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The Magpie

Sunday, June 10th, 2018   |   118 comments

From Branch Stacking To Board Stacking: Why Tony Mooney Should Resign As Board Chairman Of The Townsville Hospital And Health Services.

But since the issue at hand involves internal Labor politics, ethics, avarice and personal mendacity, don’t hold your breath. The Magpie puts the case.

Taking a punt with Rupert: the odds are stacked against you big time in one of the silliest come-ons News Corpse has ever dreamed up …

And Townsville’s own cackling battery hen is at it again, Mayor Mullet signs some sort of agreement about something that may happen sometime, somewhere … or not. That’s as much as we’re being told about the fabled lithium battery factory proposed for Townsville.

Bentley is still on a break so The ‘Pie has dug up a nice little gallery of ‘toons from Trumptainia. And elsewhere.

But first

The Astonisher’s Schizophrenic Take This Week On The Townsville Property Market … And Other Idiocy.

A small and predictable round-up of the naughtiness/dopiness/sheer unintended entertainment of the Townsville Bulletin this week.

First, we give center stage to regular commenter Memory Man.

Here’s a  prime example of how our schizophrenic newspaper is damaging not just its own but the city’s credibility. Clearly the house prices story and the Maidment story are linked and begging questions of each other.

Here’s a trio of well-placed pieces, illustrating reality versus spin versus unsubstantiated puff.


Reality = property values over a cliff.

Spin = housing market on the rebound as Maidment expands. Those in the development game (a la Maidment) have little choice but to build a facade of impending explosion.

Puff = more “could be” nonsense from the Bullsheet. Residue value in Yabulu’s tailings dams have long been part of industry speculation. Efforts to develop a cost-effective recovery method (that is, a profitable one) have so far floundered. 

Why didn’t the Bully ask Glen Maidment what he thought of the “prices over a cliff” reality?

But the best proof of where we’re at icomes from the Bulletin itself. Specifca;;y, from its regular Saturday Real Estate lift out. This little rip-off money spinner for the Bulletin used to boast a proud regular 80 plus pages, and was matched by a bullying arrogance to go with it. But Real Estate has steadily been shrinking, and a couple of weeks ago was just 40 pages. And this weekend, it has shrunk to just 32 pages … and a distinct absence of the once popular home-maker ads like furniture and bedding places. No wonder News has put the paper on the block … and it may already have done a deal.

Then There’s This From Today

But honestly, how can iditor Jenna Cairney expect anyone over the age of ten to take the paper seriously when we get these sorts of hysterical (as in manic AND funny ridiculous) items in today’s Astonisher. First this screaming pants-wetting lie in the headline.

Thurston headline

Truth: Thurston was coming out of his hotel in Darwin when he saw there was a bit of a road bingle. He wasn’t involved and simply did the right thing to see if anyone needed help. They didn’t. And indeed, the paper apparently failed to notice that far from any drama, Thurston thought the whole thing a bit of laugh.

Thurston m:s

Thurston c:u

This is the sort of thing that continues to drive away what few readers are left, along with other pieces in the past week, including a tease about a multi-million dollar housing development, which turned out to be Bowen. Which, if only we had someone with some local knowledge was left to advise our blow-in iditor, is of zero interest to 99% of Townsville.

But Wait, There’s More

Now, you may find this hard to believe that our hard-hitting, campaigning newspaper printed this on page 3 today – a page traditionally deemed the most read and important in a newspaper, reserved for the main story of the day …

Screen shot 2018-06-09 at 11.47.58 PM

Now you expect this sort of flapdoodle – a Monopoly board with local place names instead of the traditional ones – would be good for a little bit of light-hearted fun and pisstake, but NO … it was taken seriously. Very seriously, To the extent that it prompted a typical a hectoring, lecturing iditorial …

Screen shot 2018-06-09 at 11.53.11 PM

… which contained this bumptious paragraph.


Don’t worry about your presumptuous ‘us’ being generous, ma’am, given our current governance and rorting, Cairns and Mackay probably would not want to be associated with Townsville for fear of tarring themselves with the same brush of stalled progress. Of which the Townsville Bulletin is part.

Little wonder they have to resort to giving the paper away … but even that doesn’t seem to to be working, if these hundreds of freebies at the Murray Sporting complex this weekend are any measure. Same as last weekend.

