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The Magpie

Sunday, August 12th, 2018   |   195 comments

The Gloves Are Off, The Lycra Togs Are On: The Jenny and Jenna Tag Team Start Back-Slamming All Comers.

Yup, it’s Mullet The Mangler and Jenna The Joker, and their first opponents to hit the canvas this week were the Townsville team of outsiders, Truth and Transparency. It was no holds barred, as the council appears to have been caught out blatantly lying. Mayor Mullet starts using ratepayer money to rev up her re-election campaign, and the Astonisher’s iditor makes the joke of the week.

Also, The ‘Pie gives you an exclusive preview of what will be the hottest fashion item in Townsville over the next year or so.

The short sighted foolishness and damaging self-interest of a stand-alone stadium wasn’t just highlighted this week, it was openly admitted …. almost five years after The Magpie’s exposed the financially ruinous stupidity of this Mr Magoo-like decision.

Bulletin readership plunges another 10% in the latest released data …

And another illustrated gallery of this week in Trumpitania.

But first …

This Gender Stereotyping Of Fruit Has Got To Stop

applesHave you recently looked at the goings-on in the world, shrugged and said ‘Ah, well, in the end, she’ll be apples’? If you have, stop it, just bloody stop it! Right now. Who the hell are you to determine the gender of apples? Or any fruit for the matter (and no jokes about the two legged variety of fruits, thank you.) Fruit has just as much right to gender self-determination as anything or anyone else. This ostracism in the orchard has got to stop.

candy apples

Just as it must stop in the armed forces. It appears after revelations this week, that, when an officer gives you an order from now on, the correct response is ‘Yes, sir, or ma’am, whichever you decide , sir/ma’am … or should I use the gender neutral ‘Anything you say, sweet-cheeks?’’

Seems the Army has got the PC message, with the news during the week that cadets have been told to adopt ‘gender neutral’ language and not to use terms like ‘him’ and ‘her’ so as not to offend LGBTI members. (Is ‘hey, you eunuch’ OK? Doesn’t get more gender neutral than being neutered. )

This is of course the usual foaming lunacy that the shadow flinchers of the PC brigade gabble on about, but it was as usual guaranteed to get the veterans spluttering into action. Quote of the whole silly story went to retired Lieutenant Colonel John Salter, who said ‘If you identified as a coloured, transgender sperm whale, you could do no wrong … and maybe become Australian of the Year.’

Bentley thinks confusion will be all about the place.

Trans smallAs Salman Rushdie said, ’No one has the right to NOT be offended.’ FFS.

The ’Pie tends to think this is simply nuts, but he can’t say so … nuts are hardly gender neutral.

Has the Townsville Council’s Culture Of Secrecy Descends Into Outright Lying?

It would seem so. Here’s what happened.


The Water For Townsville Action Group (WFTAG) – not to be confused with the unfortunately named Water Task Force (WTF) – has attracted a variety of highly qualified experts across a number of disciplines to help find the right solution for the city’s water security. They have given up literally hundreds – collectively probably thousands – of hours of their unpaid time over the past couple of years for this valuable community project.

jenny budget

But it would appear Jenny Hill has just been playing them along, just to mute any early criticism while she put her clandestine plan into action. (She’s good at those, Adani airstrip anyone?) The Mullet mantra has been the meaningless and unsubstantiated claim of ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’, a jingoistic war-cry that has drowned out very real concerns about what is turning out to be a half-arsed mess. (The ‘Pie doesn’t want to say told you so but … told you so.)

Then, in a secret last minute, unexplained deal made behind closed doors, and going against all available advice and recommendations from WFTAG and Task Force boss Brad Webb, largely untested plastic pipes made in South Australia were chosen over all other recommendations. This alone is a decision truly worthy of a CCC investigation. But Jenny Hill wasn’t wrong about ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’, only trouble was the jobs are largely for South Australia, with just a handful for Townsville. Dreams of a reinvigorated manufacturing boost remain just that .. dreams.

