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The Magpie

Saturday, October 13th, 2018   |   165 comments

Could There Be Commercial Advertising On The Castle Hill Rock Face A La The Sydney Opera House? Could Be On The Cards, Says The Council.

Yup, Deputy DooDah Les ‘Messagebank’ Walker topped a week of bumbling about filling in for Mayor Mullet by telling us council would consider any application for such a move. This was the highlight of an entertaining week from our fill-in Goof In Chief while resident wonder woman Mayor Mullet was away being wander woman somewhere. The ‘Pie chronicles Les’s thigh slapping audition for the top role in the long-running drama/comedy Townsville: A Tragedy In Three Acts.

But The Magpie thinks a little lateral thinking is needed on the advertising/sponsorship issue, and has a scheme that could save ratepayers millions.

One possible mayoral challenger leaves the field … liquidation lawyer and LNP stalwart Michael Brennan tells The ‘Pie why he won’t be challenging Mayor Mullet at the ballot box.

Maggie Island gets glowing national exposure … but of the sort that will damage the island’s long term viability and goodwill.

A mirthful week ends with an award winner you JUST WILL NOT BELIEVE …

  and here’s a scoop for regular readers … has The Magpie finally caught up with Ms Lou in person?

So first ….

That Sinking Feeling …

A vital matter on the national scene, the ups and downs of our planned submarine fleet, caught Bentley’s attention this week. While Christopher Pyne runs around doing his prissy head prefect thing with the Frogs over the sub contract, Bentley is convinced that the Defence Minister has missed a crucial aspect of the drawn-out timeline – decades, in fact – and in the end, we wind up still with diesel-powered submersibles. And Bentley thinks that’s short sighted in more ways than one.

subs fin

And was that Ms Lou, and did we have a freezing good time of it? You’ll never know, a GentlePie never kisses and tells … but he was a bit disappointed at her inner thigh tattoo “US Navy Visit 1975 … The Fleet’s In!”

Oh, well, plenty more penguins on the peninsula.

The Man Who Would Be Mayor Struts His Stuff …But Keeps Stubbing His Toe.

Deputy Doo Dah Les Messagebank Walker

Deputy Doo Dah Les Messagebank Walker

That is, when his foot isn’t in his mouth. Messagebank Walker has been making an hilarious audition for the top job while filling in for Mayor Mullet. But, as so often happens with auditions, on his bumbling efforts’ Les will be getting the ‘we’ll call you don’t you call us’ routine come next election day. His childish ham acting and total unawareness of his own absurdity is both touching and alarming … not to mention pantswettingly funny.

You’ll remember last week, he kicked off with some bizarre chortling about local business people ‘loving it’ – the it being that the council was fixing up the total fuck up of a footpath repair in Mooney Street. ‘Businesses are loving it,’ Messagebank gurgled, clearly not getting the message from irate local bizoids who lost custom through the cock up. But he was undeterred, and while The Mullet’s away, Messagebank will play. And play he did, albeit all the while suffering from the same baby bump on the head that has clearly damaged his cognitive ability to recognise the bleedin’ obvious.

A couple of days ago, the council tried to sugar coat a back flip on the clusterfuck that is the kerbside rubbish collection, as Tony Raggatt reported : A FREE hard waste collection service operated by Townsville City Council is being improved after complaints from the public claimed the city’s streets were looking like dumps. The council’s water and waste services has reviewed the scheme and presented options to the council cutting the time frame for collection to times outside of the cyclone season and reducing the number of collection zones to try and make it easier for people to know when to put unwanted goods out on the footpath.’ These were exactly all the things that were put forward by concerned folks, and not just The Magpie in this very blog, when Mayor Mullet bulldozed this populist nonsense  through. 

But what did our deputy DooDah say about this embarrassing backdown in the face of glaringly foreseeable problems. Quote:’ … mostly the feedback from people have been fantastic … we have taken on board all the community feedback and we will make changes to improve the service.’ Yes, mate, feedback that was glaringly available BEFORE this idea was rolled out. And one can imagine the ‘fantastic’ element of said feedback.

