long years she and her husband lived out at Richmond before moving to Townsville. That just adds insult to injury about her treatment and the official blind eye that was turned to that treatment for the past three years. But despite Mrs Richards facing some medical challenges, The Magpie gets the feeling that those who would try to bully her off her property so they could buy it at a bargain price have picked on the wrong person. And her son Cameron remains on the warpath, seeking justice for his mum.

Stay posted.

This Is Simply The Nastiest And Most Thoughtless Thing Our Stumblebum Paper Has Done For A Long Time

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The Magpie

Memo Iditor of the Townsville Bulletin Jenna Cairney:

You are a disgrace, professionally and personally. Hang your addled head in shame.

What possible rationalisation can there be for you running this story, which not only dog whistles to rednecks by demonising welfare recipients but also unfairly erodes the property values of those you try to entice to advertise in your dying paper. You are a disgrace, Ms Cairney.

The Hive Project May Be Alive And Buzzing Yet … Maybe. 

The Hive artist impression

A project that could transform the fortunes of Townsville’s CBD, and therefore a large chunk of the city’s tourism woes, may yet rise from the ashes of council and mayoral political hindrance and self-interest.

The Hive aerial The Hive map

The Hive project, on the Queens Hotel site on the Strand, offers multiple promises of activities that could turn around the depressing state of the CBD.

Council’s clanking bureaucracy, lack of mayoral leadership and bickering about the fate of the Criterion pub have made the proposed $450million project an on again-off again rollercoaster ride.

One major player has now left the field. This letter was received by several prominent business people during the week.

Screen shot 2018-06-02 at 12.46.47 PM Screen shot 2018-06-02 at 12.48.28 PMTherese Smith is head of the Gleeson company. A regrettable outcome for the city’s business reputation, surely the Gleeson family, owners of the site will not fold on this long-cherished project. The ‘Pie has heard that we will eventually hear of a revised plan for this pivotal and crucial chance at breathing life a gasping CBD.

It Figures

Crack team

You’d have to be on crack to be on this team. Dumbo Jumbo just doesn’t get the message.

Meanwhile Out In The Other World

Observational humour can be a dangerous thing, and in Roseanne Barr’s case an expensive thing. When Barr tweeted ‘muslim brotherhood and Planet of the Apes had a baby … V(alerie) J(arrett), referring to the former Obama adviser, Barr’s world imploded. Her top rating show was cancelled with some sanctimonious words from ABC America management about the tweet being racist and abhorrent. Which it was.

Not being at all familiar with Jarratt, The ‘Pie had to check her out to see what Barr was on about.

Valerie Jarrett

Valerie Jarrett

OK, so it’s locker room funny, maybe, and everybody else can make up their own minds about the kerfuffle. But it was a godsend for cartoonists who had a field day. The ‘Pie’s fav was this one.


And she’d probably win too.

Finally, It’s Tax Time Of Year

But some people won’t have to fill out forms and all that palaver. Just a fax will do the trick.

Unknown …………..

That yer lot, folks. Hopefully, Bentley will be back from his travels next week, that’s something to look forward to. And if you have any spare cash hanging about that you need to unload before the end of the financial year, a helpful donation to keep The Magpie soaring will be muchly appreciated. The how to donate button is below.

The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.

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