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The Magpie

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018   |   126 comments

Mullet The Magician: How Did Our Mayor Make $23million Just Disappear? Yes, Really!

The more it is delved into, the more the TCC Annual Report looks like a magical mystery tour, but by far the most intriguing aspect is what might be called the Abracadabra of the Disappearing Dollars … or more correctly, the Missing Millions. And speculation as to where that may lead could be Ipswich Redux.

But at least we can thank Mr Adani for ditching his airstrip rip-off agtreed by our mug mayor, saving ratepayers $18.5million, as reality slowly creeps up on our mayor and our paper … somehow, both Mayor Mullet and Bulletin Iditor Jenna The Jester have totally failed to mention that Adani now wants suppliers and contractors to provide much of the finance for a scaled down operation. It’s called ‘vendor finance’, Adani’s financial equivalent of ‘pull this finger’.

That crowing you hear in the background is that determined and dedicated (and lovable … almost) old chook Linda Ashton … hot off the press, a great win for her and her team of toilers … the Feds say they’ll pony up $200m for the stage 2 pipeline.

A phrase The Magpie has never much cared for is two birds with one stone, but has he got the perfect solution for the ineffectiveness of our Cleveland Youth Detention Centre … it is so simple, it will completely counter Townsville’s  poor image of late …

The ‘Pie cries crocodile tears over the Bulletin’s big miss of the week, but gives the paper a big tick for an intentionally clever headline …


But first …

Just In …

A great victory for Linda Ashton and her Water For Townsville Group … her post says it all.


Now we can say water security is assured for the city … unless Mayor Mullet has her eye on another airstrip or stadium. Linda would be the first to acknowledge her hardworking team of specialists, and make no mistake, if it wasn’t for them and her coordinating leadership, this pivotal and crucial funding wouldn’t have happened … but just watch our mayor, our paper and Townsville Enterprise take the credit. WFTAG probably won’t get a look-in.

Halloween: A Very Ho-Hum Event In Townsville

Halloween has come and gone, but the big question remains … how could you tell around here? Trick or treat is basically what you get when door-knocked during an election campaign, or when you read the Astonisher,  no matter which, you’ll get treated to a trick somewhere down the line.

Not everybody gets in the spirit of things on this imported American marketing exercise … Bentley has put it in perspective with some of the locals refusing to get out of their everyday clothes.


Oh, well, it could be worse.


But The Spookiest Thing In Townsville Right Now Is The Council’s Annual Report

Screen Shot 2018-10-27 at 8.50.26 pmSure ‘the devil is in the detail’ is a cliche, but oh so true when it comes to keeping a check on this council, it’s CEO and our mayor. The credo of the TCC’s famous ‘culture of secrecy’ as it has been officially described, is clearly baffle ‘em with bullshit and over-use obscure creative accounting terms that look good … and hide something.

Businessman Philip Batty

Businessman Philip Batty

Fortunately for us, just the man with the patience and skill to delve into this financial shadowland in regular reader and businessman Phillip Batty. And he has been truly startled by a couple of things he has uncovered.

Here is what he has to say:

Have a look at pages 70-72 of the annual report.


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The councils equity in the Breakwater Island Trust in July 2017 was $23,818,000

In July 2018 this equity is ZERO, nada, zilch, bugger all.

In other words this Beneficial Enterprise has taken a $23 million dollar hit, remind you of Ipswich at all? Slipped though as an adjustment to equity and NOT included in the profit/loss. (The full report is here.)

I think this is as big as it seems particularly if you put in light of two comparatives.

1.                     Ipswich City Council apparently lost $80m in their “Beneficial Enterprise” which included a write down of asset value to the tune of 10’s of millions.

2.                     TCC were going to pour $18.5m into an airstrip for Adani for which we would not own anything at the end of it.

On this particular issue the value of the TCC investment into the  Townsville Breakwater Entertainment Centre Joint Venture was as follows:- (this is effectively on the balance sheet of TCC as an asset)

2009       $28,155,000

2010       $27,599,000

2011       $29,342,000

2012       $28,901,000

2013       $25,625,000

2014       $23,905,000

2015       $21,749,000

2016       $22,388,000

2017       $23,818,000

2018       ZERO

 To quote from the report “Council has impaired its net investment in the joint venture to nil at 30 June 2018.

