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The Magpie

Saturday, March 26th, 2016   |   79 comments

The Magpie Offers His Congratulations To Townsville’s New Mayor, Let’s Hear It For … Laurence Lancini!

That’s not the name on the door in Walker Street, but it may as well be. For some years, The ‘Pie has watched in admiration at one of the more masterful long games of garnering power and influence … The ‘Pie pontificates.

Also this week, ‘stickering’ it up them … a brilliant last minute political ploy unmasks any remaining doubts about the Daily Astonisher’s bias and role in last week council election. But alas, fewer readers are there to get the message … the latest readership figures for the Bulletin ain’t too flash.

And does the Ghost of Gore still hover over the beleaguered Hinchinbrook Resort? Is he seeking control from afar? Could be.

All that, plus a gob-smacking video of a display we should be seeking for Townsville.

And, of course,  Bentley!

So First …

With our local electoral bunfight done and dusted, we now turn to the Federal scene, where the outcome is going to be somewhat closer. Malcolm Talkbull is not only facing The Short Un in battle, but is having to fight a flanking action from his sulking predecessor, Wingnut Abbott. Remember Wingnut, the bloke who departed the PM’s office saying there would be no ‘ wrecking, sniping or undermining’ , and has since done nothing but?

Bentley, as always, sets the election scenario.

firing squad fin

Guess Who’s About To Go For A Burton?

Some words of wisdom from The Magpie to those who prayed for a Jenny Hill Team win in the council elections. You are like people whose prayers for rain are answered – you now can’t complain about the mud.

The Magpie had a dream.

Newly elected to the office that says mayor on the door, Mayor Mullet was busy dusting off her Ray gun, getting ready for a showdown with council CEO  ‘Bald Eagle’ Burton when she realized she didn’t have any ammo on hand.

‘Go get me a couple of dum dums,’ she ordered an assistant. The girl reappeared a short time later with two of the newly elected councillors.

 ‘No, no, silly girl, I mean a couple of hollowheads,’ snapped the mayor.

 A few minutes later, the girl came back with Les Messagebank Walker and Paul ‘Angry Ant’ Jacob in tow.

 Mayor Mullet sighed but she knew this time, she was goin’ ahuntin’ to complete unfinished business.

It’s almost certain that CEO Ray Burton will soon be in The Mullet’s sights, having got egg on her face the last time she tried to oust the top council bureaucrat with some lies that the authorities called for what they were. She is one woman who never forgets and never forgives (this is something of which The Magpie is acutely aware).

This likely development is no deep insight, which has been more or less confirmed by one or two Magpie whisperers, but the interesting thing is the replacement for the big chair.

The name Paul Askern has been bandied about . A former senior say-so in the council, Mr Askern was more recently asked and considered becoming Mayor Mullet’s personal advisor after the 2012 election. Something went arse up in negotiatioins, and the mayor has had to settle for a succession of tea ladies, at least one of whom was an experienced political operative who didn’t appreciate being the bearer of Iced Vo Vos.

But one well placed commentator suggested that The ‘Pie could name his own odds on Askern coming back. ’It just ain’t gunna happen, believe me,’ The ‘Pie was told, although there was no elaboration as to why. And it must be said that Askern is no ‘yes man’, and calls it as he sees it. So it might be a bumpy ride all over again if he changed his mind and succumbed to the lure of a salary somewhere to the north of $400K per.

The city could do worse if it does happen.

Stickering It To Them

It was a breathtaking last minute kick in the slats for her opposition, and in its own way, a political masterstroke that The ‘Pie personally can see Dolan Hayes’ fingerprints all over.

This is what the good burghers of Townsville got for their $2.20 last Saturday, the day of the election.

Screen shot 2016-03-26 at 5.16.37 PM

Now advertising of this prominent front page nature is a rarity, and it certainly isn’t cheap, with the extra cost of 20,000 or so stickers also being considerable. ( Jenny obviously has generous friends, unless the Bulletin printed them for her no charge.)

Screen shot 2016-03-26 at 5.15.46 PM

It was a clever last minute call to arms, and although the sticker could be peeled off, it wasn’t immediately apparent that this was the case.

So full points from for clever opportunistic political campaigning, which made it appear the paper was endorsing her.

Well maybe they were, because there’s a twist in the tale here.

