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The Magpie

Saturday, January 10th, 2015   |   90 comments

EXCLUSIVE !!! Townsville’s state LNP MPs accused of using bribes to ensure a smooth election campaign.

More on their alleged disgraceful behaviour shortly.

Also, has Townsville Enterprise pulled a swifty, fiddling Facebook numbers to get the survey result they want? And the same question is yet again asked of the Daily Astonisher.

And the camera doesn’t lie … but your mind sometimes does, as we’ll prove.

But first – inevitably – a footnote on the unspeakable bastardry of those thought-disordered sub-human psychopaths in Paris.

Voltaire

Voltaire

It was in the very city Voltaire wrote (or was the subject of) the most famous maxim defining democracy ‘I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’. Noble and quite the reverse of the motives of these unspeakable scum.

An interesting and beautifully reasoned summation of the best response came in an editorial in the Guardian newspaper. It has been criticized for not joining other papers in defiantly publishing some of the Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons that these emotional hunchbacks and intellectual cripples used as a reason to exercise their bloodlust. It is worth it to take the couple of minutes to read such a well reasoned piece penned in the face of such unreasonable circumstances.

And The ‘Pie again quotes Salman Rushdie, who said ‘No one anywhere has the right to not be offended’. Quite.

And here’s a reminder … compiled before Martin Place … about why we are still fortunate in Australia.

terror-copy

Moving on.

Bentley has hit the ground running this year, and that’s exactly what he reckons the Brisbane Bantam has done, calling a snap election.

tortoise and hare copy

There’s sure to be some heated debate in the next three weeks, but no topic is hotter than the accusations of slush fund shenanigans here in the ‘Ville.

The Magpie can EXCLUSIVELY REVEAL that the Labor Party has called for a Crime and Corruption investigation into why Sam Cox, David Crisafulli and John Hathaway used a private slush fund in an effort to bribe a prominent local figure into silence during the current state election campaign.

Sam Cox, Thuringowa MP

Sam Cox, Thuringowa MP – explaining a slushy?

Questions are now being asked in the highest places why the three Townsville-based politicians conspired to offer a personal gift to coerce their federal colleague Ewen Jones into an uncharacteristic position to enhance their chances of retaining their seats. An investigation is underway to determine if the trio have breached any electoral laws.

Labor is calling for Jones to return the gift unused. The Magpie has managed to get hold of an EXCLUSIVE photograph of the gift.

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Because Hathaway, Cox and particularly Crisafulli believed that Jones would never have encountered such a device in his entire life before, it was accompanied by this explanatory photograph on to how to use the gift.

DSC_5770s_217_325

There is certainly no record that Jones has ever owned a similar piece of apparatus himself; there certainly has not been any evidence that he has, especially since his election to federal parliament.

Labor now wants to widen any inquiry to see if there have been any similar moves to ensure that Tony Abbott stays out of the state during the campaign. Annastacia Palaszczuk said that if the PM has decided that times are too tight to make the trip north, her party will be happy to pay the PM’s expenses.

But if the politicking has just begun for some, Jenny Mayor Mullet Hill – an apolitical independent – has been playing the long game, starting some months ago when she decided she should jump aboard the Bulletin/Lancini super stadium bandwagon.

jenny-2

She said Townsville was entitled to $350m from the privatisation of the Townsville port, and a few weeks ago, upped that to a ‘$450M investment package’. Over the top entitlement at its most blatant. But is it all a pose, a cunning Baldrick-like plan, to wit, knowing that those figures are out of the question, and thus make the LNP mob look bad? Here’s that point of view which lobbed in The ‘Pie’s nest during the week, and very timely, too, for the healthy open debate we know everybody wants on the issue.

Port sale share

No other region in the State has been promised any particular share of the

lease of assets. However the local MP’s have secured a commitment that we

will get 25% of the proceeds of the lease of the Townsville port. With the

port expected to fetch one billion dollars, we will get $250 million. Jenny

knows this but has upped the ante to make it look like the local MP’s are

ineffectual. Her ask is over the top.

Note that the North West and the Far North regions are getting nothing out

of the lease of the port.  If they were then pro-rata Townsville would only

be entitled to about $92 million.

Humble Servant

Listening to politicians’ carefully worded statements on this subject over the past months, The ‘Pie has the sneaking feeling that there could be a dose of disappointment around the corner on the stadium/entertainment center hoopla, even if the port is sold off. And the desperation from some self-interested quarters is reaching ludicrous proportions. As if hiring gun marketer/PR guru Dolan Hayes to talk up the project – ‘explain the benfits’ to we dolts is the condescending term bruited about – wasn’t enough to confirm that an overwhelming majority of ratepayers feel they are being bulldozed, we now have another example which involves those two mutually exclusive terms ‘the Bulletin’ and ‘credible maths’.

Anthony Simpo Templeton

Anthony Simpo Templeton

On Monday, Simpo Templeton chose his words carefully but still inaccurately when he started a page 3 bit of regurgitated fluff with this:

‘The proposed superstadium and entertainment centre is strongly supported by the Townsville community.’

