Saturday, September 8, 2012

A question: What’s the difference between a well-done pork chop and our mayoral Mullet Jenny Hill? Nothing much, both have been heavily grilled to the point of turning grey, one on a BBQ, the other by the CMC.

Yup, the heat is on: those cheery chaps and grimly smiling  chapettes from the Crime and Misconduct Commission arrived in town during the week, unpacking their portable car batteries and interrogatory jumper leads to look into charges of bureaucratic impropriety at the Townsville City Council.

All this in a week when Townsville City Council CEO Ray Burton garners a top gong for a job well done.

The ghost of Mooney’s Past momentarily haunts local newsrooms, while another Townsville mover and shaker Rabieh Krayem gets into the national press – for all the wrong reasons; 14 million reasons, actually.

Campbell Newman’s government – seeking to do an Alice Through The Looking Glass with the language – is deserving of an elegant motto for Queensland. The Magpie has the answer.

And in a not entirely unrelated matter, have you seen that deeply weird TV commercial for poo paper?

It’s the usual mix of the sublime and the ridiculous here in this week’s nest at

The Moaning Mullet was more of a grilled mullet this week, reportedly spending a whole day behind closed doors having a pleasant chat with those nice CMC folk. 
Think of the fish as Mayor MUllet and the tomato as CMC officers.

They were curious about her claim that CEO Ray Burton kept secret a specially commissioned external report that would have, had she known its contents, allowed her to sack up to 270 council workers so she could fund her election pledges of a rates freeze and a water rebate. Funny how she didn't know about it, all her other fellow councillors are said to have been well aware of the report's existence since last year.

Not surprisingly, Mr Burton didn’t take too kindly to such suggestions, and, as required to under the Local Government Act,  reported the matter to the CMC himself for adjudication. If they find he has done nothing wrong, Mr Burton will not only have cleared his name but also his path to court for a civil damages action, if he so chooses.

The CMC gumshoes also had lengthy interviews with Mr Burton and then members of his senior staff. The ‘Pie understands the only councilor to face the CMC’s verbal cosh was Deputy Doodah Vern Veitch.

Now back in Brissy, the CMC bods are considering the fruits of their northern labours. The ‘Pie idly wonders if they will note that Jenny Hill has form for crying wolf to them on at least three previous occasions. All her carry on was deemed on each occasion to carry no weight, even hinting that the complaints verged on the vexatious and/or frivolous. In fact, The Mullet was such a pain in the arse that the CMC issued an edict warning local government politicians not to try to use them in political campaigns or for political purposes – or else.

We now wait to see if this time, Mayor Mullet has finally got her tits caught in the legal wringer.

Ray Burton, Public Sector Professional of the Year.

Maybe, maybe not, but her well known cheerful disposition took a bit of a hit when Ray Burton picked up the prestigious Public Sector Professional of the Year Award at a glittering ceremony (why are they always glittering?) in Brisbane mid-week.  The annual award is made by the Institute of Public Administration Australia. The reason for Burton’s win can be seen here in the submitted nomination - the last line about a small surplus was correct at the time of submission, but even a $5 million deficit isn't bad going. 

Oh, by the by, if you missed this Townsville-boosting award in the Bulletin, you didn't look hard enough - you would have found a few small, dismissive paragraphs on page 21 of today's edition - with an irrelevant and gratuitous mention about the CMC investigation. Wonder if the paper's associate editor Mayor Hill had won an equivalent award (ha! as if!) where the story would have appeared ... The 'Pie's guess is 20 pages earlier - with a headline like 'Hill's Hoist' - plus simpering pic. Plus a self-pleasuring editorial from Lachlan 'Harry Potter' Heywood. 

And it doesn’t end there for The Mullet this week, she must have been momentarily alarmed by a council media release last Thursday.

One of the council’s senior media men, the cheery Tony 'Chopper' Wode – the voice of Cluden on race days – has just returned from a lazy sojourn in France, and must have been still dreaming of Jimmy Buffet’s ‘French wine and cheeses and soft summer breezes’ when last Thursday, he dropped this into the in-boxs of media outfits around towns (note who is available for interview).




The Townsville Local Disaster Management Group is set to heighten the ability of residents to prepare and respond to a tsunami emergency, with the distribution of a Tsunami Evacuation Guide.

Group Chair Cr Jenny Hill will preview the guide – which will be sent to residents from tomorrow - at 11am tomorrow, Friday September 7 near the Picnic Bay Surf Lifesaving Club on The Strand.

