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The Magpie

Saturday, May 26th, 2018   |   120 comments

Rupert In Retreat? It’s Looking More And More Like The Townsville Bulletin Has Been Flogged Off

*A Bulletin senior staffer is reported to be prattling all around the place that the paper has been sold. Believe him? You decide.

*Up at Bluewater, seems there’s a lot more going on concerning wannabe property speculator David Wadley. He seems to make a habit of locking gates to people’s property … and demolishing houses. Possibly illegally.

*The Magpie thinks he may have stumbled across a hidden reason why the Queensland Government vetoed any NAIF money going to that Adani rail line.

*Let’s do a little concatenating … or for those who don’t like The ’Pie show-offy big words, the more simple definition … join of the dots. Some old names surface in the latest mining push up this way.

*And reading all Jenny Hill’s claims of big things to come – so unquestioningly printed in the Bulletin – is a bit like sitting on the toilet wondering if there is anything of substance still to come after the initial big splash.

But first …

Has It Or Hasn’t It? The Bulletin Guessing Game Goes On

 Bulletin logo

The ‘Pie wrote last week that there unconfirmed reports that the Bulletin was one of the regional mastheads that had been sold by News to an unidentified buyer, supposedly a financial services outfit. This dovetailed with the recent announcement by from News HQ in Sydney that they were unloading some of their non-metro mastheads.

Now The ‘Pie is told – fairly reliably and from more than one informant – that chief photographer at the Astonisher, Scott Radford-Chisholm, has been spreading it about that the paper indeed is, or is about to be, in new hands. The only additional information available to The ‘Pie is that the buyer is vaguely described as a ‘foreign shelf company’. Apparently there has not been any general announcement to all staff (typical) and the only ones told are those who – in the very ambiguous phrase – ‘will be affected by the restructuring’.

When all is revealed, the price will be interesting, since the paper is still being given away in the thousands at servos, coffee shops and weekend sporting events like this one today.

Screen shot 2018-05-26 at 10.40.43 PM

Puts The ‘Pie in mind of one of the oldest shaggy dog stories in Australian journalism. Yarn goes that some years ago, Rupert asked son Lachlan what he wanted for his birthday. Young Lachlan replied that he wanted a cowboy outfit. So his father bought him the Sydney Telegraph. Boom tish!

The NT News Revisits Darwin Origin Of The (Local) Species?

Let’s hope that if the NT News is among the papers sold that any new owner doesn’t change the paper’s screwball approach to its front pages. This clever take on the royal wedding in the Sunday edition  was as unexpected as it was funny.

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That’s classic old-style Australian humour. But even small stories we might otherwise have missed get the front page treatment (and no link intended to the above).

NT News

Hmmm, does that mean the other 70% have sex with their pets while their partners are in the room?

Think That’s Tacky? Try This.

Sam Weir, ed CM

Courier Mail Editor Sam Weir

This bloke is the iditor of the Courier Mail, and he says his name is Sam Weir, but in true News style, we think it’s a speling mustake – the name seems to be missing a ‘d’ at the end. Really, what sort demented thought process would allow this into the online Courier.

tacky

CHECK OUT THE FAMILY HOME ??? FFS, why? It would be bad enough if it was the actual South African house where the hideous event took place, but even in the voyeuristic world of the tabloids, what sicko fascination are readers expected to harbour, to contemplate a place only remotely connected to a family murdered in South Africa? The crime didn’t take place in the Gold Coast home, the just lived there for a while, so what lurid imaginings does Mr Weir(d) expect his readers to conjure up.

It’s certainly a concise comment on Mr Weir(d)’s opinion of his readers tastes and intellect. The sad thing is, he’s probably right.

Seems Joh Taught Labor A Thing Or Two – Looks Like Queensland Incorporated Is Alive And Well …

In another joining-the-dots exercise, The Magpie may have come up with the real reason why Anna Alphabet blocked Federal money for Adani. You’ll recognize some old familiar Townsville names in this plausible little conspiracy theory from regular visitor to the Nest called Memory Man..

Blair athol mine

Terracom is revisiting its Hughenden coal prospects with a view to shipping it through the port of Townsville. Terracom was once called Guildford Coal. None other than the esteemed Mayor of Townsville, his eminence Tony Mooney, was Company Secretary for quite a while. Now, his sidekick-cum-retired Minister of the Crown Craig Wallace is deputy chair. (And from the other side of the political divide, accomplished political chancer and long time former LNP member for Herbert Peter Lindsay was chairman for a stint.) 

