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     

It now appears to be official – Jenny The Moaning Mullet Hill has engaged the public relations firm Simpleton and Potter, to put her side of any story she may wish to fool the public about. The firm’s principals are Anthony Simpleton and Lachlan ‘Harry Potter’ Heywood.

The firm, with offices in Ogden Street is also known as The Townsville Bulletin, which Mayor Mullet has been – or so it would seem – an associate editor for a while now, such is the unbalanced and unquestioning tripe written about her unchallenged assertions. Her attempts at boosting herself as a master politician are dazzling examples of the ego rampant.

But this time, our gal may have gone one step too far in her relentless and underhand pursuit of council CEO Ray Burton. – and the Bulletin might go for a legal ‘burton ‘with her, if the matter follows a certain course.

 Mayor Mullet's agenda has been aimed at sacking Ray Burton and installing a more Mullet-malleable CEO, a development that you can bet your life will not occur under the current council.

Knowing full well that a majority of councilors would knock down her irresponsible promises (which they duly have done), The Mullet scurried off to the paper on the eve of the budget with the breathless news that that that nasty Burton person had sneakily withheld a vital report from her – vital because it showed how sufficient savings could be made by sacking about 270 council staff which would allow her opposed measures to be passed. In the process of making this desperate, unsubstantiated and – if Mr Burton so chooses to test it – libelous claim, The Mullet also basically alleged that the CEO was a liar when he denied any such withholding.

Bentley at his absolute best.

The clear inference was that The Mullet wanted the recommendations in this report, done by outside consultants, should be implemented.

Huh? Now just have a think about this.

Jenny Hill is and always has been a member of the Labor Party, a devious political manipulator in her own interests, and she has forever been simpering on about being the battler’s defender and champion. But here we have her, for reasons of pure ego and fiscal incompetence, trying to shore up her position – by sacking workers!! If ever anyone was driven by hubris, it would be she.

Haven't heard from the unions on this yet. 

But despite a clear statement from Mr Burton denying her allegations, (‘I am not a liar’ was a dignified and straightforward response) she decided to press on with her view that he was indeed a big fat fibber.  

Ray Burton
That was finally too much for the CEO, who is heartily fed up with such unfounded attacks on him and his senior staff. He has reported the matter to the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC). Anthony Simpleton continued in his role as The Mullet’s PR shill, selectively reporting all this but without, it would seem, the slightest attempt at background research (he’s getting quite a reputation for this modus operandi).

And then, The Astonisher's editor, Lachlan 'Harry Potter' Heywood, decided to mince on to the scene, letting go a mighty squeak, a thundering falsetto broadside that agreed, as always, with The Mullet’s view. In a possibly ill-advised conclusion, our boy indicated that no matter what the CMC decided, Burton was in the wrong. So much for the CMC.

Well, in the real world, if the CMC decides that Mr Burton did not withhold the document in an underhand or improper manner, The Magpie is advised he could well pursue the matter in the civil court, seeking damages for libel. And - in the highly unlikely case of this happening - The Bulletin and its boy editor would be co-defendants as the publisher of the damaging statements, compounded by Heywood’s open agreement with them.

But what of that report?

The truth is that this $50,000 report was commissioned by Mr Burton last year and was paid for with money allocated to his control for operating the council. That’s all above board in that department, and the council knew of the move last year, although it didn’t have to vote on it. The CEO had the right to seek such outside views.

But what you haven’t been told is that this report by a firm of Brisbane consultants was never supposed to be presented to council for consideration or comment – let alone voting on the contents - simply because under the rules of governance, it was none of their business. It was simply a tool for the CEO to get an alternative outside point of view and outline possible pathways to savings. There would have been no point in presenting it to council, because councilors have no say in the hiring and firing of council staff – that is delegated down from the CEO, and is dictated by the operational budget council gives him. That’s his job. So there was nothing to be withheld from council that they should have seen. That goes double for a belligerent, petulant and vindictive mayor who is going around the bend over the fickleness of the democratic process that sees her as a lame duck figurehead in a fully functioning council.

