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The Magpie

Saturday, May 24th, 2014   |   60 comments

A Cuddlepie comeback? Or just an LNP pipedream, but based on thin but interesting evidence.

Also, it’s been the week of the one liner … The Magpie reprises the best, and awards his occasional accolade, the Tuggers and Self-Touchers Arsehat Trophy, to a journo who looks like giving Simpo Templeton a run for his money …

Resident ‘toonist Bentley imagines a federal political discourse, and lots of other silliness as usual here in this week’s nest.

Best Question of the Week goes to Dr Andrew Kerans of Magnetic Island, who began an open letter to Member for Herbert Ewen Dumbo Jumbo Jones thus:

Ewen Jones - Member for Canberra in Townsville?

Ewen Jones – Member for Canberra in Townsville?

I am writing to you because you are supposed to be Townsville’s representative in Canberra, not Abbott’s representative in Townsville. Do you understand the distinction, Mr Jones?’

Alas, Doc, the answer is no, he doesn’t. Given his various brown-nosing sock-puppet statements since the budget, you can bet your proctologist’s gloves that Dumbo isn’t one of the government members raising objections in caucus to Wingnut’s budget swindle.

His best effort was the portentous declaration that amounted to ‘bugger the overwhelming sentiments of the people who placed my well-padded posterior on the government plush (my bank manager thanks you) but I will always put what I am told by my political masters is the good of my country first – even if it means I lose my seat on the gravy train’.

So at least his general political ineptitude and cowardice won’t be to blame for his looming demise from public life – Dumbo seems to believe his political legacy will be that he was seen to bravely and dutifully toe the line at his leader’s behest, and became the victim of short-sighted, selfish, ill-educated and wrong-headed voters.

Similar matters have been exercising cartoonist Bentley’s humors of late. Like The Magpie, Bentley greatly objects to the constant mugging of the language, a sort of Emperor’s new clothes approach to pollie-babble. It amounts to ‘say something and then re-define the words’. This has gone beyond euphemisms like ‘economical with the truth’. Bentley’s had enough.

screwed copy

And a sensible little girl also had had enough after listening to our own fast-talking fascist, the Brisbane Bantam Campbell Newman. She said it for all of us without saying a word.


Right on, kid!

Amid all this cannonade of slings and arrows, the LNP let it be known that they reckon they know who will be opposing the fragrant Iron Lady of the Burdekin Rosie Menkens, at the next election.

A regular MagpieFone heavy breather, with an Agatha Christie moment-of-revelation ring to his voice, reckons none other than Craig Cuddlepie Wallace could be about to rise phoenix-like from the political ashes to again take a tilt at George Street. The triumph in his voice was unmistakable.

Craig Cuddlepie Wallace

Craig Cuddlepie Wallace

‘Guess who is registered on the electoral roll at 17th Street, Home Hill?.

‘Dunno. Who?’

‘Cuddlepie Wallace. He’s got that down as his residence, and has done so for a year or so. His Chinese wife is registered there, too. Bet he doesn’t even live there, but why would he be on the electoral roll (here there was the sound of a very creaky, elongated bow being drawn back) unless he was going to have a run for parliament against Rosemary Menkens?’

‘Dunno. Why?’

‘Geez, mate, anything else you need, socks, underwear? Can’t do everything for you, it’s up to you to find out. Let me know’

magpie peering copy

The ‘Pie is accustomed to getting calls of this nature, to which he generally gives as much time as Bronwyn Bishop does to Labor points of order. But Cuddlepie, the former state Minister for Potholes, coming back? Halleljah, one of the old bird’s favorites returning to grace his blog yet again?

So The ‘Pie donned his trench coat and dark glasses to make a clandestine call of his own from a darkened underground car park.

His contact, a chap versed in the arcane ways of local Labor, considered the question in stunned silence for a microsecond before howling with laughter.

‘Yeah, right,’ he gasped. ’Craig has just started a couple of businesses up in the Shanghai area where he lives, and his business partner is an Australian/Chinese billionaire. He be pocketing the best part of half a mill a year, his kids are in school there, he has always spoken fluent Mandarin, and he’s loving bit. Yeah, sure, the siren call of Home Hill and Queensland politics is tugging at him, yeah right.’

Ah, so, Grasshopper.

The ‘Pie was suitably mortified at even asking the question, but managed to inquire why then would he be registered there.

‘Dunno, but could be something to do with being able to vote in Labor Party matters, he’s still a loyal member.’

So there’s another mystery buried in the Burdekin. It seems Bentley was very prescient in his pre-election opinion of Cuddlepie’s less than enthusiastic campaign that saw him lose his seat.

cuddle copy

You’ll note that when Labor recently went to early pre-selection for a gaggle of Queensland state seats, the list of electorates did NOT include the seat of Burdekin, so we still don’t know who will be shaping up to Mrs Menkens. But maybe that’s another reason for Les Messagebank Walker’s spivved up wardrobe and faux statesman-like pronouncements of late. Les copped a shellacking in Burdekin last time he stood there, but that’s unlikely to deter him. Unlike a computer, information has to be punched into Les more than once.

The Iron Lady of the Burdekin MP Rosemary Menkens

The Iron Lady of the Burdekin MP Rosemary Menkens

And of course, we don’t know if Mrs Menkens will run again anyway, or just trundle off with her own golden wheelbarrow into  – shall we say – a rosy sunset.

Other matters.

Funniest slogan of the week was the anti-logging protest of a drawing showing a map of Tasmania with trees stumps all around, bearing the message: Tassie, shaped like a merken, soon to be a Brazilian.’