In times past, these folk tried to get a sweetheart deal with the Port of Townsville, to line the pockets of major shareholders like Craig Ransley, by shipping Hugheden coal through Townsville. Ransley hired Mooney back in 2008 after the Tyrell victory turfed him out of office. Eventually, Mooney found his way onto the Board of the Port of Townsville. Wallace was in Cabinet by then, and no doubt urged his factional buddy Paul Lucas (then Transport Minister, with responsibility for the Ports) to give the plum sinecure to Mooney. 

Here’s another twist: Ransley was also major shareholder in Humanis Group, the employment and recruitment outfit that hired none other than Mooney-Wallace mate Rabieh Krayem to be its last CEO. Last CEO because, under Rab’s watchful eye, the ASX-listed Humanis Group died, going down in a screaming heap to the tune of $14 million. 

Interestingly, if readers are interested in dots being joined, Krayem was also appointed to the Board of Townsville Port. Readers can go back through the Port’s annual reports to get all the timeframes.

Here’s the last dot: former Labor Mayor of Brisbane Jimbo Soorley is also on the Board of Terracom. It’s a pretty cosy bunch, and who’d bet against the idea that Wallace, Mooney and Soorley are all greasing those in the Corridors of George St to swing a Mates Rates deal for Terracom? 

Seems Queensland Inc is indeed alive and well.

But if The Greens Protest This Mine, A Nasty Fate Awaits

Green hell

“As an additional torment, our fire and brimstone are fuelled by coal.” Courtesy The New Yorker

Townsville Has Its Own Shut The Gate Movement

But unlike the southern Shut The Gate alliance gamely (and successfully) fighting big mining interests, the local version is the sole preserve of a tinpot real estate operator who appears to specialise in locking people out of properties.

David Wadley

David Wadley

According to Cameron Richards, David Wadley is involved in the bullying and intimidatory behaviour towards his mother, the 76-year-old widow and Rollingstone property owner Sandra Richards. Mr Richards believe Wadley was one of an organized group who locked Mrs Richards out of her property … at least for vehicular access … in an attempt to force her to sell up at a low price.

This has been reported in detail in previous posts, and there are expected be further developments in the near future.

But the reports brought forth all sorts of complants about David Wadley’s activities in the area, The Magpie will concern himself with just one, since it is backed up by a sworn affidavit, the statement witnessed and signed by a senior police officer.

The matter concerns a property at Toolakea Beach at Bluewater.

More than 20 years ago, several Vietnam veterans built some fishing huts on Crown or council land (it isn’t clear which in the statement) near the beach, to enjoy quiet getaways and fishing weekends. The huts had a phone line connection, and were always left clean and tidy.

Mr Bowater said over recent years, the hut holders had paid at least $40,000 in lease payments covering use of th access route and lease payments. This money was paid to David Wadley Commercial. Council rates were paid by the hut people.

For the past 11 years, the access had been an informal and friendly agreement, but three years ago, when new owners took over, without warning, explamation or discussion, a locked gate was installed, forcing hut visitors to access them via the beach only. But five of the huts were on public land that was the subject to an easement on the property Mr Wadley managed.

Mr Bowater says that when he and a party of five adults and four children arrived at the site during school holidays in September 2015, demolition of the five huts on the easement was underway, and by the next day, the debris had been buried in a specially dug excavation. (Mr Bowater’s hut was not affected, as it was on public land. The next day, Mr Bowater said he saw David Wadley escorting what he describes as ‘the Asian owners’ of the property at the demolition site, which by then was back filled and levelled.

Mr Bowater says that given his long experience in he construction industry, he knew what safety precautions should be taken for work of this nature, but none was provided, despite the proximity of not just adults but also children. But of greater concern was that Mr Bowater later learned from the council that that there had been 600kgs of asbestos removed and dumped. He was unable to get details from the council of how this was carried out.

The evidence of how the huts operated clearly suggests that Mr Wadley was responsible for the property and any activity on it. But there does not appear to be any of the stringent safeguards required either for demolition work or for the involved and lengthy process of removing asbestos. As a real estate agent, David Wadley would’ve have known of the requirements

It is known that the Tiong companies have property interests in the area, some of it for the proposed equestrian centre, but The Magpie has been unable to ascertain if Mr Tiong was the person seen inspecting the demolition site with Mr Wadley.