Now by any normal measure, this is clearly a failure of the council to listen to sensible voices and have reasonable debate on an issue before jackbooting it through. This is a tactic all too familiar from this council … you’ll remember a year or so ago, the Eyre Street free fringe car park was turned into a paid parking area, with the instant result of being totally shunned by motorists and workers …

IMG_112eyre st parking8

… who instead opted to overcrowd the free parking opposite at the amusingly named Mike Reynolds Early Childhood Learning Centre (he repeated several times) and to battle with visitors for spots on the Strand. Clr Frothy Molochino got stroppy with The ‘Pie via the council’s media people when challenged about his outright lie he gave for the change, an absurd statement that it was made ‘after consultation with CBD business people and stakeholders’ … yeah sure, they were just crying out for yet another stumbling block to a CBD revival. Anyway, after a disastrous six to nine months of complete emptiness and no income despite expensive meter installation, the car park was quietly reinstated as a free area, although the council did it quietly and were very unhappy that The ‘Pie loudly reported this proof of venal idiocy.

But the same arrogant mindset lives on between Messagebank’s addled ears. And his disdain for the intelligence of the average punter is astounding. Earlier this week, he chased some cheap publicity spruiking a footy carnival for oldies next year. Not happy with letting the good(ish) news speak for itself, he couldn’t help himself, so added Council fights to secure these major events for Townsville because they help boost business and create jobs for locals.” That was a lazy lie, as The ‘Pie said in comments:

Answer this Goofy – what jobs will be ‘created for locals’ by this carnival? Hint: the answer is the same as the number of clues you have … none.”

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 9.11.45 am

But the crowning bit nincompooperary came when an Astonisher reporter trotted around to seek a reaction to the kerffufle about advertising on the Sydney Opera House. Could it happen here, on the Castle Hill Escarpment, the reporter wanted to know. Now, even Mayor Mullet would get this one right – as in ‘No friggin’ way’ – but this quarter-wit deputy mayor opted to take a pot shot at his own foot. Instead of a simple ‘no’,  our man quoth loftily: ‘The council will take everything on board and a make a decision on merit. I’m not going to get involved in what ifs,” he intoned. Ignoring the fact that you ARE IN THE BUSINESS OF  WHAT IFS, LES – it’s called local politics, matey – you have plainly said that it’s a possibility.

And the paer’s reporter missed it! Just reported the words, but didn’t get the real meaning. The ‘Pie eagerly awaits approval of such a move and the subsequent Les’s backdown because of ‘fantastic feedback’. Mayor Mullet must be laughing her tits off, wherever she is. You’d almost think she planned this … oh, wait sec …. hmm.

How’s Spooky Is This?

Renowned cartoonist, the late Paul Rigby, was somewhat of a seer. He foresaw the Opera House row …. back in 1974!!!

DpMsbgJV4AAJlMBThe Council And Advertising: How We Could Save Money And Face

But the whole business about advertising and government got The Magpie thinking about possibilities that could benefit the whole community.

So how about getting rid of all those developers, urgers, white shoe builders of battery factories and smarmy insultants  (read consultants) making donations, all running around with brown paper bags, plane tickets and restaurant credit cards … why not come out in the open and just find a suitable sponsor for the Townsville City Council? All above board, all open, no back room deals needed, the sponsorship guarantees contracts in the advertisers field of operation. In fact, The ‘Pie reckons he knows precisely the perfect fit for  an official sponsor for the Townsville City Council.


Of course, this would involve  a debate, and a pretty heated one at that … The ‘Pie imagines The Impaler will have her hands full keeping order.


BTW Clr Jacob was the only councillor to come out with a flat ’no way’ to ‘badvertising’ on Castle Hill … all the other drones couldn’t check with the Mullet about the right line to take, apparently.

Michael Brennan Decides Not To Challenge Mayor Mullet

Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan

He toyed with the idea but it seems he never really had his heart in it, so now, the lawyer/liquidator Michael Brennan has decided against having a tilt at Walker Street. He was seriously considering it but was always realistic about his chances, particularly being heavily involved in the LNP and the electorate’s growing disenchantment with big party involvement in the TCC. Mr Brennan told an inquiring Magpie that the workload at his job at Offermans (they are liquidators … no wonder he’s busy) and his consideration for family life with the kids and new partner Casie Scott had to take precedence. But The ‘Pie reckons he may well be in the saddle again in a back room capacity … Ms Scott gave Captain Cupcake, the tremendously disappointing Scott Stewart, a  close run in the seat of Townsville in 2017, and the last The ‘Pie heard, she was determined to have another crack at the George Street plush. As things stand at the moment, she’d be a good bet to snatch the seat, but three years, let alone a week, is a long time in politics.

