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The Magpie

Sunday, July 28th, 2019   |   100 comments

A Rocky Start For A Mayoral Wannabe … The Letter Sam Cox Should’ve Written.

The electorally gun-shy former Thuringowa MP’s timid requirement of public love before he announces a run for Walker Street doesn’t make sense, or do him any favours … but sure does Jenny Hill a few.

Which is more than can be said for Clr Ann-Maree Greaney, limping to the defence of Mayor Mullet: she ends up damning her dear leader with embarrassing faint praise … the Magpie analyses this week’s jolliest wheeze …

Is the unicorn dead? What’s going on with the much touted lithium battery factory we’ve heard so much about in the past– and now hear suspiciously little about? A couple of pointers during the week … The Magpie reads the tea leaves …

The ABC website gives us the year’s most …err, ‘pants wetting’ seems appropriate … gaffe worthy of the Astonisher …

And overseas, Britain gets Trump Lite, as Boris Bumptious starts what could be one of the shortest Prime Ministerships in history … while across the Atlantic, America gets … more Trump. And so do you.

(Bentley is on a break again, lucky dog)

I Am Sam, I Am … Maybe … If You Love Me …

Quoth Sam I Am : “I do not like this mayoral shit, I do not like it, not one bit.’

sam i amA couple or so weeks of trying to generate some ‘will he or won’t he’ suspense, the former Thuringowa state MP Sam Cox penned this letter to the ed on Friday.

Cox letter to the ed

As platitudes go, Sam didn’t leave one unturned, but after ploughing through the whole collection of motherhood statements, we end up with … nothing. No commitment, no announcement, no hint of just how the fortunes of Townsville could be turned around, just a broadside of bromides. And his questions in the letter raised a few of our own.

Let’s leave aside the wisdom or otherwise of opting for empty American-style boosterism with echoes of Trump that are just verbal fairy floss, these generalisations were grating and confusing. Sam asks if we are ‘hungry to be led by someone who will us the truth’. Yes, yes, we cry, and is that you, Sam?

Says Sam I Am: Maybe, maybe not. He doesn’t come clean even when the Bulletin gives him a free kick platform the next day.

Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 9.53.20 pm

The headline is, of course, exactly wrong – Sam has not said he wants to be mayor at all – but the confusion and frustration was compounded when we read this:

I won’t deny I’m interested, of course I am,” Mr Cox said. ‘What I want to know first is whether people think change is needed. (Wha …??? You’re kidding right?) That’s what interests me at this moment.”

Mr Cox said people had approached him from across the city and from all walks of life indicating to him they wanted change. (So doesn’t that mean that you DO know people want change? )

“Let’s see who else puts their hand up for not just mayor but the other spots,” he said.

WTF, Sam. You ask the question on Friday, and on Saturday, you say all sorts of people have told you they want change? So what the fuck are you waiting for, some kind of drafting by popular demand to run for mayor? If so, how will you know, what do people have to do to let you know the bleedin’ obvious … that they have apparently already told you? And that last bit … mate, you’re heart really isn’t in this, is it? Worried about possible competition? Trying to act like a canny professional politician is precisely what this city doesn’t needright now, or ever. That requirement when Tony Mooney went loopy and was beaten by Les Tyrell.

Here’s the problem with your letter Sam. The people of Townsville have a gut-full of words that mean absolutely nothing. They really do yearn for someone they can trust and respect, who talks to them honestly in plain, unflowery language … and to whom they need not be in fear of if they speak out on issues. One of the main desire that people, particularly business people,  want across a raft of issues is certainty, delivered by a strong and resourceful leader.

Seeking to get elected solely on the basis that you are not Jenny Hill is a dangerous and short-sighted path, a lesson one would think you learnt as a member of Campbell Newman’s too-much-too-quickly government.,

So allow an ever-presumptuous Magpie to pen the letter you should’ve written, mate.

Dear Editor

My name is Sam Cox, and I declare I am running as a mayoral candidate in the Townsville Council elections next March, with the basic pledge to take back our city from political self-interests and return to an accountable, responsible, realistic and forward-looking administration.

I will be leading a team of councillors who will have agreed to be regularly accountable to those who elected them. Among measures to this end, everyone on my team will be available on a nominated Saturday every month, at an advertised time and place, to meet with ratepayers to discuss the issues that most concern them. This will be a firm obligation.

While I have achievable and sensible visions for this city to move forward and return to prosperity, I know we will have to put our house in order on basic matters. Particularly, no matter what the situation, I will ensure that Townsville Council’s financial situation is openly documented, measures and priorities to address that situation are clear after discussion, and particularly ensure its infrastructure is sound and staff have pride restored to their roles. I will also investigate wasteful expenditure which cannot be justified, and this will include a review of all consultancies currently appointed. And we will review the role and council support for Townsville Enterprise, to see what activities can be returned rightly to direct council operations. If on-going support is continued, at whatever financial level, TEL,as recipients of ratepayer funds, will be required to publish pre-determined KPIs every quarter.

Every possible measure will be considered and if feasible, will be implemented to ensure businesses can return to prosperity and expansion, and assist us to attract new ventures here.

As the campaign progresses, I will roll out plans and visions in detail, but it is past time that Townsville should be led by an administration that wants to further the interests, security and well being of all who live here, and not an administration and council rife with hidden self-interests.

Integrity will be paramount.

Yours Faithfully

Sam Cox

Sam, you obviously have a bruised political ego, after a succession of setbacks starting with your loss in Thuringowa, your rejection as an LNP candidate in the following election, then joining One Nation only to get walloped by Dale Last in the Burdekin. It would seem from your maybe-maybe not approach to the mayoral race that your main problem is that you’re frightened of losing – again. Well, mate, politics is always a bruising business, but people who genuinely care and say what they mean believe the risks are worth it.

But, Sam, If You Wanted Ammunition …

Go no further that Clr Ann-Maree Greaney’s rebuttal to you in the letters to the ed in Saturday’s paper.

Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 11.45.16 am

Typical Astonisher tautological headline.

One would like to be a fly on the wall when Clr Greaney is called in for a chat with Mayor Mullet, who is currently giving Townsville a break by taking some leave.

Of course, m’dear, you meant your letter to be a bit of harmless brown-nosing of the boss, but when you describe Mayor Mullet’s performance with a lukewarm ‘pretty good job’, and when you come on like the coach of an under12s netball coach when you say the council has given their task ‘a red hot go’ – which usually means tried but failed –  there may be some testy questions from Mayor Mullet. Like ‘where was your bloody thesaurus that gives you words like brilliant, unsurpassable, and wonderful.’

But suggesting, as Clr Greaney did, that the Mayor was a great leader and things were consequently on the up-and-up (they maybe but more by inevitable circumstance than design) is a classic example of the Mandela Effect … collective misremembering of events (so named when in 2010 people started reporting Nelson Mandela’s death had died while in prison, when he was released and in fact alive at the time – he died in 2013. Perhaps this council will follow his example in 2020.)

But as letters go, A-M, your foot-in-mouth effort was … hmmmm … a pretty good job, m’dear, at least you gave it a red hot go.

What Would ‘Freudy’ Have Said About All This Writing


Graham Freudenberg

The greatest political speech writer on either side of Australian politics, Graham Freudenberg died during the week. He was 85. Freudy as he was universally called, was the man who gave us It’s Time, and was indispensable to Calwell, Hawke and Keating in the federal sphere, and to NSW premiers Neville Wran and Bob Carr.

The ‘Pie’s favourite Freudy quote was a private one not for the hustings. When Hawke became Prime Minister in 1983, Freudenberg returned the very same office he was forced to vacate when Whitlam was dismissed in 1975. Asked how it felt to be back there, he said ‘It felt like Churchill pissing into the Rhine.’

Vale to a great writer of steadfast principles.

Has This Gender Bender Stuff Gone A Tad Far?

It isn’t just newspapers that run into trouble when they place ads in the wrong spot.

IMum in loo adMG_5070

But on the other hand, could be a brilliant stroke to subtly reminding blokes to wear a johnny for their jollies tonight.

Speaking Of Pissing

As was noted in comments during the week.

Oh, dear!!! A quiet word with y our picture captioner Aunty … unless of course the good professor did indeed douse the Adani Financial reports in the golden shower they deserve.

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 10.48.34 am

Just so the Astonisher journos can get the joke ….

pour | pôr |
verb [no object]
(especially of a liquid) flow rapidly in a steady stream:

pore2 | pôr |
verb [no object] (pore over/through)
be absorbed in the reading or study of

Flights Of Fancy Chapter 812

Sneaky, snakey, snarky and BRILLIANT … or just more unintentional humour from the Daily Astonisher?

The ‘Pie was ready to assign this story to the Ho Hum Dept of:, thinking, ‘Oh, it’s that time of year again’.
Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 9.18.23 am

But just in case, he read the story in the unlikely event there was something new. There wasn’t, but there were a couple of noteworthy guffaws. TEL’s new director of Tourism and Events, Lisa Woolfe (she’s taken over from Bridget Woods, who’s buggered off overseas) made the thigh-slapping gush:
‘TEL remains in conversations with Townsville Airport executives to secure international flights to places like Singapore and New Zealand.’

Well, no travel expenses involved there, and no sweat for triathlete Mrs Woolfe, she would just need to pop down the hallway to the boardroom to be in conversation with the head Townsville Airport exec Kevin ‘Rhymes With’ Gill, who also just happens to be the deeply conflicted chairman of TEL.
She then prattled on with a bit more meaningless guff peppered with words like ‘scope’ and ‘connectivity’, while displaying a deep lack of understanding of how tourists think.

But the best came last, when reporter Madura ‘Teabag’ McCormack ended this predictable mantra by dryly observing:
‘Ms Woolfe has been with Townsville Enterprise for eight years’.

Chortle, wheeze, oh, spare us, willya?.

Which is about the same time that the paper has been recirculating this biannual space filler. If this was an intentional bit of subtle humorous commentary having a dig at TEL’s lack of achievement, then there is hope yet.

If not, the paper’s tradition of unintended humour lives on.

Is The Unicorn Dead?

Lithium ion batteryb planty

Has that almost mythical lithium battery factory project due to be the anchor tenant on council land at Woodstock bitten the dust, or encountered some sort of reversal of fortune? The question arises if one links two or three things revealed during the week. First, there was this story on Thursday from the Tony Raggatt, more remarkable for what it DIDN’T that what it did say, a fact that also applied to the media release it was based upon.

Magnis 4Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 9.17.41 am

Salient quote in the story – from the Pure Minerals media release :

Pure Mineral’s announcement said building the hub in Lansdown offered many benefits.

These included road access to the port via the Flinders Highway, a rail corridor that allowed for a spur or siding off the Mount Isa rail line and proximity to the new Haughton water pipeline to allow an additional 85 gigalitres a year.

Now, Mullet boosting is a required activity of all Astonisher journalists, and when Woodstock is ever mentioned, the lithium battery factory is always nearby.

But not in this story. Not a single mention of the proposed factory, or of the prime mover behind the scheme, blue sky company Magnis Energy Technolgies Ltd, a mention which one would think would enhance Pure Mineral’s profile. Or do they think it might not? But perhaps even more significant is Tony Raggatt’s failure to make any of the usual tenuous, you-beaut links between the two companies to enhance Mayor Mullet’s vision of an industrial/technology hub at Woodstock.

Then 24 hours later, this story, also by Tony R ..

Screen Shot 2019-07-27 at 1.06.27 pm

Again, no mention of Magnis, whose principals have visited Townsville more than once and featured in Bulletin stories. But Raggatt does mention the ’Imperium3’s proposed lithium ion battery plant’ as an afterthought, IMP3 being the loose confederation of American interests in such battery production.

