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The Magpie

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016   |   75 comments

Sorting The Flummery From The Facts; An Incisive Summary Of the Report No One Wanted You To See.

The hitherto ‘secret’ KPMG feasibility study of a CBD football stadium, is now available for all (well, at the time of writing). All 300 pages of it. But The ‘Pie also has a plain language summary of all the gory details from an economic guru.

New realities call for new words … so what condition do you suffer when you don’t want to vote for anyone on the ballot paper …

The ‘Pie uncovers an old but hilarious typo, which puts a whole new light on the government taking matters into its own hands …

And, most unusually, Matty Johns makes a funny joke.

NB Bentley is on e a week or two off, but he’ll be back when the Fed campaign gets into full swing.

But First …

A statement by Malcolm Weatherup.

On Thursday morning, at 11.25, after 4-day trial, a four person jury reached a verdict that I had been defamed in an article in The Australian newspaper. The issue of damages and of costs are yet to be determined, and will be handed down at a date to be set. I will not, pro tem, be making any comment on the matter and no comments will be published on this blog regarding it.

Except that is to publicly most sincerely thank my tenacious and smart legal team, solicitor Greg Humphries of Connolly Suthers, and barristers Tony Moon and Ken Fleming QC – simply brilliant, guys.

Spot The Reasons Why We’ve been Kept In The Dark About That CBD Stadium Feasibility Report 

A new figure of influence is entering this community’s consciousness, and his emergence is unusual to say the least.

 warwick powell

Warwick Powell is Board Chairman of an outfit called Sister City Partners Ltd, and The ‘Pie has noted that he’s had several positive stories in the Bulletin, regarding proposed ethanol ventures and other progressive business ideas.

What is unusual is that he is gaining a public profile with the paper, despite having been extremely critical in blog articles about certain aspects of TEL and of airport management (yes, that would the Gill bloke). He was not chuffed at the narrow view of Asian flights. But it’s almost a sure bet that his latest effort won’t see the light of day in the Astonisher. The title might give you a teesy clue why, it is headed ‘The Stadium Doesn’t Add Up … here’s the evidence.’

Somehow Mr Powell has tracked down/nailed down/unearthed that KPMG report that has never been wholly released to the great unwashed.

kpmg report

And little bloody wonder.

The report is a hefty and padded out 300 pages (hey, a consultant gotta make a living, you know) but Mr Powell (hey, this is a friendly blog, let’s call him Wozza) gives us a plain language overview of the how the report was put together, its priorities, terms of reference and conclusions.

Here are a couple of tasters from the Powell summary.

Funding options; new taxes

The Feasibility Study concludes that private sector funding is unlikely, and the proposal must therefore be funded by the public sector. In doing so, it identifies a number of methods by which the State can offset some of its funding requirements. These measures include:

  • A redevelopment levy charged on tickets
  • An increase in the State Government’s share of gaming revenue
  • The sale of surplus land
  • A special slew tax on sales at the venue
  • Increase of charges to rate payers
  • A surcharge on parking within specified zones in the Townsville CBD, and
  • The introduction of an accommodation lodging (“bed”) tax.

That sale of surplus land is an interesting one, since The ‘Pie recentl heard a whisper that the State Government is considering selling the showground to developers. If so, is this why?

… and …

Opportunity Cost … a question of what else?

Economists have an idea called “opportunity cost”. It’s a question of alternatives and what the best uses of scarce resources are. Unfortunately, there’s been little consideration of the opportunity costs of $300m of public funds.

This summary includes a link to the report itself, if you need to check Wozza’s reasoning.

And our man knows the devil is in the often hidden detail, so his section on the argument for retaining and upgrading the current stadium makes very interesting reading indeed. Especially financially. It is proof positive that politicians … particularly councillors past and present … have simply been lying to us, or have been hoodwinked. (Yes, yes, The ‘Pie knows that about as surprising as bears in woods and the Pope’s choice of religion. It’s just that this will make it a bit harder for them in the future on this issue.))

