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The Magpie

Saturday, January 27th, 2018   |   176 comments

It’s Here! You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry, You’ll Gag, You’ll Clench Your Fists … Yes, It’s …

Mayor Mullet : The Musical!!

Forget Tonya Harding – this is the heartrending tale of a failed darts player who fights against atoning for her many mistakes, and eat … err … humble pie. But will an unforgiving public buy it – it’s a gripping toe-tapper that documents her pitiful struggle against the skeptics … when you’re not laughing out loud, you’ll be … well, laughing out loud. The Magpie examines the background the event, and presents the stand-out song that you’ll be humming as you leave the theatre. Hint: The Magpie’s resident musical maestro, The Ministrel has done it again … and outdone himself with his Ode to Jenny.

Also this week … echoes of Ming Menzies famous ’36 faceless men’ jibe – but this time it can be aimed at the Walker Street Wankery aka the Townsville Council.

Just what the hell is going on down at the Astonisher … not only does the paper openly admit is hasn’t a clue was newspapers are all about, but there is a dastardly attack on this innocent old bird, getting it in the neck from none other than Ms Shari Tagliabue … so just who do you think you are, girlie? Stern words follow.

But first …

Mayor Mullet The Master Marketer

This just gets weirder in a weird week. Let’s start with the Magpie’s comment on Thursday.

The Magpie 

January 24, 2018 at 3:28 pm  (Edit)

Uh oh, here comes the Charm Offensive … more like offensive smarm. Realising just how deep in the do-dos she now is with the electorate, the Mullet trots out a real winner – she thinks.  

parking fines slashed

And what a strange boast … Townsville now has the lowest parking FINES in the state. Since fines are at the discretion of the council, and are hardly likely to solve the CBD parking problem, this is straight-out politicking, or a make good as it is known. It was just 18 months ago, in July 2016, when we were reading this.

Screen shot 2018-01-27 at 10.54.39 PM

No mention that the fines were ridiculously high to start with, and are a major source of ‘voluntary taxation’ for the council, the loss of revenue is clearly a Mullet ploy to spend – or in this case forego – public money to ingratiate herself with an electorate that has finally wised up to her.

This strange woman said she believed this move would bring back people to shop in the CBD. is she demented? This bit of thimble and pea politicking had quite a few Nesters hyperventilating, not the least of whom was a caustic Bentley.

parking fines-small

But if that was weird, the week saw another effort from the Queen of the Walker Street Wankery that was just plain dopey … and dumb. It was a video on the council website supposedly spruiking the darts tournament during the week. Now if you are he type that gets embarrassed for others, you won’t want to watch The Mullet’s whole cringe-worthy performance, but right at the end, we got this.


As it turns out Mayor Mullet went for the jugular but just skewered her own foot. Some saw it as a tacit admission that The Magpie was getting under her skin, but since she professes loudly and often that she doesn’t read this blog (well, you know how Jenny is and the truth) then we can only conclude that she was recommending either killing a protected native species, or she has violently parted company with her beloved Collingwood footy team.

And to make matters worse, the video also featured this WORLD’S FIRST in dart boards.


But this is all part of an attempted Mullet makeover, she wants to be seen as the fun fish of the people and not the mad, irresponsible spendthrift she has recently been revealed to be.

But dangers lurk behind this benign bit of nincompoopery. We need only have a look at history to spot the very real danger.

Mayor Mullet And Bob Menzies’ Faceless Men

Back in 1963, the famous phrase ’36 faceless men’ entered the Australian political lexicon. It was coined by veteran political journalist Alan Reid, and first appeared in the Frank Packer’s Daily Telegraph. The story was accompanied by this photograph …


… showing then Labor leader Arthur Caldwell and his deputy Gough Whitlam cooling their heels outside the union-controlled Labour Party delegate Conference, waiting to be called in to be told on what policies they were to fight the upcoming election. Menzies couldn’t believe his luck, and seized on the phrase in the election campaign, describing the ‘faceless’ delegates as ’36 unknown men, not elected to Parliament nor responsible to the people’. Menzies won the election with an increased majority, and the term ‘faceless men’ became a permanent part of Australia’s political lexicon , always used in a sense hostile to the Labor Party.