Screen shot 2018-06-10 at 1.13.41 AM

Truly sad,

Wanna Have A Bet? Want Good Odds? Has The Burdekin Advocate Got A Deal For You, Sucker …

Interesting little tidbit floated into the Nest this week from Frank Pete Jerkic, who runs the Stardust Drive In down in Ayr.

Wow money to burn if I advertise my Drive In in the local rag, last time they wanted $2k for a full page, we stopped advertising in the local paper when they put the price up from $43 to $96 overnight for their new MODE? and wanted to charge us $350 for the school holidays colouring in competition block which they gave us free from 1964 

But the Advocate was obviously missing Frank’s dollars and sent him this email which contained what they termed an ‘amazing offer’ … which it certainly was, but not the way they meant it..

Subject: Advertising Promotion: ‘Million Dollar Piggy’

Good Morning,

Would you like to be a part of the ‘Million Dollar Piggy’ campaign, where you have the chance to win $1,000,000 cash, simply by placing a full page advertisement in the participating newspapers from now until Sunday 1st July?

News Limited is making an amazing offer of a full page advert for just $440 per page (GST inc) with each full page advert you place, under the ‘Million Dollar Piggy’ promotion, earning you one free entry into the competition, getting you one step closer to the chance of winning $1,000,000.

One major finalist drawn from all participants in the competition will be chosen to play Million Dollar Piggy in Brisbane for a shot at a massive $1,000,000. They must correctly identify three piggy banks from 100 identical piggy banks to win. If they don’t, they’ll still walk away with $10,000  cash! Five regional winners will be drawn from all other participants from the regions and newspapers listed in the competition terms and conditions to win $1,000 each.

BOOK TODAY! Remember the more ads you run the better your chance to WIN! 



Advertising Consultant | Booking Clerk


So let’s see … one free entry for each $440 page ad you take out in any one of the five participating papers, the five satellite papers run by the Bulletin.  THEN you have you be lucky enough to be one of five winners from a lucky draw at each paper THEN you have to be even luckier and be the finalist picked by lucky draw from ALL participants, to go to Brisbane THEN where –The ‘Pie just loves this one –   you have to ‘correctly identify (i.e guess) THREE piggy banks from ONE HUNDRED piggy banks to win a million bucks.

This just a bee’s dick away from being an out and out scam, of the sort that, done by anybody else, would have the paper howling for blood. The ‘Pie is no mathematician, but even if you ignore the odds of actually getting to be the ultimate guesser, the odds on getting the million dollars by picking three out of a hundred is so astronomical as to be virtually zero chance. You’d have a better chance picking the trifecta in a hundred horse race … at least you’d have some form to go on … and you’d still lose.

Not only do they think readers are idiots, they also think their advertisers are , too.

Well, at least we know who the real piggy is in this matter.

At Least There’s Some Good Writing In The Bulletin

And its nearly always in the Letters to the editor.

Like this excellent offering in Tuesday’s Astonisher – and despite the very apt name, Mr Squelch is a real person, a counsellor who, appropriately enough considering his letter, specialises in depression and anxiety.

Squelch letter 

And Some Other Nonsense Mayor Mullet Should Stop


Love the looks on the faces of the onlookers, all seem to be thinking ‘Sucker’.

Most people of good will would wish for the battery project to succeed and be commercially sustainable. What we shouldn’t have to cop is a lack of transparency from the Mayor about what exactly is in the “high level” agreement signed with one project proponent. Like MOUs, condescending tripe like ‘high level’ mean nothing and like MOUs, unlikely to be legally enforceable. And if our mayor is going to gush like some latter day Boadicea that her council has ‘thrown all our resources to make sure this happens’, alarm bells should be going off big time.

Publish the agreement in full so the community knows what you’ve actually done, Madam Mayor.

Or is it another “deal” like the Adani airstrip (“still in negotiation”, so we’re now told), or a secret “exclusive” mandate for a developer connected to a Key Mullet backer for the Hilton project? Is the mayor our battery hen about to be be plucked? Again?

A Magpie Clarification.

The Magpie is in error (gasp! yes, it occasionally happens).

Shayne Sutton

Shayne Sutton

Last week, he made light of the remuneration for Labor appointment to the Townsville Hospital Board trough, Shayne Sutton, suggesting the money involved was of little import and Labor’s manipulations of her into a starting gate for a political gig was of more interest.

Well, that last part is true, but the money isn’t exactly piddling. Someone with better research skills than The ‘Pie (faint praise indeed) points out that Ms Sutton gets a handy part-time stipend of $44,503 as a member and an extra $4000 for each committee she chairs and an extra $3000 for each committee she is on.

