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The Magpie

Saturday, July 26th, 2014   |   41 comments

Could Mayor Mullet be about to be handed a second term on a platter? Looks very possible.

Yes, the ghosts of elections past look set to come back to haunt us.

On the national scene, Tasmania, long famous for its scallops, now looks like being noted for it trollops … well at least one. Accidental senator Jacqui Lambie earns Headline of the Week …

Here in the ‘Ville, The ‘Pie reports on snatching defeat from the jottings of Victory … an object lesson on when to just shut up.

And a genuine exclusive reveals a bright new sporting hope for Australia, and its got nothing to do with the Commonwealth Games.

But first …

When an outraged Australian media wasn’t busy metaphorically ‘shootin’ Putin’ over the greatest piece of prize bastardry and evil ever – it went into a mild frenzy  over the weighty matter of Tasmanian trollop and accidental Senator Jacqui Lambie and THAT radio interview. Ms Lambie is the type The ‘Pie’s old Nana would refer to as ‘rough trade’ and ‘looking like she needs a good scrub’.

A randy Lambie wants a bloke who's well off and well hung.

A randy Lambie wants a bloke who’s well off and well hung.

Perhaps there is a symmetry here with a senator from the Apple Isle discussing her pubic air in public – in essence, a Tassie senator talking about her map of Tassie – among other things.

She sort of indicated she was a fan of Ned Kelly, in that she liked a bloke who’s ‘well hung’ which he certainly was.

In all, a tawdry affair from an elected official apparently seeking just that – a tawdry affair. News Corpse papers shared the Headline of the Week on the subject.

Lambie headline

Neat when you can sum it all up in just two words.

And a blushing Bentley was concerned about the linguistic traps awaiting those who deliver ‘packages’ especially ‘big’ ones to the Lambie door.


Randy Lambie indeed.

Moving on.

Advertising campaigns are like humour … if you have to explain either, they haven’t worked. If a campaign or a joke can’t speak for itself, both are dead in the water from the get go. And just trying to explain either is the clear giveaway that you’ve failed, and it leaves people wondering why you bothered in the first place.

TEL's Paul Victory

TEL’s Paul Victory

This truism apparently didn’t occur to Paul Victory, boss of, the Magnetic Island ferry business Sealink. Mr Victory is also the chairman of the Townsville Enterprise Tourism and Events Committee.

He found himself painted into a corner when a couple of weeks ago, he read Shari Tagliabue’s bitingly funny (because it was so true) column highlighting the inanity of the TEL’s woeful Townsville Curious tourism campaign (thank you ratepayers, for your $34,000 contribution and thank you councillors for tossing it down the drain for us).

One bets that suddenly he realized he was stuck with widely derided clunker that looked like it had been focus-grouped at the head trauma unit of The Townsville Hospital. A wiser head might of thought it best to leave it all to subside of its own volition.

But Mr Victory obviously isn’t of the ‘never complain, never explain’ school of issues management, so he unwisely waded in with a – shall we say curious – and  lengthy self-justification letter to the Iditor, full of trendy empty phrases, buzzwords and straight-out spun bulldust).

victory letter

Poor bloke probably had little choice, he had to defend a product emanating from his own turf. As a tactic for such a hopeless exercise, Mr V chose to use jingoistic empty phrases that would meant bugger all to those he was aiming to win over. Phrases like ‘… the way we want our destination to look to attract aspirational demand’. Now that isn’t even English but does raise the question, do you want our destination – that is Townsville – to look drab and so boring you recommend that they leave town and look around the countryside. And if the destination is Townsville, we see bugger all of it. And Mr Victory does himself no favours when he refers to local nosheries as ‘world class dining’. Our nose-baggeries are very good for a growing regional city in Australia, but world class they ain’t. And they’d be the first to agree, a hard boast to live up to and if claimed inviting some unpleasant exchanges with visitors.

And Mr V claims that the clip has attracted have 800,000 views, although it was only released a couple of weeks ago. The ‘Pie will take some convincing on that score, too.