And these revelations (Wozza himself correctly claims an ‘exclusive’ on this) are going to make life interesting for a few people, especially Lancini Central Control aka the Bulletin. The major question it will raise is a ticklish one for iditor Ben Bogan … now this is out in the open, is there any reason why you can’t air it for proper and mature debate., mate? The stakes are high and you claim to lead community debate (snigger snigger).

But while Wozza has been busy in the background of the issue sifting through the facts,. the federal election campaign has started, so what do we get from the Astonisher … same old shallow flummery.

shorten stadium

 But There’s The Question Of ‘Which’ CBD Stadium

 In the past quarter century infesting the burbs of Townsville, The ‘Pie has been bemused by the ever widening gap between ‘artists impressions’ and eventual reality. Flinders Street East was a doozy, as was the ‘heritage friendly’ disaster of the Consortium nightclub.

But now, it is multiple choice stadium time. Would you like …

stadium latest 2

… or this slightly later offering …

stadium latest

… or this one, all pimped up since the others were looking somewhat like … well, like a stadium.

stadium latest 3

The ‘Pie’s guess … whichever you choose, this just about sums one side of the argument.

The ring ... the ring ... oh, my precious.

The ring … the ring … oh, my precious.

The Problem With Posed Pictures

Newspaper photographers often jazz up their otherwise pedestrian subjects by getting the people to pose in fake action mode. Doesn’t always quite work. Seeking to pimp up his pic for the ‘Case of the Missing Bus Hub’ story on Thursday, Bulletin snapper, the imaginative Evan Morgan, asked JCU student Maclane Schloss to look as though he is seeking to spot the approach of a long awaited bus, thus.

The problem with posed pix

Now, Mr Schloss, unless you are a very confused soldier or are making the secret beam-me-up signal to a hovering mothership, you seem to have forgotten that such a stance is supposed to SHIELD your eyes from the sun.

You don’t learn all life’s important lessons at uni, Maclane.

The Problem With Words

As the world morphs and shape shifts into unrecognisable amalgamations of what we used to know (Donald Trump, anyone?), so too do words need to become more flexible and agile in their descriptions.

With the presidential race in the US in full swing , the choice from either side seems to be so unpalatable, that a useful new p[hrase has been born.

electile dysfunction

Like all matters American, it won’t be long before ‘electile dysfunction’ will be commandeered to Australia in the coming weeks.

But while the invention of new words can be helpful, it is the PC police that run the tedious line of banning well established descriptors, whether they be nouns or verbs. The tediously unimportant Sydney University flapdoodle recently about whether Australia was either invaded, settled or discovered has had the media dialling up the indignation meter to screaming banshee level. The heaving masses called the general population have been whipped into a state of high apathy. But it is the other everyday sensitivities being drilled into our youngsters that is even more insidious.


Miss A Letter And Suddenly, You’re A Wanker

The ‘Pie had to dive into the archives this week when a reader wanted to know more about Pat Brady’s dismissal from the Port Authority board, and why it hadn’t been reported in the Astonisher. The ‘Pie was able to reply thus:

Ummm, think you’ll find that our old mate Galoot Galloway reported it fully on Oct 2 last year.


Editorially, the Bulletin roundly decried that a local ‘girl’ – as the paper is given to describing accomplished, mature women – didn’t get the job. Which is a bit more than rich coming from a newspaper that consistently refuses to appoint a local journalist as editor of its own operations, instead sticking to the policy of FIFO editors, all hotshots wanting to make their own mark, redesigning the paper and coverage style to lose all continuity – and loyalty.

And best typo of all, in a week when sloppy writing and editing has been much discussed in the Supreme Court in Townsville, the last line in Galoot’s report is a doozy … Check out the last line. Curtis Pitt seems to be tight-fisted but generous in his farewell for Mr Brady… as the Astonisher astonished us with this revelation.
‘Mr Pitt hanked Mr Brady for serving as Chair of Port of Townsville.’