Cr Mooney and the Townsville City Council’s Emergency Management Unit manager Allen Morris will be available for interview.

Err, Cr Mooney, Chopper? Dreamin’ of the good old days, mate? Ah, well, right now, you ain’t alone, pal. 

(Ever the gentlebird, The Magpie will abstain from comment on the appropriateness of Jenny Hill being the head of a local disaster management group. Bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, really, under the current circumstances, innit?)

What The ‘Pie would like to point out is that Mr Wode and The Magpie have been on friendly terms for years, and his work has been fair and balanced as long as the old bird has known him – this is just a jest-worthy slip almost equal to the numerous ones The ‘Pie makes himself.

There was another reminder of the Mooney past, when His Radiance’s affable but luckless mate Rabieh Krayem yet again landed in the financial poo. As you will see in this column item from the Sydney Morning Herald’s CBD column (4th item down headlined  ‘More Bad News …’) Rabieh’s Humanis recruitment outfit – which briefly employed His Radiance after his demise as mayor - is down the tubes to the tune of a cool $14 million.  
Rabieh Krayem - always smilin' through.

The gods seem to be conspiring against you, Rabs – first was your stint at the fledgling Cowboys, which was $13 million around the S-bend in the red before News Ltd stepped in. Then more recently, the Fury soccer team was kicked over the sideline when losing a couple of mill a year in their second year. Ah, well, they say things come in threes, so, maybe next time around, things will go better for you. Hey, did you know there is a revival of Roller Derby up this way at the moment?  Could be a big opportunity there, mate.

Speaking of being in the poo, perhaps Rabieh needs the financial version of being ‘grippled’.  

This is a word that clever clogs advertising types hope will enter the language. It probably will, but it will almost certainly be in the pejorative sense, and long after the product has gone down the loo of television history.

This ad extols the nonsensical virtues of a new toilet paper with ‘gripples’, or corrugations that presumably grip that which ordinary loo papers don’t. The ad encourages – nay, forces - the viewer to conjure up some rather unpleasant images, as a little pup wanders around trying to sniff people’s bums but backs off when he detects that someone hasn’t been ‘grippled’.

It is purposely tasteless, and somewhat unsavory, especially if viewed as your tucking into your evening take-away vindaloo and stubby of Fourex Gold.

But The ‘Pie fell into deeper disturbed contemplation on hearing the closing slogan ‘’ … help spread the gripple effect’. Spread?  Now, surely there must be a law against this unhygienic and anti-social suggestion, which hitherto had been an activity restricted to institutionalized mental patients trying to draw attention to some real or imagined grievance. And to politicians, of course.

Be interesting to see how long this ad lasts before it is … err – wiped. All round, a daggy bit of advertising, and a bummer that’s on the nose. (Boom tish!)  

Distorted euphemistic language was to the fore here in Queensland during the week, as Campbell Newman and his numerous gofers did a Red Queen number from ‘Alice’ – words will means whatever I want them to mean.

First, both Newman and Lawrence ‘Gomer Pyle’ Springborg galumphed on that they had not pulled a swifty during the campaign when they promised not to cut frontline public service jobs. See, what they really meant was they weren’t going to cut frontline ‘services’. You old sillies, you, what did you think he meant?

Well, one has to guess they’re right, because just sacking the backroom back-ups to frontline services obviously means said services won’t be cut – they’ll be slowed down to an even more confused snail’s pace, will be longer and about as reliable as a Qld Health Department pay computer.

Newman’s local gofer up here, chairman of the new hospital board John Bearne smacked his riding crop against his black jodphurs as he announced there wouldn’t actually be any sackings, but zere vould  be ‘ein realignment’.  Realignment? It is more a ‘join the linement’ - to Centrelink - after death by a thousand euphemisms. 

Realignment now apparently means 'the sack'.

Well, political ghosts waft back into view after election campaigns. Anna Blight had her secret of asset sales, now Campbell Newman has his ‘public servants have nothing to fear from me’ pledge. To quote another politician of a similiar far right persuasion, ‘please explain’.

Remember when the Newman government dumped the cringingly inaccurate number plate slogan ‘The Smart State’ (no wonder they wanted to get rid of that ) and was shopping for a new one. May The ‘Pie humbly suggest to the Brisbane Bantam that you pinch the motto of the Royal Society of London, which would add a bit of swisho Latin to our state’s image while being absolutely accurate.

Nullius in Verba would fit – it means ‘Take nobody’s word for it’ or in a more prosaic translation ‘ Don’t trust authority’. Or campaign statements.

