Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ah, questions, questions … this week featuring The Art of the Incomprehensible – Townsville City Council and Townsville Enterprise suffer an attack of bureaucratise buzz words – is it to hide what they’re really up to? The Magpie interprets – and are local kids being encouraged to suck each others blood?

In breaking news, (no it isn’t April 1) if the pommy coppers are right, his kangaroo wasn’t the only thing Rolf Harris was tying down – the 82-year-old Harris has been arrested by the rozzers running the Jimmy Saville paedophile investigation – no charges have been laid.  The ‘Pie takes a closer look.

Also the scattergun Kattergun approach political skullduggery by the member for Kennedy has earned him The Magpie’s occasional accolade, the Janus Two-Faced BUMM Gold Chalice. (BUMM = Barefaced UnMitigated Medacity) ...

A newly-selected Green’s candidate has egg … chocolate Easter egg … all over her face after her very first foray in federal politics …

The PM trundles out her Second XI, and even then, there’s a curious ministerial double-up cock-up ….

… and Bentley mourns the loss of another Aussie icon - all here in this week’s guano-carpeted nest at

Over in England, if the UK wallopers have got the goods on Rolf Harris, there may have been hitherto unknown uses for Jake The Peg’s third leg – the pommy plods are trying to find out if it involved two little boys or more.

The 82-year-old entertainer and Royal artist , who has been questioned under caution at least three times since last November, has not been charged with any offence, and has been released on bail overnight to return for a further police interview in May. From a distance, it would seem the cops are trying to break Harris down (he has long been a sufferer of depression) for some sort of confession – if they had real evidence, he would’ve been charged. already

Mainstream media in the UK have declined to name Harris, although there is no legal reason not to – and some Australian media – in a rare and uncharacteristic  lather of coyness -  have simply said the arrested 82-year-old entertainer from Berkshire is ‘an Australian’ – not a crowded field of suspects, one imagines, so they might just as well have named him.

But perhaps their reticence is because of widespread total disbelief that the cops could possibly have anything of that nature on Harris.

Savile was an identifiable sleaze bag even when alive (unless you were a BBC executive) – and was the very antithesis of the multi-talented, affable West Australian export. For balance, though, there are plenty of people in cyber space saying they have always found Harris ‘creepy’ et al.

Here’s a backgrounder from Australia, and you can read here just one of the scores of social media reports that have been pinging around cyber space overnight … this one seems measured and credible.

No matter what,  jokes about Two Little Boys et al are inevitable, but The ‘Pie would rather hopefully paraphrase Rolf’s famous Dulux ad tagline ‘ Trust Rolf Harris – sure can’.

Another Aussie cultural identity looks like being tarnished, too. Like many a true-blue Aussie, our resident doodler Bentley is greatly saddened by the further erosion of the unique Qantas brand. What next, outsource or sell our government, like say, to Singapore maybe? Hmm, hang on a sec, that's not such a bad …. err, no, we’ll leave that, just in case Campbell Newman hears about the idea.

But Bentley suspects there was a certain amount of self-interest from Qantas boss, the Irish blow-in Alan Joyce.

Other matters.

Just about all of us at one time or another have heard a little voice in our heads advising against some unwise impulse – we ordinary folk call it ‘conscience’. 

But Bob Katter calls it ‘Baldrick’.

It now seems clear that Baldrick , he of 'cunning plans’ fame, has left his previous master Edmund Blackadder and taken up spacious residence between Bob’s ears.

Look, many of us see Bob ‘There are no poofters in North Queensland’ Katter as a (sometimes) lovable loon – we all know his an A-grade sneering dingbat on occasions with the perplexing lucid moment popping up at the most unexpected time, but the one word that could not be applied to Katter was ‘hypocrite’.

Until now.

And a failed hypocrite at that.

When the three ring circus in Canberra was in a full swing last week, the head of the Cut Snake Party, (motto: we’re as mad as hell, and you can take that anyway you like) our Bob toddled into a media scrum to announce that he was dead against those heinous media reform bills that had the sphincters of all the nation’s media bosses going from 5 cents to 50 cents at about 100 times a minute. 

