Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Fatman versus The Hatman – the battle for Kennedy that will almost certainly never happen. And the V8 SuperPests will entertain some of us this weekend, but it’s the financial finagling at the back of the garage that will get hearts racing.

Yup, it’s the Townsville Fibbing 400 that’s starting to create more friction than the tyres on the starting grid. Some are starting to ask what is the real extent to which we are being ripped off as a city.  Or, put somewhat poetically, while the boys behind the wheel make a dashing team,  it’s the men behind the deal who have our dosh and should come clean. (With apologies to all you poetry lovers out there in Vincent.)

Plus a look at that astounding moment when our Trade Minister stripped a gear and startled everybody into thinking he was having a grand mal seizure on camera when he was actually trying to err, well … sing. But The ‘Pie reckons Craig Emerson has a reason for making us cringe … it’s a reason that has greatly exercised Bentley’s pen this week. It’s all here in the nest at

So, the man who wants to build a full-size replica of the Titanic says he will take on the man who talks about crocodiles in the ceiling while trying to make a point about global warming. Says it all really.

 For those who like their politics on the bizarre side, it’s been a good week, with Clive Palmer threatening to take on Bob Cut Snake Katter for the federal seat of Kennedy.  If that were to eventuate – it almost certainly won’t , surely? - what giddy delights lie in store for us, will political promises soar to new levels of largesse?. For instance, will Clive promise to build a replica of the Twin Towers in Cloncurry? And if he wins, will he give each and every voter – if not a Mercedes, as he did for his Yabulu staff – maybe at least a ride-on mower?

Or will Bob rise to the challenge, scowling, gurgling, squeaking off the upper register and tee-heeing his way back into parliament for another term of, in his own words, achieving absolutely bloody nothing for his constituents. If the US Republicans of the 1920s could promise a chicken in every pot, surely Bob could at least pledge a crocodile in every ceiling. The ‘Pie is agog at the possibilities.

Agog is the world for a national WTF moment when Trade Minister Craig Emerson became the latest victim of that strange political malady dubbed Singing Syndrome. The government front bencher came out with a buttock clencher when he  had a brain fade during a door stop interview about the carbon tax, warbling on about ‘no Whyalla wipeout, there on my TV’  This was a reference to Wingnut Abbott’s  2011 comments that the carbon tax would turn the South Australian industrial city into a ghost town.  Watch it here if you must, it's the best plot discard of the year. Well, at least the Brisbane bogans of Logan City – which makes up most of Emerson’s electorate of Rankin – probably liked it ‘Geez, Darlene, he can sing a bit, like, can’t he darl? Yairs, Jason … a bit, I s’pose but nice hairdo, ya know, just sayin’’.

But adding insult to ear and eye injury, here’s a less than amusing fact. This infantile song and dance man had personal reason to let himself go. He had  just enjoyed the bipartisan pay rise the pollies have so generously awarded themselves. Being a frontbencher Dr (Dr? Good grief!) Emerson is earning better than $50,000 more than he did this time last year.  In case you missed it, see if you can actually believe the gruesome numbers we now fork out for the Canberra circus, as reported by Fairfax..
The independently administered Remuneration Tribunal approved the pay increases in March, with the new salary scheme kicking in last Sunday.
The increase means a backbencher will get an extra $106 a week, taking their salary to $190,550.
Combined with the massive pay rise MPs received in March, the annual salary of a backbencher has increased by $49,640 compared with a year ago – about $1000 a week.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard's salary rises by $14,430 to $495,430, meaning she is earning a whopping $129,064 more than she was a year ago – or almost $2500 extra a week. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott receives a $10,267 increase, taking his annual salary to $352,517.
Mr Abbott is an impressive $91,834, or $1766 a week, better off than he was year ago.’

Bentley for one has had a gutful.

In the usual smoke and mirrors spin, the politicians are telling us that, well, gosh, we didn’t decide how much of a raise we should get, it’s an independent tribunal. Perhaps, but you could’ve declined to accept this wholly inappropriate cash grab, as suggested by Senators Xenophon and Milne. The percentage rise of three per cent is twice what the proletariat can expect.

