Saturday, March 16, 2013

PHEW, it’s on for young and old now. A federal MP and at least two Townsville councillors are seeking corrections and apologies (ha!) from the The Daily Astonisher aka the Townsville Bulletin, and local judges may be getting into the same queue. Also, is a muddled Mayor Mullet channeling Pauline Hanson? … … and the good and bad news from Rome.

The Daily Astonisher versus accuracy - as usual, it’s no contest.

The Magpie also looks at the mysterious world of the media release, what they said during the week (including an interesting twist on time travel) but more importantly what they didn’t say.

And it is a fact, every single day of the year is a designated Day for some cause or other, but we celebrated or ignored two startling ‘Days’ in the past week – The Magpie enlightens.

And a prize piece of Green twaddle planned to hit the public purse of Townsville ratepayers.

All this and plenty of The Magpie’s own twaddle, here in the nest at

First, the international scene, and altered altar boys and Catholic kids around the world had a spring in their step during the week when they learnt all the church’s cardinals were locked in the Sistine Chapel. Well, that’s a start they all thought, at least we know where they are. But the euphoria was short lived … the blokes in their scarlet, lace trimmed nightdresses and velvet slippers were released on parole when they elected a new Pope. So it was back to business as usual, and the wiser kids will have to continue wearing full body suits when seeking pastoral advice.

Back here in Oz, the right person for the job and a different sort of election were on the minds of the citizenry … and on the minds of our once and future leaders.  While Joolya is dog-whistling up totally unmerited xenophobia on the issue of ‘guest workers’ 457 visas – where well qualified mainly white-collar workers come in to fill often skilled positions Australians can’t or won’t– Mr Rabbit was playing duck and weave politics by conflating 457s with the often unskilled refugees in the community. Someone soon, one hopes, will nail Mr Rabbit’s foot to the floor and he will start playing straight with the public – a public that has long given up on Joolya.

And the one barney that just won’t go away is the leadership question, as poll after poll tanks for the ALP. Cartoonist Paul Zanetti said it best.

 But it would seem xenophobia isn’t restricted to the rarified air of Canberra, it is alive and well in the humid uplands of our own Mayor Mullet’s muddled mind.

Big Red Pauline Hanson

Displaying a nice touch of the Pauline Hansons, the mayor indicated that she had more in common  with the former One Notion leader than a taste for red vinyl jackets.

A red Mullet.

When the sale of Queensland ports popped up, our mayor feigned a fit of the vapours and went for a fumbling populist rant that showed all the intellectual depth and grasp of reality usually enjoyed only by Ronald McDonald.

Having ‘warned’ us of the danger of the port, in her quaint words ‘falling into the hands of the Chinese’, she backed up this dog-whistling claim when she told The Bulletin that
the military needed to know the port operator could provide security and supply. ‘‘Can you imagine if a finance company from Hong Kong bought the port?’’ she said.’

But our mayor then started to spin in ever decreasing circles by immediately following up this horror scenario with a feeble two-bob-each-way which made things worse, given the tinge of racism in the Astonisher's report. ‘However, she was not totally opposed to its sale, saying if it was sold, it would be nice to see the proceeds spent on infrastructure such as roads, rail or a power station in North Queensland.’

One can only conclude that Mayor Mullet is OK with the sale of the port, just so long as it’s not to those slant-eyed yellow devils just waiting to swarm all over us, enslave our men, rape our women and ruin us economically.

The message was clear – you can’t trust them devilish Asians and Chinese. Yellow peril one and all.

Which is a bizarre attitude for a putative leader of a community which benefits so greatly from the dozens of Chinese and Asian investors in Townsville, who have contributed so greatly to our economy and well-being (try Sun Metals for a start).

Now this matter is a couple of weeks old, but the MagpieFone has had a steady stream of folks decrying a civic leader with this unsavoury attitude.

But it would seem that The Mullet will find herself in unfamiliar territory when she teams up with her deputy Vern Veitch to take on the Bulletin over the paper’s reporting of the cost blow-out at Jezzine Barracks.

It seems the story itself was OK, but the front page headline declared ratepayers would have make up the shortfall of $2.9 million.. 

Jezzine Trust Chairman
John Bearne
Councillors are hopping mad at this statement, which is basically not the case - and more than one councilor says the paper knew this. Maybe the Brisbane-based sub-editor made an assumption in the headline, or perhaps they took as fact the self-interested Jezzine Trust chairman John Bearne’s suggestion that the council stump up for what some claim is his own lack of foresight and 'grand design' fixation – or maybe it is just the latest in the Bulletin’s never-ending council-bashing antics. 

However, The Magpie hears the mayor and deputy mayor, who both represent the council on the Jezzine Trust board, will be demanding that the paper  correct this – and good luck with that.

In fact, The Astonisher hasn’t been having much luck with headlines at all during the week.
This one ….