Muzzle the media? Wouldn’t have a bar of it, no sirree Bob, said Bob.

That was at 5pm on the Wednesday of That Was The Week That Was.

And nothing surprising about that; after all, the primary and guiding principle at the top of the Cut Snake Party list is the core value ‘freedom of speech and expression which should not be abused by intimidation, malice, violence or willful intolerance’.

Unfortunately, that homily didn’t include ‘ill-conceived political expediency’, because sometime between then and 7.30, the Mad Katter got a visit from Baldrick, who whispered a cunning plan to the member for Kennedy, a plan which compelled him to recant.

Looking not so much like the cat that got the cream as the snake that got the bilby, Bob triumphantly announced his cunning plan – he was still against a government-appointed censor – yes, siree, Bob, by golly, don’t you worry about that.

No, much better if we had a committee of censors! 

And his Cut Snake Party would back the government bills if they agreed to that.

Now, The Magpie has always been of the mind that the proposed media legislation was in itself pretty tame – as another has observed, it was as little as Conroy could’ve done without being accused of doing nothing – and initially would’ve made virtually no difference to anyone, but it did represent the thin edge of the wedge which could easily be expanded to make for a political battering ram in the future.

Be that as it may, it was Bob Katter basically and blatantly going back not only on his own spittle-flecked word but also on his own party’s core principle.

Senator Macca MacDonald almost did himself a mischief in tearing up his nightie in his predictable anger and disbelief, suggesting Katter’s move was ‘bizarre’ – by no means the first time this adjective has been applied to Bob – and he, Macca, was ‘gob-smacked’.

Ah, well, Macca, old mate, you can be assured that there are some things Bob and his Cut Snakes won’t go back on. Given that he and the majority of his followers live in a state of perpetual sexual hysteria, Bob will remain steadfast – indeed, stiff and erect – on their stance against gay marriage. Who said he wasn’t consistent?

(Here’s a definition of a dilemma for you, Bob. If you’re lying in bed with a beautiful naked woman on one side and a naked gay man on the other, who would you turn your back on? That is the definition of dilemma).

While we’re in dingbat territory, some great news for Ewen Jones during the week. (no, Ewen, The Pie is not calling YOU a dingbat, although you sometimes are). No, the big fella probably helped himself to a extra four or five sausages from the barbie such must have been his delight when the Greens candidate for Herbert simpered onto the scene.

Now on the evidence, Gail Hamilton, an environmental engineer (which sounds like an oxymoron), looks like she’s been on the planet for a while, and one would be free to assume she was perhaps even born here on earth.  Until …….

The political challenges facing us are many – turning back the boats, keeping the government’s grubby hands off our super, corruption, bikie gangs running rampant, ditto Christopher Pine, getting our boys back safely from Afghanistan and Gina Rinehart … and many more.  So what does our front-page Green’s pin-up choose as her first foray into federal politics … perhaps safeguards for the Reef, ending mining or even the fate of the endangered Silver Haired, Strangled-Throated Charters Towers Gurgling Ding Bat?

Nup, Ms Hamilton’s mind was greatly exercised by that burning issue of …. politically incorrect chocolate Easter Eggs and that we and our kiddies will buy and eat them.

The ‘Pie imagines the talk has been of nothing else down at the Vic Park and Great Northern. ‘Yairs, Merv, gotta check the labels, y’know, do’nt want the nippers hoeing into that environmentally incorrect Couverture muck or even that European possum-poop called Gianduja. Gotta think of those poor little kiddies dyin’ of starvation and thirst. I dunno, Merv, what’s the world’s cumin to – your shout, mate.’

Ms Hamilton allowed herself to be daintily pictured thus for the Daily Astonisher …

Now it's green chocolate.
The Greens Gail Hamilton.

… with what one assumes was a kosher egg, thus featuring in a pic that started the whole town laughing, both at her and at the Townsville Bulletin – this was worthy of this front page?

