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The Magpie

Saturday, October 15th, 2016   |   138 comments

Inside The Belly Of The Beast: Townsville City Council In Chaos

 Seems remaining TCC staff have no one to answer to or be directed by.

And the wholesale sackings this week are just the start of a politically motivated purge that will poison the Walker Street well for at least the next two years. That’s Mayor Mullet’s declared time frame for further signalled sackings, on top of the 22 middle manager’s shown the door this week. It’s going to be a running investigation to ‘unpack’ all the implications of the Nous report, and The ‘Pie will start by only pecking around the edges with a few pertinent questions,.

But when it comes to order-of-importance in politics, after perception comes timing. And so you really have to take your hat of to Mayor Jenny Hill – or to someone – on that score..

Yesterday (Friday) was a bumper sell out day for the Bulletin … but would you believe, they even mange to bugger that up!!

And is Virgin Airlines quietly introducing new innovative deals for different sections of fliers? Maybe.

But first …

The Trumpet’s Last Blast?

Donald Trump reminds The ‘Pie of that old story about the bumbling, bombastic but brainless army commander of WW11, of whom it was said his troops would follow him anywhere … just out of curiosity.


So just when you think the paint is peeling off his thin veneer of sanity at last, Trump retreats to his own parallel universe and out-does Monty Python’s Black Knight – ‘C’mon, is that you’ve got?’ It is mesmerizing, as most nightmares are, but it would seem Donald the Douchebag has finally done his dash. But, as Bentley points out, not that you’d know it from him.


… and making the whole world grate (its teeth) again.

Indeed, there will be those like The ‘Pie who will professionally miss Trump, not the least being Bentley’s fellow ‘toonists’ around the world. Like Steve Bell in The Guardian.

Trump pussygrabbing

And as Trump escapes reality and digs his way towards the election, there could be an allegory in this …

In the shit

Keep digin’, pal.

The Media WTF Moment Of The Week

But the hysteria around this presidential campaign seems to have thrown the concentration … or at least the analytical faculties … of some media. This week’s WTF moment is this picture and caption in the on-line Guardian.

Screen shot 2016-10-15 at 11.30.09 AM

Well thanks for the explanation, Guardian caption writer, might have missed that otherwise. Whatever happened to a picture is worth etc

But For All That, This Is What Went Deservedly Viral This Week

It was funny and a welcome relief from the nastiness of the campaign, nastiness that made this all the funnier. Enjoy.

Is It Baby And The Bathwater Time Down At Walker Street?

It is one thing to unceremoniously, unprofessionally and callously turf a top performing council manager in Shane Fitzgerald, but entirely a different beast to sack 21 other managers by tactily branding them as useless deadweights.

Family tree? Adele Young

Council CEO Adele The Impaler Young

There can be little effective public outcry at the forced departure of several managers widely believed strong performers; their public profile is open to slur because their work is specialized so the public can’t judge and their ability to reply almost completely limited.

Shane Fitzgerald ... Manager - Perc Tucker Gallery

Shane Fitzgerald … former Manager – Perc Tucker Gallery

In Mr Fitzgerald’s case, it was laid bare as a mammoth wrong-headed decision. But no matter even if there is a re-think (there probably won’t be, The ‘Pie has it on good authority that Mayor Mullet and her imported Impaler have hunkered down to weather the storm) Mr Fitzgerald’s plight has demonstrated two things: nobody with any ability in their field will ever bother applying for the positions which will inevitably be advertised down the track at the TCC – you could be out the door on a political whim. And more deeply concerning is that Mr Fitzgerald’s knifing appears to be the first stabbing in the long-mooted battle to eventually outsource all the city’s libraries and art galleries. That in plain language is privatising public assets.

Another Important Question

Did the councillors get the full 105-page report and consider its implications before their ‘unanimous’ vote to implement its recommendations? And if so, did any of them bother to read it? Or as The ‘Pie suspect, did Mayor Mullet and CEO Adele the Impaler – knowing the political bombshell this ‘reorganisation’ would be – just give an ‘executive overview’ (a sort of ‘don’t you worry your pretty little heads about the detail’ type of summary) before the right arm aerobics class began for a unanimous acceptance vote? Was there any voice raising doubts? It seems there hasn’t even been a murmur or query? Did the Astonisher miss it ( I jest)? Or were councillors brow-beaten by a team leader argument that solidarity is good, a ‘do as I say’ dictum?

If that is true, then not one of these of councillors is either smart, responsible, or worth their overinflated salary.