And you can bet you’re hernia support she’ll be on two or three committees, so this Labor-sponsored blow-in picks up a handy $50K at least for the next year for doing absolutely bugger all (don’t kid yourself otherwise, it’s a dead set rort) until she gets a pre-selection nod. Understand she’s been sniffing around Hinchinbrook … good luck with that, me old chiseller, they go in for a different brand of electoral lunacy up that way which will see the Katter Party’s Nick Dametto tighten his grip on the seat unless he’s caught doing exotic things with small furry animals.

Actually, in Hinchinbrook, caught doing that may even increase his margin.

Mooney’s Mendacity – As Usual

 Tony Mooney

Chairman of the Townsville Hospital Board, Tony Mooney was quick to jump to Ms Sutton’s defence when others echoed The Magpie’s sentiments about Labor board stacking. It was the usual ‘lot of offer, wealth of experience’ line and suggested no local came up to scratch under the selection rules. Oh, really?

And that’s funny that Mooney is suddenly being finicky about rules. He has broken a major ethical one that, if he were a man of principle, he would resign as hospital chairman forthwith and failing to do so, should be removed for a clear breach of his position’s ethical obligations. (Yeah, a Labor government is going to do that, right?)

Mooney picks up $110,000 salary for his role as chairman, but for all that, he is a public servant, and as such, is required to avoid anything that would make his position appear political. So how does that sit with Townsville MP Scott Stewart’s public bum kissing when he told parliament three weeks ago:’ I also thank Tony Mooney who worked with me just about every day on my campaign.’

This raised more than one eyebrow around town, including some Mooney people who wished Srtewart had kept his thanks private.

Needless to say, among th many annoyed by information, Stewart’s statement greatly and justifiably aggrieved one Cassie Scott, the LNP candidate who came within a whisker of defeating Stewart at the last state election. She let fly on her blog:

The Hospital Chairman’s role is a trusted one in our community which should be, and has been, above politics. As the employer of the region’s largest public service work force, it is imperative that the organisation remains a-political.

As Chair of the Board, Tony Mooney should not have been anywhere near a Labor Party election campaign. Regardless of his well-known political orientation, he has directly breached the values he sets for the more than 6-thousand staff who work at the Townsville Hospital and Health Service.

There is a clear conflict of interest which, in my view, Tony Mooney has failed to manage to an acceptable standard. His actions have not been open, transparent or ethical.

Predictable perhaps, but Ms Scott makes a very valid point, which should apply across the political spectrum.

As things have developed in Townsville over the past few years, one is reminded of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. From that classic came the saying much quoted in Labor circles and corporate boardrooms ‘ All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.’

Given the shenanigans of Mooney, Mullet, Sutton, her hubby Stephen Beckett and The Impaler et al, another quote from the book would be more apt:

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again. But already it was impossible to say which was which.’

A Perceptive View On Our Dilemma In Townsville

Spotted this on one of The ‘Pie’s rare forays into Facebook land . Too good not to share. The ‘Pie does not know the author, whose name is Kirsten Heritage.

I’m quite certain that it’s narrow mindedness by local council who (sometimes wrongly) consider anyone outside of the local area to be vastly superior in their knowledge and experience. The Townsville community holds considerable untapped and unrecognised expertise. This is one of many circumstances where I’ve seen outsiders brought in at great cost to do work that could be done by locals with more specific understanding of the problems and solutions to fit our unique needs.


At Last …

It’s taken more than 16 mentions in court for over more than a year, but finally …


Obituaries Are For Fond Farewells Right? Well, Not Always.

This one was posted in a US newspaper … by the family!


Trouble Brewing Between The Gals Of The Night In The Shaky Isles

For services rendered, no doubt …

Screen shot 2018-06-09 at 11.25.07 PM

But it seems good news always makes someone jealous, especially in New Zealand.


You brazen hussy … what about me?

A Week In Trumpitania


Trump forgets the words to God Bless America, and ad libs his own.

Kevin Siers God Bless Trump

Trump channels his movie hero at the G7 meeting in Canada

Tom Janssen Darth Trump

Meanwhile that OTHER summit meeting surely couldn’t be derailed again, could it? Whew, no, it’s apparently on track

Paresh Nath summit Summit


That’s it this week, keep a line open for comments during the week, lots of good stuff in there. And brother (or sister) if you can spare a dime to help The Nest stay populated, the how to 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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