Saturday, October 6, 2012

A tale of two editors, with not-so-hidden agendas here in Townsville, and our old mate Typo Gleeson on the Gold Coast chucks an unprecedented mega-tanty. Capt Snooze arises from his retirement slumbers to plug a Labor candidate for Herbert – but he’s keeping it in the family.

No, no, it’s not Snooze’s delightful legal eagle missus, Janis Mayes … it’s her sister.

In general matters, language lovers can mourn the loss of a couple of words but welcome a very timely new one -  the Ashby-Slipper cat fight prompts the media double entendre of the year –  and is the Minister for Mayors, our own Kid Crisafulli moonlighting in a second long-distance job?

Also, a local News Ltd reporter earns a well justified nickname. It’s all here in this week’s guano-covered nest at

First, a heads up on the latest in the local political barnyard.
Cathy O'Toole, the latest bespectacled lady seeking our vote. 

Snooze has arisen from his LaZ-boy, brushed off the Iced Vo-Vo crumbs and is tottering around the local Labor haunts, plugging the perceived political virtues of one Cathy O’Toole, an old Labor stager, and also Snooze’s sister-in-law.  
Snooze is taking the hat around in an optimistic fund raising effort for sis-in-law’s coming campaign for the federal seat of Herbert. 

If pre-selected – and there’s no reason at the moment to think she won’t be – she will be up against incumbent Ewen 'Jumbo Dumbo' Jones, who, if his minders can keep him suitably muzzled when being walked in public, will probably get back in anyway. That assessment is of today, but 'politics' and 'Ewen Jones' are words that cannot be a guarantee of anything in the future. Not even tomorrow, if he is out and about tonight.

The fund-raising aspect for whoever ends up being the Labor candidate is a bit tricky. Townsville’s signed up and card carrying members have shriveled from more than 600 a few short years ago to something just above 200. Somewhat optimistically, Cathy tells the party faithful in a letter doing the rounds that she believes that 'with every member of the Labor Party in Townsville behind me, we will win this campaign'.  Seems a bit of wobbly maths there, but no mind.

In a desperate attempt to rekindle the fire in the comrades, the latest Labor Conference called a membership fire sale. Until the end of the year, new members can –yippee skip – join the party for just $5! Current members now get an unspecified reduction in fees if they are also a member of an affiliated union. At least that stops that double-dipping rort.

A warning alert should sound though for those reading that ‘ The Party will modernize with online membership and renewal applications, with protections in place to ensure the integrity of the scheme’. One just hopes they’re not using the same people and equipment that Labor appointed to the Health Department’s payroll.

On the matter of Queensland politics, the question must be asked: is David The Kid Crisafulli both a magician and a two-job moonlighter?
Ed Millband look-alike David 'Kid' Crisafulli.

Kid Crisafulli look alike British Labor's Ed Millband.

The Magpie was sure that in a bizarre political back flip, The Kid made a guest appearance at the British Labor Party’s recent conference in Manchester. Why, there he was, grinning and waving . But hang on … oops, sorry, the camera does lie … the bloke in the bottom picture is British Labor Party leader Ed Millband. If Mr Millband loses the next election, perhaps he could be a body double for The Kid, who has a role in the movie ‘Slasher Three: Nightmare on George Street'. It’s a movie directed by Campbell Newman.

Moving on now (but it doesn’t get any better) let’s clear away a few brief items of passing interest to the old bird’s beady eye.

The double-entendre of the year goes to at least three newspaper and radio headlines, which feverishly panted ‘Ashby and Slipper Come Face-to-Face in Sydney’.  Pardon? Given the allegations involved in this tawdry affair, that’s quite a turn-around. Well, at least for one of them.

The Alan Jones rant-a-thon continues over his comments about the PM’s late dad, and in the cyclone of commentary about Jones failings (how long have you got?), Mike Carlton gives him the most effective serve in the SMH this morning, starting with the a gem of a groin-kicking headline ‘ Prissy Shrieks of Fear and Loathing’. Here’s just a couple of choice quotes from his article.

Something to know about Alan Jones - the key thing, really - is that he's not all that bright. Far from it. Despite the artfully constructed public persona, there is no powerhouse intellect there, no vast store of wisdom. He is a crackpot muddle of prejudice and ignorance’.