And An Elephant in The Room

One has to wonder if the Dudley Do Nothings should be worried by all this. So far, there’s been no mention of Townsville Enterprise in all this, but if saving wasted money is all the vogue, you’d think they’d be soiling their small garments down as Wishing Well House.

Especially in light of two things.

First, the mayor’s laudable stance calling for the change of management for the new CBD stadium, which may not go down well with TEL Board chair Lozza Lancini (could sour his business relations with the state government and anyway, has managed to get his sock puppet Rabieh Krayhem appointed to the Stadiums Queensland Board). But then again, Anna Alphabet may like her close mate,  The Mullet’s idea, since Stadiums Queensland is a money sink-hole.

And secondly, TEL staff may ponder at their leisure this snippet in the Astonisher story today.

“The Bulletin understands the council may manage its overuse of consultants and labour hire by taking on more fulltime staff, providing more efficient service delivery and more transparent practices.’

‘Fulltime staff? Efficient service delivery? And Ye gads – ‘more transparent practices’? Words NEVER heard in the same sentence as ‘Townsville Enterprise’. You know, The ‘Pie has never heard a pronouncement from TEL CEO Patricia O’Callaghan that isn’t simply an endorsement and agreement with something that SOMEONE else has said or done. We’d lose nothing if TEL was just cut off from its thieving $750,000 annually and existing council staff took over their roles. Wouldn’t take much time of a junior council staffer.

Hey, better rename it Uh-Oh House..

Mirror Mirror On The Wall …

Jenny Hill

The timing of these sackings is politically impeccable, indeed a masterstroke of forward planning.

Which means that if Mayor Mullet is having a quiet personal gloat in the mirror asking who is the smartest of them all, the mirror would rightly reply, ‘your advisor who planned the timeline.’

This sacking report in one form or another has been around seemingly forever, so there was plenty of time for Madam Mullet to map out a medium term plan along these lines: win mayoral election (tick), ready the arm-aerobics councillors for implementation of report (tick), import a hatchet CEO (tick) – probably short term, just to do what the CIA call the wet work – then drop the whole thing on the public and the hapless victims just before the massive distraction of the much-anticipated 150th anniversary Air Show. (Tick) That way, the Astonisher can relegate the important stuff like our city’s governance to second or third priority behind the beads-and-blankets hoopla of the aeroplanes and fireworks. The icing on the cake is that the mayor will be able take credit and bask in the glow of an adoring and grateful Air Show public, while behind the scenes her CEO lights penny bungers up the bum of unwanted managers. And to top it off, the excellent extra (Tick) of releasing the full report on which the carnage is based at … 4.30 on a Friday afternoon.

Genius? Undoubtedly. But hang on. Mayor Mullet’s life-long political style has been confrontational, bullying when she get away with it, and generally about as subtle as a grenade in a bowl of porridge. She is Mooney Lite personified. So could she actually come up with this sort of patient and smart stratagem?

Short answer- not a chance.

This has got the fingerprints of a smart professional operator all over it, so one wonders who is the Mullet Whisperer who has set all this up. Now let me see … could it be? Nah, no, no way, hey, the doleful truth is we’ll probably never know.

The Curse Of The Numbers Strikes The Astonisher Again

Bulletin logo 2Even in its finest hour, this hapless paper manages to somehow fumble the ball.

It seems Friday’s Bulletin was a spectacular sell out, courtesy of an insert of the Air Show program (No, no, ‘Pie, it was their brilliant, unbiased reporting of the council shake-up. Ben Bogan). But The ‘Pie is reliably told that there are at least 5000 disgruntled buyers out there … because the paper got its sums wrong and didn’t pre-print enough programs to go with its paper’s Friday print run.

Some say that this just proves what The ‘Pie has been saying all these years … the Townsville Bulletin can’t give even a  … umm .. ‘flying’ fuck.

Finally, Every Virgin Has To Have A First Time

Was anybody else intrigued by this ad that popped up on the computer from Virgin this week?

Virgin kids economy

Are they suggesting this is a new kids’ policy? Or a sly comment on their chances of taking off … eventually.

But The ‘Pie wondered why not go a step further than first class etc, and do special deals for different passengers, especially VIPs. Well, seems Virgin is ahead of us there … they’ve just leased a new aircraft which will allow Clive Palmer AND Gina Rinehart to fly together exclusively for business.


Well, at least someone thought it was funny.

Screen shot 2016-10-10 at 2.49.56 PM

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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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