Other potential mayoral candidates are scuttling around behind the political skirting boards, but every single prospect to whom The ‘Pie has spoken is terrified of the Mullet and her proven vicious and vindictive political nature. Most being business people, they quote off the record instances of what can happen if you cross Madam Mullet. That is all understandable, but in terms of timing, someone needs to emerge and put together a team in the next three months … many campaign opportunities are being sorely missed, and believe it or not, the Bulletin is crying out for a go-to person to counter-balance some of the excesses of their unofficial honorary associate editor in Walker Street. The cracks in that relationship are starting to show. The example set by the Federal LNP candidate for Herbert demonstrates what is being lost at the local level … he’s getting lots of column inches putting the boot into The Tool.

Until then, you’ll just have to stick with The Magpie for any balance. You’ll be in a top-notch company … the old bird has it on good authority that Messagebank reads it (a former fellow councillor tells The ‘Pie that Les angrily denies this … and then quotes chunks verbatim – he really is an idiot),  and the Mullet gets someone else to report to her the contents of the Nest. Just before darts her weekly practice.

Maggie Island Or Fantasy Island?

One of the tricks of tourism promotion is to get inside the heads of those in the target market, which is in our case, are the masses huddled around their two-bar heaters as the rain and sleet pelts down in the large southern cities – an established  north Queenslander’s  fantasy of life anywhere south of about Gladstone. No one at the Dudley’s seems to have twigged that no one is going to part with their readies and hop a plane here just to visit Paluma, stroll along the Strand or  count For Lease signs in the CBD. 

But Maggie Island is the goods, a bit tatty maybe, but a seemingly idyllic break from the drawbacks of southern existence. But here’s the thing that no one around here really understands … over-selling – a TEL/Bulletin/Mullet speciality – is as damaging as underselling, as Mike Shearer discovered this weekend. 

Most readers will know that regular Nester Mike rarely becomes a shirty Shearer, but he was so mightily miffed with the Weekend Australian that he has dashed off a searing note to the paper. His email is self-explanatory.


Misleading information


Sat, 13 Oct 2018


Mike Shearer


Susan Kurosawa email hidden; JavaScript is required

Hello Susan,

in the Travel and Indulgence liftout in the Weekend Australian for 13-14 October on page 12 there’s a snippet by Kendall Hill on Magnetic Island.  I happen to live in Townsville and am familiar with the island.  And I happen to agree that Magnetic Island is special, but it doesn’t need to be praised misleadingly and with lies.  Kendall states: “More than two-thirds  of the island is national park and it’s surrounded by the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.” That is misleading nonsense.  The GBR is many many kilometers away, several hours in fact by fast catamaran.  The island’s fringing reefs have been almost completely destroyed by silt from periodic dredging of the Townsville port channel.  There are long-term government-sponsored projects to try to restore them.

He also refers to “… koala-infested forest.”  Oh yeah?  There are (introduced) koalas on the island, but you’d be lucky to sight more than one or two on any walk through the thin scrub (not forest).  And there’s mention of “two dozen beaches, all of them fronting the reef…”.  There’s only twelve that by any usual definition qualify as beaches, and half of them can be accessed only by boat.  Not one of them “fronts the reef” by which is implied the GBR.

That there can be so many errors and so much misleading information in just 4 column-inches about a destination that I know, then I don’t see how I can trust any other information included in Travel and Indulgence.  Especially anything written by “Melbourne travel and food writer Kendall Hill”.

Why is it that so many trusted institutions and sources of information are currently being shown as shonky and untrustworthy?  

Mike Shearer


One wonders if TEL put Kendall Hill up to this with some inducement. It would be an expensive mistake, because you fool people once, they won’t just never return, they’ll also talk about it, and that can be ruinous in this age of social media.

But really, it is hard to believe that someone named Hill would tell lies about Townsville or Maggie. Isn’t it?

But We Know All About False Hopes, Don’t We?

Giving people false hope is never a sound policy for success or credibility, but no one seems to have told the Bulletin this anytime in the last six years. But iditor Jenna The Jester Cairney  regularly dons the straw hat, candy-striped blazer and  twirls the cane while warbling a reprise that happy days are (almost, nearly, soon, perhaps) here again. And every time she does it, readers retreat, usually to the Courier. Her iditorial during the week enraged one Magpie nester.


email hidden; JavaScript is required

Submitted on 2018/10/12 at 10:05 am

This confirms (again) just how out of touch from reality the Bullsheet is …. here’s what the Iditor is saying: “it’s fair to say for a lot of people this year didn’t quite deliver on expectations.”


