Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mooney and The Mullet: a heartwarming tale of friendship restored? Plus why the new boss at Townsville Enterprise is off the Christmas list of some big business boys.

We also look at the latest from the Nanny State, which now wants to ban a whole lexicon of 'upsetting' words that teachers can use in front of kiddiewinks … one is the word ‘birthday’.

The Magpie has a different angle on the fuss over the scrapping of the Premier’s Literary Awards, and resident doodler Bentley laments a depleted field in Townsville’ mayoral race, all here in the nest at 

Our boy Bentley was mightily chuffed when he was led to believe that radio babbler Steve Schnozzle Price had decided to ramp up his occasional interest in local politics and join the mayoral race. 

Alas, it wasn’t to be. 

In a carefully and cleverly worded poster plastered up around town, (complete with a pic of Pricey that would alarm small children) the veiled suggestion of running for mayor was merely a timely promo for his popular brekky show. It is an open secret that several Walker Street wannnabees have over the years approached Pricey to come on board, all such requests politely declined. He probably couldn’t afford the pay cut.

But Bentley was taken in by the radio station’s cunning plan, and was devastated when he learned that alas, it was not to be. He firmly believes it was a missed opportunity. 

So Schnozzle remains on the sidelines, as does Tony His Radiance Mooney, but in the latter’s case, he is proof that you can take the boy out of politics, but you can’t take the politics out of the boy.

To use the colorful expression of an old mate, His Radiance is like a retired fire engine horse who races to the fence gate when he hears the fire bell ring. (The mate is verrry old – obviously).

The ‘Pie was assailed with several breathless communications down the MagpieFone this week that our erstwhile mayor - now a mining executive - had stepped in to run the Moaning Mullet’s somewhat discombobulated mayoral campaign.

The truth turns out to be somewhat less dramatic.

Tony Mooney is nothing if not loyal to his battered and besieged Labor party, and has agreed to give The Mullet the odd bit of expert advice when asked. And she has been asking plenty of her old adversary on whom she often (unsuccessfully) went for the Christmas Hold when they were one and two in Walker Street. (Dear Mystified of Mysterton – Christmas Hold=handful of nuts, you work it out from there.) No pals they, but His Radiance is proof that Labor blood is thicker than the chardonnay that packed the council fridges for apr├Ęs council drinkies.

And His Radiance isn’t the only one coming to the aid of this hard-running independent candidate.  A couple of former Craig Wallace staffers, who because of recent events suddenly found themselves standing around with their thumbs up their bums, have shyly put in their hands to get their gal across the line. 

Most senior of these is one Dan McMillan. Funnily enough, he is a paid-up member of the Labor Party, so it behooves we, the great unwashed, to praise him for his selfless offer to help an innocent independent.

Only cynics and blogging scum would suggest that it is also because the ALP in Brisbane is so desperate to have a toehold, even a gnat’s dick hold, in their former NQ  stronghold of Townsville, that there may even be some back-channel dough coming to help The Mullet’s campaign.

Of course, none of that would come from the Railway Estate branch’s $20,000+ piggy bank, would it, where The Mullet is the big cheese? (She remains a Labor member, but, look, she really IS an independent.)  Normally that would be a big no-no, smack hand, naughty girl, for a candidate not offcially endorsed by the party. But if perchance any of this moola should somehow legitimately drop into the Mullet’s campaign purse, it would be the supreme irony – and the greatest demonstration of Tony Mooney’s admirable fealty to Labor.

You see, when His Radiance was having a tilt at the federal seat of Herbert against the eventual winner Ewen Jones , a Railway Estate branch meeting raised the motion that they give Mooney two or three grand towards his campaign. In a fiery nay motion, The Mullet managed to defeat the idea of giving any dosh to her loathed enemy. That little piece of prettiness – or should that be pettiness – prompted the angry and indignant resignation of one of the party’s longest standing members.  So The Mullet carried the day, but this and other manouverings - like going independent -  has got a lot of Labor folk offside.

So if nothing else, His Radiance has certainly shown his party loyalty and his ability to rise above past matters. Why, at Michel’s the other day, he even had a cordial conversation with The Magpie, the first words exchanged in six years – you could’ve knocked the old bird over with one of his own tail feathers. Mind you, it was a bit hard to hear him at times over the continual bellowing of his lunch mate, Big Bazza The Bazooka Taylor.

But is this a double-edged sword?

Come to think of it, given the above, could this be the Revenge of His Radiance?

You see, Ms Hill has been at obvious pains to try to distance herself from the toxic Labor brand.

