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The Magpie

Sunday, October 21st, 2018   |   115 comments

She’s Back … And She’s Running … But Have Ratepayers Been Hoodwinked Into Funding Mayor Mullet’s Re-election Campaign?

It’s been said here before, but worth another gallop: when you’re being run out of town, get in front of the mob and look like you’re leading a parade. Arrogance and stupidity breed on each other, and if Jenny Hill thinks she fooling us with what appears a blatant undeniable misuse of public funds, the only person she’s really fooling is herself. The ‘Pie’s claim is based on  a timely photograph.

Also, a new low, even for the Astonisher – hundreds are irate with the paper for one of the most irresponsible bits of reporting the paper has ever done … and that’s saying something.

And is this a WORLD SCOOP? Megan and Harry a same sex couple? We got a hint during the week.

Sing a song of Wentworth … a Beatles classic reworked for the by-election of the year, the result of which has put what funnyman John Birmingham terms ’ScoMo’s Turd Reich’ totally on cross-bench life support..

Plus the week from Trumpistan in pictures, and that includes the dastardly attack by an unarmed, paunchy journalist on 18 innocent Saudis armed with bone saws  … but don’t panic, it’s OK, they survived Their attacker didn’t.

But first …

Palmer Redux

As usual, Clive ‘Novichok’ Palmer’s was in the news again this week, and again, for all the wrong reasons. But there’s a kind of weird sort of poetic justification in appointing his namesake and nephew, rip-off grub Clive Mensink to head the Titantic replica project. Even the name Mensink has the right ring to it.

But we folks around this bend in the river are more wondering about what Palmer might have in store for Townsville, which has clearly hit its own leadership and financial iceberg. There’s plenty of speculation about his possible impact on the future fortunes on this town, with all sorts of (pretty far-fetched) rejuvenation scenarios being put about. But trying to a get a sensible statement from this babbling brook of a garbled grandstander about anything is a bit like nailing water to a wall, as Bentley so neatly points out.

clive small w magpie copy

And the ‘will he or won’t he’ question remains: will he put a candidate to run for mayor against Jenny Hill? Many believe Townsville Ratepayers Association’s Peter Newey has been angling to be tapped on the shoulder by Clive for the job, with a series of several fawning, mewling pieces on his Facebook page (Mr Newey denies this most strenuously, but people will read what they like with such guff.)  If Clive is set on the idea, he’d better get his skates on, Mayor Mullet is off and running, and all on the ratepayers’ dime.

If madam mayor wishes to dispute this claim, The Magpie seeks the answer to simple one question?  Who paid for the signage, who is paying the rent, and just who will man (person?)  this Flinders Street edifice that has suddenly appeared?


There are echoes here of the stadium move to the CBD. You will remember, in that instance, there was no gradual build-up,  the idea, never heard of one day, and all over the paper the next, and soon after the rest of media sheeple. And so it is again, all of a sudden, a freshwater lagoon is a council ‘priority’. Until a few weeks ago, no one had heard of the idea in any serious sense, it was just a passing Cairns copy-cat thought-bubble from southern grifters Pure Projects, which came and went in the Bulletin with the longevity of a fart in a fan factory. But now, the idea is suddenly front and centre as the ‘must have’ item for the modern NQ city. This questionable ‘priority’ is further foisted upon us and reinforced with the eye-catching Flinders Street office frontage … on quick first glance, The Magpie thought someone had made a political statement with a rifle on the edifice, but closer inspection what at a distance looked like bullet holes scattered over the expensive blow-up illustration revealed that they were actually bathers in a … lagoon!!

And ‘a clear view for for our city’? ‘2020’? Ummm, that would be election year, wouldn’t it?

If Mayor Mullet is coughing up for all this herself, or even using legitimate donations (are there such things any longer?), all well and good. God knows, she is now a very wealthy woman in her own right through inheritance, and that’s apart from her super-generous public stipend with travel and car perks and a reported bulging family share portfolio – hardly any of which is declared, not being in her name.