It turns out that The Bulletin chose where the sticker was to be placed before it went out onto the streets. Given that the position could not have been predetermined by the advertiser, the paper would have to make the decision. So did the sticker cover up anything important in the actual news. Well, given the overnight sporting success story, not a minor matter, you’d think.

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Yes, the paper decided giving Jenny the spot which would cover the Fire’s second championship medallion was the right spot. Could this be because it covered up the achievement of the  Fire, which would lead readers to make an immediate connection with The Mullet’s election rival Jayne Arlett?

Oh, dearie me, Magpie, you have such an imagination, how could you think such a thing!

Experience of this lot of twicers, that how. So it is obvious who the Bulletin favoured, all of which would’ve been OK had they simply declared their preference, as papers around the world do. But in this instance, it was just dog whistling in the wind.

But There Were Fewer Readers To Get The Coded Message

This week, editor Ben ‘Bogan’ English knows for sure what he’s up against. Newspaper readership figures were released during the week for the 14/15 year to December, and readers continue to vote with their feet against sloppy biased journalism by further shunning this once proud and respected paper. (‘Oh, no’, they cry, ‘it is happening everywhere, it’s the way of modern media.’ To which The ‘Pie says ‘Have a look at what Cath Webber’s figures at the Gold Coast Bulletin.’)

This is the state play in Queensland from the Roy Morgan survey people.

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6000 fewer reading The Astonisher on weekdays, and a worrying 13,000 fewer for the flagship Saturday issue.

And it is with a certain satisfaction that The ‘Pie enjoys when mediocrity is shown up for what it is … look at Cath Webber’s sterling effort at the Gold Coast Bulletin, she has actually increased the numbers of the once-floundering paper she inherited from a clueless Peter ‘Typo’ Gleeson. Watch this gal, News will certainly have noticed. (Sorry, Cath, know you hate it when The ‘Pie says something nice about you … go and have a girly bitch session with that deserved Walkley Award winner  Kath Skene, that should be fun.)

Despite being the only paper on Sunday, Gleeson’s Sunday Mail continues to shed readers, down 28,000 in a year. No wonder the powers that be in News HQ judged Gleeson a bit of a show pony and passed him over in favour of Lachlan Heywood for the state’s top gig at the Courier Mail (about which Typo was reportedly furious).

But right now, we await News Corpse own wildly optimistic survey outfit ‘- emma’ – to offer its version of readership numbers … we all wait in that state of anticipation of an audience who are holding back the guffaws while waiting for a comedian’s punch line.

Lozza Reigns Supreme

Laurence Lancini 2

Laurence Lancini has tightened his grip on the power levers in the ‘Ville, with the election of Mayor Mullet to a second term, backed by her own majority to get her wishes passed. (Deficit next year, anyone?)

Lancini was smart enough years ago to realize that money, of which he has oodles … isn’t the only factor in getting your own way. He, unlike politicians, had the luxury of being able to play the long game, and his success is now being revealed.

He is the most influential member of the board of Townsville Enterprise, (whose chairman is the business cypher from the airport Kevin Gill), but tellingly, has Mayor Mullet as deputy chair. The Magpie has long believed that – while legally OK, the mayor … any mayor … acting as the deputy board chairman of a group that depends on ratepayers money for its (somewhat pointless) survival is ethically wrong. There has to be a conflict of interest and exerted influence, especially now when Jenny Hill can go back to arm-raising aerobics class (aka council meeting), propose any amount of grant for the body of which she is deputy chair, and woe betide any naysayers. But it isn’t legally a conflict of interest we are told, so Lozza can have a quite word here and there with her  about stand-along stadiums (his heart’s desire) and expect to be listened to. Planning to do the convention and entertainment centres later would be ruinously expensive – whenever it was actually done.

On top of that, TEL’s cut-price CEO (and frequent Lancini lunching companion) Patricia O’Callaghan has certainly been mentored by him, and it would be an interesting day if she ever opposed whatever was his latest wish for publicity … her predecessor tried that and Lancini engineered for him to get booted.

The publicity angle is cleverly covered by our man, as well. And that’s largely because of this bloke .

Lewis Ramsay

Lewis Ramsay

Lewis Ramsay worked for the Bully, then did a stint as an executive at the Cowboys Leagues Club, disappeared to Brisbane for a while with News, then reappeared as the advertising sales boss back at the Astonisher. The way News works, that made him the man with the real clout on Flinders Street West. Lancini has Ramsay’s ear and probably loyalty, and Ramsay holds sway in certain areas over the editor, such is the way of News Corpse complete subjugation to profit and therefore influence at all costs. Ramsay is unlikely to fall out with Lancini’s wishes, so thoroughly one imagines he has been groomed.