All the way through this Emperor’s new clothes exercise of vainly trying to convince anyone who has seen it that it was a marketing masterstroke, Mr Victory maintained a condescending tone that adults usually reserve for slow 8-year-olds, combined with maintaining a lofty distance to carefully avoid any suggestion that Shari’s column (let alone similar sentiments a week earlier by The Magpie) had anything to do with his condescending explanation of the campaign’s genius. But sadly, that all came glaringly undone when he couldn’t resist a little tit-tweak at the end by signing off ‘Thanks, Shari, for exciting us’.

Which is more than we can say you did for the rest of us, mate. Even the pleasant music is inappropriate and divorced from the vision, judge for yourself here.

Moving on.

The ‘Pie notes without comment (or reference to the foregoing) that the Marketing and Communications Manager for TEL down at Wishing Well House (motto: drop in a ratepayers penny and make a wish) is one Stephanie Cairns.

TEL's Stephane Cairns

TEL’s Stephane Cairns

By all reports a nice bird who is anything but a fifth columnist for our northern neighbours. (Wonder if up there they have a Tommy Townsville on the roster).

Moving on.

Small question for the powers that be down at The Astonisher. This week you ran this self-promoting ‘whiff of desperation’ ad …

Bulletin r'ship ad

So the question is, if those readership figures are true (flying the face of clearly plummeting circulation stats) why are you slashing real estate rates, in some cases up to 50% by offering two weeks for the price of one, and other such specials? Seems a funny move for a ‘growing’ and monopolistic business. Just one of life’s little mysteries, one presumes.

Other matters.

As the periodic scrabbling behind the political skirting boards gets more intense, here’s some good news for Mayor Mullet. Her chances of re-election in 2016 could be about to skyrocket.

Dale Last says he is keen to make a comeback in the mayoral stakes.

Dale Last ... doing an electoral phoenix?

Dale Last … doing an electoral phoenix?

It is fair to say that the ex-senior sergeant with the Queensland wallopers felt somewhat hard done by, even by some of his own team, when he narrowly lost out to Mayor Mullet, who won office on preferences. You’ll remember the conservative vote was split, with Brendan Porter and Jeff Jimmieson taking winnable chunks of votes away from Last.

Could this be shaping up as a déjà vu election in 18 or so months time?  Seems like it.

Last, who is currently working for an employment group finding work for Palm Islanders,  says he is looking at putting together his own team for another gallop at the ballot box.  He would probably have to, since Townsville First don’t look like bringing him back in from the cold – everything there points to Tony Parsons positioning himself to be TF’s mayoral candidate. Golden Tonsils’ Trevor Roberts has consistently refused to consider it because of family circumstances, and Vern Uncle Fester Veitch is unlikely to risk an all-or-nothing tilt at the mayoral plush at his age … anyway, if Parsnip got up, Vern would probably remain deputy doo-dah, with all pay packet trimmings that entails. Jenny Lane would roll her eyes at the thought of running, and The ‘Pie will be surprised if she doesn’t retire anyway. That will be a loss for those who value calm and civil straight talk in our council chamber.)

And the task of a team and a campaign would look beyond the inclinations or the ability of Pat Ernst, who at the urging of friends is still pondering another run just for council.

Clr Ray 'Haystack' Gartrell. Lofty ambitions?

Clr Ray ‘Haystack’ Gartrell.
Lofty ambitions?

Of course, that leaves Ray Gartrell, who is actually talking about his chances, but common sense will probably prevail, because he would not be anointed by TF and would therefore need to form his own team. That’s a costly business, and in Dale Last’s case, there are strong rumours around that local business folk may well chip in for him.

Jeff Jimmieson, who must have sore soles from landing on his feet so often, won’t be having another shot, why would he? Financially and stress wise, he has everything to lose now that he is a council employee in the events area, and rumoured to be on a tasty $140K per. The extra he’d get in the unlikely – nay, impossible – event that he makes it to the mayoral plush would hardly be worth it.