The latest newspaper circulation figures are due anytime now, and the buttock clenching on mahogany row is to the point of causing bruises.  In his last summary of the plummeting circulation figures, Mathew Knott, writing on the Crikey! Website made a telling point.

And monopoly status is offering no protection for regional papers, which are rivalling their big-city brethren for circulation declines. 


The Astonisher is no exception, but it’s been a week of both the good and the bad news for the Townsville paper.

Some internal housekeeping at The Bulletin seems to be paying dividends on the business side of The Bulletin.

Astonisher GM Lewis Rankin

Astonisher GM Lewis Rankin

The ‘Pie hasn’t had the pleasure, but he is told the new GM Lewis Ramsay is applying suitable and much needed balm to jittery local advertisers. Said to be a Rupert and Lachlan (Murdoch) favorite, Ramsay’s real strength is his reported strong family and property investments ties to Townsville. He was formerly commercial manager at the Cowboys, and then in charge of marketing the Broncos. He has had international business experience in the USA, and took up his current position after a stint with Marketing Brisbane.  He has historical family links to Townsville, owns a home here (something that the current and former editor have not deigned to do, despite upbraiding those who don’t show ‘support the community’).  Because of his reputed high regard among senior News management, Ramsay is said to have been in a strong bargaining position when tapped for the GM’s job. To that end, he insisted that he was in charge, and demanded – and got – an end to the arrangement that at least one if not more Cairns-based News executives calling the shots here. That can only be good news for the business community, who seem to be responding well to his appointment.

If only the same could be said of readers of the news columns who are still regularly treated to amateurish offerings from bright young things of the low wattage variety.

Matthew Dunn

Matthew Dunn

The latest in this category is one Matthew Dunn, whom the Astonisher is foolish enough to let  call himself the ‘Digital Editor’ of the paper. (And doesn’t that explain a lot!) If he’s the digital editor, young Mr Dunn should get his finger out quick-smart.

This from comments posted during the week.

The Magpie May 20, 2014 at 10:38 am  (Edit)

Now it appears the Townsville Bulletin is calling the police liars, or at best, very mistaken, casting doubt on the truthfulness of their claim to have closed down a major drug operation. But more likely, it is yet again, simple grammatical ignorance.

And the culprit here – a trap for young players like cub reporter Matthew Dunn – is the word allege.


Here’s how Master Dunn’s yarn began:

Alleged drug operation shut down in the states north

• MAY 20, 2014 8:32AM

POLICE have shut down an alleged large-scale drug operation in the states north as part of a major 16-month investigation.
Search warrants executed by investigators last week in the Townsville, Cairns and Mareeba regions allegedly uncovered approximately 50,000 cannabis seeds and hundreds of thousands of dollars of suspected stolen property…..’

The overuse – and totally unnecessary – ‘allege’ clearly suggests to any literate person (oh, what am I saying?) that there is some doubt about the wallopers info. ‘Allegedly uncovered’? What, do you mean Mr Dunn, that maybe there’s the possibility they didn’t uncover anything, and were telling you fibs?

And the first sentence, to make grammatical sense, has allege in the wrong place – unless you are saying that the cops ‘alleged’ it was ‘large-scale’, but you’re not convinced. It should have read ‘Police have allegedly shut down etc …’

But even the then, legally the whole thing is risible on a number of fronts.

First it is not up to a reporter or paper to allege anything in the news columns, it should be someone being reported making the claim, as in ‘Police allege they have shut down …’ All the other usages in this story unnecessarily reek of a cocked eyebrow.

The use of ‘alleged’, as any good sub will tell you, is a loaded word when used incorrectly as it is here. And besides being a wafer-thin defence if push comes to legal shove, it is wholly superfluous in this story, particularly when no suspects have been named. Who is going to sue, even if they walk free? Quote: ‘Of the seven alleged offenders …etc’? Any good sub would’ve immediately changed that laughable construct to ‘Of the seven men arrested …’.

Mr Dunn won’t like being called young, cub or master. Although newly minted from Queensland University’s journalism course, he grandly styles himself the Townsville Bulletin’s Digital Editor responsible for the paper’s website.

That figures.

Removal of the digit would be a good start.

If you’ve a mind for a hearty chortle, you can read his rambling paean of knobthrottling self-praise – complete with a couple typos and tortuous sentence construction worthy of The Magpie himself – at 

Dunn bad, son.

Our boy seemed to merit a little more investigation, so a quick delve around turned up this piece of prize social commentary. This is a WTF excerpt from a Bulletin article written by Dunn, supposedly profiling the types of women to be avoided in nightclubs.

‘• The gold digger: The only interest you are getting from this girl is on your credit card. She is the worst of the worst and has no other motives than enjoying a night out at your expense. If you do manage to get this succubus home it would cost you a pretty penny and 
you’ll regret it when you check your bank account in the morning. Steer clear!• The people person: The term “people person” is a tactful way of saying that this girl is looking for Mr Right now (for the third time this month). She is distinguishable by dubious attire that leaves little to the imagination and she is very forthcoming with advances. This may make you think you have struck the jackpot, but in reality this woman should be avoided at all costs. If you don’t have the willpower to abort mission, just be prepared for a shot of penicillin.’

Grubby stuff from a questionable mindset. Dunn Bad indeed.

Finally, a brilliant idea that could defray some of the ‘entitlement costs’ of our featherbedded politicians.


Hey, if it’s good enough for the ABC to be goaded towards taking ads, why not make our own bunch of Canberra twicers and poltroons be ‘transparent’?

With a nod to traditional party colours, and given the current polls, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer might consider one sponsor whose business they are sure to quadruple.


Some oldies will be in need of help, too, in the near future.


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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