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The Magpie

Saturday, October 11th, 2014   |   82 comments

Certainly has been a week of shock/horror in the Astonisher … but the shock and the horror was all its own clumsy doing. Is it all unravelling down on Flinders St West?

And The Magpie scoops The Astonisher again – iditor Lachy Heywood has been on holidays, and The ‘Pie has an exclusive pic of our pioneering iditor at play.

On the political front, is Dale Last eyeing off the state seat of Burdekin?

And is the age of entitlement really over? Not for Mayor Mullet, who dreams the impossible dream to make a calculated disruptive statement about asset sales.

But for Bentley the week has all been about the burqa kerfuffle, and wonders what would happen if other groups in society pulled the cultural piety card.
spirituality flat copy

For the record, for those who may not have heard or cared, the burqa is the Afghani full cover garment with mesh for the wearer to look through,

ID's for Afghan elections: but how do we know the photo fits the face?

ID’s for Afghan elections: but how do we know the photo fits the face?

… the niqab is similar but leaves a clear vision slit …


… and the hijab is simply the head and shoulder scarf.

hijabNone of these is a religious requirement, the Koran mentions no such edict, but are worn to show modesty as required of Islamic women.

For what it’s worth (i.e bugger all) The ‘Pie has no problem with the hijab, but believes in our established society, it is insulting and a rejection of the whole community to hide ones face in public (even putting aside the security implications). An ‘open faced’ society is so important for humankind to be able to read and pick up social and emotional signals, and thus aid both communication and sensibilities. Clandestine emotions hidden away in this manner smack of medievalism, superiority and moral rejection of the rest of the world. And since this is voluntary attire and not a religious edict, some gestures towards a new country and new community must be made, or this will again (thinking of the halal scam) the Muslim tail wagging the Australian dog. Our country our laws.

As to the spurious argument that the government cannot tell people how to dress, The ‘Pie suggests proponents of this simplistic twaddle walk down the street naked and see how long it is before you are arrested.

However, the old bird will admit there are certain women of all cultures and faiths which are such tough-looking old turkeys to that the burqa would be preferable.

They're plotting something.

They’re plotting something.

And read here how one English village came up with an innovative way to decide if the burqa and the niqab should be banned.

Moving along.


Astonisher iditor Lachlan ‘Pinocchio’ Heywood has been o/s, hobnobbing with Rupert et al in New York (or so it was reported in News Corpse papers, so we can’t vouch that it’s true). The Magpie has learned that the NY visit was a smokescreen for a highly secret mission; Lachy secretly dashed across the Atlantic to England to personally test out the latest jet ski he plans to promote in a campaign to force the Australian Defence Forces to purchase it.  He took the James Bond prototype for a run off the Brighton shore, as this EXCLUSIVE photograph REVEALS!

Magnetic Island, here I come!

Magnetic Island, here I come!

It’s also reported that while in New York, the iditor dropped some copies of the Astonisher for Rupert to marvels at. One trusts he looked at them closely before handing over those copies, because while he was away, no one seemed to be looking closely at anything in the paper.

Indeed it’s been a forgettable week for the Astonisher all round. Let’s start with this page 2 headline on Wednesday


As The ‘Pie posted on the blog comments, unless there was a Croatian survivor named Lukcy, the headline is just a piece of sloppy amateur work.

But it just didn’t seem to be the week for The Astonisher and rotor-bladed aircraft, because on Thursday, the dyslexia moved to the front page and even into a headline.

groundedHuh? Or would that be a helichopter?

Then there was this subsidiary headline in a story we shall have a chat about shortly.



Yeah, shore …err, sure umm, oh forget it.

Given its credibility and diligence has been knocked from pillar to post continually over the past couple of years, it is at the very least ill-advised to attempt unfunny punning jokes in headlines … if it was meant to be a jokey blokey thing as the folks sat around yukking it up. Anyway, it’s not funny or relevant, so The ‘Pie just reckons it was an ignorant mistake.

Suddenly, all this started to feel like shooting fish in a barrel when we had a look at the on-line edition, which, so he tells us, is the responsibility of office goof, Matthew Dunno Dunn. There we found the following, an important feel-good yarn about an issue on which the city and region has been sweating for some time. We finally have a choclear implant capacity at the Townsville Hospital.

Or do we?

Screen shot 2014-10-11 at 1.37.12 PM

Well, that’s a world first, ‘cos there ain’t none of them anywhere else. Or do the kids get a chocolate if they’re good while getting the implant?

Despite cochlear appearing correctly EIGHT times in the story, and also in a subsidiary photo, the headline had its incorrect version, which was also echoed in the caption of the main pic. And no, The ‘Pie does not believe Ms Healy, the perpetual milkmaid, is responsible – although sadly, as The ‘Pie himself knows, in the eyes of many, you take the byline, you own the headline.

Someone needs a good clip around the cochlear alright. The Bulletin follow the federal government’s example o and buy some subs from Japan. They couldn’t do worse than this lot, who are all at sea.

But then there’s the paper’s attitude and overweening self regard, as it flounders around like a decked fish, trying to work out who its audience really is, and how to pander to them.

That ‘grounded’ headline with about the ‘helictopter’ is the petulant response to the paper’s initial beat-up. Local businessman tries it on with the paper, offering (why wouldn’t he?) his chopper for (lucrative) police work. The Astonisher sniffed a bit of populism reward and ran hard with how we needed this adjunct to our policing, not bothering with any of the fancypants stuff like critical analysis.

