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The Magpie

Sunday, September 24th, 2017   |   147 comments

Is The Reputation Of Another Of Townsville’s Gilded Few Starting To Unravel?

Did JCU’s Vice-Chacellor Sandra Harding turn a blind eye to a worsening sexual culture at the uni? Or did she just not know? Either way, it’s not what you would expect from a million-dollar-a-year supremo of academe.

In a week when the AFL ruffled feathers promoting the Same Sex Marriage Yes vote, one Aussie Rules caller makes the boo-boo of the year.

And it’s only a question, but has Mayor Mullet staked a Townsville recovery on a dodgy share market player? Has she been played herself?  Certainly worth asking, which The Magpie does.

And The Astonisher’s Damien Tomlinson becomes ironyman of the moment with a truly goofy bit of juvenilia…

But first .,..

The Curse of The Aussie Rules Commentator … Someone Needs To Kick A Behind

The award for unfortunate timing of the week must go to the Aussie Rules commentator last night in Adelaide. He got all excited during a passage of play that was cleverly ended with some big lummox punching the ball out of bounds. Our man was in raptures, and told his national TV audience ‘He’s one of the best fisters in the game.’

The ‘Pie will take his word for it, but it is a term he’d never heard in that context before, and in a week when the AFL promoted a yes vote for gay marriage, we’re not likely to hear it used again. (If you don’t know what ‘fisting’ means, you probably don’t want to, and if you do know, you probably wish you didn’t.)

There has not be any openly gay AFL player willing to come out – well, not during their playing days – in the history of the game.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan

But the AFL boss Gillon Mclachlan made it sound like a crowded closet. He insists the ‘yes’ issue is important for ‘many’ players and ‘many’ of his staff. Not sure where that leaves us, and tends to lend some weight to the argument questioning McLachlan’s political motives. Ironically, several of the female players in the newly created women’s game are loudly and proudly gay. We cannot be far away from seeing ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ playing together, or better still, against each other. Talk about tears before bedtime.

Bentley has always been bemused with all the kicking of behinds followed by patting of same, the group hugs that stop just short of the traditional daisy chain and those sideline rub downs over which the TV cameras lovingly linger. But Benters wonders if things will now progress further in the après-score celebrations, now the AFL is embracing th affirmative.

AFLSo will we soon be seeing this T-shirts and posters?straught pride

IAnyway, it all be over soon, and we can turn our attention to the lesser things in like, like the impending nuclear war.

A Digression:

That unfortunate ‘fisting’ comment almost but not quite topped the famous Sandy Roberts moment during a grand final half time interview many years ago. Joanne Dick, the 1994 Miss Australia, had been invited to have a chat, but Sandy introduced her as ‘Joanne Cock’. He immediately realized his mistake, and tried to gloss over it by asking ‘Sorry, you must get cock a lot.’

The subsequent commentary for the rest of the afternoon featured muffled microphones and barely disguised guffaws in the background.

She Didn’t Know? Really?

Sandra Harding JCU Vice-Chancellor

JCU VC Sandra Harding

Seems another local leadership figure is getting somewhat tarnished. Here’s a  question or two for JCU Vice-Chancellor Sandra Harding.

Given that the grubby and often unlawful sexual carrying on at James Cook University, revealed in a special independent report this week,  appears to have been well entrenched, long before a rape case involving a staff member prompted the external and subsequently damning review, are you saying, Ms Harding, you really didn’t know anything was amiss? Nothing at all, either as V-C, or perhaps more importantly, as a woman? And if not not, why not? Tell us you became blind-sided and allowed this culture to grow.

Unfortunately, Ms Harding, rightly or wrongly, you have form in public perception as someone who tries to side step confrontation on the big issues. You’d rather be off ski-ing in the US when staff are in uproar over the imbalance in staff earnings, strike action is on the table and massive disruption is threatened. And a persistent refusal to admit that the Cairns campus is a money sink hole, which has been poorly conceived, vastly over-capitalized, is located in an unattractive, remote location from the city. and is therefore failing to attract the student numbers you predicted.

And now this. Not a single hint that you had a clue of anything amiss regarding the sexual life of the university?