And in a final finger to the electorate, note when the new pay scale kicked in -  yes, last Sunday, the same day that the swindling carbon tax came into effect, the real pain of which won’t be felt by we the great unwashed for weeks or months yet.

Speaking of a different sort of magical maths, the V8 SuperPests are in town again. Now The ‘Pie is indifferent to the event itself, and if that’s where a big chunk of folks get their jollies, goodo.  But this event always brings on a bout of number fudging that beggars belief. Including just how big a chunk of folks are involved, and how much of their hard-earned is spent to the economic benefit of the town.
Off-track, the Townsville Fibbibg 400?

There is an absurd projection of an injection of $18 million into the Townsville economy over the three day program, a scheme worked out on guidelines from a mob of boofademics and acadills at JCU. First, let’s take the hoped-for 150,000 who will watch the cars over the three days. It is agreed that actually is, for purposes of economic forecasting, about 50,000 attending all or most of the days. Under this formula, every man, woman and child will be forking out $360 to the benefit of the good business burghers of Townsville.

Not true. Even if the unlikely circumstance of all the kids in the family having $360 to splash about, very little of it is left over when tickets are paid for 
The V8s Tony Cochrane
(which goes to event organiser and owner Tony Cochrane), when merchandise so beloved of this particular species of camp follower is bought (merchandise and merchants licensed by Tony Cochran) and the monumental rip-off prices of food and booze are gouged (all are outlets from out of town and licensed by guess who). Maybe a local few restaurants and bars will do ok after hours, but they’re full on regular Friday and Saturday nights anyway.

Now, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong about this massive money-making machine, that’s business, rip-off prices or no. 

But what is wrong are the outright porkies used to disguise the true nature of the matter.

The SuperPests create no meaningful local employment before, during or after their annual little earner up this way, all the track and stand construction labour travels around the country with the motorised sideshow, most of the mountains of money the event generates are jealously and quite forcefully quarantined from the town businesses, and as far as The Bulletin is concerned, its just all froth and bubble trotted out under pressure from major advertisers who have a vested interest in ballyhooing the mirage of benefits to Townsville.

But still, all that would just be fromage of the stiff variety but for the fact that as wonderfully financially succcessful all this is for Mr Cochrane, the ratepayers of a cash-strapped Townsville and the put-upon taxpayers of Queensland are subsiding an already hugely profitable event. To the tune of one million smackerooneys for each and every day the event is run.

Here are the simple maths. The state government ponies uo $12.5 million over the five years of the Townsville contract. The Townsville City Council antes up another $2.5 million over the same period, for a grand subsidy total of $15 million. Three days a year  by five years equals 15 days, which divided into $15 million comes out at a million bucks a day.

But we, the ratepayers and taxpayers, have actually built the track, so why isn't Mr C paying rent to pop along and make a couple of lazy personal million over the weekend?

As the V8s bête noire Mike Shearer points out, when the Moscow Circus comes to town, the owners don’t demand that the locals provide and put up their tent.

So the Fibbibg 400 it is.

Just saying, ya know.

Enough now, it is off to Poseurs’ Bar, where The ‘Pie will inquire if Mongrel the Barrister is still barred. Last week, our rough diamond attracted the displeasure of the management after a typical less-than-subtle bit of tomfoolery. Seems after he had shared a few drinks with a lass he was chatting up, he convinced her he could tell what day she was born by feeling her …  errr … breasts. She had just enough booze on board to agree to this challenge, but after a minute or so, became a little impatient and asked ‘Well, do you know what day I was born yet?’ To which Mongrel replied, ‘Yeah – yesterday, hur hur hur.’

Shame she was the publican's daughter. Mongrel will probably get back in around Christmas.





  2. Recent comment: If it is so successful then why do they take rate payers money? and this.. "Once again, if the race is so successful, why is it necessary for the TCC and State government to fund it in part? There is no doubt that the event fits Townsville well but this mentality of demanding ratepayers and taxpayers to put money up so both V8 Supercars Australia and local business can turn a profit just has to stop. Let the event stand on it's own feet. Rates paid to the TCC should not be used in this way."

  3. With all this politically drunkeness going on during the V8's I think it's time to say to you Pie, keep up the good work.