Well, it probably sold a lot of papers, as usual for all the wrong reasons - it could become a collector's edition.

The Daily Astonisher’s young(ish)reporter Master Bateman allowed her to rabbit on endlessly about child slaves in far-flung corners of this planet picking the cocoa beans that make the chocolate that forms the bunnies that fill our Easter baskets, dum de da de dum. Then having realized that his story’s unintended comic elements had somewhat reflected on him, Master Bateman used his Saturday column to defend Ms Hamilton on the grounds of  ‘putting her hand up’ and ‘having a red hot go’. Oh, Danny-boy, you’ve forgotten the golden rule: when you are in a hole, stop digging.

Look, The Magpie apologises, this is all too easy and is getting close to making fun of the afflicted. 

Suffice to say that Ms Hamilton, apart from bringing electoral joy into the heart of Jumbo Dumbo Jones, makes Jenny Stirling look like the epitome of sharp political acumen and hot-button community awareness. 

The Pie’s advice: save your deposit Ms Hamilton, and lay off newspaper interviews, the red fizzy drinks … and the Freddo Frogs.

Two most curious news releases from the Townsville City Council during the week.

Snappy catchphrases have always been part of the media release business, but sometimes they can come back to snap you on the bum – or in this case, the neck. Such boo-boos are doubly regrettable when the cause is a valid community concern, in this case the multiple problems with sometimes violent youthful relationships.

In one of the most pause-giving opening lines, here’s what was circulated to the ‘medja’ last Monday.

Just in case that’s a bit hard to read, it says: ‘Students from Shalom Christian College and Kirwan State High School will participate in the LOVE  BITES program that aims to educate students on the importance of respectful relationships’. 

Love bites!?!

Maybe it’s just a generational thing, and the fast-paced modern world has passed The ‘Pie by, but that seems the most unwise name to give a worthy program aimed at snickering pimply adolescents.

In The ‘Pie’s youth – and he assumes the fact remains – a ‘love bite’ was the vigorous sucking on the neck of another person in order to leave a round bruised welt . Even back then, this was regarded as disrespectful to say the least, and Saturday arvos in the dress circle back row of Tamworth’s Capitol 'pitcha' Theatre were regularly punctuated with the sound of slaps, squeals, protests and even the occasional storming-off (sometimes, later followed by a visit between parents).

A love bite – the Americans call it a ‘hickey’ - was and remains unequivocally a minor act of sexual violence, even in the cases where it is consensual. Severe bruising can last up to 12 days. Both sexes are involved in the giving and receiving.

So perhaps the bite should be put on whomsoever thought up this bewildering title, which might have some kids signing up for the program in the mistaken belief they were being offered a bit of what the poms call ‘ow’s yer farvver’.

But at least you understand Clr Sue Blom’s clear and worthy message in that media release, which cannot be said of the second head-scratcher.

Under the banner headline ‘New Approach For V8 Event’ the Townsville City Council put out this media release on Wednesday, which was essentially obfuscating gobbledegook which avoided plain English like a politician avoiding a straight answer. Which one guesses, is exactly the purpose.

It was so obscure on hard facts or plan outlines that alarm bells went off in the old bird’s noodle. The ‘Pie’s crap-o-meter started quivering faster than Beyonce’s bum when he read things like tis from Clr Tony Parsons ‘…. ensure community participation and encourage connectivity between V8 event and city businesses to ensure a positive economic impact on the city’. Yeah, goodo, Tony.

Townsville Enterprise's Daddy Warbucks
David Kippin 

And then the Townsville Enterprise sideshow’s chief carnival barker David Kippin cleared his  throat to blow more smoke on the English language with ‘…. the new approach would allow passionate Townsville people to lead the event forward’, and a little later ‘….we will be appointing community champions to take the lead with particular event areas  …’

Oh, purleeese, this is just unmitigated bullshit, and totally hides the real truth of some hard negotiations between the council and Townsville Enterprise.

Want the plain English version in a couple of sentences? Try this, courtesy of several insider contacts.

