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The Magpie

Saturday, June 17th, 2017   |   176 comments

Townsville City Council Descends Into Chaos – A Key Appointee Walks Out Because Of ‘Toxic Atmosphere’.  

And all staff are emailed a voluntary redundancy offer and any remaining morale is snuffed out. Where to now, and why has this happened? The ‘Pie examines possible reasons.

Townsville drip feed – Anna Alphabet ‘s water promise that’s all steam – aka hot air The promise to ‘fix’ Townsville’s chronic water supply problem has descended into cheap politicking that is an insult to this city.

Also, have that lovable old lawyer Barry Taylor and former Bulletin editor Peter Typo Gleeson used a third party in an effort to achieve a long cherished goal … suing The Magpie for libel without having to face the witness box themselves? It sure looks likeit

And the Aussie newspaper that sparked international outrage by placing inappropriate ads next to the week’s most tragic story … but were they mistakes?

But first …,

A Classic Political Drip Feed

It is always mean spirited to say ‘I told you so’ but sometimes it cannot be avoided.

So it is with the Bulletin much trumpeted claim that Anna Palaszczuk was going to ‘fix’ Townsville water problems. Some fix. Big numbers are being twisted and molded to morph into the shape-shifting political landscape

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The Magpie predicted it would be A grade bullshit, and so it eventuated. All the premier has done is pledge $225million – it’s a bit much to say ‘allocate’ because it is over 4 years, for most of which she probably won’t be around – to fund an as yet to be determined ‘water security’ of unknown nature and cost,  with no timelines projected. The word ‘security’ leaves a lot of leeway, too. It is an election campaign promise, pure and simple, and is notable for lacking any sense of urgency or directive for the Water Task Force to speed up its leisurely pace of investigations (no wonder its initials are WTF).

This is the classic game-playing to stop the initial momentum of the Water For Townsville action group displaying any of the real community insistence that the matter be addressed promptly. That group now appears to be the pointless plaything of a few retired duffers who are fast going the way of that other high-pressure group, the Townsville Ratepayers Association.

Of course, this perfectly suits Mayor Mullet’s tactic of lots of talk disguised as achievement and progress, while she waits her chance for a shot at the Senate.. Bentley again nails it.

drip feed

Meanwhile, She Let’s The Council Go To Hell In A Handbasket

Two things were reported here during the week which you did not see elsewhere.

The first was the resignation of a key executive who had been head-hunted from WA. This from the rolling commentary last Thursday.

June 15, 2017 at 1:33 pm  (Edit)

A top Adele Young recruit to Townsville City Council marched out the offices yesterday. He will be paid out to the end of June.


Mike Schuman

Mike Schuman joined the council in February as its first Chief Information Officer, with responsibilities for covering customer and frontline officer mobility, digital enablement, front-of-house and BI solutions. The position reports to the CFO, and the function encompasses 111 staff. And no doubt a lot of other buzz words.

He formerly worked for the WA police and for Woodside.

Two weeks ago, The ‘Pie is told, Mr Schuman went to the mayor and Young and said he couldn’t work under the present ‘toxic’ atmosphere that had been created among staff, who were fighting among themselves because of the intimidation and fear created by the handling of the council restructure.

He was told his comments had been duly noted but yesterday, he abruptly departed, The Magpie informant says that the word has already gone out to the Australian IT community and it will now be hard for the council to find a replacement.

Unless of course Mayor Mullet mate that nice Mr Adani has a cousin to fill the spot on a 457 visa.

And then on Friday, the entire staff – office and outdoor – were emailed an offer of voluntary redundancy.

Again, how comments reported it on Friday (edited for length).

townsville logo

Interested Observer June 16, 2017 at 2:50 pm  (Edit)

The word coming out of the City Council today is that every single employee has received an email and has been offered redundancy. It seems this whole restructuring of the council is clearly not about streamlining the organisation. It’s just about numbers.

