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The Magpie

Sunday, August 19th, 2018   |   141 comments

Choosing The Lesser Of Two Weevils: Palmer Sues O’Toole.

Not that you’d know it from the Bulletin, but a Brisbane court filing confirms Palmer has made good on his threat, the latest in his scattergun disruption strategy.

This was just another glaring miss in a week of a string of misses and cock-ups by the Townsville Bulletin, but it was by no means the biggest – but was it incompetence or connivance in some instances? The Magpie has a little list.

Notes from the Twatosphere: trainee CEO Little Patty O’Callaghan and Mayor Mullet share the love from Canberra on their triumphant return from their little jolly to the national capital, where they were … ummm … well, gosh … we are told they were LISTENED to.

… and what does it say when people in Port Moresby don’t want to visit Townsville.

That and plenty more in this week’s Nest, but first ….

What A Croc(K)

Now, let’s see if The ‘Pie’s got this right … we’re not allowed to do the sensible things and cull crocodiles because, well, because … look just because. (Actually, because Labor needs the Green preferences to continue loitering on the government benches in George Street).It’s some sort of misguided notion we should live in perfect harmony with all God’s creatures and not kill anything (a general rule for this old bird, but come the revolution and The ‘Pie’s the boss, first for the high jump will be the bloke who wrote ‘Achey Breaky Heart’.) Of course, those crocs haven’t read the peaceful coexistence manifesto, and still happily chomp their way through the occasional dopey tourist or drunk local – actually vice versa.

So we go to the government to seek money to build a freshwater lagoon so tourists can swim all year round with the risk of becoming a reptilian repast,  but the government is reluctant to provide the readies to right the damage of their own nanny state hankie wringing policy. (But having said that, The ‘Pie is told we are in for a surprise announcement soon, but as you will read further one, its all still shrouded in secrecy.)

Bentley has a burning question.

lagoon fin

Even By The Bulletin’s Bargain Basement Standards, It’s Been A Horror Week For The Paper

From dopey to deliberately devious, trivial to tedious, the Bulletin lurched from one credibility calamity to another almost every day during the week.

Tuesday was Trivia Day, when the paper ran the latest in this riveting series.


If any one was surprised at Harpic’s taste in music, you weren’t half as surprised as he was. Especially when it reported him as having an elder daughter and that his Dad was dead. He had to resort to social media to set the record straight.

Screen shot 2018-08-18 at 10.34.10 PM

Turns out that this one under Harpic’s name was actually for Scott Stewart.


The Astonisher is so famously sensitive (don’t start me!) it will probably offer Mr Harper Snr a free funeral notice when the time eventually comes. Or perhaps before … again.

But As Nana Always Said ‘It’s Just Fun Until Someone Loses An Eye’ – Or In This Case, An Airline

Things became a tad more serious when the Astonisher either missed or deliberately held back the announcement that the one remaining international airline into Townsville … Air Nuigini … would cease flying here from October 1. The airline’s media release … the paper’s favoured source of information after Facebook trolling – was sent to media outlets at about 3.30pm on Thursday. When it didn’t appear in the paper on Friday, and The ‘Pie noted the fact, several conspiracy theorists – The Magpie’s favoured source of information heh heh heh – claimed it was a stitch up between iditor Jenna Cairney and Mayor Mullet, so as not to spoil the glory of the wildly successful –not – junket to Canberra. (More on that in a sec). Possibly, or just sloppy lazy journalism.

As The Magpie said in a comment on Friday

Now given all the little girly-skipping and hand-clapping glee with which the paper last year received the mildly interesting news of Air Niugini coming to Townsville, and all the resultant undeserved self-aggrandising over-blown waffle from Kevin Gill, you’d expect this ‘unfortunate’ development worthy of a prominent mention.

So where did they report it?

Nowhere. There was not a dicky bird, nada, nil, zilch in the paper. But you may be assured now that the news has appeared here, it will get a mention somewhere in tomorrow’s Weekend Bulletin (front page ..HA!), This will be a fine continuation of the paper’s real motto ‘Yesterday’s News Tomorrow’. Let’s see how long it takes them to put it up on their website.

Two hours after that comment, the bare bones of the story went up on the website but it wasn’t until this morning (Saturday) – a full two days after the event – the joke was on The Magpie, when we finally got this.