The Magpie finds that hard to believe, quite frankly, and he, along with many others, would like to know exactly what it is you do to earn your million bucks a year as a corporate hot shot of Australia academia. Even what some see as your stock standard, luke warm lack of real outrage at a truly outrageous situation on your watch has people wondering just what the hell you’re up to. Apart from coining it and stacking it away between rubbing shoulders with the international hoi polloi.

But This Goes Deeper Than Just A Uni Scandal

Well, The ‘Pie guesses that’s your business, Ms Harding, but what he sees as his business is your position on the TEL board.

We can now stack up your less than stellar track record as a business and academic administrator, next to the TEL chairman, Kevin Gill, who runs a guaranteed-income monopoly at the airport and wants to pickpocket passengers for his company’s benefit, , a mayor who is a proven fiscal illiterate and self-seeking political harridan, and that Victory bloke who runs a ferry service that brisbane blesses with monopoly status.

With a team like that guiding the future prosperity of this city and region, the average Townsvillean knows just how so many staff and students feel about being betrayed. The Gilded Few are in sore need of some Brasso.

Fancy A Dabble In The Stock Market? If You’re A Townsville Ratepayer, You Are, Whether You Want To Or Not.

Last week. The ‘Pie rattled on about the dangers of a TCC Development Corporation, and pointed to the corruption unveiled the previous week in Ipswich. Now we have he Gold Coast Council clearly rorting the spirit if not the letter of the law over development applications. The unwholesome looking mayor Tom Tate was a developer before taking the possum-fur trimmed scarlet robes of office, and there were – indeed are – those who believe the fox is now well and truly in the hen house. Tate’s deputy is up to her ears in unethical albeit NOT unlawful stuff, clearly in it for herself and her campaign donors, and not the community.

Yes Jenny

So what about Townsville and our opaque mayor? And our compliant and none-too-bright councillors? Indeed, let’s include Adele The Impaler Young in there along with that fashion conscious hole in the air Li’l Patty O’Callaghan. Messagebank Walker shouldn’t be left out, either.

Left out of what you ask? The ‘what’ is the distinct possibility – The Magpie emphasizes ‘POSSIBILITY’ – of our own little corruption scandal ; it could even take the form of that big capitalist no-no ‘insider trading’.

And it involves the proposed lithium battery plant , to be sited on gifted council land at Woodstock, land that was or will be  exchanged for an undisclosed equity in this project.

First port of call for all those old worry warts like The Magpie is the Australian Stock Exchange, and a less than stellar performing speculative stock called Magnis Resources. Magnis has a mine in Tanzania producing graphite, the expensive mineral vital to the manufacture of lithium batteries. Magnis is central to the Townsville plans, as it will supply the factory here. And battery factory proponent, ex-Macquarie bank boss Bill Moss, is closely tied up with Magnis and the fortunes of its mine. It is seeking to raise money on the ASX, and things have to look rosy to attract investors. And what could be rosier than  a factory in north Queensland, built on land supplied gratis by the local council.

Magnis stock

This YTD chart shows Magnis Resources on a bit of a slide, and that probably has something to do with the as yet unresolved uncertainty over the regulations and tax status of its Tanzanian graphite deposit project. The Chinese, the world’s biggest producers of lithium batteries, have poked their nose into local Tanzanian politics on the issue, and they are hardly likely to be seeking to influence changes that would favour a rival start-up in Australia. But if the Tanzanian pollies don’t bend to the bamboo stick … and Bill Moss might know something we don’t at this stage … Magnis stock is likely to skyrocket. In the meantime, talking it up is the standard modus operandi for this type of share.

At this time, Magnis Resources is a small cap speculative stock, so who cares, right? Well, we in Townsville should care, that’s who, because it’s the basis of Walker Street’s economic revival plan … share advisors Bell Potter described the stock as ‘speculative’ even BEFORE the sudden upheaval in Tanzanian politics.

