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The Magpie

Saturday, January 23rd, 2016   |   115 comments

‘The vision thing’ versus the rear view mirror – is this Day 1 one of the real council campaign? And Jed Clampett for mayor? Questions, questions …

At least one candidate in the mayoral race has stopped pointing the finger at her opponent, and is pointing towards the future. The ‘Pie hits the campaign trail as things start to hot up.

Lying by the sin of omission … how the Townsville Bulletin keeps advertisers on side with blatant one-sided reporting.

… and the dangers of talking about religion when drinking.

But first, the man whose name is on the tip of everyone’s tongue … and many around here wish he was on the tip of their boot … continues to be found out big time for his shonky dealing, political and corporately.

'The road to give a fuck is that way.'

‘The road to give a fuck is that way.’

Fatuous fatso Clive Palmer has always fancied himself as a comedian of the people – remember not-for-the-incontinent ‘twerking’ spectacle during videoed radio interview, and the schoolboy ‘Bye Bye Bronny Goodbye’ – but no one is laughing now (The ‘Pie didn’t then for that matter). His fall from the always-conditional affections of the general population … voters and workers … is a spectacular penthouse-to-outhouse odyssey.

Businesses can fail, mines shut down, prices can dictate the fate of processing plants, but when you raid the corporate piggy bank for your own political purposes and then dud a third of your workforce not just of their jobs but also of their entitlements, you qualify for special descriptive words (insert your favourite here).

Bentley is not amused.

Palmer Retirement fin 2

During the week, The ‘Pie posted the following for contrast.

Clive Palmer’s Penury.


Clive Palmer's home, Gold Coast

Clive Palmer’s home, Gold Coast


Clive Palmer's house. Chez Palmer on the Gold Coast - the boat was a gift to his teenage daughter.

Clive Palmer’s house. Chez Palmer on the Gold Coast – the boat was a gift to his teenage daughter.


Clive The Comic Crooner needs a new theme song, perhaps that Boy George ditty, rebadged as Karma Karma Komedian – the first verse says it all.

I‘m a man without conviction

I’m a man who doesn’t know

How to sell a contradiction

You come and go

You come and go

Karma, karma, karma

Karma, karma chameleon

You come and go

You come and go

And From The If Only File


Then There Were Three

Fair go where it’s deserved, never let it be said that the Astonisher can’t play it with a straight face. During the week, they ran this story as though it was serious.

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 1.11.09 PM

Bill ‘Rhymes With’ Hankin , a former One Notion candidate, wants to be the next mayor of Townsville. Well, why not, Jed Clampett made a stir in Beverley Hills all those years ago.

Jeb Clampett2

Mind you, while old Jed used his firearm to strike an oil gusher, ‘Rhymes With’ Hankin is said to have armed himself with a 12-gauge as a meet’n’greet accoutrement when them thar pesky gummint officials came a visitin’ his rural property a few years back. Maybe he intends to carry this negotiating tactic down Brissy and Canberra if he gains the scarlet dressing gown of mayoral office.

For the record, Rhymes With is hardly likely to disturb the scorer come election time. He’s stood for One Notion at two federal and three state elections. The outcome of his last outing in Hinchinbrook at the state poll is pretty typical.

Hankin vote

If it wasn’t for the generous presence of the Greens perennial whipping girl Jenny Stirling on the ticket, ‘Rhymes With’ Hankin would have been stone motherless last.

Likely there’s more of the same to come on March 19.

But Hey C’mon, The Astonisher Reckons He’s A Go-To Man

The Astonisher obviously has ‘Rhymes With’ in the ‘dingbats for a slow day’ file (big file that one at the paper).

Bill Hankin (right of pic).

Bill Hankin (right of pic).

When those wild brumbies were being culled north of town last year, the paper sought out ‘Rhymes With’ on his property in banjo country up around Rollingstone, and he suitably huffed and puffed about the way the cull was conducted. ‘We got no warning’ he whinnied. Then gussied up his outrage with a fine piece of flapdoodle that he’d ’heard reports of wounded brumbies everywhere’ – but said he hadn’t seen any himself.

