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The Magpie

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018   |   156 comments

Feasibility Fantasies: Fact And Fiction In A Leaked TEL Report On Hell’s Gate Dam.

It’s a wonder this over-egged bit of partisan enthusiasm hasn’t predicted a lucrative unicorn farm on the banks of the proposed dam. The report seems disconnected from reality on at least one major front, if not many others.

Also The Magpie explains why iditor Jenna Cairney has become – in American slang parlance – the advertising department’s bitch.

Townsville Airport’s Kevin Gill bites his bottom lip in frustration … and confusion, proving the one thing successful fibbers need is a good memory.  But he is forced to acknowledge The Magpie’s existence (fame at last – yay!)

Even the Bulletin seems to have caught up with the fact that anything Adani says should be taken with a grain of garem masala ….

Plus a global gallery of Comrade Trump’s week, along with a sobering and chilling video of FACTS for anyone who still labour’s under the misapprehension that Donald Trump is a misunderstood victim of prejudice. (Morning Max, Julian, Eammon).

But first, to the local circus

Flights Of Fancy … And Other Fibs

There is a much quoted famous line by humorist Stephen Leacock that surely applies to Townsville Airport manager Kevin Gill. Leacock said of one character ‘…he flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions’.

Gill is going off in all directions, contradicting himself and tangling himself up in his web of self-interested flapdoodle. He has finally been goaded into responding to concerns raised by The Magpie in this blog last week. Well, indirectly.

Regular reader Tony Raggatt, who like all Astonisher journos gets news tips to follow up from this blog, put The ‘Pie’s criticisms of last week to the hapless airport manager, pointing out that Cairns is doing a $55million upgrade out of its own funds … no government money, no passenger tax. Mackay will also be doing some upgrading on a much less grand scale, and again, paying for it themselves (it’s also owned by the Cairns airport people).

But, oh no, not our Mr Gill.

Townsville Airport boss Kevin Gill (on the left), we think)

Following up his childish obstacle course created to make the Qantas lounge difficult to access, he has now started a social media campaign presumptuously titled #GetOnBoardTSV, in an effort, he told Raggers, to win public support (for the ticket tax) and get Qantas ‘on board’ – for the tax to be implemented, the airline has to agree to it, an impost the airline has flatly rejected. Therein lies evidence of the first outright lie by Gill, who last week was quoted in the Bulletin that the whole community was behind the expansion plan, clearly suggesting they were happy to pay the rorting tax.

If that is so, me old sweety, why have you started a social media campaign ‘in an effort to win public support’.

The old saying remains ever true … liars need good memories.


Then he suggests that Townsville airport is different to Cairns (sure is) because ‘it has significantly less passenger numbers (than Cairns)’. A painful ‘ well, duh’ statement forced from a man who is also board chairman of this city’s peak tourism body the Dudley Do Nothing aka Townsville Enterprise. But if you’re so much smaller, mate, and with strong benefits from sharing with Defence, why do you require an upgrade almost half as much again as Cairns. Bad management, maybe?

Bentley isn’t impressed with Mr Gill or his parent company Queensland Airports Limited … not at all.

QAL scam flat small

A footnote: Mr Raggatt, who knows more than The ‘Pie about numbers and stuff, has stumped the old bird when he mysteriously tells us, quote: ‘Domestic passenger charges arriving and departing at Cairns total $30.30, (while) Townsville’s domestic charges are $30.72 – the $3 ticket levy would add $6.’

3 makes 6? Well, if you say so, Raggers. Nice to know that our tourism supremo is happy that it is $6 dearer – and his company $6 better off – for people to visit Townsville rather than Cairns. Where do we find these bloody people, really?

Jenny Must Be Jumpy Just Now

Stories started in the Australian media during the week, that Adani had tied up finance for its Carmichael mine, and now just needed the matter of the rail line to be settled before they start – a rail line they said on many occasions they could actually pay for themselves, but would prefer the Aussie tax payer stumped up the billion or so for it.

The news was imported from News Ltd down south, and gave the source as Karen Adani, son of Got’em Adani, who told Indian TV that not only had they secured funding for the mine,- no details of the sucker revealed – but it was now also closing finance for the $1.35billion rail project. No mention of where that was coming from, either, but crikey, if he said it, it must be true, yes? Well gosh, then, the Townsville Bulletin, the unquestioning and often duped cheerleaders for the mine, would have this as a front page splash, surely.