Let us all be positive, and hope this nventure happens, but now more people than The Magpie have wondered what the hell our mayor is doing, dicking around with a company like Magnis, offering ratepayer owned land for the factory for a share in (and of the liabilities) of the project. Even for someone with the mayor’s creative way with finances, this is a bit of stretch, especially when you have a look at the tanking Magnis share price, which has been bumping along the bottom of the chart for some time now

Magnis 1 Magnis 2Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 9.23.07 am

Oh dear, don’t tell us our dear leader has been suckered. Surely not?

That’s All Prompted A Magpie Memory

Many years ago, The ‘Pie toiled listlessly for the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority. It was his first foray and face-to-face encounter with the arcane workings of a government mandated bureaucracy, and quite a shock it was, too, for someone from the commercial world of professional news gathering. It was frustrating to say the least, and clearly, much of it was an out and out rort, like performance bonuses which even the most mediocre, time-serving managers awarded themselves, often while sitting on the rear deck of their game fishing boat. But the ultimate disillusionment came when there was a mundane issue to be decided and a WHOLE DEPARTMENT had to have a formal meeting TO DECIDE IF THERE SHOULD BE A MEETING TO HAVE A MEETING TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE. Not joking.

This bitter sweet reverie was brought on by the news that there is to be a ‘pre-feasibility study’ about the afore mentioned mineral processing proposal for the Woodstock industrial/technology hub.

What in God’s name is a ‘pre-feasibility study’? From Merriam’s dictionary:

feasibility | ˌfēzəˈbilədē | noun the state or degree of being easily or conveniently done:

How far can this pen pushing bureaucratic bullshit go. That’s a meeting to decide whether to have a meeting to decide if a study – done during a series of meetings – should be undertaken. Bugger it, The ‘Pie is going to have a drink to decide if he needs to have a drink.

Wither Britain Now

So bus-modeling hobbyist and domestic abuser Boris Johnson is now Tory leader and therefore the hapless country’s hapless PM. The comic backlash was predictable and savage.

Brexit 1 Br´xit 2


But hey, don’t feel left out of it Townsville, we’re in the same boat.

Jenny and Les

But for outgoing PM Theresa May, Martin Luther King’s famous, ‘Free at last, oh, lord almighty, I’m free at last’ jangling in her head, she said farewell to number 10 and hello to … Abba?

Meanwhile, In Trumpsylvania

Report author Robert Mueller was in the spotlight again, this time literally when he fronted a Senate judiciary Committee to reveal … nothing. Except that he’d written a report. To say the Democrats are deflated is an understatement. But Trump is inflated enough to continue his racist rants.

Bruce Plante Cartoons: Mueller the Movie 12_political_cartoon_u.s._democrats_mueller_testimony_cannonball_read_the_report_-_phil_hands_tribune 23_political_cartoon_u.s._robert_mueller_elmer_fudd_befuddled_what_report_-_tom_stiglich 139_227936 Trump sandwich Trump cross 139_227842 Send her back gv072119dapr lk071919dapr Screen Shot 2019-07-25 at 9.49.03 am 20_227931 20190719edsuc-a 20190721edbbc-a


That’s it folks, for this week’s local Looney Tunes, but join in the madness of comments, they run 24/7. And if you think the Magpie’s Nest is worthy of your support, a donation would be a great help, the donate button is below. Thank you.


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.


  1. Mike Douglas says:

    Great Blog again Pie and i agree re Sam Cox as i am hoping someone committed will run and not someone in the standby queue waiting to see if they get a seat . Regarding the Palaszczuk State Government , i get the board appointments for ex Pollies or Labor party supporters wives, Union Reps but when you have the Chair of the ACCC called on a Sunday from Jackie Trad who his organization is investigating standing down , the Premiers Chief of Staff conflict of interest, Trads husband how many , associated companies they have equity in, how many layers deep does this go ? .

    • SPQR says:

      I think you meant the CCC, i.e. the Crime & Corruption Commission. In any event, this business with Trad, her hubby, the Premier’s Chief of Staff etc has to be the hottest story in Qld politics at the moment yet no word from the Pie on the topic.

      • The Magpie says:

        Ah, doth The’Pie’s public await? One moment while a peel another grape before dropping some pearls of wisdom on a subject which is telling itself and unfolding nicely without any statement of the bleedin’ obvious from this old bird. except perhaps, told you so about Treacherous Trad, why the surprise? But thanks for the fan mail, SPQR. How’s the Senator goin’?

    • Peter Sandery says:

      As a riposte to both you, Mike and you ‘Pie. I have a somewhat different take on the Sam Cox Mayoral Saga and it goes something like this:

      First, Sam did not, after the shellacking his side got in the 2015 elections, do like others and flee to pastures bluer. He stayed and was preselected by the Mudingburra SEC as their candidate for the next State election, only to be rejected by the venal excuses for humanity and political expertise,that run the LNP from Brisbane. In view of that, and the fact that he still had the interests of the north at heart, he decided to stand for the Burdekin for One nation, rather than do what some perhaps suggested, lie low and wait for a later time to mend bridges with the LNP when the political winds blew more favourably Blue
      Second, Sam may well have incisively analysed the situation here in the North in general and Townsville in particular and looking at matters related to local government realised that the amendments to the Qld Local government legislation did not provide for mediation of disputes if a Mayor was in a majority of one in the council he/she was supposed to head. He may have also realised that the contemporary way of a Mayor and a team. largely running in fact if not in name allied to the major State political organisations who largely ignore local issues except when it comes to State and Federal elections, running for council elections has quite clearly not improved the standard of governance in relation to the council. He may then have realised that we needed change to this failed method, and, realising the insular nature of both voters and civic leaders here in Townsville in particular, he would need to get a good handle on where they stood before he put his hat into the ring so could measure up whether he could do more for the north and the city outside of participatory politics than within.
      Perhaps Sam realised after his experience with political parties and the poor showing of the last three at least councils, that we need to get the local back into local government, in his case by running as a Mayor without a team and pledging to work with whoever the electorate voted in as councillors for the greater good of the ratepayers and residents. Perhaps this is the change that he is after. To me it is not so radical but I am sure that in the insular minds of the voters and the civic leaders of this city it is. Hence Sam’s reticence in putting out the full monty so that he can make up his mind as to whether he tries participatory politics or uses his experience to help the city and the North realise its economic potential in another way.
      Finally, for you. ‘Pie a piece of advice I got from my old colonial mentor years ago when we were lamenting the fact that it was easier to convince village people of new ideas than it was our political or bureaucratic bosses. His riposte was “It’s not just natives’ whose ego is easily bruised, young Sandery”.

