Why this blog exists...

The Magpie

Sunday, July 15th, 2018   |   161 comments

Fibber Or Just Foolish: CEO of the Dudley Do Nothings, Little Patty O’Callaghan Is One Or T’other … Or Maybe A Bit Of Both.

Always best to have facts when you’ve been caught with your pants down, and boy, did Ms O’Callaghan’s pants hit the deck with a clang when she denied Townsville Enterprise had made a $6000 donation to the LNP. (Please. No comments on that imagery, you lot.)

But here’s a startling possibility … could Clive ‘Novichok’ Palmer get on the TEL board, playing footsie with Mayor Mullet, and end up calling the shots down at Wishing Well House? The ‘Pie reckons it’s not only a possibility, but if he actually does move to Townsville, highly likely.

As the old saying has it, comparisons are odious, but sometimes they are unavoidable. So The ‘Pie is compelled to ask, why, on so many fronts, is Cairns getting it oh-so-right and Townsville getting it oh-so-wrong?

And on the world stage, Donald Trump turns international diplomacy into a game of two-up, where he holds a massive, really big, totally special advantage … he is proving to be the biggest tosser the world has ever known.

That’s where we start this week.

The self-described ‘world’s most stable genius’ went on the road during the week, managing to terrorise and mesmerize much of Europe, as The Trumpet fine honed his dickhead diplomacy, ordering NATO countries to do what they are already doing and telling Britain it could find a better PM. And he thinks Boris Johnson would be that person!!!

His schedule takes in Brussels, Britain and winds up with ‘what will probably be my easiest meeting’ with Vlad Putin in Finland. It is widely believed that this is where the tables will be turned, and The Trumpet will get his latest set of riding orders … at least that’s what Bentley thinks.

Nato small

But the Poms aren’t amused in the least by their certifiably insane visitor and vampirish missus. Trump’s unprecedented intrusion into local politics in Britain has everyone dumbfounded, especially when he made his divisive thoughts known about Brexit and the country’s choice of leader, not in a face to face meeting with PM Theresa May, but in an interview with the country’s most infamous tabloid.

Screen shot 2018-07-14 at 8.05.21 AM

Well, as least that earned one of the best recent headlines about his antics, from Sun rival. the Mirror.


A gobsmacked world can now hardly wait for the Finland meeting, where the boot is expected to be very much on the other foot … if Trump can get it out of his mouth first. The ‘Pie’s money is on Putin showing him up for the dangerously thought-disordered fawning bad joke that is Donald J Trump.

And Just Before We Get Back To The Local Circus

In a week of Trump follies and World Cup theatrics, it was an unheard of soccer team that held the world’s attention, trapped by water in a cave in northern Thailand. In contrast to the aforementioned antics in Europe, this was a rescue story that uplifted the human spirit at a much needed moment. At last some real heroes to admire and inspire, with an Aussie or two in there as a bonus for us.

Although the boys ordeal seemed somehow familiar to a closer story for some American news outlets.

Bruce Plante Cartoon: Trapped Kids

Ironically, the Thai boys came back into the sunlight just as America was announcing that while it had reunited 57 children with their families, they cannot trace where hundreds of other illegal immigrant parents have been sent.

The Monty Python writers should sue.

So Should Townsville Ratepayers

When the Daily Astonisher finally caught up with last week’s scoop, courtesy of Pat Coleman, that Townsville Enterprise was listed as having made a $6000 donation to the LNP, the paper unwittingly managed to give TEL CEO Patricia O’Callaghan just enough rope, and she obligingly hung herself.

Screen shot 2018-07-06 at 7.56.44 AM

She said that it was perfectly OK to pony up $6000 of membership fees for schmoozing access to Liberal National Party luminaries, because it got TEL to the table of the influencers. This was somewhat topsy turvy thinking to start with; it is reasonable to assume that representing an area where all levels of government are represented by Labor , it should the LNP dropping a few grand to TEL to look favourably on them and help formulate a winning wish list. But no, that sort of negotiation is clearly well beyond Little Patty, who again proved to be a CEO on trainer wheels.

But no sooner had Her Ineptness offered that defence, she then justified that it showed up in LNP records as a donation by telling a trusting Astonisher that although the money had been paid to attend a specific event, the LNP forms with boxes to be ticked offered no other option for the reason for payment other than donation. Ummm, let’s just have a look at that, shall we? This is the final page of the program advising on payment methods.

lnp page

Note the one that says Payment By Invoice? Anyone using this method … especially if an apolitical outfit like TEL … can request that an invoice make it clear what the money was for, and make it clear that it was not a donation and was not to appear on LNP records as such. There is an address available for a covering letter. It would appear that Ms O’Callaghan either didn’t think of this, or is outright fibbing, hoping no one will notice, or in fact, despite her CEO status, wasn’t aware of basic business common sense and propriety. The LNP are surely be aware that calling all monies received for their observer meeting can not be called ‘donations’? Or can they? Either way, Ms O’Callaghan gets the Steggles Award of the Month for the most egg on face.

Many business people were angry that TEL had forked over $6000 of their membership fees for pointless eating, drinking and talking (all for nought, too) in this manner, so what did the body representing them, the Townsville Chamber of Commerce think of it all?