NCTB_1_2018_08_18_thumb_bigAll of which kick-started The ‘Pie’s twisted imagination. .

International 2

More From The Yesterday’s News Tomorrow File

Then there was the news that was completely missed by the Astonisher – and admittedly all the other media outlets, but they don’t beat their self-promoting chests with the paper’s fervor. Given The Bulletin’s recent interest in this Palmer threat , one could reasonably expect this would’ve been – and probably will be on Monday, or maybe Tuesday, or … – a front page screamer.

Screen shot 2018-08-19 at 1.05.37 AM

No statement of claim yet available, but that is no reason not to publicise the fact itself. Indeed, one would think that a community newspaper that regularly lies to us that ‘we’re for you’ had a duty to report that the loose-lipped mayor of the city was being sued by overfed callous arseole. Who was forced into this embarrassing backdown.

Screen shot 2018-08-16 at 8.05.21 AM

Now how about one for the ratepayers and local businesses … written in the form of a resgnation letter. (Yeah, like that’s gunna happen without the help of the CCC).

The Devil In The Detail

Then there was yesterday’s story about Lancini moving offices into his City Point premises in the CBD. But his staff might have trouble locating their new digs if they depend on The Astonisher for directions.


The paper told us that City Point is on the corner of Stanley and Stokes streets. Which is a neat geographical trick, since they run parallel a block apart. City Point is bounded by Sturt, Stokes and Walker Street.

But we can’t expect the subs in Mumbai to know that, can we?

Define Success, Please

No such location problems for the cut-price CEO of the Dudley Do Nothings, the gabby fashionista Little Patty O’Callaghan, who continues her visit to this planet, where she wrestles daily with the language. But unlike the Bulletin, at least she knows where she is. In this deeply incisive story today (which fails to tell us who’s doing the labelling) …

Screen shot 2018-08-19 at 1.20.11 AM

… Little Patty showed she knows who’s who, what’s what and where everybody am … is … are …was oh you know what I mean. Don’t you?

TEL's Patricia O'Callaghan  -did they meet on eHarmony?

TEL’s Patricia O’Callaghan -did they meet on eHarmony?

“I think over the three days, to have 90 representatives from the community and their associates down there with over 40 politicians across major events, as well as a very jam-packed meeting program, the message was clear – Townsville and North Queensland is here,” she said.

Existential thinking at its glowing best, gal, your use of ‘down there’ and ‘is here’ is worthy of an academic treatise from some socks and sandals discombobulator from JCU.

Jenny and Les

But Mayor Mullet gave Little Patty a run for her money in the ‘well duh stakes’ when we examine her pearls of wisdom dropped into the Astonisher about the junket down south. Let’s parse some of them, shall we?

From the paper:

Cr Hill said that some of the politicians and bureaucrats in Canberra had “never heard of Townsville” or visited the North.

So, m’dear, Canberra is chockablock with ‘politicians and bureaucrats who have never heard of Townsville’ is it?. As in, they have never heard of the location of the country’s biggest, most expensive and strategically most important defence base, Clive Palmer and the Yabulu Nickel collapse, Storm Financial, the Shepherdson Inquiry, Johnathan Thurston and the premiership winning Cowboys, the V8 super car round, the astounding Adani airstrip deal, and a vital federal seat won by just 37 votes by Labor? The most marginal in the country? Oh, what ignoramuses you must’ve been dealing with Jenny, bet you had them whipping out the public chequebook lickety-split, eh? Well, perhaps not quite.

“Going down in the numbers we did . . . we made both the Government and the Opposition sit up and listen,” she said.

What, pray tell, did you expect them to do … or did you expect them to employ your well known tactic of dodging meetings with people who have a grievance or want funding?

And talk about carefully qualified statements:

“(the port channel widening) . . . received some favourable response now from both sides of the political spectrum.”

‘Some favourable response’? What meaningless tosh, aimed at justifying a jolly to the capital’s fine restaurants and their corporate expense account wine lists. Would’ve been a great time if it wasn’t for those pesky meetings. eh?

Yup, you really do think we’re all idiots, don’t you, gals? Tick, tick tick …

The Rumour Du Jour

Anthony templeton relaxing.

Anthony Simpo Templeton relaxing.