  2. Alahazbin says:

    Gee! What peppercorn price have TCC given Pure Minerals for the 85 gigalitres of water.
    Clive was paying $3/megalitre for the Mount Spec water while all the ratepayers were and still paying around $740.00 for 776 kilo litres.

    • The Magpie says:

      The ‘Pie remembers his surprise back in 1990, when his brother told him he wasn’t allowed to put down a bore on his Bluewater mango farm because all the water rights had been signed over to Palmer’s nickel refinery.

      • Alahazbin says:

        And still have the water rights due to the Qld Nickel Act. But have you noticed even before the big wet that the Black river started to have water in it after QNI closed down.

        • No More Dredging says:

          Ala, you’ll have to get your terminology up to date. The Yabulu nickel plant is not “closed down”, it’s in care and maintenance – Clive said so. Apparently it could re-open almost immediately if only the Queensland Government, GBRMPA, TCC, the Port of Townsville, the railways, the liquidators, the union movement, sundry creditors etc, etc, would remove each and every impediment they are currently throwing in his massive pathway. Someone is now saying publicly that Clive only paid $1 for the entire show back in the day so BHP really did want to get out of it urgently – wonder why? Anyway, it looks like Queensland taxpayers will pick up the whole shitpile for a dime now and then discover that we part-owned it all along and are responsible, as we always were, for the rehabilitation of the site. Can’t help but think the whole Yabulu-QG thing is now repeating itself in the Galilee Basin – for all the same wrong reasons. Why do we let this happen?

    • Old tradesman says:

      Can someone correct me if I’m wrong, since even with stage 2 of the pipeline to the Clare Weir, the water will still have the huge cost of pumping as it will still not be gravity fed. Does this mean that the pumps will have to run purely to feed water to the new plant, which means that they will have to store it in a tank one would assume to overcome any evaporation losses, and if the Ross Dam does not need replenishing at the same time, do the Townsville rate payers wear the costs?

      • Scientician79 says:

        What new plant? Aren’t we still pumping the water into the back of Ross Dam even with stage 2 or did I miss something?

        Either way, yes to all your questions is my understanding.

        We the ratepayers pay the pumping costs and wear the evaporative losses.

        Also don’t forget we pay Sunwater for an allocation from Burdekin, an allocation which last I heard hadn’t been changed.

      • Linda Ashton says:

        Now that the Feds will be able to proceed with the design for the stage 2 concurrent build, stage 1 should not be completed as per the March 2020 council agenda. That’s good for many reasons.

        1. By doing the concurrent build it will mean no new pumps, pump station or substation will be needed at the Haughton Channel end. The $55million savings can be diverted to stage 2.

        2. Had stage 1 been completed as a stand alone infrastructure, the pumping costs, though reduced through new pumps and a wider pipe, would have remained high. There has been no explanation from council as to why the solar power component, funded in the state grant for stage 1 was scrapped.

        3. If stage 2 had not proceeded now, it was quite possible that the old pipeline would still be used @ $34,000 per day, as well as the duplicate, as demand increases in times of drought. Fortunately stage 2 will include solar power.

        4. There is scope for some gravity feed in stage 2 with the gentle gradient from Clare to the stage 1 connection. If the pipe diameter is 2,400-2,700mm the water, once moving, would not need continuous pumping until the jack pump to push it into and along the stage 1 duplicate route and 1800mm diameter pipeline.

        5. The Douglas Plant can treat up to 235ML per day max. It cannot process turbid Burdekin water directly. This means the new supply from Clare will either have to settle in Ross Dam first or some at least be delivered to a new purpose built plant at Toonpan. There has been no update from council about this vital infrastructure which is a local government responsibility. Clearly, to treat up to 364ML from Clare as demand increases, the new plant must be built.

        6. It’s important to note, as has always been the case, no pumping using the old or new pipelines would commence until Ross Dam is at or below 15%. The restriction levels, trigger points and allocations are unknowns as these decisions are made by the TCC CEO. These can vary as evidenced by our current level 2 despite the dam at 88%. The published trigger is 40%.

        The good news is that people power has won the battle for Townsville’s new fully-funded long term water security infrastructure. When and how it is operated, once installed, is yet to be determined. Without a clear definition from council for what water security actually means, optimal usage is pretty “fluid.” There should never need to be level 3 restrictions again for Townsville residents and ratepayers, as per the current description, ever again. As the old saying goes “There’s not much point having a shiny new Porsche in the garage if you leave it there and take your Sunday drive in the rusty old ute.”

        • Alahazbin says:

          So is the older pipeline going to made redundant? Given that it has some leaks in it and requires maintenance.

      • Allan says:

        I could write a novel on this subject, but that is linda Ashton`s domain
        The WFTAG technical group recommended a larger pipe diameter than the Water Security Taskforce.
        This would allow for the use of Tom Fenwick pump station to supply water as is currently down via gravity and the channel
        The larger pipe was to allow for a third stage towards the Burdekin Dam for full gravity feed
        Toonpan treatment plant according to TCC documents is due to start in 2035 but i believe that has since been brought forward to around 2021/2022
        The new agreement with Sun water from what we understand will be a take or pay situation so power needs to be solar or the rate payers will cop it in the neck again

  3. Cantankerous but happy says:

    So Anne Maree Greasy has been mates with Sam Cox for 30 years according to her letter, that’s funny, I don”t remember seeing her at any of the polling booths handing out how to vote cards when Sam was running for Thuringowa many years ago, as you would expect mates to be, maybe she was away that weekend.