And let’s face it, it is rare to find someone running for local government whose number one consideration is not the dosh – Gartrell once told a Magpie mate that at one stage, he was looking at state because ‘councillors get paid peanuts’. Err, Haystack, allow The ‘Pie to point out that the $90K+ you’re on in Walker Street is well ahead of anything anyone would be willing to pay you for whatever talents you possess in the commercial world.

Adding to all this was a recent letter to the Iditor from last time’s other spoiler, Brendan Porter. Now, while The ‘Pie is told that Brendan’s missus would have his goolies if he dared put up his hand again, the letter sounded mightily like a positioning statement.

If any or all of this came to pass, Mayor Mullet would be putting on a Riverdance CD  and doing Irish step dancing around her desk in delight. And a sight to behold it would be, begorra. A bit like this?

Irish dancer

When she exhausts herself in those transports of bouncing rapture, she’d flop into her mayoral chair and consider a different sort of transport – trawling through Brisbane motoring sites to start choosing her new second-term car.

Now to that exclusive.

The Magpie does not comment adversely on the families of those who are the subject of this blog unless there is a genuine public interest in doing so. And on the other side of the coin, the old bird does his best not to involve his personal life here either – on the grounds inter alia it would be of little interest anyway. But on that front, he will break the rule today, to report on a major sporting moment that looks promising for The ‘Pie in his sunset years.

This morning in Sydney, a certain Sascha Alexeefe-Weatherup …


… pulled on the footy boots for the Bondi United  Rugby League Under 8s team’s in the South Sydney JRL grand final this morning (Sat), and helped his side to a thumping 38-12 win over Mascot, to lift the 2014 premiership. Sascha ran in three tries and did so much effective tackling that he was named Man of the Match.

S's team

Looks like a couple of kids couldn’t get down to the TAB to back themselves.

But just in case he’s getting a bit of a swelled head just now, his proud granddad will tell the story that when he was starting out in this, his first season, the boy was a tad confused about which sport he was playing. At school, he mucks often around on the basketball court a bit. When he started playing league, he was put on the wing because he can run like the clappers. In a crucial match, he bobbed, weaved and then dashed clear and sprinted over the try line. But such was his elation, instead of grounding the ball – he bounced it into the ground and raised his arms in (very short-lived) triumph. Suffice to say, Sascha now knows – and is often reminded by his teammates – of the knock-on rule and that it applies in the in-goal area as much as anywhere else..

Well done, Sash, don’t forget your old grandpa and that blue series 5 BMW when you sign that million dollar contract with the NRL.

Back to the real(ish) world.

Don’t know if you’ve ever spied it, but there is a handsome little magazine floating about called Success Business magazine. It’s a local product about Townsville businesses, quite slick and a good read. It is through its New Appointments column that The ‘Pie was pleased to learn that old literary chum Amada Gray has been appointed as Quest Townsville’s Business Development Manager.

Quest's Amanda Gray.

Quest’s Amanda Gray.

The brief blurb tells us that Amanda ‘is excited to be introducing new and seasoned travellers alike to Quest’s warm and welcoming hospitality’. The ‘Pie understands that Quest is mainly apartments where you do your own personal chores. Hey, gal, here’s your big chance … next to the welcoming wrapped choccy on the bed pillows, you could leave a printed copy of the recently published (to great acclaim) verse you inspired Ode To Undies, Written in a Townsville Laundrette.  What a handy guide to folding one’s ‘smalls’ for the rushed traveller. It’s worth a revisit.

Ode To Undies, written in a Townsville Laundrette

Take undies with forgiving elastic waist,

Each thumb and forefinger there to place,

Bring together for a shape sublime,

Fold up the gusset for a tidy line,

Verily inspect for skidmarks, them to banish,

Wonders performed with a spray of Vanish,

With happy heart, pop them into drawer,

Next visit, socks, bras and lots more!

Fame is looming for our Mandy, Pam Ayers, eat your heart out..

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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