Didn’t the CEO tell us there was an imbalance between office staff and field staff and the office staff had to go. Now it’s all in and anyone from parks, maintainance, waste or anywhere else can go if they like. If enough of the field staff take the offer does the CEO go back and sack a few more from the office staff to get this bullshit balance.

Add to that if you have more than four weeks leave the Mullet and her mate have offered to pay out any excess in cash with 27% loading. 10% more than the standard 17%.

This council has paid out an absolute fortune in redundancies. There can’t possibly any savings from the sackings so far. The end result of this chronic mismanagement is the mayor has been forced to borrow more money to pay wages. The cupboard is bare.

Is there going to be anybody left to run this city. Where is the Townsville Bulletin in all this? No where to be found. The Mullet has become the councils version of Clive Palmer and not a word from Ben Bogan and the rag.

To which this reply was posted.

  • Waz CEOC number 1 June 16, 2017 at 4:22 pm(Edit)
  • Word travels fast on this blog. Well I shortened my name as I’m now former employee of the council. Interested observer must know someone in council because this email was released today. I’m taking the money and running. 21yrs and 86000 dollars of all of your rates paid to me. Thank you Townsville! Good luck with the fuck wits you voted in. I must say though it was nice to see people who worked in the council who surrounded mullet like a bad smell giving her information before the election to beat Arlett are now gone. I laughed very hard as they pulled the knives out of there back as they walked out the door.
Yeah it’s not nice to put people down when they are suffering but to the idiots who sucked up to the Mullets, you have helped destroy a great employment supplier in North Queensland. Even the workshop apprenticeship numbers have been hacked apart. What future has this council got if we aren’t employing younger people to continue our work.
Hill is a vote chasing succubus.. Do you realize that you not just let her sack 300+ people out of a job but also put pressure on the rest of the family they come from. Not many people who have been made redundant are less than 30yrs of age without kids and a mortgage. This has a flow on effect with everything they spent money on.
 As for front line employees not being sacked well the next option that has been talked about is full contracted services. Think you’re paying too much at the tip – wait until she sells that off. Rubbish collection gone, and the best will be when she let’s water go (if the dam was full) along with sewage. Your household budget will be destroyed..
I won’t say suck eggs. Townsville because I grew up here and love the city but I’m going somewhere where I know that developments like the Gleason project won’t be rejected by half wits and Labour. Enjoy your smaller stadium and new beachfront behind the dam wall. Can anyone list her achievements?


The ‘Pie was subsequently informed yesterday of this detail. “Source at TCC tells me redundancies are open to anyone to apply but they’re only looking for 18 more to achieve desired reduction of 144, and they’re not accepting applications from those deemed necessary. He also confirmed the leave loading boost on cached in annual leave but said it’s only on annual leave and one time offer for 1 week only.”

That’s a great way to handle a situation. What if everyone applied for redundancy? Then CEO Young would have to choose who stays and who goes rather a universal offer. She obviously hasn’t the confidence … indeed, guts … to act like an executive in charge of her agenda, and make the hard choices.

No doubt many she will direct to stay in her dragon’s den actually want out. Great way to run a city … into the ground.

So What Did The Bulletin – Our Community Opinion Shaper And Leader Of Civic Debate – Have To Say About All This?

Short answer – nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a dicky bird. At any time.

The ‘Pie is not joking when he says many readers here were waiting to see what the paper would report on these matters. After all, the loss of a top executive because of what he describes as a toxic atmosphere among council staff, and then what on the face of it could be a financially debilitating redundancy offer from the CEO, would surely be the stuff of a screaming from page. And it’s not as though they could’ve missed it The email was sent on Friday and revealed early afternoon on this blog, plus The Magpie’s Facebook and Twitter account. All of which are monitored by the Bulletin.

Well, we got the screaming front page, but it wasn’t about this matter.