But certain elements of the report have been acted on by the council, when the CEO brought them forward individually for discussion and decision.  Much of this imbroglio is the complex wash-up of the forced amalgamation brought on by the lovely Peter Beattie.

And just before we leave this matter, a couple of  things.

The Magpie happily takes the occasion to congratulate those eight councilors who withstood several pathetic attempts at bullying and hectoring – publicly and privately – urging them to go back on their pledges to the people to oppose The Mullet’s populist nonsense. this was one tail that was not able to wag the dog.Anyone with any brains and a modicum of financial nous should be slapping these folk on the back, and not slapping them about the ears, as The Astonisher has already started to do.
les Messagebank Walker

And is there sad news out there for Labor councillor Les Messagebank Walker, former kids’ prison screw, pizza shop operator and union heavyweight? Poor bugger seems to have early onset dementia, or Old Timers Disease, because it appears his memory is failing him. During the budget discussions, he rose majestically and in a roaring, blinking admonishment, took the councillors to task for coming in with a deficit for each of the past four years – conveniently forgetting that four years ago, the council was down the deficit tube to the tune of $56 million. Irresonsible and incompetent was the gist of his tirade.

Oh dear, Les mate, you poor coot, loss of vital memory is a cruel blow. Or is The ‘Pie mistaken? Did he miss you ever rising to deliver the same forthright sentiments when you were part of Mooney’s Walkerr Street One Armed Aerobics Class – you easily could have for each and every year you were on council, for each and every one of those years featured an ever expanding deficit.  However, there may be an alternative clue to your bizarre behavior. The ‘Pie is unreliably informed that before each council meeting, you kiss Mayor Mullet on her cheeks – all four of them.

Other matters.

Two entries in the Best Headline of the Year category.

From the NT News in Darwin, we get the yarn about a local who ended up in hospital with painful burns to his buttular region. He was  tall tale-ing some visiting Queensland mates and decided to demonstrate the reputed toughness of the locals by letting of a firecracker while holding it in a non-traditional manner. The headline tells the tale ‘ Why I Stuck A Cracker Up My Clacker’.  If this is your go, read the story here.

And from England, a Daily Teleegraph headline that does what headlines are meant to do: give you enough salient facts to make you read the story. The ‘Pie defies you not to head for this link when you see the headline ‘Lady Funeral Director Groped By Embalmer’. There's obviously some jokes in their involving the word stiff - make 'em yourselves.

On the local front, the entirely unintentional fun came from a week-long series of bizarre cock-ups from the Bulletin’s on-line site.  News Ltd’s new head honcho Kim Williams has been wittering on about drastic changes needed to better serve the on-line presence of his newspapers. Well, it won’t come a moment too soon for The Astonisher. (And The ‘Pie prefaces the following with the genuine belief that all the cyber errors he mentions are not the product of ignorant journalists but of grossly over-worked scribes operating in an atmosphere of insecurity and anxiety about their jobs).

On Monday, everything was tickety-boo on-line,  (somewhere back there was a breathless story – this is true - where the headline did not entice one to read on, which essentially proclaimed ‘Dog Bites Cat’. Really? ) 

Anyway, come Tuesday, there was a bit of a whoopsie when all but two of that day’s yarns were repeats of the previous day. 

Things more or less got back on track Wednesday – except that is, for the thundering editorial spot.  

It was the one from the previous day.

In fact, that particular editorial aka Harry Potter’s Year 10 Essay of the Day, remained in the editorial spot right through to Friday.  But it disappeared on Saturday – and here, it appears congratulations are in order for Benny Vernon, who seems to have been elevated to the editor’s chair, because if you go to opinion on the menu bar, hit editorial, you get funnyman Ben’s column. Making this even more interesting was Ben’s ‘Rude Bloke’ headline ‘Dealing With The Witless’ that earns the Irony Award of the Week. 

But then, there’s not much difference between Ben and Lachlan Heywood – both are clowns but only one is intentionally so. When this hits the in-boxes, that matter will no doubt be rectified lickety split so have a quick gander now and see if you can catch it.

On Thursday, there was another deeply mysterious episode, and it wasn’t for the first time that a puzzling corrective formula was used.  