So what’s the point of that trip down memory lane? Just that it’s as relevant in Townsville in 2018 as it was in Canberra in1963, and reinforces George Santayana’s timeless truism that those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it.

faceless person

Increasingly, the citizenry of this city are being fed unquestioned statements on contentious issues by faceless ‘council spokesman’. Not even a softening attribution like ’the mayor says’ or ‘the council believes’- just a blunt an biased position statements on contentious issues, from an anonymous person but which should only come from an elected official. These statements are duly printed without question or rebuttal interviews by a docile and compliant Townsville Bulletin.

This disturbing development was covered in last week’s blog, but the drift to anonymous opinion that should rightfully be owned by our elected officials is part of a broader ploy cooked up by Mayor Mullet and her Labor pal Adele The Impaler Young.
Jenny Hill

As part of Mayor Mullet’s attempts to paint herself as a visionary ‘can do’ leader (pause here for a moment … gasp, wheeze … ah, now where was I?), she is adroitly (she thinks) moving statements on contentious issues like the Adani airstrip rort and hard rubbish collection to arms length by using ‘faceless’ staff for comment. The frequency of this is increasing, while Mayor Mullet mounts a charm offensive which, as previously mentioned, actually comes across as offensive smarm. She is stepping away from the hard stuff, and is fronting only’ good news’ fluff stories, like the aforementioned weird crowing about ‘the lowest parking fines in the state’ and that darts tournament debacle – just how much the ratepayers lost on that daft promotion is anyone’s guess, as is why a council should be involved in the first place? Haven’t we learnt any lessons from the V8s?

It’s All A Staged Production Worthy Of A Stage Production

And while the various bits of the jigsaw puzzle are yet to be completed, our resident musical genius, The Minstrel, has come up with a centerpiece song which will have you rolling in the aisles. Here’s an exclusive preview if you missed it in comments earlier in the week. Sing it out loud, folks, don’t be shy.

Jenny's council

(The Minstrel acknowledges the leader of the original Rat Pack, The Chairman of The Board – Cranky Franky – this version is sung by the leader of Townsville’s pack of rats)

I Did It The Sly Way

And now..the end is near
And so I face the enquiry’s curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ve fucked it up, of this I’m certain
I’ve lived a life of bull
I’ve marched each and every Labor Day
And more…much more than this
I’ve stuffed it …my ..way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But none of them, the papers mention
Adani told me what to do
And I saw it through, without confession
I planned each brain-fart course
Each secret step along the by-way
And more, much more than this
I spun it my way

Yes, there were times
I’m sure they knew
When I told more lies than I could chew
But through it all when there was doubt
They ate it up – till Jacob spat it out!
I faced it all
The airport stalled
And shit came my way

I’ve ducked, I’ve dodged and lied
I’ve got my fill, and I hate losing
But now, as votes subside
I find it all not so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not all was my way
Oh no, oh no, not me
It was the sly way

For look at this town – what has it got?
Rubbish on footpaths, water that’s fucked.
I say the things I think they feel
And none of the words – not one is real
The record shows
I’m on the nose
For doing it….
my…. way.

Simply breathtaking in its accuracy and wit. Well done, Ministel.

So, like all celebrities, can we be far away from Mayor Mullet’s Cookbook – the combination of cooking and books would pose no problem to Jenny.

One Councillor’s Wrestle With English

One can sympathise with the mayor in one aspect … it is completely understandable that she does not allow her trained aerobics class aka councillors to have anything to do with policy explanations. But this one – a reply to a resident questioning the Waste Management Levy (i.e tax) – a got though the censorship net recently.

Jacob letter

So, councilor Jacob, either you get bagged for idiotic language, or you’ve let the cat out of the bag, revealing that a campaign promise of ‘free dump days’ is actually being paid for in the Levy.  Thank Christ the voters of Hinchinbrook gave you a simple plain English message at the last state election, two words involving sex and travel.

