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The Magpie

Sunday, October 28th, 2018   |   147 comments

Townsville Council’s Annual Report Is Just Fairy Floss – Spun Sugar With A Bit Of Colour

And it’s a report full of interesting claims and at least one major error in a crucial graph … but that’s bound to happen when you’re telling half- porkies. The Magpie is a bit mystified and raises a few points, for which he is  sure out newly transparent council will be quick to clear up. (Oh, stoppit – The ‘Pie does break himself up sometimes!!)

It hasn’t been a good week at the Astonisher, which means we have to at least give them credit for consistency. We have a little compilation – by no means complete – to tickle your funnybone.

The state government, the police and Townsville Council challenged with some undeniable facts about the wrong-headed plan to close of the Castle Hill PCYC in favour of one on the Northern Beaches – why is this an either or decision? …

The ACCC agrees with this blog that the exorbitant charges by airport monopolies needs to be walked back in the interests of passengers ….

And on the international scene, just when you were starting to think he couldn’t become more blatant, The Trumpet chastises his Saudi chums … for their incompetence in carrying out THAT political assassination.

But first …

Pointer And Setters: It’s Not Always About Dogs

Now that the laws have been changed decriminalising homosexuality and gay marriage is now a fact and sexual differences are now widely accepted (see #SoWhat), we thought we could less furtively open our papers or our browsers and not be ambushed by tiresome yakkety yak on the subject.

But we didn’t reckon with the fringe lunacy of the Greens – we never do, do we?

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Tassie Greens Cassie O’Connor

This publicity hound is Tasmanian Greens leader Cassy O’Connor, who will put a bill before the Tasmanian Parliament later this year that seeks to outlaw the recording of gender on birth certificates. She apparently wants  a whole bunch ‘its’ from the Addams Family running around, until they can make their own decision  as to what their God-given tackle is to be used for.

As if Tassie didn’t have to put up with enough taunts already about the reputed sexual predilections of the populace.

The Tassie Government will almost certainly laugh the bill – about what is officially termed ‘non-binary data’ – out of the chamber. Non-binary meaning involving just one, and not two, of something. Which, when you think about it if you must,  just about sums the principal sexual activity of all pimply young people who live in a house with a lock on the bathroom door. About the only upside to being undecided would be that it doubles your chances of getting some steamy ’action’ in the cleaner’s closet on Prom Night.

A bemused Bentley foresees other problems until the age of self-declaration is attained.

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Not sure why Bentley thinks The ‘Pie’s pee is blue.

Of course, the division of the sexes in public toilets has long been a subject of invention …


…. and droll yuk yuk yukery, which even gives a nod to secular considerations …


… also to the nautically minded – or maybe the naughtily-minded if these are in a bondage club ….


… and the literally minded, although why the women get their hair blown at the same time  seems a tad strange, risking, shall we say, blow-back.


Well, now, are you overjoyed you came to the site that gives sober, measured analysis of the REALLY important issues of the day. So here’s some more.

Notes From The Mayoral Campaign Trail

During the week, the Townsville City Council issued it’s Annual Report Card for 2017/18

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A couple of stats catch the eye up front … the 2016 census (last available figures) gives the city’s population as 186,757, a big retreat from the looming 200,000 the Astonisher kept honking on about just three or four year ago, and quite amazingly, males and females are almost equal in numbers – if they’ve all made their binary decisions, blokes 93,352 and the gals 93,402 . The ‘Pie was interested in the employment figures offered in the report until he noted that the source was TEL, so he decided not to waste his time.

But regular reader Phillip Batty had a stroll through the reports 97 pages, and on first look, was less than a happy camper. Mr Batty summarised a few matters that bothered him as not being wholly transparent. So he did a little comparison with other TCC information.

‘Firstly the document is not signed by the Mayor, Les Walker Signed it off as Acting Mayor’.

(Magpie query: he can write!?!)

From the Annual Report:

Page 59

Other comprehensive income

Items that will not be reclassified to net result

Net gain / (loss) on revaluation of property, plant and equipment 8               134,244 (2018),            (93,350) (2017)

Share of other comprehensive income of joint venture                                      (3,827) (3 mill loss in Ent Centre 2018)      (863) (2017)


Total comprehensive income for the year                                                            198,982 (2018)             (49,287) (2017)


Bit of a gain $134m in revaluation which was management not valuers.

Net Financial Liabilities Ratio

TCC’s own target        “not greater than 60%”

TCC Actual                     86%

And we could be excused for thinking The Bulletin had a hand in setting and proofing this report. It is up to, or actually down to, the paper’s usual standard. Check out this graph … that yellow bit  is actually loans of $344.2 million.