So we “the ratepayers” had an investment in an entity worth 10’s of millions which now appears to have no value.

“We” have managed to lose $23,818,000 this year in this investment managed by TCC.’

Mr Batty has apparently come across some pretty serious stuff which may well attract attention from outside town … although you can bet there’s some fancy-pants double talk on the way to suggest all is not what it seems, that it’s all tickety boo and don’t you worry your pretty little heads about that..

But until that comes, The ‘Pie is thinking about the reasons for writing the value of the TEC to Zero.  Could it be that someone may get to buy this venue/asset from council in the next 0-24 months for next to nothing as it sits on the councils books now at zero. One could speculate as to who this purchaser may be too if one wanted to, like who would have a VERY vested interest in acquiring this desirable property? Right next door to the casino? Hmmm, let’s think now …

But Mr Batty Isn’t Finished Yet …

It would seem that yet another brilliant decision that has cost us dearly, one could say disastrously, along with implementing the Nous Report sackings and massive redundancy bill (second only to palmer’s closure of Yabulu in ripping us apart), then the council re-hiring some of the sacked people at much more expensive contract rates, the mayor’s Adani airstrip back-flip after it was clear this was an electoral liability (and on which Adani has now joined the gymnastics and ruled out as ‘not necessary at this time’), the stage 2 water security back-flip, the battery cum unicorn factory which is increasingly looking like a con to support a share price, and of course, the mayoral decision to call for a boycott on Qantas – that went well didn’t it, dearie, without a murmur from you, Ms Cairney? But how about this one, as our eagle-eyed examiner continues:

‘The Townsville Entertainment Centre is not the only disappearing act of public money down the plug hole. The Enterprise Centre, which I cannot find reference to what this is had its value impaired by $2,258,225

It would seem TCC bought a software package called Tech 1 which now appears to be not fit for purpose and a replacement is being sought. As a result, TCC impaired the value of this asset to reflect that it has to be replaced which incurred a write down impairment of $3,876,933!!!

Yet as recently as last year we were providing testimonials to Technology One for their system … and now we are dumping it.

Great decisions all round I would say.”

Indeed, Mr Batty, indeed. And nowhere that The Magpie can see is that new development corporation … AE2 Pty Ltd is it? … mentioned at all. And that needs to be VERY CLOSELY monitored.

But never fear, this will be all done over in greater details and indignation at the Daily Astonisher. go get ‘em, Jenna, give ‘em hel … oh, sorry what’s that, you’re on your tea break? And your chief reporter isn’t available, he’s  heard via Facebook that a bachelorette is in town,  and she needs to be advised of tyre puncture hots spots in the suburbs. Oh sorry, well, when you get a spare moment then.

But While We Have Your Attention, Dearie

The ‘Pie remains thankless but is flattered that you continue to act on his news tips, albeit with what seems like a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Like the glossing over of the reef rescue of four blokes dumped into shark-infested waters when their boat sank under them (The ‘Pie ain’t finished with that one yet, either, stay tuned). And this week, the motto seems to have been ‘in a while, crocodile’. As reported in comments on last Monday – and by you about 3 days larer;

Another Bird

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Submitted on 2018/10/29 at 5:26 pm

Over the past few days there have been continual sightings of a large croc in Ross Creek, in front of the Metropole Hotel, where fishermen and kids often fish on the water’s edge and people swim their dogs.
The Port was advised and warning signs (see pic below) have been placed in the vicinity.
But not a word in the Bully!


If someone had been nibbled, you’d look a right old Charlie, wouldn’t you, missy? Even sillier than you do with your constant peddling of false hope in the childish eagerness to tell people what they’d like to hear rather what it is a responsible paper’s job is to tell them facts. The Magpie was so frustrated with this during the week, he is ashamed to say that he had to resort to heavy sarcasm.