Bulletin withiut sticker 1

Well, it was on the front page … if you missed it, see, down there bottom left . It would seem th Astonisher is learning from previous bullshit announcement from this mob of twisters and tucked the story away on page 7.

But maybe they did it to protect their honorary iditor, Mayor Mullet. You see, Kim Un Jen faces a bit of a dilemma. If folks get all in a lather about this imminent start to the mine,  (they haven’t before but the paper seemed to think so) then is she going to reinstate the ratepayer’s  $18.5million gift to Adani for that airstrip 400kms away? When she withdrew the offer a few months ago, in a carefully worded get-out-of-jail card, she said the matter would be revisited when the mine went ahead.

Given that this ‘gift’, decided in secret and only accidentally revealed, is the single biggest blow she has copped to her already flimsy re-election aspirations, it’s a bit of a poser for her. There have been universal howls of outrage about the gift and a petition signed by more than 50,000.

So does she, or doesn’t she? What’s a gal to do?


But Mr Hayes May Be Already Working On The Hell’s Gate Imbroglio

Mayor Mullet is greatly mixed up in this one, too … Hill’s Hell, maybe … in her role as Townsville Enterprise board deputy chair. Because this …

Bulletin withiut sticker 1

… was prompted by a strategic leak of a ‘feasibility study’ of the Hell’s Gate proposal. Water For Townsville founder Linda Ashton was rightly outraged at the leak, as her group had been promised a briefing on it before it was released.  Stern words (you mess with Ms Ashton at your peril) forced TEL CEO Little Patty O’Callaghan to admit that the report wasn’t finished, inferring it should not have been released. Yeah, sure, Patty.

David Lynch 3

The other interesting fact is that the report’s main author, one David Lynch, Dolan Hayes’ partner in Empower Economics, was given the lucrative TEL contract to cobble together this load of old cobblers for a pretty penny. That done, Mr Lynch now rejoices in the title of City Economist for the TCC, whatever that is.

String and Sealing Wax And Other Magic Stuff

Peter, Paul and Mary would’ve been proud to put their name to this Hell’s Gate ‘study’, for like their famous song, this title should include the word ‘puff’. Lots of it. Maybe dragon lover ‘Little Jacky Paper’ had a hand in writing it.

The Astonisher for some reason took the ridiculous posture that it was somehow their investigative work and respected status that prompted some sort of whistleblower to ‘leak’ the report to them. Whistleblowers reveal hidden wrong doing, this is just a half-arsed fantasy wish list of what might happen, all of which you can bet the paper would support anyway.

But those claims, those claims!!!


They are highly qualified ‘possibilities’ and include the hotly disputed claim that Hell’s Gate would provide long term water security for Townsville and Charters Towers. But the one claim that really interested The ‘Pie was Mr Lynch’s assertion – and he would have an eye to his boss Mayor Mullet’s mantra of jobs ,jobs, jobs – was that the construction would create 12,000 jobs.

Really? Who did those calculations mate, the same bloke who did the Adani mine staff estimates, found out to be a massive lie when tested in court? 12000, eh? Just as a guide to The ‘Pie’s disbelief, he checked out a few local and state employers,:

Port of Townsville – 100

Sun Metals – 350

Ergon (statewide) – 4624,

JCU – 5191

… and the Qld Dept of Transport and Main Roads totals only 10,000 employees.

And here’s the kicker, from the Feds Snowy 2.0 website …

How many jobs will the Snowy 2.0 project create?

It’s estimated that Snowy 2.0 will create up to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs across the region over the construction period. A workforce plan will be developed as the Project progresses to final investment decision and a lead civil works contractor is appointed. The Project workforce will grow from a small base in year one, to an estimated 1,000 – 2,000 at peak times across different locations across the region.

12,000? C’mon, really? If The ‘Pie has fallen into the trap of false equivalence (like comparing Cairns and Townsville’s Airports), he would like to hear about it. The ‘Pie breathlessly awaits the results of Tony Raggatt’s eventual interview with the report’s author.

BTW, Raggers didn’t write the unquestioning and one-sided report on the leaked report.