‘Once you get this about Jones, all else falls into place. He does not have to dumb down for his audience; he's already there. He has a sure instinct for what his mob wants to hear, delivered in that prissy shriek, raving like a lunatic fleeing a burning building. The man is a pedlar of fear and loathing, preying on the lowest common denominator of gullible, frightened people who believe they are oppressed by evil forces out there that only he, Jones, has the courage to battle on their behalf. It is the confidence trick of demagogues down the ages.'

Mike’s whole article is worthy of an entry in that excellent book of killer reviews Crème de la Phlegm by Angela Bennie (published by Melbourne University Press’s imprint The Miegunyah Press). Let’s face it, everyone loves a bitchy review or commentary piece, and they don’t come much better than Mister Carlton’s delightful effort today. Read the whole article here.

On the same subject, Bentley, as usual, goes straight to the simple heart of the matter.

The ‘Pie has lately noticed a couple of words that are falling into disuse, awaiting complete sacrifice on the altar of trendy cool. The following prompts the question whatever happened to the ABC language sticklers, have they been told stickle a little less nowadays?

The words in question are: ‘before’. It now seems de rigueur just about everywhere to substitute ‘ahead of’, which, apart from anything else, requires two words where for centuries, one has been, as they say, an adequate sufficiency.

The other word is, would you believe, ‘falling’. In the soft-language cushioning of harsh realities, - and this all started with the arch bullshit artists of language, the financial markets and press – when things are falling it seems they in fact ‘trending down’. It’s spreading from there, and trending down has become the phrase of the moment particularly for politicians and economic commentators. Betcha it won’t be long before Ray Warren Gus The Goose Gould – to be giving us exchanges like ‘Geez, Ray, he was going so well down the right wing until that ankle tap made him trend down.’ 'Yairs, Gus, he dived nose first in the verdant vegetative covering of the event location’. Ranconteur and witty commentator the late George Carlin hilariously nailed down this 'trending down' of language standards in this very funny clip. 

The one good addition to our language – good because like all new additions, it serves a specific purpose - is ‘Romnesia’, the act of forgetting how you became wealthy.

Although it’s named for Mitt Romney, who continually tries on the myth that he made it all himself from a standing start, Aussies would have particular uses for this very apt word.

That odious fascist Gina Rinehart springs to mind, telling us all to give up the fags, get out of the pub, stop standing around barbies socializing and do some damn work, and you too can be a millionaire. We shouldn’t be jealous of her, she tells us, we can just do it for ourselves.

This little poisoned homily came in a speech that at the same time suggested that the average Australian worker is overpaid.

While Clive Palmer are at least a bit of fun in his muddle-headed buffoonery, Rinehart is a dangerous social retard, whose background was best summed up in the London Guardian which said ‘Ms Rinehart would still have become a billionaire even she had stayed in bed all day throwing darts at the wall’. Don’t we wish she did. And isn’t it passing strange that Alan Jones gave himself up as a groveling toady of the first order when, in his spray about ‘women ruining the joint’ he didn’t once mention Ms Rinehart’.  If Ms Rinehart sported the right appendage for Mr Jones' exotic tastes (she doesn’t) she would soon – and often -  be familiar with every blotch and pimple on Jones glistening pate.  Romnesia all round, it seems.

To local matters, and there are a few media watch-ish matters floating around.

There is a distinct odour of rodent in the air regarding all this flapdoodle about the proposed Pinnacles development out near the Ross Dam – and the ratty pong is positively reeking through the fevered pages of the Daily Astonisher aka The Townsville Bulletin.  And there’s a similar aroma Anthony Simpleton’s pathetic re-heating of a non-story in the mid-week Sun.

First the Pinnacles.

The Astonisher has gone in boots’n’all, following it’s threat – errr, sorry, that should promise - to set the agenda for this community (so kind of them), calling for the council to chuck out all its rules and approve the $2 billion development, which falls outside the allowable growth areas under council’s control. And would cost the ratepayers throughout Townsville a poultice.

The paper, through business editor Tony Raggatt and editor Lachlan ‘Harry Potter’ Heywood, has come out stridently against the previous and the current council for adhering to the Town Plan and nixing the idea. There is no application before council at this time concerning this proposed development. It should be remembered that the council's urban planning document was arrived at after exhaustive, lengthyand deliberations, and was formulated inter alia to ensure that ratepayers would not face an onerous, ongoing and unfair burden caused by developers whacking in expensive new satellite communities, the upkeep of which would affect everybody’s rates.