'The Townsville City Council is fed up with what amounts to double dipping when it has to carry the burden of V8 business and infrastructure issues. There is another fat cat entity which should be shouldering most of that load.

So the council has directed – not requested – that Townsville Enterprise get of its ratepayer padded arse and actually do some meaningful work towards the V8s. David Kippin has reluctantly agreed to this, but appears to have come up with a way to protect the $800,000 annual stipend from Townsville ratepayers (which includes his quarter of a million dollar annual package), without which TEL would be out the financial backdoor in a matter of nano-seconds.

The Kipper's blasts of hot air appear designed to disguise that what he is really seeking are businesses willing to stump up their own dough for various aspects of supporting Tony Cochrane’s closed-shop V8 circus. You can bet TEL won’t willingly put up any of its own cash.

When the ‘Pie started to seek answers to the real meaning of this meaningless bumf, two things were made abundantly clear to him.

The council is seeking a greater relevant role from Townsville Enterprise across the board – this is just the start, and about bloody time - and that there will be no extra ratepayer funds for whatever financially creative ideas TEL cons businesses to spent time and money on in relation to the V8 SuperPests.

Over to you, you passionate champions, you.

Finally, it can’t be avoided, a look at that national game of Twister down in Canberra called the Labor Government.

Christ, talk about the second Xl !!

The Aussie cricketers have shown graphically what happens when a lack of talent and discipline descends into back-biting squabbles. A lesson clearly lost on Canberra. Joolya obviously hasn’t heeded the lesson, and now this country is being run by also-rans.

As if we didn’t have enough trouble having The Goose as Treasurer!

Try these on for size.
Anthony Albanese
Anthony Albanese, a classic political case of running with the foxes (supported KRudd) and hunting with the hounds (remains in Gillard’s good books – she needs him in the House) has been appointed Minister for Regional Development. 

He was sworn in the day before he was named in the NSW Independent Commission against Corruption as a protector of disgraced Labor politician Ian MacDonald. Turns out Albanese – along with that two-faced ,self-promoting dangerously inflated pustule Graham Richardson - protected and resurrected MacDonald’s tottering political career in 2006. This allowed MacDonald to bilk the NSW taxpayers of hundreds of millions of mining dollars. (An aside: our own Senator Ian Macca MacDonald is at pains – excruciating pains – to point out he is no relation to this identically named NSW twicer).

Our Macca has made the point that a Regional Development minister should have knowledge of regional concerns and challenges, but he informs us that Albanese is the member for Grayndler  ‘a densely populated inner city Sydney electorate whose inhabitants know nothing of remote Australia except that there are no coffee shops there’. Despite that wildly inaccurate and politically questionable riposte, that’s what the Yanks would call a ‘zinger’.

And then we have the curious case of the twin ministers.

Craig Emerson

Wannabe pop star the singing Craig Emerson (cringe) is, among other chores, the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research ….

Don Farrell

… while South Australian wowser Don Farrell is now, among other chores, the Minister Science and Research. Merging departments is how Joolya has curiously decided to approach the talent shortage, but having two ministers twinned for Science and Research is a loopy first even these stumblebums. And there are some in the science community who are a tad bamboozled and alarmed by Farrell’s appointment, since he is known as a bible-bashing and anti-science Neanderthal.

This is what the well-informed had to say about the issue:

We're also interested how scientists view the appointment of Farrell, a Catholic and moral crusader dubbed The Godfather and the Pope in SA, whose power-base is the right-wing shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA). Farrell was previously parliamentary secretary on sustainability and water, where he wore a magic cloak of invisibility. He was instrumental in the coup that brought down Rudd. Let's see how he treats his reward of being anointed science minister.

ALP straight(ish) arrow Bill Kelty

It took one of Labor’s few remaining respectable elder statesmen, Bill Kelty, to succinctly sum up the parlous situation both for the party and for the country. He penned a few eloquent and damning words to the Sydney Morning Herald last Thursday.