It was of course total grandstanding bullshit.

Oh, wait a sec, so maybe he is in with a chance in the mayoral stakes.

Finally The Jayne Plane Lumbers Into The Air

Mayoral hopeful Jayne Arlett gets the front page treatment from the Astonisher today, outlining her campaign centrepiece, a duplicate water pipeline from the Burdekin Dam to ‘waterproof’ Townsville into the future.

Jayne Arlett poses for Bully 'exclusive'.

Jayne Arlett poses for Bully ‘exclusive’.

It is flukey timing, given the woes of the Yabulu workers, that this project, according to Ms Arlett’s detailed figures, will provide 805 jobs paying wages of $71million. But the main value for Ms Arlett and ratepayers is that is the word used in the headline – ‘vision’.

So far, this has been the usual snippy ‘rear view mirror’ campaign, with none of what George Bush Snr once disparagingly called ‘the vision thing’ – Mayor Mullet says something should be done but she’s been hamstrung, Jayne says things should’ve been done but weren’t, and we all just yawned and waited for something positive. Today, the first firmly forward-looking initiative is on the table.

Two Dangers Lurk In The Political Thicket For Ms Arlett.

The first is if she allows this centerpiece to turn her campaign into a single issue affair. She … and her opponent for that matter … need to come up with other ‘do-able’ initiatives, and they don’t all have to be those that attract that dopey phrase ‘shovel ready’, which sounds like a slogan for Morleys Funerals.

One issue a growing number of people would welcome is a promise to restructure and re-focus the under-performing gabfest that is Townsville Enterprise.

The Dudley Do Nothings of Wishing Well House are clearly missing substantive leadership and innovative ideas – indeed, vision – at board and CEO level. Now, that would simply be their business if they were, as they claim, a private membership-based organization who are under no obligation for public transparency. It stops being just their business and becomes OUR business when they again stick their hand out for the annual council (read ratepayer) donation of $750,000. Doesn’t that make all ratepayers members? Named and achievable targets and public accountability on progress should be a first requirement. That would go a long way to shucking off the ‘Hermit Kingdom’ tag engendered by meaningless waffle hiding what is widely suspected to be a disjointed, headless-chook business version of a sheltered workshop.

Economic Illiterates Scare Campaign

This is the second thing Ms Arlett must not let dominate the conversation about our city in the coming weeks.

There is a group of fiscal luddites who insist, totally and demonstrably incorrectly, that Debt Is Bad. They seem to try and paint debt as the evil twin of Greed Is Good.

The following was a comment exchange in the Magpie’s Nest yesterday, which covers this and other campaign matters.

Long suffering ratepayer writes: 

What’s wrong with our council, you ask?
Try record city debt, high rates, lack of water supply (Burdekin pipeline that obviously leaks like a sieve as it never gets used – and now they want to build a second!!!!!), residential development approvals without matching infrastructure or adequate water supply, lack of parking in the CBD (they allow developers to provide just one car parking space for a three bedroom apartment and wonder why there’s a shortage of car parks), conflict of interest breaches……
Had Arlett gone for a team of new faces she may have stood a chance, but everyone I talk to has had enough of the current lot.
Ironically, she has done Vern Vietch a big favour by giving him the cold shoulder as he stands a much better chance as an independent than on Team Arlett aka Townsville Seconds.


  • The Magpie

Look, The ‘Pie is going to call you Fred, too long a name to repeat in a reply.
So, Fred, let’s take the good bits first. Spot on about GI Jayne’s lack of recruiting skills … don’t want to put the black mock on him, but The ‘Pie reckons Vern is a shoo-in. Hear there is a rather unexpected preference deal in the air in his divvy. Jayne also missed the chance with Pat Ernst, who would’ve been happy to soldier on if invited to join the team, but decided to up stumps when he was -somewhat rudely, one hears – ignored. He was highly likely to retain his seat, something The Magpie has learnt that both Les Tyrell and The Kid argued for in his favour.
Now the bad bits. let’s take ‘em as they come.