    • The Magpie says:

      The ‘Pie has always been nof then opinion that Mrs Greaney is waiting bin the wings for the main chance … but what stripe from politics will be interesting when it becomes apparent … The ‘Pie will bet it’s a million miles from Labor.

      • Alahazbin says:

        And the same for Verenna Coombe if she stands.

        • The Magpie says:

          Watch out for Potty Mouth Margie Ryder … is said to have been harbouring ambitions in a big city rather than the previous positions in the boondocks. And Have been reliably told by a trusted friend that Mark Molochino has privately told said friend that he will be mayor one day. Christ, as if we didn’t have enough problems. Tsunami anyone?

          • Cantankerous but happy says:

            Even when you scrape the absolute bottom of the barrel you will still have another layer to go to get where Molachino is, etched to very bottom of it, the election of that brainless dunce to Mayor will be pack up and leave time, as that is something Townsville would never ever recover from. .

          • No More Dredging says:

            ‘Pie, if every half-likely mayoral candidate is aiming to have a ten person ‘team’ to take to the election then there really will have to be some scratching around in the barrel. On the other hand, if voters choose a mayor on merit and then a divisional councillor also on merit or familiarity rather than team membership, maybe we’ll end up with a more diverse and representative Council.

          • The Magpie says:

            That would be nice, but what a box of Forest Gump chocolates we might get … the reasonable counter argument to that that could a recipe for discord and shit fights, like TF and Labor when the Mullet was but a humble councillor. The lack of a team structure alsom lays the individualm councillors open to coercion, even bribes on the crucial votes … in other words, the power elite would do their best – on the quiet – to carve out their own ‘team’ with sugar and honey while the ratepayers would get vinegar.

          • No More Dredging says:

            Not sure I was looking for “nice”, rather a bit of public “discord”, even “shit fights” in the council chamber would at least see matters of public interest aired in public. The worst thing that can happen is for the entire Council business to take place behind closed doors in a ‘caucus’ before the end result is revealed at a rubber stamp council meeting. Teams of whatever stripe are notorious for this – our best and worst councils have been down that track.

          • The Magpie says:

            Well, The ‘Pie’s point still stands. In the Mooney years, when it was a fair dinkum Labor council, there was a caucus of Labor members behind closed before every meeting. And this was no ‘yes man’ session, some of the exchanges caused grudges that exist to this day, but Mooney made sure that at the end of it, all councillors agreed that their public stance was unanimous and united. The worst dissenters had to do was hold their tongues.Not perfect, but in those days, councillors of all stripes were far more accountable to the voters in their divisions, so parish pump matters were attended to but pan-city issues were marked down for caucus debate. And its worth pointing out that anyone can run for council, and if they’re as popular and held in the regard you mention, doesn’t matter if they’re on a team or not anyway.

          • No More Dredging says:

            I got to thinking about the $18m Adani airport fiasco. If there was just one councillor not part of the ‘team’ there would be an opportunity for the matter to be given a decent public airing. If half of the divisional councillors were not part of the team or any team they might even get together the numbers to roll the mayor (or the party) on individual issues.

          • The Magpie says:

            That matter is under investigation, and has been for some months, following a comprehensive complaint and exchange of correspondence by a dogged member of the public. Authorities believe the possibility that the mayor lied about the ownership and benefits of the airstrip in a closed meeting to get councillor support for the proposal was worthy of investigation. Outcome pending … and its not with the same whitewash crowd who did the flood report, think its with the CCC.

    • Pat Coleman says:

      Labor sheila mates with the far right eh? Still fighting the good fight. Who’da thunk it?

      • No More Dredging says:

        Pat, the expression “mates with” has a number of connotations, some of them unattractive in this context.

    • Ferret says:

      She can not even get potholes fixed in her division. A white circle outlining them is all that has happened to several in the last 2 months

  4. Frequent Flyer says:

    Pure Minerals wouldn’t be related in any way to that visionary company Pure Projects aka Pure Bullshit?

  5. The Magpie says:

    There are those who sometimes think The Magpie is a tad vicious in some of his lampooning – certainly hope so – but he is but an innocent fledgling in the world of the professional put-down. He is in awe of the editorial writers for the Baltimore Sun, who have raised sinking in the slipper to an art form.

    When Donald Trump, in an outright racist attack on a black senator, described the city of Baltimore as ‘a very dangerous and filthy place where no human being would want to live’ , and that it was ‘a rat and rodent infested mess’, The Baltimore Sun, reflecting the mood of the city’s general population, was outraged. In a seething editorial titled ‘Better To Have A Few Rats Than Be One’, they ripped into this completely demented president. This last paragraph, as Peter Fitzimons said, could peel paint.

    ‘….Finally, while we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner — or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman’s name correctly (it’s Cummings, not Cumming) — we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.’


  6. Ducks Nuts says:

    I see council staffers on LinkedIn boasting about the success of the wondrous Water Saving Givaway. 8000 something registrations , for 200,000 something views. This is a conversion rate of about 3%

    I find the need to make comment.
    In the gardening and home products world the average conversion rate for online marketing is about 6%.
    And due to piss poor planning, the community who have registered are turning up to pick up their compost bins/trees/etc only to be told they can’t have it until November, or too bad you missed out.

  7. Dave of Kelso says:

    On a recent trip through the North and West I found out first hand that the NT is pretty fucked up.

    But wait, now more fucked up. Considering restricting vanilla essence, soy sauce, and other kitchen ingredients to licenced premises.


  8. Frequent flyer says:

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned here before but another Palmer St restaurant has closed. This time it’s the Southbank Grill, which has been around for as long as I can remember. At the same time word has it that the new arcade in Flinders Street leading to our new dog’s breakfast called a bus hub is going to be full of eateries. Go figure.