The conclusion is inescapable … Jenny Hill have gambled on a speculative project as Townsville’s economic saviour. Whether or not it comes to fruition is neither here nor there – you just don’t go punting with ratepayer money or assets on white shoe brigade ventures. But guess what? Such a manoeuvre would suit a council development corporation down to the ground, because there are so many legal screens it could raise against transparency – like that old chestnut ‘commercial in confidence’. So we’d never know what’s going on with our money and well being. Like they didn’t in Ipswich.

Strangely, for folk so keen to have their own voices heard, Mullet and her mute crew of councillors have been totally silent on Magnis, offering ratepayers no information on what what Council knows about Magnis, what the land deal involves, what risks are we being exposed to?

Lack of transparency is the crux of the problems now emerging in Ipswich, which has now ditched all three of its ‘development’ corporations.

Is Townsville walking the same path, whether it be through ignorance, political posturing or straight-out mendacity?

There Is An Easy First Step In Shooting Down Such Speculation

 For stock market players, ‘getting in on the ground floor’ is the holy grail of buy-sell investors. And little known information about a particular share is pure gold.

Jenny Hill and hubby Shane have by all reports been enthusiastic share investors over the years – although the mayor’s register of interests lists only some Telstra shares in her name (never mind if they tank further, dearie, you’ve still got the home in Douglas, the inherited home in Malta, and the four investment properties in Mt Louisa, Mundingburra, South Townsville and Kirwan – no wonder you want to reduce rates!).

For some stock market punters, nothing is more attractive than a low priced share that could suddenly take-off, making big bucks. And a little insider knowledge always helps in this area.

The ‘Pie singles out the mayor because she is the an elected official, and can have great influence on this council’s decision-making, but here are three simple questions that should be answered by sworn affidavit not only by her but also TCC CEO Adele Young, her gofer, Gold Coast discard Dickie Holliday, Messagebank Walker, TEL’s Patricia O’Callaghan and all councillors. And anyone else who have discussions with Bill Moss and his gofers during their Townsville visits.

  1. Do any of you own Magnis resources shares?
  2. How many?
  3. And when were they purchased?

A scoffing laugh and airy wave of the hand in dismissal ain’t enough now, considering Ipswich and The Gold Coast.

And besides, if The ‘Pie is way off the mark – and he hopes he is – what’s the harm in sharing your pristine honesty with the people you represent?

Polite Inquiry For Astonisher Iditor Ben Bogan English

Why the fuck weren’t you asking these questions? It’s your bloody job, mate.

Or did you, as the water boy for the Gilded Few, get a bit of a heads up and grab a few shares yourself on the off-chance?

Tip: you’d do better buying Qantas shares if you want to invest in a well-run company with a strong future.

Wither Pinocchio? 

lachlan heywood

Interesting to see that Bogan’s predecessor Lachlan ‘Pinochhio’ Heyward has been ousted as editor of the Courier Mail, the job now taken by Sam Weir of the Adelaide Advertiser. What is even more interesting is that the Australian’s report, which gave scant details regarding the departure, said that Heywood ‘was leaving News Ltd Australia’. Strange because News usually gushes on about its staff comings and goings,

That last word ‘Australia’ might possibly point to the Heywood trajectory, because Pinocchio was looked upon favourably by The Man Himself Rupert Murdoch, who visited Townsville while Heywood was editor, and Heywood visited Rupert on a subsequent trip to New York. And Murdoch doesn’t just shoot the breeze.

So leaving News AUSTRALIA might be a clue that our boy is going international. Heywood is a genial and well liked bloke who is skilled in the dark arts of News Ltd editing, so whatever his future, it will be of interest to his many friends –and admiring critics heh heh heh – here in Townsville.

Rumour Du Jour

Seems there was a business breakfast o local business people to discuss what to do about the current leadership kakocracy (see last week’s blog). Wonder if they canvassed the strong suggestions circulating in local political circles that The Mullet may face one or even more challenges from within her own team. Labor is fed up with her, as she flits from faction to faction, looking for political love but is spurned at every turn.

Dolan Hayes is known to look kindly on Anne-Marie Greaney, but a Magpie mate who knows her well says that while she is a competent councilor (really?) ‘she is no leader’. So if she has a shot, she would only be there as a stalking horse for some backroom manipulator.