The Astonisher, on the face of it, was plugging the possible – but by no means certain - benefits of the Pinnacles development, mainly for the jobs it would create (a favourite mantra of developers – remember Craig Gore’s ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ – when he was trying to con his way into a canal development in front of Jupiters?).

But hang on a minute.

The paper made a sudden swerve mid-week, and is now not so much concentrating on the development itself but more unashamedly pushing the barrow for the proposed developer, Sydney outfit E J Cooper and Son. Suddenly, we are urged to believe that E J Cooper is a victim! Done over by a nasty ol’ council!

A week or so ago, out of the blue materialised a hitherto unheard of bogeyman … or men … a sinister Big Three of developers, who apparently have a development stranglehold on this city, freezing out competition.

This in itself is a bit rich coming from a paper that jealously guards it’s own golden monopoly in print media, an ascendancy gained two decades ago by a campaign of dirty tricks to buy or nobble the two weekly throw-over papers around at the time. It also tries to strangle at birth, through fair means or foul, any entity likely to take a single dollar from their grasping fingers.  (And congratulations to Scott Morrison and crew at the impressively professional DUO magazines on reaching its 75th edition.)

The premise of a Big Three monopoly and conspiracy is all codswallop and the paper knows it. For the lie to this, just contemplate some of the holes in the ground, vacant blocks and derelict buildings in Palmer Street and along Ross Creek, and mention names like McCracken, Thompson et al. Plenty have wanted to play, but have come unstuck in their lies, outlandish claims and/or their greed, not because of some sort of cartel.

And all those failures operated on the premise of taking the local yokels for a ride.

But The ‘Pie reckons there’s another dimension to this, so he will float his own conspiracy theory.
A Steggles worker employed to do over the chooks.

It is well known that E J Cooper and Son is owned by the national Steggles chookarama operation. And that would the same Steggles which spends a pretty annual penny – hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more - on advertising around Australia in News Ltd organs. Now, no one in their right mind would want to put a great little earner like that at risk by – let’s say – some far flung monopolistic NQ rag opposing a money spinner of Pinnacles’ proportions. So there’s a high probability that Heywood and Raggatt got their riding orders from Sydney HQ.

Add to this that there are quite a few self-interested urgers in the form of individual landowners in the Pinnacles footprint, and you have –ta da – a recipe to boost paper sales and look like a goody two-shoes fighting for the community, while at the same time, promoting a possibly dodgy enterprise.
Another Steggles worker employed
to do over  the council?

The Magpie is also told that the Cooper crowd has form for getting approvals through councils and then flogging them off to other developers. And that always leaves open the possibility that we could be left holding the baby yet again.

In the same vein, but over at the Sun throw-over paper, The ‘Pie asks what hope is there for southern blow-in reporter Anthony Simpleton? Why, he can’t even spell his name correctly – he spells it Templeton. But you can’t fool us, buddy – although during the week, that was clearly your aim.  

Simpleton’s yarn in last week’s (Oct 3) throw-over The Sun is one of the more mendacious bits of risible flummery imaginable. We know this because Tony the Tosser has given himself up in his own articles.

As an example of the misleading drivel – with the obvious agenda of again  unreasonably bashing the council – this one exemplifies the accelerating  ‘trending down’ of ethical standards in local News Ltd publications.

Here’s the story.

As scheduled in its long established road mending priority list, the council got around to patching up a stretch of Hodel Street in Hermit Park/Rosslea just about on time. The street certainly needed it, and had always been on the council’s radar, but a funding hiccup put work back a bit.

In the latest Sun, on page three, we are treated to the totally and deliberately wrong headline ‘People Win Road Battle’. The story opened with the one of the most blatant pieces of pure and utter spindrift seen for a while – ‘Hodel St residents are celebrating a win for people power, with Townsville City Council starting repairs to their potholed-riddle street. Road crews will be working to reseal the road this week, after the council responded to a people power campaign by the Townsville Sun.’ Now, apart from delusional aspirations to power and influence,  factually, my friends, is unadulterated  hogwash.

And we know this simply because Mr Simpleton told us himself, in a previous hoked-up article on the subject.