There ya go, spot on.

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs’ Bar, where The 'Pie will discuss offering his assets for free to any suitably bebubbled gal who will, in return, offer her frontline services. Then it will be away home,  to hit the realignment together.


  1. After what Bligh did to this state our number plates should read 'the criminal state'

  2. Hi Pie, I mentioned at work the other day that with the number of sackings (realignments) going on, and the number of stressed unemployed now trying to make ends meet, we might have our first political assassination but was reminded very quickly that we have already had our first. A chap by the name of Newman I believe.

  3. My favourite story and pic for the week in the Astonisher.

    TOWNSVILLE is experiencing one of its worst tick seasons.

  4. Mr Burton was nominated for the award by Les and testament to his relationship to the previous Mayor who appointed and nominated him. The question is does it feel like winning when only one other bloke was nominated? Semantics is not transparency regardless of the CMC outcome. If there is nothing to hide why hide it?

  5. Up to 80 more editing and reporting jobs will be cut from News Limited, including dozens across Queensland.

    It says a total of 700 jobs have gone from News Limited and Fairfax since the start of winter.

    I'd say there's more.

  6. A gong for a bloke who denies ratepayers an opportunity to drop rates by $18 million.....obviously you're not a ratepayer Pie...

    1. And you, DropKick, are obviously not one of the 270 people you would be happy to see out of a job with no way to support their families just so you could save a few bucks (about $35 pa) over the next year and then pay triple for the next few years in an obligatory catch-up. That's not to mention that the loss of 270 jobs would cost the Townsville economy - using economist Colin Dwyer's believable formula - upwards of $40 million a year .

      Don't worry about Ray Burton's modest achievement - and the IPAA thanks you for your suggestion that they just chuck their awards around without checking things - The 'Pie hears there is a new award up for grabs - Financial Fuc$wit of the Year.

      Want to nominate?

  7. Always entertaining pie.

  8. Pie, the old feathers seem ruffled on this one. Financial Fucswit might have a point as $18 million divided by about 75,000 rateable properties in the Ville equals $240pa per property off rates. Not sure about this Mr Dwyer's figures but wouldn't the money still be spent by ratepayers in the local economy so not net loss?

    1. Well, Twerp, you old tart, the feathers weren't ruffled until you dropped your heartless world view into the nest.

      So a few points seem to be begging here.

      First, there is the widespread bogan belief - even believed by people who aren't bogans - that the Townsville City Council is peopled by, at best, scores of staff surplus to requirements and at worst malingering bludgers. This has little basis in fact, and is born from the anecdotal 'four roadworkers, three leaning on their shovels' stuff (usually viewed from an air-conditioned car) or better still, the urban myth style 'a friend of my brother's wife's dentist's dog walker said - and he should know, because his former girlfriend's new partner had a short term contract with the council and boy, you wanna see the time wasting' etc etc.

      Well you may say that the allegedlly withheld report proved the this very point, but it cannot have done any such thing - overpaid people sitting in offices in Brisbane fiddling with numbers and bottom lines have this disengaged tendency to ignore any human or community perspective. Such reports show how to save money, but ignore the community and human consequences. Are you listening, Jenny?

      Not hiring when a position becomes vacant is one thing - are you listening, Springborg and Berne? - sacking is another matter altogether.

      So you would have 270 fellow citizens join the dole queue or be forced to leave town all for the sake of 66 cents per day, or $4.61 a week - not even one drink in our over-priced restaurants? That amounts to a betrayal of the society in which live and presumably prosper, venality at its worst.

      The Magpie hereby Institues The Gina "Miners should be paid $2 a day' Rinehart 30 Pieces of Silver award. It's a crowded field, but, Twerpy, wanna nominate, you'll be up there with the best of 'em?

  9. Let's have a Tsunami. See if council's plan works.

  10. Good gosh! A business associated with Rabieh Krayem losing millions? Who would have thought. I hear it came as no shock to a Sydney leagues club who apparently employed the Rabstar before he was flown up to Townsville by a certain legal eagle to help the Cowboys run up that humungous debt a few years ago. How in hell did he get a seat on the Townsville Harbour Board??? More importantly, how is the Harbour Board travelling these days under the direction of Rabs.

  11. Fun game to play this morning.....find the news amongst the ads in the Bulletin. I have never seen so many in one paper.