So if they knew about it, did they choose to ignore it, or were their inquiries fobbed off with an oily suggestion that The Magpie is a tosser who makes things up’.? Either way, they were MIA.


Iditor Ben Bogan English Declares He Is An Important Person – Indeed Very Important.

He was described in the paper as a VIP guests at some bang-bangs up on high range.  But it would seem his importance has its limits within the confines of the Bulletin office.

Since modern newspapers were created, editors have jealously guarded their two most important pages from the invasion of too many ads … those being pages 2 and 3, always the most viewed for the leading stories. But it would seem Bogan is an irrelevance to the real masters of the Bulletin. This was the unprecedented offering on Friday pages 2 and 3.

Page 2 and 3 friday adverorial

But hey, it seems to be a News Corpse thing, and Typo Gleeson is held in even lower regard down at his Sunday Mail. This is what we got from him as a hard hitting front page last Sunday.

Screen shot 2017-06-17 at 10.56.41 PM

They seem to realize that front pages are supposed to entice readers to buy the paper. Paying money for ads is pointless if you don’t have people read them.

Not rocket science is it?

Was This A Mistake Or Appalling Bad Taste?

Ads have always been the bane of layout editors. Back in the 1950s, a London daily was ostracized when it’s from page story about two nuns being raped and butchered by Mau Mau terrorists in Kenya was beside a front page ad for popular Three Nuns tobacco, whose slogan was ‘I prefer Three Nuns’.

Well, this is worse. From Thursday’s West Australian,

Screen shot 2017-06-17 at 11.05.47 PM

Making it worse still, there are not one but two advertisements that are in appalling taste. This was on the opposite page.

Screen shot 2017-06-17 at 11.07.17 PM

But there is another question mark here. The one selling cremation services is from a company with a notorious irreverent humour about choosing to be cremated. Surely this could not have been purposely contrived. Could it

The Poms are distinctly not amused … and neither is The Magpie.

It Appears The Dies Irae – the Days of Wrath – Have Arrived.

Well, they has for Rabeah Kraymen, Barry Taylor and Mr and Mrs Typo Gleeson.

Last week, The ‘Pie told you that Big Bazza Taylor had two new colorful clients … you can now make that three – Rabeah Krayem. He has sooled his Emanate Legal partner Venesa Gleeson onto The ‘Pie, representing Krayem. Seems the Rabster is a tad upset with a number of mentions he has received in this blog, indeed he is even claiming he is a bit of a laughing stock around town and has been belittled socially. Cripes, didn’t know The Magpie was so widely read, let alone influential in shaping opinion. Maybe he was just reflecting opinion?

But let’s join a few dots here … a lot of this may only be coincidence but you be the judge.

The matters complained of go back only a year or so, and the Rabster’s claim only thudded onto the doorstep last weekend. The reason for the delay seemed strange until we got to the final page of the letter of demand.. where we read ‘Damages: Further Having regard to Krayem’s personal and business reputation, the gravity of the allegations made, and the publicity given, Krayem is clearly entitled to substantial compensation as well as a published apology. To this end, the quantum of damages are in the order of $107,000.’

Heh heh heh, nice one Bazza, Typo (oh yes, Typo is in there too, he’s always been on at Bazza to sue the old bird, with Bazza resolutely (and smartly) declining to do so on the sensible grounds that The ‘Pie has no money. Now they are laboring under the delusion that The ‘Pie is flush with funds, but that is their rror, so don’t tell ‘em.

The letter arrived last Monday, June 12. Talk about coincidences … It just happens that this is just a day after Typo and his missus were spied visiting this house in Noosa.

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Screen shot 2017-06-17 at 11.16.56 PM

Now it’s been suggested this could be Bazza’s $10 million pad he purchased 8 or 9 years ago. Story is he actually tore down the property and rebuilt. The odds are that it is his place, since Typo and missus wouldn’t be in Noosa without seeing his old punting mate and her boss. But even if that isn’t the, the Gleesons were there in Noosa on Sunday, June 11, so The ‘Pie is surmising that somehwhere that day there was a war council, giving the green light to service of the letter of demand. Now The ‘Pie could be wrong, but one would seriously doubt that Rabeah Krayem would embark on such a fruitless enterprise AND choose the gouging charges that Barry is famous for.