Northern Region acting Asst Commissioner Paul Taylor

Northern Region acting Asst Commissioner Paul Taylor

Then top cop Paul Taylor examined the issue and the offer, and knocked it back on the grounds inter alia of cost. Respected former cop and now city councilor Gary Eddiehausen also thought the idea financially unfeasible, with more cops on the ground a better spend.

Writing with a tone of petulant nighty-ripping, reporter Josh Alston trotted out impressive sounding figures about the number of flights taken by the two southern Polair choppers, but crucially, fails to mention what success rate they enjoyed. Or any tangible results at all. And it took Mr Taylor to gently point out to the lad that the SE corner and Townsville are totally different policing environments, with most crime hereabouts being ‘opportunistic’. The injured tone of the paper’s latest bright idea being comprehensively kyboshed carried through to Astonisher’s iditorial, which clearly indicated that the paper (which bears no financial or any other responsibility in the matter) knows better than our top cop. And one of our most respected councillors. Oh, please, just bloody stop it.

Be nice if Mayor Mullet did the same thing, but fat chance.


She has demanded a $375m share of proceeds from the estimated and proposed asset sales of the Townsville Port and the Mt Isa rail line for a wish list of projects. The Mullet well knows that this just ain’t gonna happen – she should know, it was a silly over-the-top demand like this was one of the factors that hastened the end of the Kipper’s reign at Wishing Well House. She’s the deputy chair of the Dudley Do Nothings aka Townsville Enterprise.


But Jenny belongs to the political school that cannot see a head without wanting to kick it.

So our independent (cough cough) mayor has sensed a wounded and vulnerable member of the LNP herd is ready for the kill. John Hathaway is a reactive politician, always fighting off the back foot, and in Scott Stewart, he faces the toughest Labor opponent of all the three Townsville seats.

So The Mullet well knows that when her ambit demands are inevitably knocked back, she, through her lapdog newspaper, will deftly put the blame on the LNP. Hers is a transparent bit of state-level politicking – unusual behavior for an ‘independent’ – but could be too clever by half. The election itself is about asset sales, which is opposed by Labor anyway – and by The Mullet herself in the past, especially a damaging spray against possible Chinese ownership – so all the LNP and Hathaway have to do is make no specific pledge of any given amount. You may rest assured that Mr Stewart wouldn’t be able to do any better than the estimated $250m Mr Hathaway believes will come our way. Indeed he’d do considerably worse, given that the LNP is assured of a return to power and anyway, Labor would knock asset sales on the head if it fluked government.

Tony Raggatt’s story was a calm and professional change from the hysterical stuff we’re accustomed to from Simpo Templeton, but The ‘Pie missed any balanced analysis of this political aspect. The paper yet again raising unrealistic hopes, so it can feed of the disappointment sure to follow and fill pointless column after column making us feel like victims yet again.

They’re cute, really cute.

Speaking of cute, The ‘Pie hears very unreliably that Mayor Mullet has been at a bit of a loss with Simpo taking so many holidays of late. But being familiar with Asia and China courtesy of the ratepayers, she has found the answer to calm her qualms while her pet reporter is absent. It’s called a Hugging Chair, invented to counter loneliness in the elderly, and unveiled at a Tokyo exhibition last month.

The hugging chair

It can be ordered with suitable facial features, and the wrap round arms give you a cuddle. The ‘Pie hears that Mayor Mullet is having one with Simpo’s features installed in her Walker Street office. She can rush there after meeting when Simpo is away, and soothe her disappointment with a warm albeit innocent hug. In fact, she may save some money here … she could forego the extra cost of a custom-made visage … the one illustrated look uncannily like the Astonisher’s ace exclusive revealer anyway.


(A digression: the concept has been condemned as creepy by some, because it is designed for old people living on their own. It is supposed to make them feel a little loved. It’s hard to imagine someone in that situation not feeling completely abandoned and facing deep depression if their life comes down to this. Imagine Mother and Son’s Ruth Cracknell plopping into one of these, and you get the picture. A cruel cop-out for neglectful offspring.)

Rambling on.

While Mayor Mullet’s pal Les Messagebank Walker is toying with the idea of a run for state in the Burdekin, similar thoughts are apparently engrossing Dale Last, ex-copper, fitness trainer and currently doing good works on Palm Island. Haven’t been able to contact Dale during the week – probably knows what he’s going to be asked – but several folks, including a couple of former copper mates of Dale’s, say the word is that he’ll try for a gallop down there.

Dale Last ... doing an electoral phoenix?

Dale Last … doing an electoral phoenix?

Dale makes no secret that he feels he’s been hung out to dry by the LNP, after he lost the mayoral race,  a loss in part because of a crowded topsy turvey field. While Townsville First is decidedly not LNP, there’s no denying its conservative leanings, and Dale expected some dialogue about a political role for him somewhere. That hasn’t happened, but it seems he’s going to chance his arm when pre-selection candidates are called for to replace Rosie Menkens, who has announced she’s retiring.

Doubt Dale would try for an independent run, that would be a financially risky path even if the dough was available, so it will all hinge on whether the LNP poobahs think he can take over the torch from the redoubtable Mrs Menkens. Stay tuned.

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs’ Bar, where the old bird will check in with Mongrel the Barrister to see how he handled his latest girlfriend’s helpful assistance when he was flagging somewhat in the bedroom stakes.

mime-attachment11Listen, darlin’, it’ll take more than that if you’re going to wear hair curlers, a crimson nightie and green slippers. Maybe a burqa could raise our boy’s ummm… curiosity.

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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