In a headline, the word was spelt ‘budgett’, a minor matter now so commonplace in this rag that it wasn’t going to even rate a mention. But in the comments from readers,  one said‘ Loved the typo in the headline’. 

Now this raises a couple of WTFs. 

Wouldn’t you normally reply to the reader, thanking them for the heads-up and correct the error? Why in God’s name would you publish the letter, AND then leave the mistake there?  But eventually, someone got around to dropping the  surplus ‘t’.  BUT they didn’t delete the email pointing out the mistake, so readers would be left fruitlessly searching for the now non-existent typo. If they could be bothered. 

You can get all this fun and hilarity and the full on-line Bulletin for a subscription of  $30 a month.

You can also subscribe on-line to one of the best and most meticulous newspapers in the world, the non-News Ltd New York Times, for $15 per month.  

As tiresome youth says ‘go figure’. 

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs’ Bar, to be-bubble some bright-eyed beauty, where the conversation may stray on to the subject of cock-ups, but it'll have bugger all to do with The Bulletin.




  1. Funny cartoons. Happy Birthday. Always entertaining. Pie, you should become a Melbourne intern. You know they're all slave houses and workers are always in the poo by Atil.

  2. I don't think many union members care what the Mullet has to say because none of it matters. She has no power, no say and by the look of it no respect for others and for obvious reason none returned. Good luck to her. You have to be careful for what you wish for, doesn't always work out the way you want it or try to manipulate it. Hahahaha. Ahh, the Moaning Mullet, ya gotta love it. Thanks Pie.

  3. I miss Typo's glitzy Gold Coast rants. Sighs. I miss seeing his baggy pants full half way down to his knees. I miss his pink shirts. It seems like he's still working in the office.

  4. Well as of Sunday morning nothing has changed re the Bulletin's on line news/story comments! It never ceases to amaze me how the paper can miss so many Townsville stories either in the Courier Mail or The Oz. Case in point this week's The Oz story re Clive Palmer's Queensland Nickel asking suppliers to cut their prices by 15% much like retailer Target did earlier this year. Fairly significant stuff and almost unheard of (I think) in heavy industry. Given the refinery is hostage to world market prices and Townsville's largest employer you'd think the Bully would be on to it - clearly they don't read their own Murdoch papers!

    1. Not to mention Clive's 'tacky' taste in theme parks eg. The Sunshine Coast casino and international airport. What a shame and oh, how high it will be.

  5. All executive staff changes, including structural ones, have be adopted at a full council meeting. CEO Burton has the right to hire and fire all other staff without going to council.

  6. Paul Anderson of PimlicoAugust 12, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    The UK has their Clarkson, we’ve got our ‘pie. ‘Pie for President! The Astonisher’s up to something, all right. Just last week they cancelled their online ‘Feedback’ section (though they did say they ‘regretted’ doing so, so that’s something…). I mean, whatever WILL that nice Ms Stirling and others from the green ink brigade such as myself do now? They did helpfully suggest that we leave comments at the bottom of each story instead…but the stories you’d expect people would most want to leave comments about (indigenous matters and crime leap to mind) never seem to give you that option (or they do at first, early in the day, but by lunchtime they’ve obviously thought better of it and the comment box has disappeared). And pretty much at the same time as killing ‘Feedback’, they’ve cut WAY down on actually posting readers’ comments in any kind of timely way, and (as you’ve pointed out) general site maintenance anyway. Why the go-slow, I wonder…? As for the ‘coverage’ of last week’s ‘scandal’, that kind of shoddy journalism wouldn’t have been good enough for my middle school paper back in the day…and that’s really saying something. As for the $30 subscription you referred to…is this something that’s in the offing, or were you referring to the hard copy home delivery price? I know their parent is rolling out paywalls globally, but boy are they in for a surprise if they try that in Townsville, I’ll bet…!

  7. Old pie your sources are either the LNP spin kings or you've had one too many early in the day. In some emails sent to staff in the wee hours of last Thurs morn Mr Burton didnt do his case any favours by admitting he was not up front to the mayor by pure semantics. You are also incorrect- the organisational structure down to executive manager level must be approved by council. Those who have seen the report advise blind freddy can see it is strategic and as such should have been presented to council. As the Bully have a copy of the explosive report and above stated emails no doubt all will be revealed soon enough. Regardless of your political stance the Position of Mayor should be respected.