So The ‘Pie must confess to admiration at the subtlety of the action … subtle as a grenade in a bowl of porridge.

This is where things become somewhat circular, so a bit of background. In order, The Magpie has a mild altercation with a neighbour, is put on good behavioud bond, Astonisher prints a reasonably accurate account of the court proceedings, which is then passed on to the Australian columnist Sharri Markson– there is every good reason to believe it was passed on by Peter Gleeson. The giveaway is his enmity for his constant critic The ‘Pie, which has led him into the error of making an untrue and spiteful embellishment to the original story. The ‘Pie sues, goes through an hilarious Supreme Court trial (a full account at a later date) and wins damages of $107,000, which after churlish and petty delays, is paid into the solicitors trust account.

Note the amount. There’s another coincidence, it’s exactly the same as Bazza and Mrs Gleeson want for their long time pal, Rabeah.

And what a coincidence that Mrs Gleeson was tapped to handle the matter. It is not unfair to believe this appointment may go some way to buffering Peter Gleeson from Holt’s Street’s wrath when his little attempt at spiteful payback cost News close to a million dollars for a legal marathon. But she’s probably doing it pro bono anyway for the foregoing reason.

Now it is certain that Bazza know a thing or two about charging – scrub bulls have frequently been mentioned in this regard and even led to the Bulletin to dispensing with his services many years ago. So he would know better than most that The ‘Pie did not receive that stated amount of money, legal bills must be settled. So the words ‘in order of’ in the damages demand will allow the Rabster to be advised by Bazza of a revised amount, when he finds out how much The ‘Pie actually has. Or had.

Now, look, Baz, The Magpie doesn’t want to be unfriendly, but while he could tell you to the cent how much he has left, he isn’t going to. You’ll just have to spend some of Rabeah’s dough to find out.

And then it’ll be too late.

But look, tell you what, big fella. Let’s say as a gesture of goodwill – without any admissions and without prejudice – The ‘Pie agrees to pay your client on a pro rata basis equal to his News Ltd damages. Now let’s see, the nationally distributed Australian has a readership of 351,000 (more if you believe their own counting by emma but let’s not be too generous). Simple maths tell us that equates to $3.28 per thousand readers. The Magpie’s Nest on the other hand, has a measurable readership of around three thousand. Now, just to round things out and not tax anyone’s advanced mathematics here, The ‘Pie makes an unconditional offer to pay Rabeah $9.84 … ah, hang the expense, let’s sportingly round it up to a full ten bucks.

Awaiting your call.

Really They Are So Thoughtful

The fat-faced goof-off Damien Eales who rejoices in the title of News Chief Operating Orifice – err sorry, Officer – has the smooth oiliness to buzz-talk us with a straight-face that News Contact Centres are being centralised ‘to serve our customers better … through consolidating teams, we can build scale and expertise.’ Always good for a laugh, ol’ goofball. Somehow he neglects to mention that in the initial Sydney-Melbourne ‘consolidation’, 120 jobs will be axed. Queensland (read ‘consolidated to Brisbane’) is next.

This is like the paedophile priest telling his young victims they should be happy with the fiddling ‘because they are being touched by the hand of God’.   Only in this case, News customers are being given a willy fluff by the withered hand of Rupert.

And Finally …

Recall any of the numerous times Jenny Hill and/or The Astonisher has described the new CBD stadium as ‘world class’? Well, here’s something they can read when they takes off the clown nose and polka dot suits.

One good idea there for us, though … Tottenham’s new stadium will in corporate its own microbrewery. So fitting our crime capital image, how about a meth lab for our new CBD entity?

cremation ad

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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