Huh, come again? ‘ … by the Townsville community?’ That so, Simpo? And on what do you base this interesting conclusion? What’s that you say, boy, on the paper’s own unregulated bit of annual puffery, the State of the North Survey? Oh, good-o then. Our boy tells us that 61% of respondents – that’s assuming no multiple responses, heaven forfend! – were ‘in favour of the project’. That’s made up of 45% who want the thing to go ahead anyway, and a further 16% who support the idea but were worried about the cost (read ‘worried about a rate rise to pay for it’).

Err, Simpo, let’s have a look at your take on maths, English and unbiased reporting. Let’s say 61% is kosher. That turns out to 61% of just 632 respondents who ticked the paper’s carefully worded boxes. Now stay with me here, pal, let’s keep it to round figures so as not to lose you … that means about 350 people want the stadium, and that’s 350 out of an overall population of about 190,000 people (round figures again).

And THAT is around .18% of people in Townsville who have said they support the project. That doesn’t mean all rest oppose it, but using your tools, we’ll never know.

You are not only a goof, but an insulting one, too. Adelaide’s loss is our gain.

But you’re not alone in your jiggery-pokery with figures.

A serious question is now being asked about a Townsville Enterprise on-line survey on the very same subject. Again, one has to ask why this overkill of public consultation for what the proponents clearly believe is lacklustre backing by the great unwashed.

Mike Shearer

Mike Shearer

But one punter, community activist Mike Shearer smells a massive mathematical rat. (And it would behove those of you ready to sneer at the very mention of Mr Shearer’s name to answer his following points before you curl the lip – you can’t just call him made, you have to prove it.)

To Townsville Enterprise

Sir/Madam,

Out of curiosity I looked at you Facebook pages re voting for the Superstadium project.It seems that because of how you have set up that Facebook entry the mere fact that I opened the page means that I am now assumed to have voted for it.

But I can find no way to positively confirm that that is the case.   Though I get messages telling me that I have done so.  I am reluctant to explore further because of the risk that you will have set up more traps to claim my support.

I do NOT support the superstadium project.  I do NOT want to be publicly recorded as being a supporter. Please remove my name from the Facebook pages as being a supporter.  Please advise me that you have done so.  If I have not received that advice within seven days I will take advice on what legal action is open to me.

Mike Shearer – Kurara Consulting – Hermit Park

UPDATE: 9.50pm Mr Shearer has just informed that he may be wrong about the above … TEL marketing manager Stephanie Cairns has assiured him he is mistaken, and he is unable to provide definite proof of his suspicions. This information, along with a further overview of the issue is included in the comments section below.  That aside, Mr Shearer also suspects many of the claimed benefits to the community won’t stand up to much scrutiny, but if they do pass muster, he asks, how about letting us know. So he fired in the following a further email, seeking clarification.

Patricia O’Callaghan
-Interim CEO


TEL

Patricia,

I have studied your webpage “Stadium and Entertainment Centre Precinct” and have read through the feasibility study. Given the support that TEL is giving to the proposed ISEC I am confident that you will be able to clarify the following. The quotes are from your webpage:

‘Is strongly supported by the Townsville community. 72.5% believe that the Federal Government in particular should support the development.”

From what survey has the 72.5% been taken?

“Achieves a positive business case outcome, as determined in a major business case funded by the Queensland Government and Townsville City Council.”

Is that “major business case” publicly available. If not, is an executive summary available?  Has TEL been able to study it?

“Will be the first venue of its scale and quality to service Northern Australia’s one million people.”

Which parts of Northern Australia are included in the “one million”

“Will create a massive injection of jobs, as the economy is challenged to restructure away from the resources investment boom.”

The feasibility study states that 570 new jobs will be created during the construction phase, plus an “incremental annual contribution of 31 new jobs”.

What exactly is an annual incremental contribution? Does it mean 31 new jobs each year added to the 31 jobs created in the previous year?

“Is positioned in the best location in Northern Australia to generate widespread economic value.”


The feasibility study states that only $2.6 million will be added to the economy through the ongoing operation of the facility and through visitors who would not otherwise have come to Townsville. That seems to be a small return on an investment of $350 million.

“Through a number of innovations will be a well utilised asset creating synergies across Townsville, North Queensland and Northern Australia.”

Synergies between exactly what?

I note from the feasibility study that the Devine site provides for only 200 on-site car parks (hardly enough for the players and managers for any Event) and the Dean St site only 645 cars. Where will the 30,000 spectators park their cars? Where on both sites are the facilities for the buses that will certainly be required?

Thank you,

Mike

Hmmm, perhaps Mr Hayes will help you out, Patricia, after all you’re paying him to sell the idea – or – OH NO – was it he who wrote the web page entries in the first place? Cripes.

Other matters

The ‘Pie received a communiqué from the globe-trotting Judge Clive Wall today, happily breaking the law in Sri Lanka.

This pic …

Judge Clive Wall - at breakfast?

Judge Clive Wall – at breakfast?

…  was accompanied by the message ‘In Galle. Alcohol banned for Presidential election so waiter brought me a beer in a teapot (but without milk or sugar)’. Just another breakfast like any other, Your Honour?

And another picture that belies what is first perceived.

rude dog

How many of you immediately spotted the dog? And now – sigh – how many of you village wits are heading for the keyboard with merry jests involving the word ‘pussy’? One will be too many.

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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