Well, all the lights seems to be on, but ....
In the August 1 edition of The Sun, under the headline ‘Going Potty’ (oh, so droll) Mr Simpleton interviewed an understandably cheesed-off resident, who – presumably under some prodding and leading questions  – voiced his concerns about the road.  Fair enough. But using the now standard technique of burying any balancing quotes well down in the story after the shock-horror opening, Tony the Tosser  writes ‘Cr Colleen Doyle, who represents the area, said the street was due for repairs in September.’ Tosser then went on with a load of transparent codswallop about petitions and – yes – people power. All to happen and be acted on in a matter of four or five weeks, a fanciful timeframe in itself.

And as Clr Doyle said, the road has now being fixed, on the exact timeline she said the council had worked to all along.

So the wash-up is simple – Hodel St was fixed as per council – and NOT the residents or the Townsville Sun’s – schedule, as it always was going to be. Mr Simpleton’s truly thigh-slapping masturbatory efforts at self-congratulation reminds one of a kid craving parental attention. (‘Mummy, Mummy, look at me, I can jump off this chair’. ‘Oh, well done, what a clever little chap you are – now sit up and eat your Froot Loops’.)

It all just proves that Mr Simpleton is worthy of his new nickname. And if this style of reporting continues, the paper will have changed from being a throw-over to being a toss-over.

Continuing with vargaries of the press, a brief note on an old mate.    

Down at the Gold Coast Bulletin, editor Typo Gleeson has ripped up his nighty big time – and at the same time, ripped up any generally agreed newspaper convention to report the news, not make it. Or selectively ignore it.

In a clear statement, old Bum-Crack – as he is fondly called by those who’ve worked with or behind him - told the world that he would no longer allow the paper to report anything to do with Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate – all because – wait for this – the mayor had said nasty things about the paper. So now, Typo has decided that The Voice Of The People will no longer carry stories – for good or ill – about the most important elected official in the city. An official elected by a majority of his readers. Here's the ABC story.

Extraordinary stuff from a very ordinary editor.  Typo, as the old Ita Buttrose joke goes , thinks ethics is a county in England.  Or as a media watching pal said, ‘Gleeson must really have a glass jaw’. Not to mentioned a prickly and misplaced ego.

All The ‘Pie will add is that if Typo, during his time at the Townsville Bulletin, had maintained the policy of refusing to mention or report on those who spoke badly of the paper, we would have been presented with 40 blank pages every day. But you can bet the ads would still be there.

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs’ Bar, where the old bird will seek to come  face-to-face with a suitable companion, then there may be a turnaround – all this of course after a few drinks .



1. Click into the comment box at the bottom of the blog (and below existing comments if any) and write your comment. 

2. Click on the menu button next to The Daily Astonisher field below the comment box.

3. Scroll down that menu until you reach 'name' and 'URL'.

4. In the 'name' section type your name or whatever monicker you want to go by (IGNORE the URL box).

5. Click continue.

6. Click publish. 

The 'Pie will then do the rest - checking for legals, taste, language, idiocy - and then publish your gem.



  1. 'Bum crack Typo' in my opinion, was a tragic biased editor. You really give it an accurate account of what's going on from the outside.

    Well said, thank you Pie.

  2. Conan the GrammarianOctober 6, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    For those old enough to remember the 70s: Have a look at the portrait of Simpleton, and tell me if he's not the natural son of Peter Pasquale Macari, a.k.a. "Mr Brown"?

  3. memo to Pie: I just loved this week's entertainment. The cartoon was fantastic. The content, brilliant. Harry Potter looks more Steggles than KFC. Crissafulli as Mr Ed, the talking horse.

    1. It can't be a coincidence that one particular snapper gets the beer assignments?

      Bty, 2011 The ranks inside the astonisher were at their all time lowest. Inparticular their performance reviews. Lies by HR's Atil.

  4. With all the mis-reporting or lack of reporting by the Bully on matters LNP, how the hell will residents learn the overall truth?
    Labor and the KAP have letters galore printed and news items that never question their integrity.
    We need a group of local businesspeople and experienced journos who still respect the truth to find small business sponsors to publish the alternative news.
    Media in Australia has been infiltrated by the Govt. and we need to change things before future elections are held.
    A weekly "Townsville Truth" would be good but News Ltd probably own that.