In one of the more risible bits of Pinocchio politics – which has fooled no one – Jenny , having sniffed the political wind a few months ago, suddenly declared herself an independent, free of the shackles of party politics at the local government level.  After 30 or more years of Labor drudgery and half a dozen unsuccessful campaigns at state and federal level, it was so refreshingly innocent to be liberated from the party diktat, she could have donned a pinafore and gamboled and spun ecstatically across Castle Hill warbling that ‘the hills are alive with the sound of mucus’. 

Indeed, when divisional elections were announced, she boldly declared - in the Daily Astonisher, so most would have missed it - that people should move away from the ‘team mentality‘ for the council.  (Townsville Bulletin, September 27, 2011.)

So what was her next move?

In yet another cunning plan that Baldrick would’ve killed for, The Mullet immediately started recruiting for and promoting -ta da - Team Mullet!! Well, officially it is known as Team Hill, 

And, alas, it’s been … well … uphill ever since.

Dough has been hard to come by, and The Mullet has had to dig into her own considerable resources (she ain’t exactly , or even close to being, a battler) to fund her - so far – entertainingly goofy campaign.

A digression: yes, fair enough, all the mayoral campaigns have been a bit like a mad woman’s breakfast, but The ‘Pie will get around to the others in good time.

But let’s have a look at a few of these Team Hill independents who apparently loath party affiliations and thus meet the high standards of impartiality demanded by Madam Mullet.

For instance, in Division 2, we have the harmless , perhaps gormless but not necessarily deserving Alec McConnell, a low - level staffer in various Labor offices around the place and formerly a pest in university politics (well, yes, they all are, but really …) He’s been bumped up the queue of those who reckon its their turn, but as far as The Magpie knows, our Alec  has never had a real job in his life and his understanding of local issues would be perceived through the pink-tinted glasses supplied to him buy his of his party affiliates.

In Division 3, The Mullet is represented by one Vicki Salisbury, an ‘artiste’ with a good set of lungs (as in singer, you grubs, get a grip) and basically a nice gal who runs the Umbrella  Gallery across from the Newmarket Hotel. She’s a former Labor gal, which is handy in a job where you’ve always got your hand out for public money.

In Division 4, we have one Belinda Brodie-Jacklyn, who, without the apparently recently obtained Brodie, is either a current or former member of the ALP. And The ‘Pie could be wrong about this, but she is also a TCC  public servant - in the legal area? (If true, she could have some nice morning smoko chats with Jeff Jimmieson’s missus, whom The ‘Pie is told is in charge of the leasing of event sites under the council’s control– now that’s seems handy).

In Division 9, we have Colleen Doyle, a party member who, according The ’Pie’s info, is unfinancial just now, but her heart no doubt belongs to the party.

In Division 10, Team Mullet’s Les ‘Messagebank’ Walker is a former Labor councilor, famed for his inability to take or return phone calls. A former prison warder, pizza shop owner and union heavy Les was and is, in The Pie’s wild guess, still involved with Labor. 

Division 8 is also worth a mention, because here, Jenny’s chosen one is Adrienne Isnard, who may or may not be a Labor member. But at a good guess, she is a party gal, having been on the public tit so long – mostly under His Radiance’s rule.
'Look into my eyes, you getting sleepy - and it would really help if you stopped giggling!'

But Ms Isnard does bring a refreshing personality trait to the fray.

She is, or tries to be … ready … a hypnotist.

But this is not surprising really, it follows a well established political practice, whose greatest exponent was – who else but Mike ‘Capt Snooze’ Reynolds. He regularly sent people to dreamland while they were waiting for the answer to a simple question: 

Q: ‘What day is it?’
A: “ First let me say this, and if I may so, I am a proud Queenslander. I am also The Speaker of the House, and incidentally, when I remember it, the Member for …ummm … give me a sec …. ah, yes …Townsville, umm, yes that’s right. And it’s a pretty important position, Speaker, y’know. Like an Iced Vo-Vo, anyone? Err what was the question?
A: ‘…zzzz’. 

Adrienne no doubt hopes to spread her own sparkling handfuls of pixie dust in her gallop along the station platform trying to catch the local government gravy train.

All in all, a wonderful bunch to run our dynamic, thriving city, which, despite The Astonisher’s whinge-driven ‘shock-horror, buy our paper so you can feel shitty about yourselves’ agenda, is the best place in Australia to be right now.

It’s going to be fun for the next three weeks.

Fun isn’t the word associated right now with Dave ‘Daddy Warbucks’ Kippin, who is desperately trying to restore some relevance and profile to a shaky and demoralized Townsville Enterprise.
Or is it Daddy Warbucks?

 He’s been popping up in a compliant and uncritical media, with wish lists and some questionable claims of connection to some big projects. (Failed projects and ideas – the copperstring plan, new entertainment center etc - are left to the lesser Executive for Excuses and Director of Disappointments.)

