Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Hypocrisy Hall of Fame’s special accolade, The Janus Two-Faced BUMM Award was up for grabs again this week, and two of the usual suspects stood out from our local mob of twicers. And one entry could be – literally – deadly.

Have you read about the latest asbestos scare in Townsville? Well, not in the Townsville Bulletin you haven’t, because what is left of the paper’s staff (another 17 sacked this week) has yet again been exposed to deadly asbestos dust. And News Ltd’s cavalier attitude to the potentially fatal situation may attract some official attention. If not, why not?

You may also recall The Magpie’s occasionally bestowed Janus Award, named for the two-faced Roman god. And the BUMM part of it stands for Barefaced Unmitigated Monstrous Mendacity – mendacity being the $50 word for untruthfulness. In other words, lying.

Mayor Mullet made a spectacular grab for the silverware this week with one of her most selective pieces of hypocritical grandstanding. But the current title holder, Lachlan ‘Harry Potter’ Heywood, editor of the Astonisher, wasn’t about relinquish the trophy he currently holds, and made two entries in the BUMM Award in an effort to keep it on his mantelpiece.

And the Dutch seemed to have overlooked the old saying that not every problem requires a regulation or law; you’ll never believe who they’re going to fine now.

If you’re the slightest bit interested in any of this little nest of trinkets, you can peruse the following at

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Like Robinson Crusoe coming across Friday’s footprint, The Magpie is delighted to learn he is not alone – there is another public voice raised against the unethical and downright dishonest behavior of the Daily Astonisher.

The Townsville Bulletin is lurching from ignominy to irrelevance at an ever-increasing pace – and has the plummeting readership and circulation numbers to prove it – but they steadfastly adhere to their unwritten slogan paraphrasing Dame Nellie Melba ‘ write ‘em muck, that’s all they understand’.  Proof follows.

In other matters, have we inadvertently discovered the real cause of violence on Via Vomitorium aka Flinders Street East? No, not booze, or drugs or the low IQ booze hounds (and houndettes) of our fair city, the answer is – well, you’ll never guess – so against your better instincts, you may have to read on.

And it’s time to stop Jumbo bashing – yep, Ewen Jones MP shows his humanitarian side.

And cartoonist Bentley believes there are some refugees just too-too, or at least tu-tu, eager to get to Townsville around about now, and take up Jumbo Jones' multi-cultural week exhortation to come and stay with us.

It’s all here at

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mayor Mullet does a Mal Brough with some third party urging in her continuing attack on TCC CEO Ray Burton. But has she been too clever by half?

One thing is for sure – Jenny Hill’s vaulting ego is bringing Townsville into disrepute big time.

Take time to consider the following statement. It’s an excerpt from an email sent by Ray Burton to councilors on Tuesday morning, an email replying to disparaging remarks from Moreton Bay mayor Allan Sutherland quoted in The Bulletin that morning.

Quote: ‘One thing is certain – my reputation has now been damaged to the point where I would have difficulty getting a job in any other local government, even if I wanted to.’ Unquote

What, The ‘Pie hears you ask, is that swishing sound? Folks, that’s the sound of Townsville City Council CEO Ray Burton starting to unlace the gloves he appears about to pull off.

This grubby tale of mayoral hubris and self-interest - more befitting of a suburban Labor branch back-biting power struggle than the community’s top civic body - deserves a mid-week Magpie, and it’s here at   

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vale Ron Hinds 1958-2012

It is with great sadness – and shock – that I learnt this morning of the sudden death of my mate Ron Hinds.

I am told that Ron, the principal of Hinds Lawyers in Walker Street, collapsed in his office this morning and despite desperate efforts to assist him, he died soon afterwards.

Ron, who was 54, underwent open-heart surgery last year, but he never let that slow him down or dim his generous nature and willingness to take the fight forward for his wide cross section of clients.

Indeed, Ron wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to his clients, many of whom he represented for no fee, explaining ‘Well, someone’s got to look after them’. Although universally respected and liked by those who knew him, it is fair to say that if any group was irritated and sometimes openly annoyed with Ron, it was the magistrates before whom he appeared – Ron was famous for not taking a backward step on behalf of those he represented, sometimes sailing close to the judicial wind when it came to his uncompromising advocacy. And that’s all to his credit, as far as I’m concerned. I reckon many a magistrate will be just as sad at as anyone with this news … Ron certainly livened up their sometimes humdrum days for them.

The tradition of Friday night social drinks at Ron’s offices opposite the courthouse attracted one of the most diverse crowds to gather in Townsville, truly a cross section of the good, the bad, the ugly, former clients, the rich and the poor alike, with many of his fellow professionals dropping by as well just plain old friends. These nights always featured lively conversation, lots of legal tall tales and constant laughter. To my knowledge, there was nary a cross word on any occasion, and these regular get-togethers never degenerated into mindless drink-a-thons, everyone was too busy with happy socializing.
Ron with his friend Carole Hart, with whom he swapped art. 

Ron, who was proudly indigenous, was a gentle, shambling ‘bear of a man’ and he came late to the law. He drove cabs in Townsville to put himself through law school – and even doing that, he frequently displayed that generosity of spirit, picking up friends in his mini-van taxi and refusing payment because they were his friends, and just as often, letting off the needy who couldn’t pay, which he usually did without anger and with his trademark understanding.

It is sadly ironic that Ron paid his way into the law by driving, but his surgery last year put an end to his driving, including long, regular hauls out west Mt Isa and Doomagee. That task over the past year had fallen to his close mate and professional colleague, barrister Mark ‘Sludge’ Donnelly, to whom I offer my sincere condolences.

So many people from so many walks of life will miss Ron – I certainly will - but we will be all happy to know that we shared in a life so well spent.

Vale, Ron.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mayor Mullet goes the big whinge and as a result, could now be in legal strife. And The Astonisher could be in the poo with her.

And that ‘secret’ report Mayor Mullet accused her CEO of withholding from her? A report that allegedly may have found the necessary savings to allow the populist promises of a fiscal incompetent to be passed by council?  The Magpie will tell you a few things that The Astonisher and cub reporter Anthony Simpleton won’t.

But ever worth a larf, the paper’s addled on-line presence raised a few chortles this week.

There were also a couple of great headlines over the last few days, and Bentley weighs in with one of his best biting cartoons ever, so it’s a mixed bag in this week’s nest at www.townsvillemagpie     

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Mullet does Malta – athletes in London apparently do each other (but safely) – and the latest lamentable chapter in the Townsville Bulletin’s history of hypocrisy.

The Mullet grabs a quick holiday in her ancestral homeland, and she can thank Anna Bligh for the extra costs incurred to have a well deserved break.

And, are you starting to think that some of the world’s star athletes in the London Olympics are looking a bit shagged? That may well be because that’s exactly what they may have been before they reach the public field of battle – shagged in its lusty sense. The ‘Pie reports on a clever and humorous marketing coup – and astounding product generosity - by Games sponsor Durex, the condom people. The company’s marketers realized early on that not all the tumbling and floor routines happen in the gymnastics hall. They figured that the greatest playing field of all was the Olympic village itself.

We also look at a couple of great headlines on another matter related to the big event.

Back home, it is Townsville Council budget day next Friday and  Mayor Mullet will be back in town, refreshed and ready to face reality, after a hurried break in Malta. The Magpie will scotch one rumor being put about that Jenny’s jaunt has further delayed the budget. Exactly the opposite is true.

And a rat’s tale – the tiresome art of the practical joke is unfortunately still alive here in the ‘Ville. Or is it? It’s all here in this week’s nest at