What’s this one hears, Anthony Simpleton aka Templeton is being punted from his media job at the council? Well, if that’s true, it’s logical, it is somewhat redundant now the Fright Bats have Stephen The Poisoned Dwarf Beckett penning inane stuff like the forgoing for the mayor. And as reported below, his missus is now in on the act, too.

In truth, The ‘Pie wasn’t aware that Simpleton was still there, so uncharacteristic was the lack of regular self-promotion from him. Guess Mayor Mullet figures she and he are now square after a couple of featherbedded years on the public tit, adequate repayment for years of his obsequious sycophancy when reporting council for the Astonisher.

Speaking Of Such Cosy Arrangements, Cop This …

Way back when Mike Capt Snooze Reynolds dragged himself away from the mirror long enough to announce that the Townsville Hospital needed to meet the demands of a growing population and so was being moved from North Ward to Douglas, everyone cheered.

Then they discovered that Snooze had put one over on them, because the new hospital to meet the city expansion actually has fewer … far fewer … beds than North Ward.

But this favourite Labor ploy of doing things in ruinously expensive stages … think Ring Road, think Civic Theatre if it ever happens, the promise of a money-making convention centre AFTER the loss making stadium is first built … so we will always have financial chickens coming home to roost. So guess what?….

hospital beds… and also required will be the requisite amount of feathers for the bedding, so the patients can enjoy the same level of comfort as Mooney’s Labor mates, like this matronly looking blow-in?

shayne sutton

Shayne Sutton is truly blessed, being hand-picked over any number of locals for a $40,000 seat on the TH board. But wait, as the steak knife man used say, there’s more … Ms Sutton, a former long-serving Brisbane City Council Labor councillor and wife of the newly minted TCC director of community communications something or other Stephen Beckett (in reality, the paid shill for the mayor and the Impaler) has just outshone a stellar field of other candidates (none actually) and has landed another nice little earner. This from a commenter last night.

John Doe
email hidden; JavaScript is required
Submitted on 2018/08/17 at 9:35 pmWife of council’s re-election campaign manager (GM of Communications Beckett) is now on the council payroll.Shayne Sutton appointed as executive officer in mayor’s office. Not advertised, just appointed as is the way now.Unapprove | Reply | Quick Edit | Edit | History |Spam | Trash

That is as it may be (indeed it may not be, but The ‘Pie will soon be told) But in a classic ‘not only but also’, during the week, Ms Sutton sent out a media release to all points under the title of Media Contact for that dynamic indispensable mob the North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NQROC). This apparently means she has been appointed to a three-days-a-week gig on that financial black hole  the TCC Future Cities group. It was this action that has prompted informed speculation about Simpo’s future.

Of course, not much point in asking the mayor, she’s no blabber …

mullet questions

… in today’s Astonisher, she refused to tell Tony Raggatt who was doing the pre-feasibility study ‘concept’ plan for the ‘super lagoon’ on the Strand. No doubt she wanted to avoid the embarrassment of admitting that (probably) Don Morris of Pure Projects was in there, ready to hoover up whatever cash was left in the council cash register after Shayne Sutton got her snoutful.

It’s all getting more blatant folks, and remember, bad things happen when good people stand by and do nothing. As they found out down at Ipswich, under the rule of the Mullet’s mate Paul Pisasale. Choice quote from that damning report released during the week.

Report findings

  • Council employees had attempted to bring concerns about corrupt conduct to the attention of a senior executive employee, however, these were either not addressed or dismissed out of hand
  • A senior executive employee appeared to be selective in deciding which matters to report to the CCC, despite a statutory obligation to report suspected corrupt conduct to the CCC
  • Middle-level management largely overlooked breaches of policies and procedures by senior executive employees and councillors
  • Council staff were often expected to overlook or cover up breaches of policy and procedure, including by altering records or filling in reports regarding approval for overseas travel.

Note the ordinary, decent employees who tried to do something. Although fear and intimidation were not mentioned down there … that’ll have to wait until the CCC ride iinto the ‘ville.

A Small Observation

Unfortunately Tony Raggatt will not appreciate th following, since praise in this blog is a minus down in his office. But The ‘Pie cannot allow Mr Raggat’s cleverly sly style of writing of late to go unremarked.

This subtlety has resulted, The ‘Pie thinks, from Tony being torn between wanting to keep his job, and chafing against the policy of mindless and irresponsible glee demanded in business and council stories generally.