Speaking Of Names …

Juliana Tiong and Adele Young

TCC Procurement Officer Juliana Tiong and TCC CEO Adele Young

Interesting to note that the Adele Young appointed TCC Procurement officer last year was Juliana Tiong.

The ‘Pie is advised that the name Tiong is fairly common in parts of China and in Chinese communitis in Asia. But given the ‘culture of secrecy’ operated by the council, idle speculation of any link between a TCC employee and the growing holdings of the Tiong companies north of the city is inevitable.

The ‘Pie is advised that the name Tiong is fairly common in parts of China and in Chinese communities in Asia. But given the ‘culture of secrecy’ operated by the council, such idle speculation of any link is inevitable.

Anyway, Ms Tiong commuted from her Melourne home for a few weeks before saying she was unable to continue in that manner because of family reasons.

Incredibly, she was kept on to do her vital procurement work for Townsville’s needs – from her home office in Melbourne, 2500kms away. That’s a neat reversal on the adage of acting globally, thinking locally.

Oh well, if our local paper is sub edited in Brisbane, or Sydney, or New Zealand ,,, or Mumbai … ‘spose it’s OK for a senior Townsville Council executive to live not just out of town but in another state.

The ‘Pie has not heard whether Ms Tiong is still with the council, but a check of updated CV on line for her business makes no mention of a contract with the TCC. Wonder why that is? Shame?

Anyway, the good news is that Mayor Mullet will be ruling us from farther afield than that, she is off to the States on a jolly junket with a couple of council types. The Mullet probably figured we wouldn’t actually buy the argument that we ratepayers had a crying need for her attendance at a technolgy conference in Chicago (remember her last USA jolly courtesy of IBM … and whatever came out of that one wonders?). So she revived that wheezing old chestnut about a battery factory about to be built in Townsville, and she’ll be dropping in for tea and blandishments on the US proponents of the battery scheme.

So what’s the bad news? She’s coming back, that’s what.

And The ‘Pie Also Wonders If This Is True …

Clr Mark Molachino

Clr Mark Molachino

A Magpie chum tells the old bird that Councillor Mark ‘Frothy’ Molochino is still operating his training business, and has been seen at airports at Cairns and Darwin. Aren’t there rules forbidding being a councillor having a business or other work? The chum thinks so – ‘ I understand that you should not have a job or operate a business outside your full-time council job’ he says.

Our informant adds that unverified information suggests that Frothy also accepted funding from the CMFEU to fund his campaign, which to date has not been declared. With the call for audits on the CMFEU; could the outstanding dollars be a problem?

You Can Take The Journo Out Of Politics, But You Can’t Etc….

As ex-Katter spinmeister, veteran Astonisher reporter-at-large John Andersen has some well connected political contacts, and has brought us his share of scoop-ettes over time. He is also a wide ranging bush basher for the paper, bringing the country to town in his column every Saturday. So we can only assume his mind was more on political races than country races when he had this are lapse of concentration today.

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Unless of course, the good burghers of EWAN have decided to give the LNP poobahs a hint of their preference for a pre-selection candidate, dedicating their popular annual races to the Jones boy. Even if so, don’t think it will do any good, Ewen Jones has been sent to the naughty corner and that’s where the money says he’ll stay in this particular race.

And It Wouldn’t Be A Week Without The Trumpet.

Yes, the world’s greatest blowhard bullshit artist (this writer and Barry Taylor excepted) has had an interesting week. First it seemed to be a case of ‘Drat, there goes the Nobel Peace Prize’ when The Prez scotched the much touted summit with the North Korean fellow maniac.

But in the public mind, issues tend to converge for president Trump, as Larry Pickering points out.

Pickering pulls out

Meanwhile, just in case, at the airport …

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Waiting for God(knows what)

But in a week when a controversial Abortion Bill is being hotly debated, it has been suggested that Trump didn’t always ‘pull out’.

IMG_2651

And Finally …

What’s this, Prince Harry playing for the Broncos? Or was this just a candid morning after the wedding night pic?

Prince Harry look alike Korbin sims

…………….

That’s it for this week, folks, keep the comments and info coming. And if you are inclined, you could swing a donation towards the old bird to help with blog expenses. 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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