Saturday, March 10, 2012

Now there doesn’t seem to be any doubt - Craig Cuddlepie Wallace wants to lose this election. And for good reason.

You’d be excused for believing that Cuddlepie is vying for a spot on the Olympic gymnastics team.  Although we have been spared the spectacle of the Minister for Mean Roads donning some frilly-hemmed powder-blue  lycra outfits from an Olga Corbett garage sale, the breath-taking back-flipping, running and tumbling this week would make him a shoo-in for London.

The ‘Pie will explain why there are compelling financial arguments and compelling evidence that he wants out.

On the local front, there is a completely overlooked factor in all the financial flapdoodle about Townsville’s proposed combined entertainment/basketball/rugby league/CWA Bake-off Kitchen/Thread and Thimble Club crocheting rooms and Convention Centre. There’s one player who hasn’t been mentioned, but who could hold the key to the whole project’s viability.

And in the latest Nanny State files, the rule that says – this is true, you can read about it - British emergency workers can’t work in water more than ankle deep resulted in more than a dozen 'emergency workers' standing by watching a man drown in a metre-deep pond of still water. (No kidding).

And the Aussie wuss who has beaten whingeing Poms at their own game – all the way to the European Courts. It’s all here in this week’s nest at

Can there be any other explanation? Craig Cuddlepie Wallace is showing every indication that he wants out, he doesn’t want to retain his seat of Thuringowa. If he does get up and beat the LNP’s Sam Cox - it is 50/50 at the moment - he will suddenly be at best a shadow minister (no guarantees there either) or at worst a humble (?) backbencher in opposition. The financial difference would be tremendous. If he loses, he’ll cop the best part of $110,000+ a year for the rest of his life.

Craig has never been in opposition in any political sphere, and the transition would be shattering – he would probably struggle to come to terms with the reality that losers don’t legislate. Hmm, but then again, he’s done bugger all since he’s been a minister – oh, sorry, yes he has – he’s buggered up everything he’s touched, just ask Gladstone, or anyone driving the Bruce. Or anyone who lives in Townsville.

Perhaps what he is really trying to avoid is an embarrassing and transparently self-serving resignation, six to nine months into the new parliamentary term.
Cuddlepie Wallace on the campaign trail.

So just why does The Magpie sniff a self-nobbled candidate in Cuddlepie?

First, for years, our boy was His Radiance Mayor Mooney’s numbers man (and a bloody good one, too) who had an uncanny skill at sniffing out the electorate’s mood. Given that, The ‘Pie cannot see that recent events have been an accident, and his apparent bumbling on a couple of key issues is a sham.

Here’s some of the record:

Last year, Herbert LNP MP Ewen Jones started the bandwagon rolling even before he himself was elected, pushing for an end to the idiocy of the regular flooding of Blakey’s Crossing.

Shortly after Jones was elected, Julia Gillard announced a $150 million boost to road funding, so Jones wrote to Cuddlepie, seeking some of that money be made available to the state to fix Blakey’s Crossing.

Wallace replied with a flat no, starting a recurrent theme in his thinking – he wanted to play the Labor card at all times and on all issues against the local council, which apart from The Moaning Mullet, was apolitical. (The ALP was and is still smarting at the smacking Mooney got in the amalgamation election). Cuddlepie insisted that the ratepayers pony up for it.

But further down the track, Cuddlepie did announce that he would stump up $12 million for the job, and that the ratepayers of Townsville, via the council, would have to provide the other $12 million for the $24 million project. He said at the time that the ratepayers had an obligation to do so.

So come the election campaign, and Cuddlepie was allowed by Blight to throw in a further $8 million, making it $20 million for the job. At this stage, a smart pollie in a close election campaign would leave any comment about the outstanding $4 million in an easily constructed ambiguous limbo.

Not our boy.

He went out of his way to put his view that the ratepayers should come up with the shortfall. The tone was almost indignant, and smacked of the suggestion that Townsville ratepayers were shirkers trying to bludge of the government. It can only be assumed that he was aiming at the council for petty political reasons. But, using the unpleasant terminology ‘well, duh’,  the council gets its money from the ratepayers who are also his constituents. 

So he effectively blew his foot off on that one.

Then the Brisbane Bantam, Campbell Newman,  suddenly graces us with his presence and blithely trumps everyone with a promise to pony up the whole $24 million- direct to the council so work can start pretty quickly – plus a further $10 million to do an upgrade to vital Woolcock St intersections. Newman put it in such straightforward terms which he would find very hard to wriggle out of.

But, lore lumee , if Cuddlepie doesn’t find it necessary to poo-poo the announcement by saying that the ratepayers should pay a share.
A none-too-subtle pattern was emerging, which wasn’t missed by Wallace’s betters down south.