Take the two page spread in today’s Astonisher under the spurious headline ’ Projects That Will Transform Townsville’. While attempting to fulfill the role of an uplifting drum-beater, Raggers cannot wholly disguise that the Raggatt tongue is firmly in the Raggatt cheek. For instance, he does a nice throwaway mention about the new bus hub road between Ogden and Hanran Streets being created through a property ‘which once had a building occupied by an award-wining hardware store.’

So, although he doesn’t make any more of it,  this disastrous bus hub hoopla has cost the CBD an award-winning business, has it? Yes it has, much to Bunnings delight..

Or when talking to Mayor Mullet about the lagoon, he gives her a metaphorical nipple twist was his deadpan line ‘unfortunately it was unclear who was doing the concept planning’ – making it quite clear that the mayor knows but has chosen not share this with us, the great unwashed. (It is presumably Don Morris of Pure Projects, hoovering up any spare cash Shayne Sutton has left in the council cash register.)

And Raggers came up with a tidy little rib tickler when he said that since 2011, the bus hub ‘had seen more green lights than a Sturt Street commuter’.

Raggers is part of a new critical direction for parts of the paper. Shari Tagliabue continues to be allowed a generous and welcome amount of rein. Her spirited columns, often cutting close to the bone but always with humour, are, in The Magpie’s humble (ha!) opinion, one of the reasons for a recent up tick in Saturday readership figures. This week, she penned a whinge list of many of life’s annoyances, big and small. Astute stuff, but the likely gloomy affect on the readers prompts The ‘Pie to recommend to the citizen’s of our poor old town the advice of that other funny woman Dorothy Parker, who said this to the world weary:

Razors pain you;

Rivers are damp;

Acids stain you;

And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren’t lawful;

Nooses give;

Gas smells awful;

You might as well live

Regular Magpie Commenter Mike Shearer dropped this into the Nest this week.

Mike Shearer

Mike Shearer

Over a month ago I asked Cr Doyle the following questions, and have now received a reply on her behalf from the General Manager, Townsville Water and Waste. 

Q: What was the accepted cost of the tender? 

A: The contract to supply the pipes was awarded to Iplex  and is listed as “Schedule of Rates” on our website for contracts awarded with a value greater than $200,000. The actual value of the contract is commercial in confidence. All tenders were assessed against a rigorous and detailed tender evaluation plan consistent with requirements for procurement under the Local Government Act. In assessing the tenders, Council looked to maximise local jobs and content, whilst ensuring value for money for the Townsville community. 

Q: how will the pipes be transported to Townsville?

A: The pipes will be shipped to Townsville port in a number of shipments. This is the most cost effective way to get them to Townsville. Once arriving in Townsville, they will be transported by truck on road to the location of where the pipeline is being constructed.

Q: how many jobs will be created for the local manufacture of the fittings?

A: The project will have  50 new direct and indirect jobs created for Townsville for the supply of pipe fittings and polyethylene extrusion

Q: what is the cost of the locally made fittings relative to the cost of the pipes themselves?

A: not answered

Q: what assurance has the Council received that “… with manufacturing re-starting here there will be other pipe products made in Townsville…” is a commitment by Iplex?

A: not answered

And can anyone please tell us all why Commercial In Confidence provisions apply to this contract? Here are the parameters.

Commercial in confidence (is a) classification that identifies information that, if disclosed, may result in damage to a party’s commercial interests, intellectual property or trade secrets. You must not disclose any information marked ‘Commercial in Confidence‘ without permission from the party who supplied

Thank Christ the government is going to force council development corporations into the transparency of becoming public companies. Otherwise, given the way this town is going, Townsville will make Ipswich look like a Mormon’s tea party.

International Notes

Saudi Arabia has become enlightened, and Saudi women are now allowed to drive cars. One model is particularly popular … it’s called the Burr Car.

 Burr Cars

And this week’s  very bigly, it’s terrific, toply level of special Trump chronicle

 Trump pool Trump 2 Americas Trump mquestions Trump questions 2 Trump nixon Trump twitter Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trump and the North Korea Deal News feed Trump no civility


That’s it for another week, but there are developments happening across the seven days, so keep the Magpie comments area on an alert, and join in yourself, it’s your blog, you know, citizen journalists. (Ummm, , only up to as point Mr Coleman.) And any help with the costs of running the blog will always be appreciated and thanks to you generous souls who have already rallied to the cause. The 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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