WFTAG was both dismayed and baffled at this development. It was then learned through a council leak to WFTAG that – for reasons that were not clear at the time but are now – two sections of the pipe were being trucked to Townsville for public display. The purpose of this expensive and seemingly needless exercise (clearly needless because no meaningful public comment was going to change the mayor’s done deal) has never been properly explained, and of course, the Bulletin never actually asked the obvious questions, just repeated the TCC media releases and the mayor’s simperings.

Given the bevy of highly experienced, properly qualified, and respected experts on the WFTAG working party, the putative head of the group, Linda Ashton requested that the group’s experts be given a private inspection of the new-style pipe before it went on display. The council agreed to this, but then they started playing ducks and drakes, culminating at what was apparently an outright lie.

linda ashton

Linda Ashton was told through her group’s extensive contacts that the two lengths of piping had arrived on a semi in Townsville early in the week starting July 30. On that day, a Monday, Ms Ashton asked the relevant TCC executive Mike Chiodo that the promised inspection be scheduled at the Townsville Water depot on Garbutt on the following Friday, August 3rd.

scott moorhead

Mr Chiodo’s off-sider, Scott Moorhead replied on the Thursday, saying in an email quote: ‘Sorry, Linda, but there will not be any pipe in Townsville by the third. There is (sic) some samples in transport which we are arranging for public display next week.’

But there was clear evidence from sightings reported to Ms Ashton and from photographs that, at the time of Mr Moorhead’s email, the two lengths of display pipe had already been unloaded in Townsville and were in storage.

That leaves us with the choice that either Mr Chiodo and Mr Moorhead are poorly informed and not on top of their jobs, or … well, you work it out. You can bet that Mayor Mullet’s murky little scheming is involved and may well have engineered the – ahem – inaccurate reply to WFTAG, a group the mayor has now airily sidelined from any further meaningful input into the issue. The answer as to real purpose of the expensive early importation from 2500kms away is simple: it was a campaign stunt for the mayor’s re-election, financed by public money courtesy of Townsville’s ratepayers.

Mayor Mullet’s Re-Election Campaign Gathers Pace

Thursday night’s Cowboys-Broncos game was the first of the public displays mentioned in Mr Moorhead’s email. And, typically, the purpose wasn’t even subtle, although never explicitly stated.

Pipeline display

Note the ‘Delivering on our promises’ and the council contact . Plus the expensive bannering surrounding the display. But just who is delivering on their promises? Surely that must mean the state government.

As reported last week, The Magpie understands that the council has leased premises in the CBD for this pipe section to be displayed – crikey, hope they’ve got crowd control coppers on stand-by.

And unless they are really daft, it will be seen at perhaps Stockland, Fairfield Waters, the Willows, the North Shore shopping complex and maybe Castletown. Each location will require a crew, a crane and a low loader. A VEEERRRRYY expensive exercise.

All this would fine if it was just a bit of clever electoral game playing, but in fact, it is verging on the illegal – indeed, criminal – use of public funds for partisan campaigning disguised as a public information initiative.

Jenna The Joker Comes Up With A Sidesplitter

Jenna Cairney 2

Bulletin Editor Jenna Cairney

Subtlety has never been a quality much entertained in the iditor’s office of the Daily Astonisher aka the Townsville Bulletin, and the current incumbent put this to the proof during the week. Again it was the issue of the water pipeline display and WFTAG observations about the hoopla publicity attached thereto.

The paper has been running a regular weekly column piece by Linda Ashton under the WFTAG banner, where all manner of detail and conjecture has been put out for consideration. As it should be.

Only this week, when Ms Ashton submitted her latest missive which was critical of the display plan, iditor Jenna Cairney refused to publish it ‘in its present form’. Ms Cairney is clearly the mayor’s latest BFF, and the inconvenient truths of Ashton’s column were never going to leave the starting gate. There was a very pointed exchange of emails on the matter, with Ms Ashton deftly countering every spurious objection raised by Ms Cairney. That matter remains unresolved but The ‘Pie almost did himself a mischief by laughing so uproariously when he read Ms Cairney’s underlying reasons she gave Ms Ashton for her iditorial rejection.