''The ALP must reject the ideas and processes that have no home in the party,'' he wrote. ''A Labor Party that cultivates division, or taxes superannuation retrospectively, or cannot justify deficits, or makes regional tours presidential visitations, or reinvents class warfare, or steals the rhetoric of Pauline Hanson on migrants, or embraces the Pacific refugee solution of John Howard, or attacks single mothers and narrows its base to a mythical group of blue-collar workers, cannot win an election’.

And won’t.

Enough, it is now away to Poseurs’ Bar, where the old bird will seek out a ‘passionate champion’ in the form of a comely lass, where he bebubble her and ‘encourage aspects of connectivity’. Maybe in the back of a V8.


  1. Looks like the fairness of user pays may finally apply to the car race. Why should Tsv ratepayers continue to fill Tony cochran's pockets....who tskes his ops manual of screwing governments directly from Bernie Eckelston.

  2. Ron Bairstow PerthMarch 30, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Your crap-o-meter is spot-on. The media release is a very clumsy attempt to spin big changes in the way the Townsville V8 round is financed and administered.
    As for your description of the new Federal Cabinet as the Second X1, I think you're being far too complimentary. I'd rate them as a D-grade club side.

  3. Hi Pie, Happy Easter.

    I will never vote for the Greens. I suspect they'd outlaw Easter if they could. Gail should worry about where and if overseas kiddy widdies made her blue necklace. The Greens need to dismantle.

    1. "When I read the anti-Green comments in this blog and elsewhere I wonder whether the writers have ever bothered to actually read the Green's policies? Or whether they've bothered to ask Jenny Stirling whether what the Astonisher reports her as saying is what she actually said? I've done both, and while I agree that Hamilton is not demonstrating much political savvy for somebody who wants to be a politician, I've found far more agreeable goals and values in the Greens' than any of the other parties."

    2. The Greens have removed their more extreme policies from their website and public policy documents to avoid scrutiny and the inevitable derision.

      By "agreeable" do you mean more an idealistic, unachievable, pie-in-the-sky, share the wealth set of feel-good policies? Peel me another lotus, will you?

      Mike, life just isn't fair. Nirvana won't happen on this earth. Smell the roses all you want, but watch out for the pricks.

  4. Make love and bites not war.

    The council's propaganda press release.

  5. Pie, quoting three instances of 'the cardinal newspaper sin' - incorrect edition dates - over the years, you've often said that the Townsville Bulletin doesn't even know what day it is. Well, here's further proof. The following is from 'the Weekend Bulletin' which hit the newsstands yesterday (Sat) morning. There was no Friday edition.

    At the bottom of the page 7 under all the Easter messages stuff, (just to confuse visitors) is a list of "What's happening this weekend" "Today" is clearly Friday and "Tomorrow" is clearly Saturday. Unless Dr. Who is now doing planning I'd guess that this was all prepared before they all cleared off for the long weekend.

    In an article regarding Tony Abbott's daughter's on page 12 a typo has changed the entire meaning of one sentence it should have been "To me" however it is written as Tome [sic] and I doubt if any of the definitions of Tome especially a classic fits the bill.

  6. Old Codgerdom is creeping up on The 'Pie - he forgot to include this link in the this weekend's post.

    Don't be drinking when you watch it, you'll spray your drink everywhere. It is easily one of the funniest Hitler spoofs ever and very timely. Belly laughs all the way, and the cosoling comment of one woman to a weeping friend was a show stopper for the old bird.


  7. Gail Hamilton's supported will probably hand out Easter Eggs rather than how to vote cards at the Sept Election

  8. Want to know what's really scarey to me Pie? ive got two young kids and sometime somehow I have to explain to them how the world works. in a way its like telling them about santa or the easter bunny. sooner or later I have to tell them the truth. How long can I hold out is the key. A kid sees the world in an almost perfect way, rose coloured glasses one might say. Its the same thing with politics. I apologise for breaking it down into such simple terms, but I feel its the only way they might understand. and I'm not talking about my kids. Our current crop of pollies are bordering on criminally insane. but being in power gives you certain powers that nobody can oppose. democracy? BULLSH-T! the majority has no voice, when we have a voice we get shouted down by minorities. who is running this once beautiful country I was once proud to call my own I for one, voice of many are over the quivering, snivelling voice of the few that defy logic.