But if this is connected to and paid for by the council as a ‘means of communicating with the community’, Jennifer Hill should be again referred to the CCC for possible corruption in local government, along with hired-in smart arse urger Stephen ‘The Screaming Midget’ Beckett, now her mayoral office manager. Surely The Bulletin could have the decency and credibility to ask the question (well, this is meant to a humorous blog in parts).

And Now We’re Treated To Jenny The Gymnast – Speciality: The Back Flip

For further proof that Mayor Mullet is on the campaign trail, make up your own mind about the following.

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The chest thumping, Canberra bashing from our bargain basement Boadicea went on and on, how she was gunna sock it to ‘em, she’d give ‘em what for if they diverted Eastern Rail Corridor money to Hell’s Gates and so on … and bloody on …  but proof of both its pointlessness and the Astonisher’s complicity in her campaign came in the very last line of the story, which completely nullified all that had gone before. It said: Last night a spokesman for Mr Morrison said the Government confirmed the remainder of funds set aside for TEARC project would stay in Townsville for other opportunities.’

But it seems the mayor and her minions have been too clever by half on the issue of stages one and two of the pipeline matter. It would seem she has reversed her stance on the crucial second stage, which she has baulked at in the past, insisting the money set aside for the now shelved rail corridor to the port be directed towards the second stage pipeline. Her pre-back flip stance was  amusingly illustrated by Linda Ashton of the Water For Townsville group.


But now, a dainty and oh-so-convenient change of heart. Olga Corbett would be green with envy.

The Bulletin Sets The Bar Even Lower, But Still Manages To Limbo Under It With Ease

Last Wednesday, an RAAF Hercules alerted the Townsville airport that it had been forced to manually power it’s nose wheel because of an hydraulic fault. Following normal precautionary practice, emergency services were put on stand-by. The plane landed without incident and everyone went home. The details weren’t  known at the time, and the Bulletin presumably only knew what it had picked up from someone with a scanner, but that didn’t stop them trying ever so hard to make a minor matter a possible major catastrophic emergency. The Bulletin’s Facebook page – which it urges people to have set up for breaking news alerts – then indulged in a bit of the most irresponsible journalism imaginable. The words were generally right, but were skewed out of all proportion with a lazy and downright stupid file photo grab. This from comments on Thursday.

The Magpie  October 18, 2018 at 8:09 am  (Edit)

The Astonisher’s habit of ‘crying wolf’ over absurd beat-ups is highlighted regularly on it’s Facebook page. Early last night was a prime example, which justifiably infuriated many, including regular Nester Hee Haw, who wrote ‘If the plane that landed was not a commercial 737 then this is disgraceful’.

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Indeed, in The ‘Pie’s guess, it was Kevin Gill panicking on approach in a Tiger Moth – “can’t find how to get the nose wheel down …heeeelllp!!!”. (The thought of someone of Gill’s apparent cognitive ability flying a plane is both amusing and terrifying in itself.)

But Facebook is a great leveller in some ways, and the Bulletin still doesn’t get the message … the first 20 or so comments to the Astonisher’s post were all derisive, mainly about the paper.


  • Hee Haw  October 18, 2018 at 8:17 am  (Edit)Update:
    This really is despicable and the comments agree.
    The last 10 FB posts from the Bulletin got an average of 9 comments, this one has 216 so far most of them either concerned for family flying in or condemning the Bulletin for no information and using a jet in the pic.

There was a time when the irresponsible jerk in question would’ve had their arse kicked til their nose bled, but those days are long gone at the Astonisher. With 216 complaints, iditor Jenna Cairney certainly knew of the incident (or if not why not?), and surely an apology was merited. And it wasn’t until 6.34pm on the 18th, almost 24 hour after the initial story, that any follow-up explanation was posted on the paper’s website. And nothing like an apology for the pic that so alarmed everybody.

And still they wonder …

But Even A Seasoned Journo Like John Anderson Goes A Bit Bonkers At Times

To question the courage of a terrified woman injured when protecting her child from a hail storm last week, you’d have to have a bloody good reason. In this weekend’s Bulletin, John Anderson didn’t.