BTW Paul, when you stood down from council for a tilt at state, you said your council salary – which the law says cannot be halted unless you resign – would be donated to charity. Care to let us know how much and to whom? Yeah, right, your trough snurffler.

Open Letter To Shari Tagliabue, Astonisher Columnist

Shari 'Taggers' Tagliabue

Shari ‘Shaggers’ Tagliabue


Look here, we used to be friends, but The ‘Pie picks up today’s paper and what does he read?

Screen shot 2018-01-28 at 8.46.04 AM

YOU trying to put him out of business, talking about Mayor Mullet and Anna Alphabet being shifty spinners, the mayor telling campaign porkies about the Kerbside Hard Rubbish collection, the chaos of stopping free dump vouchers and the revelations about her dopiness regarding the water task farce. Listen, that’s The ‘Pie’s turf, how dare you!

Look here, missy, cut it out. And in the Bulletin, too, have you no shame … if you start doing this sort of writing of facts, you’ll be cruelly showing up your colleagues for the conditioned Pavlov pups that they are.

Did you for one moment, Ms Tagliabue consider the effect on The Magpie if you continue down this road of truth and criticism? Did you, eh, eh? Do you realize that soon, The Magpie’s will have to cease his weekly maunderings – he never likes to be second in on the story – and his Saturdays will be filled only with reading you, watching footy on TV, playing golf, relaxing with a drink or three and never having to deal with the dreaded writers block ever again. What sort of life are you condemning this blameless old bird to, it’ inhu … ummm, hold on a sec. Hmmm, just a mo now.

Ahem. Let the old bird rephrase all that.

Shari dear, well done on the column today, and a nod to your new Ed for letting it run. Almost Magpiesque. Hey, may be we could team up on the quiet for each week’s effort, maybe under the name Tagpie. Or listen, you were always knows as Shaggers in the newsroom, so it could become The Shagpie! (which in another context would’ve been an exciting suggestion maybe 10 years ago … alas that bird has well and truly flown and The ‘Pie must remain faithful to the chaste but not chased Ms Lou.)

Anyway, hope you don’t get fired too soon, you appear to be one of the few green shoots of renewal at the paper.

The Iditorials Should Be The Next Area For Rehabilitation

The foibles of this little-read part of the paper have been well documented here, but Friday’s utter confusion about the Astonisher’s place in the world was a corker. The subject was the debate about whether the date of Australia Day should be changed (it shouldn’t but that’s for another time) and there were the usual bromides, fence sitting and virtue signalling until we came to this piece of sheer tripe, quote: ‘Whatever the solution, it would be far more helpful for the discussion to happen around a meeting table instead of in the pages of newspapers and on television.

WHAT? Or, as Nesters are so fond of saying WTF? So much for democracy and the fourth estate. ‘Helpful’? You jest.

So you, Ms Editor are saying that robust democratic debate is off the media table and should only be on the meeting table, while you await the cheap option of a media release. Not sure where you got your training about what real journalism is about, but it is roughly exactly opposite of that truly idiotic unsustainable statement. Of course, if it was Adolf Tomlinson who wrote it, we all know where he got his training – on his papa’s knee, no more need be said.

At the risk of getting Ms Tagliabue in the shit with you, her point that transparency can come if there are fewer ‘Commercial In Confidence’ excuses trotted out for issues with rubbery figures, can be applied in spades to the aboriginal industry. And to the Bulletin reporting of it … and everything else.

The sort of thoughtless waffle quoted here will have people humming a different version of the Mayor’s ‘I Did It The Sly Way’ in reference to the Townsville Bulletin.

A good start to reform would be to keep Adolf Tomlinson as far away as possible from penning the paper’s policies – or lack thereof. At least in his Andrew Bolt-Lite column, we know it’s only him and quickly move along after the opening paragraph,

Now has The ‘Pie forgotten anything this week. Ummm, dunno. But on that very subject, let’s leave on another musical note, which will resonant with many Nesters. It sure does with The ‘Pie.


That’s all this time around, the comments are getting really lively, have your say 24/7. And if you are one of those people who believe in reward for effort, a donation to help keep the Magpie blog aloft will be greatly appreciated. The donate button is right 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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