And GDP $14.9BN??? The highest this has ever been according to the TCC Economic Profile is $11.4bn, yet they just quote a higher number.

 Then this …

“The only beneficial enterprise conducted during the financial year was the Townsville Breakwater Entertainment Centre Joint Venture”. No mention anywhere of Townsville EA2 Pty Ltd – the TCC’s newly created council development corporation.

After some further digging, here are some actual facts:

Lowest number of Employed Residents since 2010

Unemployment Rate up 110% since 2011

Administrative Complaints to council up by 65%

FOI Applications to council up by 61% (this year)

Median House Price down 11% on 2011 figures. (Qld + 9%, Regional Qld -1%)

Rental Returns Houses down 16% since 2011

Rental Returns Units down 14% since 2011

Mr Batty closes with the comment: ‘That’s just a few “highlights” if you want to call them that, not all from annual report but all from councils own publications. Not a pretty scorecard is it’

But The Magpie thinks Mr Batty has overlooked how the rosy aspects of the Annual Report came to be featured so prominently.


What’s Really Behind This Inexplicable Kick In The Head

There is simmering resentment among a group of ratepayers and taxpayers who feel mightily disenfranchised by the high-handed handling of the decision to close the popular Castle Hill PCYC.

High handed? Well, that is explained in this email sent to councillors, the state member for Townsville (good luck there) and the police regarding the closure and the failure of transparency particularly by the council.

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There seems to be more going on in the background of this than we are being told. And lack of funds cannot be one of the reasons if Mr Todd is correct about ‘a positive profit last year’. We are eager to share any reply Mr Todd receives from any of the parties, but the old bird would not like to be , as they say, hanging by the left one waiting for enlightenment.

From Time To Time, The Magpie Doesn’t Feel Quite Alone In His Universe

There are those happy to believe that this weekly missive is just an old bloke barking at the clouds (hi, Jen, Kevvie, Patty) but there are moments when it all comes into perspective.

The ACCC seems to take The Magpie’s point of view when it comes to Queensland Airport’s Kevin Gill and his attempt to rort the travelling public with a ticket tax to enhance his company’s bottom line. This was spotted during the week.


And this reader comment coincided with that article.

Doug K

email hidden; JavaScript is required

Submitted on 2018/10/26 at 8:32 am

Whilst reading a magazine in a doctor’s surgery this week I stumbled upon this very interesting story entitled “Runways of Gold – Is running an airport a licence to print money?”
Sums up the situation with Queensland Airports and its “licence to print money” aka Townsville Airport.

Our mayor stance in all this?  … boycott Qantas for refusing to be bullied into ripping off ratepayers and visitors. Good call, Mullet, you’re going to have your own boycott problems in 18 months or so.

Ghost Busters Busted:The Astonisher Pays The Price For Being Cheapskates With Staff

The highlighted problem this week for the Astonisher was their old bugaboo, picture captioning. And although the paper’s photographers will generally do basic captioning correctly, it would seem unsupervised and sloppy juniors in the newsroom sometimes swap images but not captions. Hence today we had a magical disappearing act …  AND an ‘exclusively revealed by the Bulletin’  first you can bet no Townsville historian was aware of.

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Seems spookmeister Brett Rosalen has either passed 16 and made a binary decision that he’s actually a sheila, or he has just gone … umm, no jokes now … poof!! and vanished. It will also be news to local historians that there are headstones and presumably bodies at the old Railway Station.

Now the Astonisher must know that Mr Rosalen is a bloke … one with a beard, no less. And how would that be? Because the Astonisher has a roster of subjects that it tediously revisits when they have neither the wit or inclination to think of anything original (or in this case, serious and believable) … this paranormal flapdoodle is one such oft visited subject, and here is Mr Rosalen in August last year along with old stalward Karina Looby (again, no name jokes please.)

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It would seem that the old Railway Station IS being haunted … by Mr Rosalen and Ms Looby and the on-duty photographer from the paper.

In other matters, there was this hilarious piece of ‘close enough is good enough’ tomfoolery, this time on their Facebook page, sent in by a Magpie mate who is getting a tad tired of this sort of insult.

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That is either one bloody big Japanese, or one tiny samurai sword.

And there is a small matter of consistency (stop laughing). You’ll recall there were howls of outrage when that  ninny Fraser Anning used the phrase ‘final solution’ in a speech to parliament about Muslim immigration. The general thrust of the argument was, even for one deluded reader of this blog, that those words should never be used in any other context, and they had effectively been appropriated to exclusively epitomise the Nazi’s appalling policies. The ’Pie disagrees with such appropriation of language but the Bulletin wholeheartedly endorsed the idea, piling into Anning and the KAP party over it (along with a very misguided and extortionate premier). The paper agreed that the term ‘final solution’ should not be made light of. So when KAP this week kicked Anning out of the party over the matter, what does the Bulletin do … it commissions Cartoonist Harry Gordon to draw this.