    Tom Darlington

    1. Sadly Tom the reality is quite different. Set up costs for an alternative to The Astonisher would be prohibitive these days. And if printed well News Ltd has a strangle hold on that market too - at least locally. Seems they have us by the proverbials!

    2. People forget what is news. Most of the news you read is like a forged copy in the Ville.

      Reclaim what you think is news.

  5. Yes Tom to have a balanced story, well investigated and unbiased would be, well, astonishing to say the least. The very large company I work for stopped subscribing ages ago and no one has missed it.

  6. Dear Tom,

    As a former worker for the Astonisher, I'd like to share that behind the scenes the paper ruled the workers by fear. Typo was a lazy gambler.

    Thanks Pie.

  7. You have to wonder about the Astonisher (an understatement I know)! Classic case this weekend - a man abandons his sinking yacht off Hinchinbrook Island late Friday afternoon, swims ashore and spends the night in a former tourist resort until rescued. The story is reported in several on line publications this weekend and unless I missed it - absolutely nothing in Saturday's paper re a search or even on line! And they wonder why circulation is falling! It's a case of yesterday's "news" tomorrow!

  8. Tks for the instructions Pie - while 'puter literate as I like to think I am at times it is easier to comment as Anonymous :)

  9. I am amazed that their Melbourne office ran the story. Could have made a Ship wreck in a bottle story and image for the Astonisher.

    For your readers, he spent the night at the Wilderness Lodge on Hinchinbrook Island.

    Camel Toe

  10. The Astonisher easily loses news like their 2010 photographs. They disappeared, history deleted from their photo libraries. Do you remember they also like to re shoot? err.. The Greek Festival.

    1. Car crashes, fire emergency jobs were never entered into the diary job sheet with other jobs. It was as if they didn't exist amongst all the other jobs.

  11. You know you're getting somewhere when a mate emails to tell you you've been mentioned in The Magpie's Nest! Mutual appreciation abounds.

  12. I noticed lately on TV News,the Master of the Parliamentary Study Trip,one Mr Peter Lindsay dutifully espousing the wonderous things that Guildford Coal has in store for us residents of The Ville. Is this not the same company, headed up in Townsville by His Radiance ? Odd bedfellows.Obviously all is forgiven from the heady days of tit for tat in the mysterious world of local politics

  13. Delighted that Mr 'Oyster' Slipper has slipped out of politics. Goodbye.

    bonney doon

  14. Did not the previous Planning Manager for the Council ( Mooney & Tyrell) draw up the town plan which included the development now known as Greater Ascot then resign from Council to work for the owners of this development.?

    1. The answer is yes, but The Magpie's question is ... so what?

      Angelo Licciardello was the Townsville Council's planning manager under Mooney before resigning to go to Delfin, and then returned to council under Les Tyrell's mayoralty. He subsequently resigned from the position again to join Peter Tapiloas' Parkside mob. You suggest he got the Parkside gig as some sort of payback - a bit of proof would be nice and no doubt Peter is chuffed with your suggestion - and the move is hardly a smoking gun; The 'Pie reckons he got the job because he is a well credentialed professional.

      The Big Licca is no fan of The Magpie ever since the old bird publicly suggested he was a bit of a smart arse to councillors - you know, those people elected by the ratepayers - and should pull his sarcastic head in. But that aside, The 'Pie's understanding is that The Big Licca is a (more or less) straight arrow, and indeed, that was rumoured to be why he resigned under Mooney, because he wouldn't bend the rules for some Mooney mates. Indeed he was said to be a stickler for the rules. Some observers have raised an eyebrow about Big Licca going to Delfin which had a finger in Mooney's favourite - and now stalled - expansion plans, the Rocky Springs development. If that was a ploy - The 'Pie doesn't think so - then it was a big cock-up, given how things have turned out.

      And no, he didn't draw up the Towns Plan exclusively, and you demonstrate two things in your wink-wink-nudge-nudge comment: a deeply flawed understanding of how local government really works in this day and age, and a penchant for conspiracy theory. There's enough real jiggery-pokery around without insinuations which fall well short of evidence of any real wrongdoing.

      Indeed, if you ever re-write The Bone Song, you'd have the knee bone connected to the elbow bone, which is connected to the arse bone - sadly, never quite reaching the brain bone. Nice try.