Actually, it did deliver exactly as expected for those not blinded by the inability to see past the nonsense, obfuscation, baloney and downright untruths coming from the Gormless Gang at Walker St and the bluff and blunder of the Dudley Do Nothings …

And he/she might have added coming from the Bulletin itself, clearly in the thrall of the panicked advertisering executives. The iditorial included as a the conclusive indicator of prosperous times around the corner, a crane had arrived at the Mater Hospital extension site! True!

But our Jester doubled down, with a Saturday iditorial so saccharine it was a danger to diabetics …

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 8.48.07 pm

First time in ages, my cloaca … that’s sort of codswallop has been standard fare for the paper for the last three years or more … and a front page more heavily qualified than a policeman’s promise.

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 8.37.19 am

The courage of one’s convictions is hardly boosted by the terms ‘on the rise’, ‘senses change’ (that last one of a solid citizen  but one that made his money out of selling shiny trinkets to people … a sort of businessman version of Mayor Mullet) and ‘edges closer’  … as usual, nothing definitive, nothing too closely examined, and almost nothing to provide balance. Really, you sometimes have to question the sanity of people who plop into the iditor’s chair at the Astonisher. And ignoring reality – albeit currently an unpalatable reality – at the expense of false and deeply questionable, mostly empty boosterism is not what a paper of record is, or should be, about … and that does no service to this community.

And an example of that blithe disdain for reality pushed by the paper is a statement that deserves the Spin of the Month gong. Carl Valentine, of PVW Partners which conducts business confidence surveys, produced a neat double negative while stretching for a positive when he told the paper that when people were asked about the Port’s channelling widening project ‘None of those surveyed thought the project was not important to the future of the region.’  Whatever the fuck that means.

Clown noses all round.

Speaking Of Clowning Around …

Sometimes, things just fall into the lap of columnists like The Magpie, and a beauty kerplunked into the Nest this very morning. Beaking around the web, The ‘Pie almost had a panic attack, thinking he suddenly had a competitor in the cynically sarcastic market when he saw this.

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 8.20.52 am

The name Beckett excited The ‘Pie’s attention, so he checked out what Ms Baguley was on about. And glad he did, it was the roll about laughing snippet of the year, if not the decade. Talk about truth is not always the truth.

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 8.02.15 am

(Gasp, snurffle, choke …) One imagines Townsville just pipped Ipswich and Logan for the gong. After he could stop laughing long enough to approach the keyboard again, The ‘Pie realised there was something a bit sus about Ms Baguley’s unfettered enthusiasm, so poking around he found this.

Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 8.05.11 am

Seems our Jayde was brown-nosing the boss for some in-house brownie points . Her self-description hardly inspires confidence … putting the word ‘qualified’ in front of journalist suggests that somewhere out there are some unqualified journalists, but not sure what that entails. Check it out with Anthony Simpo Templeton, presumably he’s your boss. And piling on the irony, that bumf about Stand For The Silent (BLD) is about an anti-bullying organisation. Your in the right place to do some good if you work for the Impaler’s council, m’dear.Around 500 of your former colleagues could do with a little standing up for.

Hey, maybe The ‘Pie qualifies to be unqualified … he never went to uni and in fact is largely self-educated, having left school at 13. Hey, Jayde, perhaps we can catch up sometime, and you can give me some tips on how to become a qualified journalist.

And as chance would have it, all this in the week that The ‘Pie came across a tweet from Stephen The Screaming Midget Beckett, the new Mullet whisperer, lamenting a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with his running shorts when out jogging.

Stephen Becket

Stephen Becket – a face only a mother could etc

Well, Stevie, thanks for keeping the camera no lower than chest height, but given that you no doubt wrote out the entry details for that PR award, is it little wonder your pants caught fire?

A Question In Passing

More trouble with Astonisher photo captioning. Pondered this during the week.

Screen Shot 2018-10-10 at 9.51.18 am

OK, but is this bloke the stabber or the stabee? The assailant or the victim? We can guess, but we shouldn’t have to … these things will one day cost the paper money. Which ever, he looks a charmer.

And another Astonisher story makes life in the Singapore Army sound like fun or hell, depending on your orientation. This sounds really painful

 Screen Shot 2018-10-13 at 8.30.54 am

Finally, This Week’s Sampler From Trumpitania

177_216592 20181004edbbc-a 20181004edstc-a sbr100918dapr 141_216341 Angry white male


Hey, that’s it for a bumper issue, and the comments are coming thick and fast, and even a bit of fur flying around … jump in yourself if you’re game.

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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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