  12. Everybody knows who is the biggest drop kick in deeragon, and the fact that he wouldn't work in an iron lung. The "man" has the biggest case of upward envy possible, not many at or below his station in life

  13. Just finished Battlefield tours out of Amiens France _ relieved that we didnt have to sit in the mini bus with Anna Bligh and hubby who were on Cobbers Battlefield tour last week!

  14. Why is the mullet commenting on state issues... she is the mayor of Townsville, stick to your job! And why is the Astonisher even asking her and then printing her comments.... pathetic journalism continues.

  15. Mr Burton was nominated for the award by Les and testament to his relationship to the previous Mayor who appointed and nominated him. The question is does it feel like winning when only one other bloke was nominated? Semantics is not transparency regardless of the CMC outcome. If there is nothing to hide why hide it?

    1. Love your deep philosphical poser, Mullet Maven, straight from the theoretical 'if a tree falls in the forest etc' school of navel gazing when you posit 'If there is nothing to hide, then why hide it?' One straight out of the rectal/cranium school of thought. Keep working on that one, sport, you'll get there sooner or later.

      And parroting the Astonisher's editorial phrase 'semantics is not transparency' and the hand-wave dismissal 'regradless of the CMC outcome 'tends to give you away as someone with a minority agenda. This also neatly sashays around the more tricky question - if Mr Burton is found to be blameless - about the propriety of the mayor scurrying off to the Astonisher to move her vendetta against her CEO in the public arena. She may be on very tricky legal ground if that is the scenario.

      Finally, you ask 'Does it feel like winning when only one other bloke was nominated?'

      Well, it sure feels a damn sight better that being runnner-up - which was a woman, by the way, not a bloke - which given the contemporary unbalanced emphasis on gender makes Mr Burton's win even more meritorious.

    2. ' I missing something here? Is not this an identical post to good 'ol Anonymous at 8:16 pm on 8 September? (or, sly dog, you reposted it yourself just for another snipe)

      Did the Bully-Tin editorial meeting get confused as to who was going to make the daft post? And to think that we would not pick up on the direct editorial quote?

      Reminds me of the old saying; "That what he wrote which is original is not good; that what he wrote which is good is not original."

      Anyhows - "semantics is not transparency"?? What the hell does that mean?? Can you not be semantic AND transparent at the same time? I mean, I am being totally transparent when I say Dropkick and the above anon are dills of the finest water. At the same time I could be semantic and say that Dropkick and anon are dills of the finest water, but I am making the possibly incorrect assumption that they are indeed different people. Whatever. He/she/they are still dills - is that transparent enough for you, ya dill?

  16. a friend told me about this blog and it's the best I've ever read, keep up the great work, finally some balance to the one media co town. When do you go daily?

    1. That you, Jenny? Lendl? Lachlan? Attila the Hen?

      Whoever you are, you somewhat impertinently ask when does The 'Pie go daily? The Pie's personal daily routine is his business ... but if you must know, 7am on the dot.

    2. Now THERE is semantics in action ! :-)

  17. Love today's Astonisher editorial "full marks to an enterprising Townsville man to bring Segways to The Strand" .... Nevertheless it is against the law ..... "...What the ...!!!

    1. It's an old Astonisher ploy on a slow news day, EagleEye ... find someone with a totally idiotic notion (stolen garden gnome, man won't mow lawn, , interview a whinger about potholes in his street which the council is due to fix up in a week or so, dog bites cat (fair dinkum) and today, let's have Segways on The Strand) beat the tripe out of it, laud the person and have an oblique swipe at a spoilsport council before explaining in the last few pars it's all illegal anyway and highly dangerous . And it's not prohibited just in council by-laws but by state government transport department laws. So much for the businesss genius of our budding entrepreneur - and the cynical news judgement of the editor.

      In other words, a non-story of the first order. And the editor chirps in with the notion that its a good idea but - too bad, it's illegal. Huh? Just what is the bloody point. Tiresome.

      This is simply nonsense. And what's the betting that somewhere down the track the paper will shock/horror some yarn about obese people not getting enough exercise - and they should walk The Strand. Or wait a sec - maybe they should Segway it.

  18. The Mullet looks like she's in a David Bowie video clip.

  19. Last Tuesday, the Arsestonisher advised us on how to obtain free advertising. Whitehall farces' couldn't even come close to this BS.

    On page 11 we were told of an amazing coincidence (almost serendipity) whereby an "Ap" installed only a few days earlier on a mobile phone, enabled the owner to track down her device.

    Interesting that she is also the licencee for the device in our region!!

    The Arsestonisher does seem to attempt to distance itself in the article, which of course sucks it in deeper by amateurism.