magpie contemplating navel copy

1) Record city debt … so what, Fred? Debt is a matter of modern corporate and council life, and some folks – sounds like you’re amongst them – fail understand the crucial difference between debt, responsible servicing of it, and deficit. And why was that debt incurred? To build vital infrastructure, like glamour items such as the new water treatment works et al. There are those who say we are burdening the next generation with a selfish debt. That is A grade tripe … if we don’t build now (which means borrow now) that next generation will cop a quadruple bill to install infrastructure on the run, playing catch-up. It is almost our DUTY to borrow big now, on behalf of that coming generation. (And it is exactly the same reason a stand-alone stadium should be resisted.) And it sure ain’t unfair to that coming generation … they’ll be enjoying the benefits long after this generation has turned up its toes.

2) High rates … yes they are high but why? Because of the infrastructure residents demand but seem unwilling to pay for, that’s why. And remember this, Fred, and all your friends who say they are sick of the current mob, those rates would’ve been even higher – much higher – if ‘the current mob’ hadn’t opposed the irresponsible and financially unsustainable populist vote-buying policies of Mayor Mullet. It was the ‘current mob’ who kept things in check, and delivered surplus budgets.

3) How can a bloody pipeline ‘leak like a sieve’ if it’s never been used? Never heard that one before, and no one else seems to know what you’re on about. And yes, it has only been used once in ten or more years. And you seem to be the only one disagreeing – both candidates do – the second line to ‘waterproof growing metropolis, again puts on us a duty to look to the future but act now.

4) Residential development approvals without matching infrastructure or adequate water supply??? EXACTLY WRONG AND MISCHIEVOUS TO EVEN SUGGEST IT, PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE … adhering to the city plan, the council faced down noisy and abusive self-interested landholders and untrustworthy southern developers, because inter alia, their plans … we speak mainly of the Pinnacles here – would’ve actually raised the rate burden across the city for everybody. By a substantial amount.

5) Fred, would you believe it, YOU’RE RIGHT ON THIS ONE. The point about CBD car par ratios is taken, there will long be argument whether it was a wise carrot just to get CBD development going. Lozza Lancini though has and will be making significant contributions in this area with his current development(s).
6) Conflict of interest? This is a tired old trope beaten up by The Astonisher… even the local government cops admitted they were more of a technical nature, but Fred, you and yours are bending over backwards to suggest brown paper bags and luxury yachts through greasehorns misusing their position. Got any proof? Apart from what your mates agree on after the third schooner? 
All this is self-demeaning nonsense, possibly borne of genuine frustration, but we need to show some dignity and real pride in our city. We can start doing that by voting on reality not rumours.

Speaking Of Reality

How’s this for complete intelligence insulting nonsense.


Yeah, right? The initial snort of derision becomes a drawn-out giggling snigger when we go into the story itself.

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 4.08.03 PM

This is such patent rubbish, you have to wonder how such clotted nonsense can be served up, it says a lot about the disrespect the paper has for the public.  Clearly, the the Townsville Bulletin that is all for the North is more all for it’s advertisers. The story has 16 paragraphs, the first 10 of which are devoted to hysterical wailings through the wallet of boozearium owner and convicted drunk driver Mark Napier, and a spokesman for the makers of Bundaberg Rum, who both lie about being ruined if they are made to close earlier. Both spend tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars with News Corpse every year.

Then we get towards the bottom of the story, paragraph 11, we are curtly told Doctors from Townsville Hospital, police and local councillors also made submissions to the committee.’

?!? Or WTF?

No other point of view, no mention of their arguments about wasted tax dollars policing the boozehounds, loss to the working community through injury and illness, unnecessary danger to police and ambos, injury and death and above all, not a single word about the clear interstate evidence that earlier closing slashes the rates of violence.

Seems self-interest wins out over being for all the community even when you’re ‘All For The North.’

What a cretins’ club it is.

And As If Things Weren’t Bad Enough …

The media boo-boo of the week, nay, the year so far. Looked like the Bulletin was trying to make a bad story even worse.

Screen shot 2016-01-18 at 9.23.37 AM

And it happened on the first day on the job for new editor Ben English.

But The Again …

During the week, we were again reminded of the dangers of talking about religion when on the turps.


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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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