None of this is to suggest illegality, or even that it is far out of the ordinary in business empire-building, but it certainly becomes a worry when an influential developer has the connections and sway to stifle any public opposition to projects that will certainly involve ratepayers funds. And that goes for anything involving development and construction, especially in the CBD.

At this time, that hasn’t happened to any great extent except with the stand-alone stadium idea, and nothing illegal is suggested, but unless these power groupings are out there for public knowledge , no one will be the wiser. it is an ethical question.

Which is not how things are meant to work … especially not in newspapers.

And, oh, Mr Lancini, if this little discourse has displeased you to the point where you would like to do The Magpie a mischief, please get in the queue … yes, over there, just behind Mayor Mullet, Typo Gleeson, Ann ‘Attila The Hen’ Roebuck and a few dozen of the lesser players around town.

Now Here’s A Scary Thought

It’s been suggested that wife beater and drunk Col Allan, currently the boss of Roopert’s NY Post, will become Donald Trump’s media manager if The Trumpet gets the Republican nomination.

It’d be a good fit for Allan, whose behaviour and attitudes are similar to Trumps. Allan was notorious for opening pissing in his office wash basin during editorial meetings held after boozy lunches when at the Daily Telegraph. Which makes this NY Post front page ironic, hypocritical … and very Trump-like.

Could be talking about Allan's time as the paper's boss.

Could be talking about Allan’s time as the paper’s boss.

Is The Ghost of Gore Still Hovering Over The Hinchinbrook Resort?

Could be.

Craig Gore

Craig Gore

Alarm bells went of for The Magpie as well as some of Gore’s victims down south, when during the week, reporter John Anderson quoted a small matter at the end of a story about a dispute over the ownership a sculpture connected to the resort.

Ando quoted a resort resident who said two American investors, who were close to signing off on the purchase of Port Hinchinbrook, wanted the dugong back in place.

Hmmm. The Long Term Settlement Leases (LTSL) mob of questionable operators has departed the scene, with their putative boss, who used Craig Gore as a ‘consultant’ heading back to NZ. it is widely believed the Gore was directing what was likely to end up another of his scams.

Gore is in self-imposed exile in the US to avoid the threat of jail in Australia, after the ASIC named him and his wife for the thieving lowlifes that they are. The Gore’s are living in Phoenix, where one of his failed shonky companies had ‘distressed property’ bought at bargain basement prices. Those Phoenix purchases were assisted by one Jeffrey George, a US citizen working with Gore here in Australia. George was banned for life from operating ‘financial instruments’ here, and skipped the country and went back home when things looked like going very badly for him, freedom-wise.

George is believed to have possibly teamed up with Gore again in Phoneix and the question one must ask is whether the two ‘American investors’ are Gore and George, returning to the scene of other doubtful exploits from afar.

If they get their hands on Hinchinbrook, the damage and complications will differ but be as devastating as was Yasi for resort home owners and a recovering Cardwell.

Why We’re Wrong About Palmer

Some people have been having some harsh things to say about Clive Palmer, declaring that he’s an ego-centric, louche glutton with despicable business practices that heartlessly destroy the lives of workers and their families, and the economy of a whole community. And he doesn’t care about the environment.

They say he has no heart, no soul, and no ethics, he is just an unfeeling opportunist. The Magpie now knows that THIS IS NOT TRUE!

Despite his swaggering and wobbling exterior, he is very capable of feeling love, affection, intimacy and caring.

However, these feelings don’t involve anyone else.

What Might Have Been

And With The Federal Budget Coming Up, An Offering Without Comment (from Paul Zanetti)

fed budget

Something You Didn’t Know (And Probably Didn’t Want To)

kardashian underwear

Finally, A Serious Suggestion To The Dudley Do Nothings At Wishing Well House

The least Townsville Enterprise could is contact the people responsible for this mesmerizing display in this video and see if they couldn’t bring it to Townsville. It might cost a couple of quid, but it show that you’re thinking along the right lines (as if).

Too those who have made a donation, sincere thanks and appreciation, it has helped immensely in keeping the Magpie blog aloft. It’s a bit of an on-going issue, so any further support will be invaluable. If you can assist, 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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