The Capitulation Of The Bulletin’s Editor Is Now Complete

Jenna Cairney 2

It’s a strange fact of life that scenarios played out on the larger world stage are often reflected in microcosm in smaller arenas, even relative backwaters like Townsville. Although the local results don’t hold the capacity to be as catastrophic as, say,  Trump becoming Putin’s bitch, these world lessons writ small can be hugely damaging to a community.

So let’s have a look at the recent pronounced swerve of the Daily Astonisher aka the Bulletin.

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Let’s begin with that interminable series of ‘The Ten Best in Townsville’ … pizzas, hairdressers, electricians(!), you name it. Lazy, unimaginative drivel that does not in any qualify as journalism, and anyway, of very limited interest – it’s surprising how little people care for other’s opinions (The ‘Pie should know), so those that do read this sort nonsense will do so in light of their own prejudices. But you may rest assured these lists are either vetted in the boardroom or tweaked with an eye to future advertising sales.

Then there are those endless bits of puffery about the latest addition to The Ville Casino/Hotel, with what is it now, three new restaurants?

Screen shot 2018-07-19 at 8.54.03 AM

This is legitimate advertorial for a big advertising spender, but there is not a whisper about the easily verifiable fact that Chris Morris’s canny business sense and drive to upgrade the casino precinct is having a major impact on several CBD and Palmer Street restaurants. At least three have gone to the wall, and while The Ville’s expansion would only be one of several factors in their demise, at least two other well established Palmer Street nosheries are under severe pressure. That means for all the new staff The Ville hires, may well come from places that have to let staff go.

But the final editorial sellout has been demonstrated twice in the past fortnight. First there was a front and back page ad for Pickerings, no news, just an anniversary ad for car sales. OK so it was a ‘wrap around’, with the legitimate paper inside, but many thought it was the actual paper. It was a bad look. Not sure what Pickerings, a true blue Townsville business that’s been here for yonks, thought they would get out of this deception except consumer hostility … there was plenty of that down at the ‘Pie’s local newsagents and supermarket

And on Wednesday, this …

Bulletin withiut sticker 1

See that blue sticker for the Austax people. Legit ad, timely for July and all that. But The iditor either decided or was directed where to put the peel-off flyer. So was it covering anything  important?

Well only this …

IMG_1672Now by her own admission through action, Ms Cairney judged the 12,000 jobs important enough to put on the front page to help sell papers and inform the public of the supposedly good news … and then was complicit in covering up the most salient matter of interest to the community with an advertising sticker.

410 years ago, the barbaric Visigoths sacked Rome, entering the walled city through the Salarian Gate, opened for them by traitors. Almost 1600 years later, around 1990, Townsville’s Salarian Gate – the boardroom of North Queensland Newspapers – was opened by a traitorous executive to rapacious invaders interested only in money, slashing and burning jobs and community memory, and the values of community governance by the residents.

This last week has shown just how complete the conquest by the carpeting bagging rapacious southern barbarians has been.

The Jinx Of The Juxtaposition

It’s been mentioned here before that the placement of ads in newspapers is a delicate business, which, if put close to a serious report , can result in unintended embarrassment and hurt. The London Telegraph of the 60s most famous one was the headline about Kenya nationalist terrorists ‘Mau Mau Slaughter Two Nuns’, right next to an ad for a popular pipe tobacco which carried the well known slogan ‘I prefer Three Nuns’.

And this problem hasn’t gone away in this digital age. This can be highlighted when the technique is used of inserting an inescapable ad mid story that must be scrolled through to continue reading. So one imagines there may be some red faces down at the SMH right now, when the on-line edition ran a report on the Missouri tragedy which saw 17 people die when a tourist duck boat overturned during a storm on a local lake. Here are screen grabs of what happened mid story.

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But if that was unfortunate, other things are unforgivable. There is a certain class of lawyers in the United States composed of really bottom-feeding, rapacious sleaze bags. Virtually within an hour or two of the Missouri tragedy becoming known, this appeared on the web .

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Here’s more and it gets worse. Grubby at best, vile at the worst … and that really is the worst. At least let the poor bastards bury their dead.

A Burning Issue In Railway Estate

It will be interesting to see how the TCC handles a certain development application that came to light this week.