The Magpie

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Submitted on 2018/11/01 at 9:27 pm

Those Guardian swine!!!
They have the hide to challenge not just the management of Adani over financial matters – what would those knobthrottlers know, bunch of latte swilling inner city Green snowflakes – but they also actually challenge the balanced, well argued and compelling evidence of such an indisputable source as the Jenna The Jester Cairney, iditor of that journal of absolute probity, the Townsville Bulletin. Today, Ms Cairney, may God preserve her amongst us at his leisure – wrote:

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Her sainted view was amply supported by the front page, which suggested something may be happening somewhere about something, probably money.

NCTB_1_2018_11_01_thumb_bigAND ON THE VERY SAME DAY, these metrosexual mongrels at the Guardian have the unmitigated gall to publish this utterly fabricated rubbish.

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The odious level of the garbage in this report is spelled out in two outrageous quotes:
1.The report said high coal prices were not the result of a strong and growing industry. “In fact, they can be seen as an indication of just the opposite, heralding growing concerns over the industry’s medium to long-term viability.”

2. Renewables were now about half the cost of imported coal in India.

Bloody commies, they’ve really got it in for airstrip construction workers. Grrrr …

And just to ram the suppository of truth in a little more firmly, Jenna, we have this, this week,  from the Adani shysters ….

But The Guardian Refuses o Heed The Wisdom Of Jenna Cairney

… and this, just in from the Guardian again, with a couple of alarming but succinct quotes, like suppliers and contractors have been asked to provide “vendor finance” for a period of more than two years, effectively meaning payments for services or equipment for Carmichael would be deferred … that meant governments, suppliers and contractors risked non-payment if the project fell over’.

And a great summation to cap it all off:

‘Tim Buckley, the director of energy finance studies at the Institute for EnergyEconomics and Financial Analysis, said Adani’s Australian mining, rail and port operations were “a rolling series of financial shell games”.

Let The Magpie put this as simply as possible, Ms Cairney and Mayor Hill. Either you haven’t got a fucking clue, or if you have, you should be ashamed at peddling damaging false hope while pretending to be a responsible civic leaders.

OH, Sorry Sorry Sorry, The ‘Pie Has Made You Cry …

… so let him cheer you up with saying something nice about the paper … hmm, let me think … hang on, be there is a sec, UMMM …AH. Right, here we are. Clever and funny headline and story summary … we think it was intentional.

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And to cheer you up, Mayor Mullet, The Minstrel has penned a song just for you and your councillors, to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody. Here’s how it was announced in comments on Friday.


The ‘Pie

Hello Magpie,

Its been a while. I’ve been off touring the world with my orchestra, The Cynical Senile Sextet and working on my upcoming album “The Minstrel Sings! – Dirges, Ditties and Dance Tunes” (out by Christmas on K-Tel Records and Cassettes).

Keeping an eye on my old stomping ground from afar, I have penned a little operatic rock symphony inspired by the recent release of the Queen/Freddie Mercury bio-pic.

With apologies to Freddie et al, here is Townsvillian Rhapsody. I’d suggest readers read this while playing the original along to get the phrasing and tempo of this masterpiece (Queen’s not mine.) 
Its long but hey, it is a rock opera (in Townsville’s case a tragedy).

The Minstrel.

Townsvillian Rhapsody
Is this the real life?
It must be fantasy.
Won in a landslide
No escape from this travesty.
Open your eyes
Look through all the lies and seeeeee.
She’s just a poor girl, no political destiny.
Because her ideas come, ideas go
Where they come from – no one knows.
Any way the party shows
Is all that really matters
To she.
To she…

(little piano bit – imagine Jane Arlett at the Steinway)
Just hatched a plan
Put a figure at its head
Independent so she said.
The spin had just begun
Their contempt for us just blows us all away.
Laborrrrrrrr Ooooh ooooh
The water crisis lie!
If they get back again next time – its sorrow
They’ll carry on, it is wrong.
It’s like we don’t really matter.

Too late. Their time has come
Pala’ whispering down the line
Midget screaming all the time.
Come on everybody – they’ve got to go
Gotta put them up to face electoral truth.