So on Thursday, Cuddlepie, scuffing the ground with his foot, and swinging from side to side trying to fight back a petulant tear, he told us  there would be funds forthcoming for Blakey’s, plus several other roads across the city and traffic light upgrades – BUT this money would come only if Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan agreed to re-allocate $47 million in commonwealth funds earmarked for the visionary convention/entertainment/stadium complex in South Townsville.

It appears Cuddlepie, who is anything but a dill when it comes to self-preservation, realized some time ago that Labor was well and truly on the hooter, so he started to lay the foundations for this current losing maneuver some time ago.

Like unsuccessfully trying to bully the council into putting up $30 million share for the risible Cruise Ship Terminal – look, even among the involved players, it is known as the Grey Ship Wharf, designed mainly for navy vessels. Cruise ships are worth sod all to this economy, despite what the layabout urgers of Townsville Enterprise try to conjure out of imaginary figures. 

The much maligned Mayor Les Tyrell and crew quite rightly refused to be badgered into putting up ratepayers dough (apart from some minor road works) for a scheme to be built on government land over which the council had no control, and which could be sold off - with no recompense to the ratepayers - at any time under Blight’s asset sales agenda. 

It was an unsuccessful finger to the ratepayers, but an impost which was , at the time, heartily endorsed and urged by Cuddlepie Wallace.  That is not to mention that a ratepayers contribution was also noisily backed by that self-appointed and self-styled leader of local opinion The Townsville Bulletin.

All this because Labor continued to boo-hoo about Tony Mooney’s demise. A political mate’s payback that would have been at the expense of the ordinary ratepayer.

That’s not all, there has been some outright fibbing about funding figures, but that’s enough for now.

So to make sure justice is done, The Magpie urges you to vote for Cuddlepie come the day. Sam Cox would be a better and more honest member, but The ‘Pie would prefer that justice was done and Cuddlepie get his comeuppance by being re-elected.

And just a quick reference back to that stadium/entertainment complex. Everybody’s going the three-way polka of council, state and Canberra each putting up $47 million. 

But here’s the thing. No one has mentioned that in the Blight scramble and rush to sell off state assets, everyone seems to have ignored a small detail. In the deal to privatise part of the rail network, the South Townsville railway yards, arguably one of the most valuable sites in Queensland, were sold over to QR National, the private company that bought a major chunk of the state rail assets.

Now, as a private company, QR National is presumably not into doing deals for individual communities for no particular reason – and there’s no reason in a free market system with shareholders to consider why they should. So what price will they put on something they might not want to sell? Especially since they have such an excellent rental agreement with a client who operates business on the South Townsville land – that would be – ahem – Queensland State Rail.  

Start thinking eight, maybe even nine, figures. And if that sinks a worthy project, don't forget to send Anna a thank you note.

Couple of other quick looks from beyond our shores.

The word ‘nanny’ is meant to denote a caring, nurturing person who looks after little ones who can’t look after themselves. The Nanny State, on the other hand, can kill you – even when you’re a grown up. And it did in England recently, in one of the most disgraceful episodes imaginable. Read about it here.

But in England, there must be something in the air that affects gets even Aussies. One twerp we will no doubt be happy to disown is taking a local council to court for because his council workmates greeted him with Ozzie-isms such 'Gday sport'  and recurring suggestions that he ‘put another shrimp on the barbie’.  Our brave little man had his case chucked out of British courts, so now he's going to the European Court of Human Rights. Read the sensitive little petal's story, and although this was in Murdoch’s Sun, it sounds about right – The ‘Pie hasn’t had time to check the court records.

Enough, it is now away to Poseurs’ Bar, where he will be-bubble the night away before declaring to a suitable companion that he would like to retire early – no money involved and like, right now.



  2. why is anyone putting one cent more than normal Council maintenance into Blakeys Crossing when you could double lane the highway from the Bohle to Mather st for the same money?

  3. Re The Bulletin's court cock-up.
    The Attorney-General's Dept should have the relevant material by now (maybe not - the wheels of justice and all that) but don't expect anything too soon, these things can be dragged out by either party - AND don't expect to read about in The Bulletin unless the penalty includes a prominent apology in the paper. And it is unlikely that there will be any info about an almost certain financial settlement with the kid's distraught mum- unless forced to do so otherwise, the paper will insist on a confidentiality, non-disclosure agreement. Got to keep up appearances, you know, wouldn't be a good look for this hectoring triumph of News Ltd culture.

  4. Pie, you silly old feather duster another fantastic article, keep up the good work

  5. Pie, Great piece on the latest on the Queensland elections. A much different perspective than the mainstream media, and I never knew Townsville was such a political hotspot! Keep up the good work.