Does that sound a tad far fetched?

Well, it worked at TEL when Patrricia O’Callaghan was cynically shoe-horned into the top job.

Stay posted, this has only just started.

Taking It To The Max

Oh dear, looks like The ‘Pie has no choice but to poke one of the local bears again. You see, it has come to The  ‘Pie’s attention that that doer of good charity deeds, inveterate gossip and social dinosaur Max Tomlinson delights in nothing more than sitting among his regular coffee klatsch of yesterday’s men on The Strand and constantly bag this old bird. He is particularly fond of saying how much the Bulletin staff hate The Magpie. That is music to the old bird’s ears, Maxie, wouldn’t be doin’ his job if it was any other way.

So, mate, knowing you are a Poppa Bear ever protective of your cubs, the following is written at the risk of you popping yet another of those purple veins that variegate those rosy, booze bloom cheeks, old fella.

Clearly, This Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree

It could be argued that a penchant for inane, unbalanced and highly selective bombast runs in the Tomlinson family veins. This week, Max used the letters page to highlight his 1950s mindset regarding both aborigines and the English language, with a selective interpretation of an indigenous leader’s general call for a fair go. This is the bloke who lost his job with Senator Ian Macdonald because of an anti-feminist rant in another letter to the ed.

Damien Tomlinson

And on Wednesday, it was the turn of Goofy Junior aka Damien Tomlinson to display the family trait at its shimmering best in Wednesday’s Astonisher, in which he penned a toe-curlingly embarrassing bit of twaddle headlined Spirit Of The North.

 Tomlinson close

The North Queensland jingoism, a heady mix of invented myth, morality and schoolboy sentiment was to be expected, but the thigh slapper was Damo’s  blithe obliviousness of irony in the strap above the headline, which read ‘But there is no purer motivator, especially for a North Queenslander, than southerners telling us what we can and can’t do.’

Oh, really?

Well, being the honest and balanced journo you purport to be, Damien, one trusts you will extend this attitude across the board, won’t you? So now, one can eagerly await your report on kicking open the iditor’s door, to tell how fed up you are with his interfering in our affairs up here, and to bugger off from whence he came. (Sydney)

You might even do a retrospective chest thumping piece, pointing to the heinous influence of Bulletin editors on Townsville over the last couple of decades, John Affleck, Mick Carroll, workplace bully Peter’Typo’ Gleeson and Lachlan ‘Pinocchio’ Heywood. Southern capetbaggers one and all, and who, without exception committed the sin of telling Townsville how it should be run. The rotters!!! Sic ‘em, Damo. (Sorry, John and Mick, not you.)

Perhaps you could get on a roll, and have something to say about the Sydney-based Pure Projects mob and the superannuated yesterday’s man of the advertising world, Don Morris. The Transforming Townsville document is an lazy embarrassment of a report, which says absolutely nothing and is so sloppy it could’ve been sub-edited by News (maybe it was).

But don’t stop there. Tell that bunch of Gold Coast-based bastards Queensland Airports Ltd to go shove their thieving passenger tax they’re trying to impose on us simply to line their own pockets.

And don’t overlook all those imported bureaucrats who have displaced long term locals at the councils. Oh, sorry, hadn’t you heard about the gutting of the council staff, more than 400 gone? Well that ‘s understandable, it rated barely a mention in your Voice of the North community opinion leader revealer of exclusives and flogger of earphones, the dear old Townsville Bulletin.

The Janus Two Faced BUMM Chalice

The Janus Two Faced BUMM Chalice

Damo, you get the Janus Two-Faced BUMM (Barefaced Unmitigated Mendacity) Chalice of the Month.

NB In beaking around for this segment, The ‘Pie was deeply distressed to learn that he is – and apparently has been for some time – blocked from reading your tweets. The Magpie is now seeking counselling.


Finally …

The ‘Pie has always resisted the temptation to make this blog a sort of personal Facebook, but have a look what he came across on the 15th fairway at Rowes Bay during the week.

turtle 1 Turtle 2Just one of the small joys of this wonderful course – but in The Magpie’s case. golf is rarely one of them.


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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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