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      The place is seriously fucked and getting worse, unless it’s fast food franchises or a 9kg crumbed steak that looks like rubber for $10 where the hell can a person eat in this town anymore. I seldom bother to head out in Townsville these days, I travel a lot so get to enjoy lots of quality restaurants in many different places so have no need to put up with the poor offerings and bad service at most of the places in Townsville, and by the amount of places closing many others must feel the same way.

  9. J jones says:

    RIP Palmer Street – in your heyday you were worth visiting. Now a shadow of its former self. If the Gatis fish shop closes, that’ll be it.

    • Coral C says:

      Palmer Street will rise again. Restaurants are an iffy business at the best of times. I know this personally. However, if you want a great meal, check out Odyssey opposite the Rock Pool. Great hosts. Only open on Fri and Sat nights but breakfast and Lunch are divine.

      • hondaman says:

        The Odyssey might have tickled your fancy Coral, but on two occasions I’ve tried for morning tea, the servings were so far distant that on the second, our guest from Brisbane requested another coffee, free, due to the delay in the main course arriving. This was refused, and on the first visit, our guest being a local just suffered the poor service- after all, she wasn’t paying- we were! I reckon Hell will be freezing over before I return, or worse, take someone else there!!

        • The Magpie says:

          The comments from both of you are fair enough, and as a former restaurateur and restaurant reviewer (Sunday Telegraph in the 80s), The ‘Pie knows well that disgruntled customers – justifiably or usually otherwise – are the ones who talk ten times more than happy campers. As a general overview of restaurants in Townsville, there is two glaring problems … the prices are way too high to be justified, and staff regard front of house work as a stepping stone towards other directions, there is a major lack of staff who treat hospitality as a profession. Some owners have cited that they have take advantage of tourists who expect substantial prices (they don’t actually, they’re just captive to a wrong-headed, cynical and exploitive ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ philosophy), but even some of the high flyers, including Michel’s in its day, admitted that less than 10% of their custom were holidaymakers. So locals have always been unfairly slugged.

          The whole food and entertainment scene in Townsville is very uneven year to year. One of the great wastes is the venal nightclub scene … barely a decent music venue to be had, no variety of entertainment at all, just thoughtless boozariums that get away with what they can while doing the least to even experiment with a more vibrant mix. A dozen years ago, some enterprising person set up a music loft in Via Vomitorium (above somewhere around where the excellent Indian restaurant now operates), and as the night progressed, the 35 and over mob left their drinking spots as a younger crowd moved started boisterously arriving, and packed out the venue night after night. And guess what? The established nightclub and pub owners brought pressure and had it hounded out of business by nanny state inspectors. That’s the sort of small minded thinking that we have to overcome, and the council could help by easing the way forward for genuine music venues, even in some of the gaping eye-socket properties further down Flinders Street.

          But don’t hold your breath.

          • Grumpy says:

            Pie, didn’t you tell me the story of a local restaurant owner dropping an extra bottle of expensive wine on the bill of a table of long-lunchers because he thought they wouldn’t notice?

          • The Magpie says:

            The stuff of legends.

      • The Magpie says:

        Alahazbin, You comment is claiming (‘attempted to’) deliberate dishonesty, whereas it could easily have been inexperienced or dopey staff, or just a couple of simple errors (over a year and half) – no operator in their right mind would deliberately and systematically load bills. And you say it happened twice in 18 months but appear to suggest you went there several if not many times. Therefore, your comment hasn’t been published. Fair go, mate.

        • Arthur Itis says:

          Have you ever bothered to check your Woolies or Coles dockets? It is quite remarkable the number of overcharges that occur on a grocery shop and it is always to the shop’s advantage. A dollar here, a dollar there, but multiplied by customers and shops, quite a nice little earner each week adding to the bottom line. Now there’s a conspiracy for that Newey fella to get his teeth into, yeah, nuh, probably too much truth in it to interest him. (But I did see a Chinese family in at Coles just a while ago, so you never know, just maybe???)

  10. Mike Douglas says:

    i see the xenophobia on that facebook page giving it to the Pie are equal in there prejudice as they are now going after the Chinese as well as the Malaysians . CNVM group (Chinese) plan to build a processing plant at Hughenden to be operational by 2022 with 1,000 head a day thru put and 200 jobs . Conspiracy theory in overdrive the facebook group (who believe they represent Townsville residents) and claim to know whats happening in Townsville/Australia/ World conclusion is .If a foreign owned company invests in the region their next buy will be the Port of Townsville and we need to protect our assets. Some people clearly have too much time on their hands .

    • The Magpie says:

      The ‘Pie hardly ever bothers with Peter Newey’s tinfoil hat frothings on the Ratepayers website, but the old bird does wonder what he has to say about Indian outfit Adani.

      • A real local says:

        Newey shows his true colours over and over. He is a laughing stock in the real world. Conspiracies stacked on conspiracies, so much so that they end up swallowing each other. Mix in a dose of Yellow Peril and you end up with a seriously warped dude. His grasp on reality has of course been the basis of his own roaring successes in life. Don’t be surprised if he puts his hand up for Mayor. He needs the steady income.

        • The Magpie says:

          The Magpie knows nothing of Mr Newey’s past or present personal circumstances, which are none of his business beyond how they might influence his public postings. But The ‘Pie’s biggest disappointment is that Peter’s wild assertions are in all likelihood based on some shreds of truth, which, because of his undisciplined and reckless approach to these matters, are now shrugged off and buried in the grave of raving crackpottery. He did at least bring attention to the arsonistic and questionable land clearing exploits of a Rural Fire Brigade twerp at Bluewater, which resulted in said twerp’s sacking. But the bottom line is that Pete’s well deserved personal public exposure over the Anti-Adani airstrip petition appears to have gone to his head, and he now sees himself as a ‘celebrity blogger’. Of which places like Townsville have none. Or is that one heh heh heh heh.

    • No More Dredging says:

      Mike, obviously we all have some time on our hands. But is the Port of Townsville for sale? If so should Queensland take the money and run? If the port was sold would we welcome the development of a coal loading facility in Townsville? I suspect it’s no, no and no but anything’s possible these days.