Nothing, actually.

In reply to this very question put in an open letter from The Magpie, and with more than a little help from her board and management team, Chamber president Debbie Rains said it was none of the Chamber’s business. In a classic case of a camel being a horse designed by a committee, Ms Rains and team cobbled together a somewhat ingenuous long-winded reply couched in terms so beloved by those wanting to talk a lot but say very little. The short answer is the Chamber regards it not their place to care one way or the other.

Screen shot 2018-07-12 at 2.37.51 PM

This reply did make one wonder just what the Chamber actually does do, but they’re a member-funded organization that does not call on the public purse, so fair enough. But not an advisory body? Mayor Mullet and The Impaler may well remember that next time the Walker Street fright bats and the Chamber meet for one of their occasional polite high tea, scones and cream meetings on various issues like parking, bus hubs (remember that one?) and rates, matters on which the Chamber has certainly given advice to the council (generally not heeded). And it would seem the Chamber has also offered favourable advice on the desirability of a ticket tax to fund QAL’s yearned for airport expansion. Well, Ms Rains did in the Astonisher, but perhaps she was speaking as a mega-travel agent, which would be strange in itself.  Of course, one of their members’ interests is their rates, $750,000 worth of which goes to TEL, which we now learn $6000 of said same rates go to the LNP (and Little Pattie promises she will do the same for Labor). So it would seem that it would be in the interests of the Chamber to actually have an opinion about this other ‘apolitical’ organization called Townsville Enterprise.

But there ya go, gotta love the way things are done in Townsville. Especially if the following happens.

Clive Novichok Palmer Set To Takeover TEL?

'The road to give a fuck is that way.'

‘The road to give a fuck is that way.’

You may on the face of it think this is a bit of a stretch, ludicrous even, but is it? Here’s how it could come about.

The ‘Pie is quite fond of his pet conspiracy theory that this running battle of words between Mayor Mullet and Novichok Palmer is all a set-up, although we’re yet to find out the underlying agenda. But consider all the Clive stories of late: buying a Townsville penthouse (local bizoid Geoff Eales will be hoping Clive is a quiet upstairs neighbour), then reportedly eyeing off the top floor of Aquarius on the Strand as his new business HQ, re-starting some work at Yabulu – presumably the potentially lucrative extraction of cobalt from the tailing dams – and then his quixotic political plans for Herbert. These sagas have all raised  doubting eyebrows. But then on Wednesday, he dropped his $3million defamation claim against the mayor although he looked to have a very good case against her, and settled out of court (no details but rumoured to be Mayor Mullet’s original offer of a private apology and $50,000).

OK, so moving on to what might happen in the future. Clive re-starts his business, joins TEL and buys a seat on the board. What, you say? Buy? That surely can’t happen, who would he bribe to get that spot?

Answer: no one, it’s not only legal but written into Townsville Enterprise constitution.

16.7 Principal Partners

(a) All Principal Partners will be entitled to appoint a Director to the

Board. The Principal Partners Directors shall consist of all

persons, firms, corporations and other organisations which,

prior to an Annual General Meeting, have pledged to contribute

to the amount of not less than two hundred and fifty thousand

dollars ($250,000) or such other amount as the Board may

determine from time to time (the “Guaranteed Contribution of

16.8 Major Partners

(a) All Major Partners will be entitled to appoint a Director to the

Board. The Major Partners shall consist of all persons, firms,

corporations and other organisations which, prior to an Annual

General Meeting, have pledged to contribute to the Company

an amount of not less than one hundred thousand dollars

($100,000) or such other amount as the Board may determine

from time to time (the “Guaranteed Contribution of the Major


So Palmer trots in with what to him would be chump change, becomes a principal partner, and gets on the board. But wait, there’s more … Palmer has more than one company, so any of his other entities can becomes principal or major partners, and voila, guess who’s suddenly got real clout in the Dudley Do Nothings. For whatever that is worth. First order of business, a dinosaur statue in the car park ….

Clive Palmer - foreground we think.

… and some havoc inside amongst the staff. With TEL, Clive will have achieved his long cherished dream of having a replica of the Titantic.

Couldn’t happen, you say? Isn’t that what you said about Trump becoming President?

It Might Be Better If Did Things The Way They Do Things In Cairns

Cairns 08c

Our northern bête noir neighbours are powering along on several fronts, and its interesting to note they are doing it quite comfortably even after – or because of – ditching their TEL equivalent, Advance Cairns. That saves their ratepayers the $300,000 annual contribution to the Advance begging bowl.

But let’s look at a couple of others areas where we can make some odious comparisons. Building approvals continue to plummet in Townsville while heading skyward up north.