Laborrrrr ooooh ooooh (any way the spin blows)
They’re full of party lies
Team Hill was never inde-pen-dent at all.
(insert raunchy guitar solo here – maybe Cool Cat Kurt the Fireman)

I see a little silhouetto of a man
Mooney Who? Mooney Who?
The political fandango!
Thunderbolts and lightning
Adele is very frightening
Molachino Molachino?
Molachino Molachino?
Molachino?……where’d he go? (where did he go oh oh oh?)
He’s just a poor tool, nobody knows him.
He’s just a poor fool looking for identity
Spare us his crap and his overblown CV.
Easy come easy go, Jacob had to blow.
Impaler! NO she really runs the show.
(Let her go!)
Impaler! Will she ever go? (Let her go!) (repeat)
Never never never. Let her go oh oh oh ooooh. No No No No No No No
Oh, Vereeena oh Vereena, oh Vereena you’re not slow..
The party and the unions have a safe seat
put aside for thee
for theeeeeeee….
For theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
(big guitar bit – Big Les Walker in a silver jumpsuit on lead guitar)

So they think they can fool us and spit in our eye?
So they think they can bullshit, hide detail and lie?
Oooooh Baby. Can’t do this to us baby.
You’ll be thrown out
And this town might finally breath ahhhh!!
(musical crescendo – Russ Cook cutting sick on the drums)..

Oooh Oooh yeah. Oooh yeah.
But then
nothing really matters.
The plebs all love Jen-nee
Nothing really matters
Cause they just got
two dump days
For free..

(GONG – Mad F’n Margie).

Like The ‘Pie said, the bloke’s a friggin’ genius. We are all indebted to you, Minstrel.

When Opportunity Knocks …

A legal chum we shall call the Stealth Bomber (he likes to keep off the radar) is greatly concerned with the situation at the Cleveland Detention Centre, and its ineffectiveness as a deterrent to those vicious little snots who are dragging this town’s reputation down almost as much as our mayor.

He made a merry jest over lunch that got the old bird cogitating, and The ‘Pie has now come up with a solution of complete simplicity and a definite win-win. You may have noted that The Magpie believes no softly softly for these caught monkeys (white and black, settle down) and that they should do their stretch in a distant place, to remove them from the influence of friends and family, whose attitude probably got them into chokey in the first place.

So here it is … close Cleveland down and convert it into a childrens’ hospital and rehab centre. Then the great swap … we bring the Nauru detainee kids to Cleveland for some much needed tender loving care, and we sent the little local arsesoles to Nauru to serve their time. No visitors to distract them, no media to rush out if they decide to climb on roofs, set fires and wreck the joint … and the same media won’t be there to hear tales of hand-wringing woe about the summary justice meted out to keep them in line.

The cost in airfares would be easily off-set by the drop in crime. And Townsville would be seen as the goody two-shoes city of the north, so ably assisting immigrant kids who want to be good citizens, if given the chance. 

And it would be a real deterrent to our lawless, destructive and dangerous youth … unless Tony Abbott is actually right, and Nauru is a tropical paradise on earth. Who knows, the little bastards might want to stay there. Cathy Wilcox nailed it.


But we all know the odds of Wingnut being right.

So let’s do it.

And Finally, It’s Almost A Tradition By Now. Loved And Hated by Equal Numbers Of Readers … This Week In Trumpistan.

Three main issues pre-occupied ‘toonists across the world during the week, the ‘caravan of potential immigrants’ from South America marching towards the Mexico-US border and Trump’s deployment of 5200 troops to meet them with loaded weapons, getting people out to vote in the crucial mid-terms later this month, and the widespread discontent with the Megalomaniac In Chief’s role in inciting violence.

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That’s it for this week, folks, sitting on a couple of great simmering stories for the next couple of blogs, but in the meantime, make sure to keep checking comments during the, you’ll likely hear stuff you won’t get from the Bulletin or the TV kiddies. And doing all this is a delightful torture each week, so a helping hand with blog expenses – yes, there are a few – will help keep the Magpie swooping.

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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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