Curtis Pitt, you’re a man’s man … apparently.

But then, language has always been tricky.


Comment of The Week

Opinion writers in newspapers tend to live on their own planet, complete with their own mythology and own morality. So one supposes it should have been a surprise when News Corpse’s Susie O’Brien laid us in the aisles with her reading of the 60 Minutes saga.

Hard hitting  News Corpse columnist Susie O'Brien gives to the mongrels.

Hard hitting News Corpse columnist Susie O’Brien gives to the mongrels.

Last Wednesday, while Tara Brown and her crew were still in custody, O’Brien wrote:

I can’t help feeling some sympathy for Brown and the so-called Beirut Four after seeing the most recent photographs of them handcuffed by police and bundled into cars. Let’s not forget that these people are professionals, doing their job, and regardless of what they have done wrong do not deserve to manhandled like this.’


And she goes on: ’As the (photographs) show, Brown tried to turn towards the media after emerging from a brief hearing , but an officer grabbed her head to stop her from looking around. The stress of the situation is etched clearly on Brown’s face.’

The swine!!! Christ, you’d think she was under arrest or something. Yeah, Susie, fresh out of red carpets those bloody Muslim dickheads who have the temerity to treat ‘our Tara’ like she wasn’t a star or sumfing. So what if she is in another country and breaks their poxy bloody laws to film a criminal act for which her channel had paid professional criminals to commit? I mean, she’s a STAR on telly, hands off.

Now let’s just look at a couple things.

You say they are ‘professionals doing their job’. Yes and that would be secretly arranging and filming the criminal activity of kidnapping, all for a tawdry ratings point or two. And also ‘… they do not deserve to manhandled like this’.  Do you mean just as the terrified children didn’t deserve to be violently snatched by threatening adults away from the hands of their grandmother and nanny, off a street in broad daylight.

But with Our Susie, it is a case of airhead is as airhead does, with a nasty little bit of racism and western moral superiority to end up with; ‘The fact that the Beirut courts operate according to religious principles, and that the hearings are closed, is making matters more dire’. Well, at least in this whole imbroglio, the court operates on open and known principles … which is more than we can say for 60 Minutes … or for the shallow intellectual analysis of a person who seems no more than a vacuous, gum chewing, hair twirling backyard-fence gossip.

Quip Of The Week

Was a time when footy players on TV were seen as rough diamonds and amiable boofheads with an endless store of dressing shed humour. It’s gone sharply downhill a bit since they decided they played the occasional game of League between stints as professional comedians when not droning on in bouts of tedious analysis (‘He ran the length of the field carrying that injured leg of his.’)

Mathew Johns

Mathew Johns

But Matty Johns managed a corker before the Broncos slaughter of Souths last night. Following an interview with Queensland’s answer to Easter Island, dour Broncos coach Wayne Bennett, Johns told his amazed mates in the studio that Bennett, a well known teetotaler, had recently been thrown out of Brisbane’s Caxton Hotel. When he asked why he was being ejected, the bouncer told him ’It’s happy hour, Wayne.’

But Our Wayne wasn’t the only one to be recognized for his unhappy demeanour.

Ewen Jones cries 2

You’ll remember that Ewen Jones had to be consoled by Michaelia Cash (oooh, yes, please!) when Jones had a little public blub when talking about the sacked nickel workers. So The ‘Pie chooses this as his reader’s comment of the week.

Hercule Poirot

April 20, 2016 at 7:08 am  (Edit)

Ewen Jones ; Now known as the Town Cryer !!

And so he will be … goodbye Jumbo Dumbo, hello, Town Crier.

And If You’re Glum About House Prices …

… you could be living in San Francisco, where some loon described the offerings on this billboard as ‘affordable’.

SF homes

And finally …

… on the principle of leave ‘em laughing … and groaning …

buck an ear


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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