IMG_1663 IMG_1665

Funeral parlour, hmmm, yeah, ok, I guess. Mortuary, well it sort of follows … but a crematorium.? Will be interesting to see if any of the locals have anything to say when submissions close on Wednesday. One assumes there would be a smoke inhibitor, local householders certainly want that black dust drifting down onto the delicates on the Hills Hoist to come from the Port, and not be Great Uncle Eric returning home one last time. But if approved , it will soon be featured in a Bulletin Best Ten Must See Crematoriums in Townsville.


And the Ross Island pub across the road will no doubt convert their beer garden BBQ area into a specialty area for wakes, perhaps called Ribs and Remembrance or maybe they could purloin the name of popular Sydney chicken shop chain Charcoal Charlie’s. – refreshments would of course feature casket wine .

Hey, let’s have your best name for the Ross Island’s new business opportunity … best entry will win …ummm … the Best Entry Award. Anyway, if this approved, at least the CBD will no longer be the ‘dead center of town’.

A Different problem With Bullshit

The good people of Roseneath, and at Oak Valley, are up in arms about the proposed holding yards for export cattle just along the Flinders Highway from them.

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According to a Bulletin story ( yeah, well …) the yards will be able to hold 15,000 head, with annual bovine total of 100,000 head. The objections are many but the Astonisher’s reporter Chris Lees failed to mention one of the major question marks over the application – water.

Campaign Manager for the NQ Conservation Council is a chap who bravely rejoices in the name Tarquin Moon, And Tarquin certainly thinks water is a crucial issue, but like all Greenies, manages to throw in another irritating non-issue to muddy the waters, so as to speak. He wrote a letter to a local protest organiser, which said in part ….

There is bound to be times when effluent from 15,000 cows overflows and ends up in Cleveland Bay, adding to water quality issues in the Great Barrier Reef.

Many residents of Oak Valley are limited in their land use because, as a community, we don’t want to be responsible for eliminating part of the last remaining habitat of the black throated finch and driving them to extinction.  At least 24 acres of habitat would be destroyed by this proposal.

Residents, even on larger rural residential blocks, face careful regulation of their septic tank/sewerage disposal facilities because the output from just one household can damage neighbours. What will bore water be like when it is shared with 15,000 cows?  Will the bores be sucked dry?

Now, the odds are that maybe one in 200 local residents give a flying fug about the housing dilemmas of the black throated finch, but given the delicate issues surrounding water, pollution and the marine environment in this town, those water issues will have to be a consideration for the council. Roseneath depends on bore water, since it isn’t hooked up to the Oak Valley mains pipe for some reason, although it runs right past them along the Flinders Highway.

Those who learned about this in the Townsville Bulletin on Friday, and were moved to want to whack in a submissions … well, tough titty. It is clear that reporter Lees wrote the story several days before it was published, and as is the Bulletin’s wont, the subs were asleep at the wheel.

The final line of the story advises that ‘The application is open for people to comment until July 18.

The story appeared yesterday … July 20.


But Now To World Matters, and Putin’s Bitch

This week, Moscow’s Agent Orange, Comrade Trump, turned on a performance that had it been written as a Hollywood black comedy, it would’ve been rejected as too outlandish. The media across the globe has been agog at these unprecedented antics, and cartoonists in particular have had a field day.  So to mark a momentous week, here is a pictorial round-up of reaction from a gob-smacked world, which tend to confirm that defending Donald J Trump as a misunderstood victim of prejudice is like defending smallpox . First up is a collection of the famous Pommy barbed humour … couple of absolute crackers in here.

Screen shot 2018-07-16 at 9.14.35 AM trump putin laugh trump imaugral trump - doors trump foot and mouth trump putin spanking Trump genius trump queen Trump - ouldn't Trump bus

The ‘Pie’s opinion is neither here nor there in the scheme of things: he also knows readers of this blog are more interested in local matters and have no interest in the old bird’s global view. But it is important that we know just what is the Russian connection all about really. Here is a detailed explanation of the problem and the possible chilling consequences of having a deranged megalomaniac as the most powerful man in the world. This lays out FACTS and reporter Rachel Maddow’s conjectures are clearly flagged as such and do not pretend to be facts. It’s long, it’s scary, and The ‘Pie thought he wouldn’t look at it for long, but was riveted until the very end.

The Last Laugh

As all regulars here know, language can be hilarious … and perhaps even more so for those of other cultures trying to learn it. Like this Finnish comedian, two unlikely words to be seen together but is he funny? You bet your ass he is.

That’s yer lot, time for a beer … or is it?

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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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