      • The Magpie says:

        No, no and yes. Face it, we are an industrial muscle town … or at least that’s our realistic strong point and future. We will NEVER rival Cairns or the Whitsundays for tourists, and the sooner we adjust our priorities, the better we can work towards a more prosperous future. And technology will overcome and contain historic downsides to coal loading. But if you’re simply anti-coal, that’s another matter and you should say so (as if you have to).

        • No More Dredging says:

          Ah, good old “technology”. Why would infrastructure owners bother solving environmental problems they are causing like coal dust in runoff (at Abbot Point) or lead-in-dust (at Townsville) when the government doesn’t give a damn and will not police its own regulations? Or worse, if the government regulators are captured by industry then no notice will be taken at all. Have you noticed that another creek near an airport has been declared toxic today due to that fire fighting shit that has ruined so much groundwater? Has any government owned up without being dragged tooth and nail through extensive legal processes? At least if a major piece of infrastructure remains government-owned its principals can be given some political heat. Corporations, especially foreign ones, are virtually untouchable.

          • The Magpie says:

            Regarding your last statement, read The ‘Pie’s answers again. And for an arch Greenie, mate (or madam, or undecided, as the case may be)it’s more than a bit rich to be slinging off at technology, which enables solar and wind farms to be created, and creates the glue that childish twerps of that ilk glue themselves to roads. Great idea to use them as speed bumps.

          • No More Dredging says:

            ‘Pie, my biggest concern about the expansion of the Port of Townsville is the impact on Cleveland Bay and Magnetic Island of the dredging operation – especially the increased long term maintenance dredging and sea dumping. We know from the historical record that the sea dumping site has been moved a number of times in response to complaints or measured impacts but at all times the port authorities have completely denied any responsibility. This denial farce continues today. There is plentiful technology available to the Queensland government to upgrade its dredge (the ‘Brisbane’) or to acquire new dredgers or new operational plans to reduce the environmental impact of dredging but since they are in denial and anyway have secured all the permits from the Commonwealth to dredge and sea dump for ever more, they won’t budge. Technology is wasted on them. Adding open coal stockpiles and ship loaders into Cleveland Bay only creates new issues not least of which is the cyclone / storm surge / rainfall event possibility which would be disastrous if treated in the casual way that such stuff has been dealt with in the recent past (e.g. QNI rock crusher and open ore stockpile waiting to be washed away in a storm surge).

          • The Magpie says:

            Yesterday, Dredger, you opened a comment reply to The ‘Pie with a sneering quote: ‘Ah, good old “technology”.’ Do we assume that you are doing a George Orwell on us and ruling that all technologies are created equal, but some are more equal than others?

          • No More Dredging says:

            No, ‘Pie, I did not speak of technology with a sneering quote. I was responding to your proposal: “And technology will overcome and contain historic downsides to coal loading.” I tried to make plain that I agree there is technology available and I would love to see it used – in any number of applications that would protect the Townsville environs no end. But as we have seen at Abbot Point, the short cut comes first, second and third. There, when ocean dumping of the entire capital dredging was proposed and then banned, the short cut (yet to bear fruit) is to pile dredge spoil in mounds on land between coal piles jammed between the sea and the Cayley wetland – a spot already affected by coal runoff but soon (if it happens) to be double or triple-loaded. It will not work but the show must go on.
            Townsville port’s current dredging and sea dumping operations badly need a technology upgrade right now but it won’t happen because that would be an admission that current practices are impacting the local environment.

          • The Magpie says:

            Yeah, right.

        • Fond memories says:

          The port was once for sale under the Newman Government. A group of locals coordinated by Warwick Powell put a proposal together with some local councils and others for the community to buy it back. That was before QNI collapsed which knocked the guts out of the Ports business for a while. The 2015 state election saw the port taken off the table.

        • Guy says:

          I would disagree. Townsville from a tourist perspective DOES have plenty of places to go to – it’s just that many of them have been locked up. The new council is slowly reopening what previous council’s have shut. Once other places come on line where people can explore notable places such as hills and mountains tourism will flourish.

      • Dave of Kelso says:

        Any thing possible? Yup! Look who has a 99 year lease on the Port of Darwin.

      • Fishframe says:

        Following the fiasco with Port of Darwin, I think the Townsville Port is well and truly on the ADF’s radar. Just a feeling I have.

        • Guy says:

          Townsville common road from the bird hide to the Carpark behind Shelley beach is one. A few people were doing the wrong thing so only the the wrong people doing the wrong thing access the area now. As a fantasy, the bird hide bunker could be replaced with a metal tower with proper shaded top – the existing hide is useless for birdwatching. A 15m tall tower taking in the expanse of Townsville common would be more useful to see different birds.

          The current council has been active in returning public access to places council rangers thought spiteful and vindictive to close.

          Townsville common probably won’t be reopened over night but the current council is my opinion far more likely to listen to the residents than the opposition. The opposition got eaten alive by terrible managers and couldn’t control them.

          Establishing trails on ridges on mount Louisa and other notable hills/ mountain in the area is a good idea.

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Good old Jane McNamara just getting in and getting the job done as Mayor of Flinders Shire Council, what a wonderful woman and just the nicest person anyone could ever meet and talk about staying power, it was common for her to attend a National Party SEC meeting in Townsville and then drive home to Hughenden in the afternoon. She was as enthusiastic in a small branch meeting in Hughenden or on the floor at a state conference in Brisbane, the North is lucky to still have people like her making a contribution.

  11. Dave of Kelso says:

    I see that the Townsville Daily Astonisher is being given away at each of the three TCC Strand Ephemera information tents.

    Who is covering the cost, Rupert or the Ratepayer?

    • The Magpie says:

      News Ltd would be giving them away for free as part of its promotional budget, and also to count the papers as circulation so they can lie to wavering advertisers (and there are a quite a few).

      • Mundingbird says:

        Wikipedia has The Astonisher readership figures at 84,000 Mon-Fri
        104,000 on a Saturday?
        Are they on the payroll of the Astonisher?
        Never let the truth get in the way of a good story I guess.