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We await the howls of indignation similar to those that followed Anning’s original statement. Or are there different standards for senators and for cartoonists in a pissant little regional paper.

But two matters put in stark contrast the widening disconnect the Townsville Bulletin has with this community.  One was just a piece of unbelievably hyped-up utter tripe which astonished just about everyone.

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Honestly, words fail us.

But then there was this, which clearly demonstrated that there is no local knowledge left at the Astonisher.

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To suggest that that a forecast 33 degrees was a heatwave shows whoever wrote that has little knowledge of Townsville … but then, the iditor comes from Scotland, where anything in double digits would bring out the beach umbrellas … if they had anything that remotely approximated a beach. Her ‘heatwave’ is what we call ’Spring’. and the story had the patronising ‘advice’ to drink lots of water and ask oldies if they’re OK.  Inexplicably, they failed tell our grandmothers how to suck eggs. 

First one to ask The ‘Pie how he’s handling the ‘heat’ will get a kick in the shins.

And still they wonder.

A Serious Question

A lingering question from an old court reporter about that heinous murder of the young girl on the beach north of Cairns … no one that The ‘Pie knows of has mentioned her dog which she was apparently walking on the beach at the time of her murder. The file pix of the dog showed it to be a pretty large pooch, big enough if it chose, or was trained to be, unfriendly, and would give any attacker pause. Was the dog OK, and examined for perhaps any possible DNA l.eft by the killer, maybe on its collar if it was wearing one?  If The ‘Pie has missed it, please enlighten. Just wondering but genuine question.

In Passing

Eupemism of the day:

FBI Director (this week anyway) Chrisopher Wray gets the gong while describing the contents of the ‘letter bomb’ packages not as bombs but as ‘energetic material’  that ‘reacts to heat, shock or friction’. So now The ‘Pie discovers that he drives around town in some old ‘energetic material’.

And here’s something that may well change the tune of a few front bar loud mouths around the country. Oh, no!!!

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And this looks like a good start … two down, many to go.

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More holed up in the building behind them.

And don’t want to harp, but it still looks like pig-hunting hoons have been doing some illegal target practice.

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The Trumpet Scolds His Saudi Mates – Not For Murder,  But For Being Found Out

It seems we are all so mesmerised by the non-stop toilet flush of Donald-speak that we have long stopped actually parsing what Trump is really saying … have we sunk in the deep lethargy of ‘oh, whatever’ because of bullshit fatigue?

The ‘Pie was genuinely amazed that no one seems to have picked up on Trump’s early reaction to the assassination of a Saudi hit squad against regime critic, the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, Mr Trump said: “They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups. Whoever thought of that idea, I think is in big trouble. And they should be in big trouble.”

‘The worst in the history of cover-ups’? ‘ …. carried out poorly’? And the ambiguous ‘who ever thought of idea, I think is in big trouble’?

What idea? The killing or the cover-up?

That, in plain simple terms of English, is this man-child’s criticism not of the murder but of the shoddy cover-up (and Christ, if anybody would know ….). And ‘They had a very bad original concept’, can only mean he considered the planning and execution of the murder was a very bad original concept, and they should’ve been a bit more clever about it.

The ‘Pie’s opinion of this rolled gold, 24-carat dangerous fuckwit is well known, but language is language and Trump is Trump, and this old bird will never be convinced that the President of the United States was not telling the Saudis that their plan was poor, not necessarily the outcome.

That mind-boggling bit of mind boggling leads off this week’s Trump gallery, but, as it always is with this bloke, other events and his reaction quickly overtook the news cycle … in this case, the pipe bomb story.

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Then there was Trump’ demonstrating his ‘tremendous, biggest respect for women’ by calling the ex-lover who unsuccessfully tried to sue him ‘horseface’.


And there’s been some high spirits about Canada’s decision to legalise Mary Jane … plenty of pot shots being taken, but this one gave us the best laugh.


Loved the Pottawa!

But Canada seems to have some innovative citizens in their fledgling wine industry, especially from Nova Scotia, their equivalent of our Tasmania … if this one ever hits our shores, it will be interesting to see how the usual wine-gabble guff about ‘mouth feel’  and ‘exploding flavours’ is handled. Please feel free to send your own review, but don’t think it will necessarily be published.



Another week gone, but those comments have become a weird cross between a fight club and a comedy store … join in, it’s fun if your not a sissy, and its free. But that shouldn’t stop you considering a few bob to help maintain the soaring standards of the Magpie’s Nest … 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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