Linda – so much of this article is written around “rumours” and ‘possibilities” and I just don’t feel comfortable with that. If we know this is happening, we should be writing it as fact-based….and to do so, I need to see evidence.

I have concerns about some area of accuracy too, which is making me very nervous.

Can you respond in writing to me re the below.’

Then followed the article interspersed with terse questions in shouty capitals, such as




and this little rib-tickler

THIS IS VERY VAGUE, referring to a paragraph that was far from vague. And then … are you sitting down – this little pearler from the iditor of the Townsville Bulletin


Chortle, wheeze, oh, stoppit, ya killin’ me lassie … this – hahaha – must be a – hee hee guffaw – new policy. Which you seem to apply selectively.

Exhibit 1, madam, from Friday last in your very own paper – you know, the one for which you set the rules – is your story about a prospective Senate candidate withdrawing her nomination.

Screen shot 2018-08-11 at 9.23.18 PM

And the guts of the story tells us (The ‘Pie’s emphasis):

But a Labor source told the Bulletin they believed Ms Smith’s decision was a result of “bullying” by union powerbrokers in Brisbane. “It was a concerted campaign against a competitive and appealing North Queensland candidate … against a young woman who merely wanted to participate in their faction’s democracy,” the source said.

“It’s a farce — they’re calling for nominations but in the background they’re bulling people out of nominating.

“Amy’s withdrawal speaks to a toxic, entitled culture within a certain part of the Left, that certainly isn’t democratic.”

The source said they believed members of the CFMEU were flexing their muscles against a candidate who was not their preferred nominee.


You’re a goose, Ms Cairney, if you’re going to play these games, you need to smarten up big time, kiddo. Of course, this is just The Magpie’s belief.

That Sort Of Tomfoolery In Words Leads To These Very Unfunny Numbers

The latest print readership figures are a continuing weekday horror story, with digital subscriptions not taking up the slack, if the blanket panic promotions for subscribers are anything to go by.

A 10% loss across the board for the weekday Bully, down from 40,000 readers to 36,000, but a surprising up tick for the Saturday paper, jumping from 46,000 to 51,000 readers.

Rodents Of Our Times:

The ‘Pie managed to stagger past the milestone of 73 today, and as these occasions are wont to do, he had a quiet moment of reflection.

mickey mouse club

As kids,The ‘Pie’s generation had the Mickey Mouse Club and those perky Mouseketeers. Now, in our approaching dotage we’ve got a different type of Mickey Mouse outfit, best known as the Junketeers, which are generally a different sort of rodent.

junketeersTimes were when junket was something Mum made that was sweet and easy to swallow, but nowadays, modern junkets are hard to swallow – especially if you’re a Townsville ratepayer. Reckon these trips should have reportable KPIs. Fat chance.

Annette Funicello

Annette Funicello

Another difference is that Mayor Mullet is unlikely to inspire the fevered adolescent imaginings evoked by Annette Funicello’s swirling rock’n’roll petticoats in movies of the era. Our winsome mayor would be more suited to the Dance of the Seven Army Surplus Blankets.

Indeed, our mayor has inspired what will be the hit fashion statement of 2019. Somebody’s gunna make a financial killing with this.

Over The Hill

Conventional Wisdom

That ringing sound echoing around town during the week was the penny dropping for the Dudley Do Nothings … a penny that dropped for this blog more than four years ago. From the Astonisher:

Townsville is being overlooked by global conventions organisers

BETTINA WARBURTON, Townsville Bulletin

August 6, 2018 12:00am

DESPITE success at attracting international and national conventions, Townsville’s peak economic development organisation says the city is missing out on being a major player in the lucrative global conventions market for one reason — it doesn’t have a new entertainment and convention centre.