Daddy Warbucks and Little Orphan Annie? Or a boardroom  exchange between David Kippin and Sandra Harding?

But our Dave became a little too enthusiastic in his thrusting for relevance a few weeks ago when he started blathering on about Townsville becoming a coal port. This raised an issue that, if it even happens, is years away and, The ‘Pie is told, is in the earliest of exploratory stages. But the media had a field day, and down at the ABC in particular, Paula The Mauler Tapiolas had a field day with callers the likes of the lady at Bushland Beach who didn't want coal dust on her washing. Err, madam, upwards of 15 uncovered trainloads of coal pass through Bushland Beach every day, which, having been treated with modern chemicals, not a whiff of coal dust anywhere.

All this attention to something in its tentative formative stage has really pissed off a few of the big boys in the relevant coal industries, bringing out as it did all the hysterical and misinformed comments from talkback callers and letter writers. The Magpie cannot confirm it, but he understands Daddy Warbucks has been told to pull his head in on the issue, and we haven’t heard a peep on the matter since then.

Might be better working on TEL’s membership, mate, which apparently continues its nosedive which started under your predecessor. Otherwise, the city council might start questioning why it gives TEL almost $800,000 a year of ratepayers money. It doesn’t seem that we the great unwashed are yet seeing much for your $240K annual salary.

Over in New York, wrestling with reality is also the problem. The excellent Huffington Post reports that exam papers for school students should not contain certain words – including dinosaurs, dancing and –WTF – birthdays. These are among words calculated to stir up nasty emotions in the kids. Read this prize-winning Nanny State lunacy here.

And on the state scene, the Brisbane Bantam Campbell Can Do Newman became no-can-do during the week, when he scrapped the Peter Beattie promotional vehicle, the Premier’s Literary Awards. With some justification, The Bantam made the move to show he was serious that savings big and small (the awards were less than $250K) would be made as promised. The predictable howls of indignation were immediate, and while regrettable, the move has signaled a determination to return to basics to repair the damage of Labor’s unwise largesse around the place. So if you go seeking this year’s winners of  the Premier’s Awards, no matter which bookseller you frequent, you will ultimately be in what this bookshop in Chinatown boldly proclaims.

Enough now, it is away to Poseuers’ Bar, where he will bebubble a suitable companion and test her reaction to certain words, among which will be birthday. And suit. 



  1. Paul Anderson of PimlicoApril 7, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    I'm kind of curious as to what's become of former councillors (and former councillor wannabes) like Jack Wilson, Terry Goldsworthy, Joanne Keune, etc, etc... They were so KEEN, once upon a time; Where Are They Now??

  2. LOVE THE COLUMNS YOU WRITE. Just one thing you failed to mention re the Mullet's campaign...she's using the blue and yellow colours of the successful LNP's State campaign and their slogan, except she's substituted the word State for reads "Let's get Townsville back on track". Now how about that for originality? There has to be some irony here?

  3. Well, Eagle Eye, fellow feathered friend, first of all congratulations on your appalling taste in columns. As for the colourful Mullet and her sloganeering, The 'Pie hears she had wanted to use the rather more pointed catch-phrase 'Let's Lead Townsville Up The Garden Path' but she discovered Jeff Jimmieson had already snaffled that one - and is living up to it.

    Even Dale Last's 'Townsville First' has its downside, with opponents easily swapping things to read 'Townsville First Dale Last'.
    As to the Mullet's colour scheme, The 'Pie is quite peeved by it, since the old bird has been a life-long and long suffering Parramatta Eels fan. But perhaps that's an omen - that Jenny will fare about as well as in her particular race as Parra will in the NRL.

  4. Paul, an appropriate question around Easter-time. Since The Mullet's own 'water into wine' trick of running as an independent, many of those you mention and several other surefire losers were left with nowhere to go - although several made pests of themselves asking to be on Jenny's Team Mullet.
    Perhaps the real answer is that ever since their beloved leader, His Radiance, was crucified at the last local government election (and also got nailed at a subsequent federal poll), they are all silently (thank God) awaiting a second coming, so His Radiance can lead then onto the paths of righteousness - and leftishness, centre righteuosness, socialist left-righteousness and so on.
    But, like Christian believeers, the Labor faithful and various hangers-on, will be waiting in vain ... their man, by his own words, is out of politics for good insofar as running as a candidate. Even his new mining mates won't be able to roll back the stone from his cosy and lucrative executive cave. As for arising, the only arising Tony is likely to do now will be to rise up to Yarrawonga, perhaps to sit on the right hand (side) of Fay Barker. A circumstance that may well make the pious Fragrant Fay take the Lord's name in vain.

  5. Always entertaining, Well done.