Screen shot 2018-07-14 at 12.25.39 PM

That is pretty stark, but the Astonisher continues it ‘emperor’s new clothes’ policy of running highly selective and qualified stories about housing. Like this one today, which is nothing but an undeclared free ad  …

eliot springs

…. That’s not journalism Christie, that advertising puff, and not even a ‘sponsored content’ logo so soften the insult … and puff it is indeed, just have a look at all the qualifying ‘could’ and ‘maybe’ words like ‘potential’, ‘is planned’ and ‘expected to’ etc. And the ‘snapped up’ opener is pure fantasy, The ‘Pie’s info is that Elliot Springs is, like the rest of Townsville, deep in the doldrums. Love the buyer’s comment that he and the missus ‘plan to have a family (because) there are plans for a park and a school just down the road …. he’d better lay off rooting until he’s in his early 60s if he wants his kids to go to that school.

And Townsville Has To Drop The Begging Bowl Mentality

Screen shot 2018-07-12 at 8.25.18 AM

During the week, the Astonisher carried a story headlined Airport Upgrade Call, essentially demanding government money to do what owners Queensland Airports Limited should be doing from their considerable monopolistic profits. OK, everyone in Townsville thinks an upgrade is a good idea, so no argument … but there most certainly is one about who should pay for it. The airport is a monopoly, and 100% of its users have NO CHOICE but to use it. Predictably, Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister the clueless Kate Jones (tourism? Wow, doin’ a great job, babe!) contributed the mysterious statement that she’d been told that the airport management ‘had the finances’ to fund the expansion. So why did she also say she thought a passenger tax was a better idea? She is a member of the Labor Party, isn’t she?

Cairns Airport

No such demeaning antics in Cairns, where the privately owned airport there has just announced a $55million make-over. This prompted The Magpie to send this email to Cairns Airport’s Corporate Affairs Manager Carly Hammersley.

Good morning, Carly,

Have a couple of queries regarding the expansion of the Cairns airport.  Is there any government money from any level involved in the $55million price tag, and is there any proposed ticket levy to fund the work? Also, who owns the airport?

One thing became clear almost instantly … Ms Hammersley will never get a job on the Townsville Council … she answered as follows within four minutes … yes, four … and at 8.15am !!!

Carly Hammersley



Hi Malcolm,

Short answer is no and no… entirely funded by the airport and retailers.

No ticket levy on passengers. The airport is owned by North Queensland Airports – we also own and operate Mackay Airport.



So if Cairns can do this, why can’t QAL and Townsville do likewise? Worth noting that QAL also owns the Gold Coast Airport, the sixth busiest in the country, so surely they can’t be short of a development dollar?

Then There Was This

tom gleeson cairns

The popular and very sharp, funny ABC TV show The Weekly aired a spoof segment and pisstake of the travel show Getaway called Go Away, and the latest one featured Cairns. Funnyman Tom Gleeson was less than complimentary about Cairns and the locals were mightily bronzed off … and here in Townsville, witless folks like the Townsville Bulletin put the segment on Facebook as a ‘gotcha’ dissing Cairns. That is an own goal by the paper, and demonstrates that Cairns and Townsville do have one thing in common … the famous NQ inferiority touchiness about the slightest criticism from ‘outsiders’ and a complete ignorance of what the joke was all about. The four or so minutes was in fact a very valuable travelogue that would’ve cost tens of thousands if commissioned by the city … and southern audiences understand it was a joke in the Gleeson tradition but still soaked up what were enticing images for those shivering through winter down south.

In a rare moment of being wrong, Shari Tagliabue suggested in today’s Astonisher that Townsville had dodged a bullet by Gleeson overflying us and doing ‘a job’ on Cairns. Gleeson and the Weekly wouldn’t even consider Townsville, Shazza. Wrong for the simple reason that unlike Cairns, Townsville is not a much loved, highly visited, well regulated tourist destination. Which is also truly tropical, and well promoted across Australia and internationally.

Will someone please let the Astonisher’s iditor in on the joke?

There are many more matters bubbling just below the surface of Townsville’s malaise. The Magpie will get around to them all in good time, as he continues to let the truth out, it will free us all. Eventually.


An Argentinian soccer player is an unlikely source for a  trenchant comment that fits Townsville to a tee. Jorge Valdano was talking about Argentina, but The ‘Pie thinks it can equally apply to Townsville.

“So many things are wrong with Argentina (read Townsville) we do not know what is wrong; so much is happening no one knows what is happening.”

A Sobering Thought When Thinking About The Next Federal Election

From Anthony Green, ABC’s election expert.

Elections Green

A Final Thought On Trump

migrant threat

And Let’s Leave Ya Laughing

The Royals have had a lot to put up with concerning pushy guests from overseas, but mostly they have managed to laugh it off … they certainly did during a special gala for Charlie’s birthday party a few years ago.


That’s it for this week, keep an eye on comments during the week, everybody can have a say and The ‘Pie has some stuff he didn’t have room for in the blog. And if you enjoy this weekly load of fruitcakery, drop off a brown paper bag of the folding stuff to help the Nest remain in business … best do it electronically so as not to arouse suspicion, 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.

Post a Comment

The Magpie encourages all to take part in the discussion and let their voice be heard.
In order to post a comment, you must provide a name. While you don't have to use your real name, it should be something unique so users can identify you in the discussion. Generic names like “Anonymous” will likely result in your comment being ignored.
Let the discussion begin!

Current ye@r *

Countdown until the next council election:

-1428Days -4 -40 -12