Well, no shit, Sherlock. So where were you, Dudleys, when your deputy chair – also our mayor – suddenly dropped the mantra of calling for an integrated stadium/entertainment/convention project, and did the bidding of Laurence Lancini and pushed for a stadium alone. ‘We’ll do it in stages’, we were told. Yeah, right … if ever it gets done, it will be at more than twice the cost than if done as one single project.

This was an oh-so-predictable disaster in waiting, caused in large part by our current mayor’s lack of backbone, negotiating skills and her self-fancied clout within the Labor Party. She can only blame herself and her insipid stance for what is sure to end up as a financial clusterfuck.

This is evidenced by a yarn in Thursday’s paper.

Townsville to expand NRL “game day” experience at new North Queensland Stadium

CLARE ARMSTRONG, Townsville Bulletin

August 9, 2018 6:10am

FOOD trucks, light entertainment and other family-friendly activities could be set up around the North Queensland Stadium precinct as part of a plan to expand the “game day” experience.

A group of Townsville CBD leaders is collaborating to develop a range of pre and post-game activities for NRL fans to enjoy once the new North Queensland Stadium opens in the heart of the city.

‘FOOD trucks, light entertainment and other family-friendly activities? Buskers and a chiko roll van? WTF?

The ‘game day experience’? Hang on, wasn’t this one of the driving arguments to put the bloody stadium where it is in the first place, that all these opportunities for eating and entertainment – Palmer Street, Via Vomitorium –  were already here and needed the trade.

Bloody food trucks, eh? Wow, welcome to Townsville, innovation city central, footy fans, bet you’ve never experienced a food truck before.

But that’s just a bit of idiocy, the real looming disaster is of typical Labor social engineering strategy of inconveniencing you and expecting you to like it – details courtesy of drongo-in-chief Scott Stewart, MP, telling us what sounds like a dystopian nightmare. The Astonisher reports:

Mr Stewart said the group was considering holding an open day once the stadium was complete so people could visit it and gain an understanding of how the new system would work.

“What currently happens is people get into their car, they drive to the stadium, they get out and watch the game or event, get back in the car and drive home,” he said.

“You won’t be able to do this at the new stadium because there’ll be no onsite parking.

“An open day would encourage people from the community to come in, get used to that transport system, know where the buses are going to terminate, find out where their seats are for the Cowboys games, check out all the facilities, way before the actual event starts.”

Boy, sounds like a complete nightmare. In one go, Stewart has ensured local TV ratings for games will skyrocket when this ill-conceived political power-play mess unfolds.

PS A Note To Iditor Cairney at The Astonisher.

The stadium food truck story carried this on line pic.

Screen shot 2018-08-12 at 1.29.08 AM

We all know you’re a day late ad a dollar short when it comes to news, m’dear, but that photo ‘visualisation’ is more than six years old, was one of the very first, it is the wrong design and in totally the wrong place. Bit like the Bulletin itself, really.

A Cap To Match That T Shirt – One For The Literary Set

This should be a best seller in America, Britain, Townsville …

Make owell fiction againThe ‘Pie is going to buy Ted Lindsay one.

Which leads us naturally to this week’s Trump gallery.

Trump crook trump collusion Trump pants on fire Trump rob bank Trump how great

The Labor Pains Are Over

So we Aussies passed the 25 million population mark during the week.  Starting to be a big country eh/ Well, we always were, actually.

australia and europe

 And Best Message Of The Week

stop texting

Text and driving should be a CRIMINAL offence … it only becomes so when  someone is killed or injured.


That’s this week’s tittle-tattle, but the comments will start revving up around midday Sunday, and continue all week as other events unfold, keep an eye on them, and have your say. And a sincere thanks to those of you have helped out with a donation to help meet blog expenses, registration renewals, subscriptions, and hopefully, if we get enough in the kitty, some new software. Not too late to help out, the donation 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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