  9. Oh, you can find many an example of the Greens' loopy interpretation of the world and the weirdness they seek to impose upon us.

    Extremism and controversy for controversy's sake is the only way they can get anyone to take notice of the scatterbrained inadequates.

    The overstepping of boundaries of decency, good taste and dignity seems to be the way of the new Labor Party. Who would have thought that we would ever consider that militant union firebrand Kelty as a "respectable elder statesman"

    I agree, Reveille, how can we ever hope to instill a sense of basic goodness and respect in our children when the leader of our country screeches insults and engages in the most vile and hypocritical conduct. She set the tone. Come on September.

    1. Ummm, Grumps, old sport, if you're going to ask private questions not for publication, might be an idea to include an email address ... commenters' addresses are not available to The 'Pie. (And here's another plea to at least give yourselves names, please, folks ... be as witty as you like - anonymous is not witty).

      Anyway, the answer to your question is, no, and what are you talking about? 'Tis possible that this techno-klutz buggered something up in publishing comments, so let the old bird in on the secret.

      Apologies to the other few hundred who had to get this message - blame Grumpy.

  10. So just what is the population of Townsville?

    You'll never know for sure if you depend on the Daily Astonisher, which makes it a multiple chioice answer.

    When Thuringowa and Townsville amalgamated in 2008, we were officially told we were suddenly a community of 164,008. Early last year, the Astonisher started ballyhooing projections that we would pass 200,000 around about now, because the paper quite reasonably made the estimate on the Bureau of Statistics figure of a then population of 191,119 as of June 30, 2011. Fair enough, but that has now been revised down to 180,389 when the ABS admitted to a 'relatively high error' in projections. Annual growth has now been pushed back from a nation-leading 2.4% to 1.4%.

    But then the paper goes in for some multiple choice answers, if you choose not to believe today's reasonable yarn by reporter Anthony Galloway.

    Just two days ago the Bulletin's weekend edition, ran a non-news, reheated jingoistic bit of front page flummery about plans for northern Australia to become more attractive for southern 'migrants' and development (which included not a single new or news fact written by southern based journo Paul Toohey). A second Toohey article inside - lifted from the News Ltd Adelaide Now website - included a fact box on page 7 which told us that Townsville's population was 167,847!

    Then, if you go to what one would hope is a very up-to-date Townsville Bulletin Market Profile page, we are told the population is 181,724, and the annual growth rate is 3.2%. Very old figures indeed, proved by the absurd claim the paper is read by 7 out of 10 residents every week (which neatly ignores that those deluded enough to read the rag do so more than once a week - poor mutts - or are crossword and sudoku tragics who must get their daily fix).

    Be nice if the paper could at least tell the truth in its own marketing profile, even if veracity so often eludes it in the news columns.

    1. Why would Rupert Moodock visit Darwin and is for the visa 457? What a dip stick !

  11. i hear tell that Paul Jacob (political pest and media hound, Magpies words) besides now calling himself a Northern Beaches Advocate and member of the Townsville Rate Payers Assoociation had Quasi Inderpendant Pat Ernst around for coffee and scones prior to the last Council Election and also handed out pre polling how to vote cards for Ernst. Shows you how he tries to increase his labor profile...

  12. Great Stuff Pie. A good read.

  13. Did Howard sell the countries gold reserves? Did Howard sell country assets like Customs House, land at Palleranda. The Liberals sell assets like no tomorrow, Newman and Abbott will have this country asset poor. They will also tell you it will be good for you and the country.

    1. Que? What about Bligh and NSW Labor government? Bligh sold our railway - a tad more consequenial than surplus real estate.

      The RBA recommended the sale of 2/3 of gold stocks in 2007 (admittedly approved by Costello) for $2.4Bn. Seemed like a good idea at the time...

      Maybe that went towards the $20Bn surplus that Howard/Costello left for the Comrades to squander...

      Just the fact M'mam, just the facts.