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For a normally sensible bloke like Ando to suddenly start dictating the rules for being judged brave enough to deserve an award is dopey in itself. (John, to take your own rhetorical question – wouldn’t your surf swimmer, soldier, firey or policeman just be doing what they ‘should do’? And what’s more, being paid to do it, in the case of the last three.) But more to the point, why go down this path anyway? We need all the courageous people, all the real heroes  we can get in this day and age, and it seems churlish in the extreme to try to lessen what this woman did.

One wonders if that’s a deliberate stirring of a reader hornet nest? Perhaps a totally misjudged pot shot at the premier for jumping on a publicity bandwagon? Doubt it, so let’s talk bravery and courage in all its forms in our community. For instance, John,  should there be a bravery medal for an experienced and ethical journalist to put his job on the line for the sake of the community which has fed him so well for so many decades? Should that journo front the editor and management of the Bulletin about the massive and ruinous disservice they are doing to this community and to the reputation of responsible news reporting in this city.

At this stage, you don’t qualify for that sort of bravery medal, old mate … don’t worry about laying down your life, at worst it’d be your job, and even that is unlikely. So lay off the mum who didn’t ask for any medal, it was an uncharacteristically churlish piece from a normally good bloke like you. Who knows, maybe she shouldn’t get a medal … but neither should you, sport. The ‘Pie writes this in sadness about a man The ‘Pie has always believed to be among the best journalists in North Queensland.

Very disappointing.

Done And Dusted


The least surprising election result in Australia was all over in less than a hour of counting last night, with Independent Kerryn Phelps winning Malcolm Turnbull’s old seat of Wentworth. The woman whom Mongrel the Barrister reckons inspired the term ‘head like a racing goanna’ enjoyed an Australian record swing, wiping out Turnbull’s previous 17% margin, and then some.

The ‘Pie had the pleasure of meeting Dr Phelps on several occasions when she was doing guest spots at radio 2UE in the 80s … intelligent, no-nonsense and friendly, and at that time, fearlessly pioneering the cause of gay women – this was back when that was an issue.

Her candidature in Wentworth, where the locals were furious that Turnbull got turfed,  was always going to be a challenge for the established parties. And one supporter came up with a catchy way to get attention, via a parody of the Beatles classic ‘Help’!. 


Phelps, we need somebody!

Phelps, not just anybody!

Phelps, you know we need someone!


And now the House has changed in,oh,so many ways,

Our independents seem to vanish in the haze,

But ev’ry now and then, we feel so insecure

We know that we we need you like we’ve never done before

Phelp me if you can, I’m feeling down

And  do appreciate you being round

Phelp me get my feet back on the ground

Won’t you please, lease Phelp me,

Phelp me, Phelp me


Speaking Of Gay Folk

The Magpie, normally unflappable unless airborne, was set back on his claws when he thought he’d stumbled across the story of the century … Harry and Meghan are actually a same sex couple!!!

No, he couldn’t believe it either, but this is what startled him. Not to mention the Queen.

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And in that general area, The ‘Pie cannot believe that this nickname will last …

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But there were other surprises during the week. Like this from the BBC itself.


And Canada has legalised marijuana. Like, dude, eh? Big changes are signalled, like the flag …

Warp - Paranoid Mountie FINISH v.2

…and unexpected side effects on neighbours.


At Least Trump Will Have That As An Excuse From Now On

The overwhelming issue of the week was the murder of Saudi junta critic journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi government killers, and Trump’s hedging his bets and refusing first to condemn the regime, and then, when that could no longer wash, offering a piss-weak wrist slap response. Somehow, this caught the imagination of illustrators across the US.

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141_216975 7c73620a-b72a-4741-8944-7b3e04658c8b enos_7 Trump deny 141_216885 141_216341

And Finally, The ‘Pie’s Techno-Wars Continue.

Last week it was the bloody computer, this week, The ‘Pie bought a drone on-line, good price, but can’t seem to get it to fly. Any advice from anyone out there with a similar model to this one?



That’s it for another week, get those comments flying in, it’s your forum. And as always, donations are much appreciated … and needed to cover the various costs associated with the blog. 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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