  8. First things first, then, Simple, before The 'Pie agrees wholeheartly with you on at least one salient point.

    Initially, The 'Pie is having trouble with the phrases 'too many' - whatever that means, never heard the theory - and 'early in the day' ... you mean something happens before The 'Pie bounces out of the cot at the crack of noon?

    As to the old bird's perceived politicial leanings, suggest you check in with Ewen Jones, Peter Lindsay and Bob Katter et al - the old bird is sure they will all claim him as their own ... not!

    On the more substantive (ha!) matters in your missive, you have given yourself away as a Bulletin journo, despite there being almost no spelling or grammatical errors in your email ( however capping 'Position of Mayor' and the completely nonsensical term 'pure semantics' tend to confirm a close familiariarity with Ogden St). Did you get the sub-hub in Brissy to check it over for you? The use of the sensational and extremely judgemental adjective 'explosive' - as favored and featured by The Astonisher - is a dead giveaway.

    And do you want to share with us how you know - and how come - The Astonisher has a copy of the report and the alleged memo from the CEO? If true, it's not hard to guess there is a serial-leaking councillor sorely in need of a set of ALPs - 'accidental leakage panties'. One thinks of the constantly incontinent suspect of the last four years who is now moistening the mayoral chair.

    Regarding the CEO/council powers at executive level, yes, of course, correct, but 'approval of such' is one thing, 'dismissal and procedure thereto' another matter entirely. And there ain't 270 executive positions - especially not after the clear-out last year, at the end the 3 year post-amalgamation moratorium on 'downsizing' of Qld local govt staff (thanks, Petey Beattie, you old twister, you, we, the suddenly amalgamated, will always remember you).

    And finally without reservation, The 'Pie agrees with you - the 'Position of Mayor' should be respected - and it will be a sunny day for Townsville when Jenny Hill does so. She is bringing - with your help - the position into great disrepute. Because even more important is respect for the Position of the People - ie those who voted in councilors because they specifically opposed her two main lying vote-catching policies.

  9. Game, set and match to Magpie! The definition of 'crash and burn' back to Simon!

    Brilliant stuff, so miss seeing seeing the 'pie in print and the Sunbus that was plastered with the cartoon bird. Used to buy the paper just for the column, but that was back when TB actually wanted to sell papers. Seriously, the Sun does a better job of reporting Townsville's news in a non biased fashion than TB does and the news in there is always positive. You've lost the plot TB.

  10. Townsville Bulletin front page headline for August 9 - "Council's bottom draw bombshell" - Isn't it drawer? .. yet another grammatical error.

  11. I am so embarrassed when someone asks me who our Mayor is now - I just want to cringe. No-one in particular I might say, or not someone we can feel proud of I think to myself, why would I want to tell anyone or feel any gratitude that our Mayor holds this position in such a way and brings her fabrications and dirty washing along with disparaging remarks against her own CEO. And silly me thought when she was elected that we should put all things aside and give her a go. Well the go is now over and she should go.

  12. Well I for one am proud of our Mayor. She certainly wont be going anywhere. If all you sledgers knew what actually goes on at Walker St I believe your views would change. Oh and Pie.... Simple Simon is not a bully jurno that's almost an insult. I to use to buy the TB for your column and am disappointed in the decline of your wit and sources.

  13. Dear Magpie; I have just discovered you; (thank the gods) and what a fine read you are. I am extremely worried by the asbestos story posted re the Bulletin workers: why was the building not evacuated and the area sealed off? Whenever I read of asbestos I always think of Steve McQueen; exposed at 22 when unloading the stuff as a dock worker in New York harbour, dead at 50 from mesothelioma. I would have been sprinting out of that building like Usain Bolt on steroids! KUTGW: (text for - keep up the good work)

    PS I have a blog of my own (pale by yr standards) at

    -- and does the magpie ever get to maggie?? --