        • The Magpie says:

          Where’s the problem? News insists that eight people read very single paper printed, and who but the cynical would doubt them … or Wikipedia.

          • Gull says:

            Back in the day when I worked on Murdoch’s first metropolitan newspaper, The News in Adelaide, I’m sure estimated newspaper readership figures were 2.5 to every 1 actually purchased.
            Even if memory is failing me and the figure was 5, it’s way short of 8.
            Where do they get these figures from?
            When was the last time anyone saw 8 people reading a paper in a coffee shop, airport lounge, bus or train?

          • The Magpie says:

            They get them from half way down and around the back. It’s oh so obvious why News stopped providing circulation data to the Audit Bureau, because the simplest arithmetic would prove they were telling massive porkies … and that might affect their advertising rates.

            And Christ, Gull, the Adelaide News? You must be older than The ‘Pie, who did a stint at ADS 7 in the 60s when the A News was in its heyday.

  12. Cantankerous but happy says:

    According to Magnis Resources latest update to the market their Townsville battery factory pre feasibility study is progressing well and should be finalised by Sept 30, with one little adjustment, what was a 15GWh facility will now be a “ staged” 3 x 6GWh project for a total 18GWh, we all know what staged means in Townsville, nothing after stage one ever happens, so it looks like if this thing does go ahead it will be a 6GWh facility, I guess the Dudley’s will have to deduct a billion $$ from their list of projects for Townsville, or they can just tack it onto another one I suppose, why not. It also raises another question, with a much smaller project do the ratepayers of Townsville have to provide such a large piece of land for the project.

    • The Magpie says:

      Good question, since the quid pro quo is a TCC slice of the battery plant action … so is the size of the rateable land tied to the (shifting) size of the project? More and more we are seeing an emerging situation where Mayor Mullet will be long gone when the extent of her disastrous decision making becomes all too apparent.

  13. Mike Douglas says:

    Better add another carriage ( when penalty rates apply) to the Labor Queensland Government gravy train with cabinet minister Shannon Fentiman staying free In a consultants lodge on the Canadian ski lodge and coincidentally that consultant was awarded a State Government contract . The list grows with CCC investigation into Jackie Trads house purchase. We then have a company Jackie and her husband are part owners of doing State Govt work and the Premiers Chief of Staff,s Company receiving Government funding . These labor leaders have taken the “ workers party “ to another level.

    • The Magpie says:

      This will be a test of Queensland democracy, and clearly on the evidence so far, the only honourable thing (HA!) for those named would be to resign (HAHAHA). Anyway, they will be changing platforms shortly when the gravy train empties out and they all catch the train of regret to the city of second thoughts. At least this will maybe shut up the hypocritical tedious tropes about Joh … at least he didn’t make a secret of his rorting.

    • Alahazbin says:

      Cockroach Capitilist!

  14. Achilles says:

    A cruel quip from a commentator on the online line cricket site “Aussies need help, maybe a banned aid,”

  15. Cantankerous but happy says:

    Finally someone has come forward and let everyone know what many of us have known for years, the Townsville city council is a disgusting pathetic orginisation that has cost this city countless projects over many years through its onerous building requirements, disgraceful exorbitant fees and general disregard for standard building industry practice that has lead to Townsville being the backwater it is today.

    This is why a change is Mayor and councillors is absolutely vital if this city is ever to return to the prosperous town we all knew it to be, as the planning dept always reflect the council of the day, always, and what we see here is the direct proof that Jenny Hill and this council are anti development and Townsville will remain on the “ do not invest there ” list as long as these people remain in power.

    • Old tradesman says:

      CBH, maybe they are favouring their new donors at the new complex that is supposed to be built next to the stadium. But then our mayor is full of integrity and doesn’t have a vindictive bone in her body.

      • Cantankerous but happy says:

        That could be true also, you hit the nail on the head with “ suppose to be built” no sign of anything happening yet at that site, but I know from first hand experience this is a not an isolated incident, many many blocks of vacant land sit idle in this town as owners wait for a change in council and the possibility of projects finally being considered, as they know currently they are wasting their time.

        • Alahazbin says:

          Gee! Some owners have been waiting a long time.
          Eg. Wintergarden theatre site. Buchannons Hotel site. And recently that strip along Ross Creek that that conman McCracken had.

          • The Magpie says:

            But mate, you missed the council itself on that list … they bought the old railway work sheds some years ago with high expectations nof being killed in the stampede. But then the reality of remediation work on the ground set in, and we still have a rusty eyesore on a major entrance to the CBD. Best answer would be a jewish stocktake … heritage value, my arse.

  16. Frequent flyer says:

    Your rates at work: drove past council workers removing a small 1.5 metre square of median strip yesterday. A machine was doing most of the work so why did they need 7 council workers standing around watching?
    I drove past again 2 hours later and they still hadn’t finished the job.
    No wonder council hasn’t got time to fix pot holes.

    • The Magpie says:

      Generally agree with that old trope, a twitter/FB favourite, but there may be reasons depending on the nature and requirements of the job, especially when not everybody can do everything at the same time. Perhaps someone in the know might like to expand on this?

  17. Hee-Haw says:

    “Local supply chains are key to our economy” said Marie-Claude Brown CEO of the Townsville chamber of commerce. I wonder if she will mention this to TCC in relation to its LOCAL BUY program not the BUY LOCAL position?


  18. Coral C says:

    Talking to a Cairns Business Owner yesterday. He reckons 60 or so Restaurants in the Cairns area have gone belly up in 2019. Don’t know how factual this is. He also says that the Cairns economy is a mess. Also, the Port and Harbour are diabolical He was once a very prominent Liberal up that way. He has now joined the KAP.

  19. Gull says:

    Not that old Pie. Joined The News in 78. I think the funniest front page headline in my time was when Murdoch hit Fleet St in a big way, ‘We’ve bought The Times’. Oh, and of course, Elvis wore nappies

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