… demonstrates either an ignorance of, or a flagrant disregard for, both the judiciary and the subs bible the News Ltd Style Book. Because the story was about the blunt-speaking Magistrate Peter Smid. He is not a judge (he wishes), and judges generally do not appreciate being equated with their lower court counterparts. This is not just The ‘Pie’s opinion – page 109 of the News Ltd Style Book under ‘Judges’ clearly states that ‘magistrates are not judges’, and should not be referred to as such.

This did a disservice to the competent court reporter Emma Channon, who became victim of the old newspaper adage ‘You take the by-line, you own the headline’ … meaning the public’s general misconception that the reporter writes the headline. That couldn’t be Ms Channon, since she lives in Townsville, not Brisbane.

But it’s not just headlines causing headaches. Brisbane subs are still outside the back door having a fag when certain stories go through.

Ewen Jones has zero problems.

Federal member for Herbert Ewen Jones is seeking a ‘correction’ after he lumbered into the debate about the proposed ‘super stadium’.

Our own Sir Likealunch had this to say in the story:

"If you look at the western stand of the current football stadium it would cost between $50,000 and $60,000 (to extend), and the entertainment centre does not do conventions, so the idea of a super stadium makes sense," he said.


The Magpie asked the Jones boy if he had indeed said this – you never know with Ewen – and if so, who would sit on the five extra seats this amount would create.

He said he had said ‘millions’ and was seeking a correction. He told The Magpie ‘That’s a lot of zeros’, but didn’t make it clear if that was referring to the error itself or the people who write this stuff down in Ogden Street. 

Tricky things, press releases. Two or three have caught the eye during the week.

The police have been putting out the message that people shouldn't leave their keys lying about the house so little rectum cavities can break in, nick them and go joyriding in the stolen cars. The wallopers suggest you 'take your keys to bed with you'.

Guess the idea is OK, but it could lead to some interesting exchanges.

'No, Mervyn, cut it out, not tonight, I've got a headache.'
'Sorry, Beryl, but that wasn't me, it was the keys, not me. Night, luv.'
'Harruph ... thought it was a bit big hee-hee-hee.'

But it was the release announcing an exhibition at the Perc Tucker Gallery that almost brought a tear to the old bird's eye.

The delightfully named artist Theresa Joy Richardson Smajgl's latest exhibition is called Snowflakes in the Tropics, and the press release included an example of her work. She looks like she knows what she's doing, does our Mrs. Smajgl - at least with the brush.

The Magpie has always been a bit leery of painters who find it necessary to explain what they're up to, in essence admitting that they're work doesn't speak for itself. That's one reason The 'Pie likes Andy Warhol; after all a soup can is a soup can and Marilyn Monroe is Marilyn Monroe (and halleluljah to that!), nuff said. There are those occasions where the artist's words don't actually help, but instead leave you wondering about possible medication or sudden lack thereof. This is the situation with Mrs Smajgl.

The press release tells us that she has (presumably recently) become a mother, and this collection of works explores this new life role. We are told that 'colour is pivitol to her work (handy trait, that, for an artist) as it is representative of her emotions. Well, OK, Robert Hughes won't be turning in his grave over that one, but then things go a bit wonky.

Quoth the artist:' ... in the joy of motherhood, two becomes three, peaceful in the violet flame of love'. Well,.. ummm ... good-oh, although the flame might flicker somewhat at 3am feeding time some days, but just so long as the violet flames doesn't become a violent flame, then OK.

But then, somehow, Mrs Smajgl's trolley appears to jump the tracks completely when she informs us being a mum is so beaut - well she actually says motherhood has been such a joyous experience, she has been 'floating in moments of happiness, like snowflakes in the tropics'. Yes, well.

It is well known that new mums are sometimes driven to the relief of popping a few pills to keep up with the sudden change from happily married to constantly harried. The Pie is in deep contemplation about whether such was the case with our gal, and if this prevailing mood was upon her when she signed her surname - and is it actually Smith.

But she does make a pretty picture, and after a glass her three of white infuriator, The Pie started to get on her wavelength. Here see what I mean.

Mrs Smajgl's take on tropical weather conditions.

Reminds me, I must paint the back fence. 

Mrs Smajgl's show is on at Perc Tucker until March 20.    

It's probably an austerity drive, but it would appear the Townsville Council is scrimping on time itself.

A media release on Tuesday began
'Townsville City Council Mayor Jenny Hill and Sealink QLD General Manager, Paul Victory are set to launch an exciting 10 Day International Festival to be held in Townsville, this Wednesday'.

10 days all on a Wednesday!! - Now that is progress and a concept  that opens up all sorts of possibilities, like Mayor Mullet will be the mayor for three years this Tuesday (if only).

But Wednesday's announcement raises an intirguing question or two.

It turns out the event is an excellent-sounding International multi-class sailing regatta, which 'will be a culmination of SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week, (which will run in conjunction with) ‘Townsville Alive’ a mainland Community, Arts and Entertainment Festival. Townsville Alive will include food and wine festivals, a skyworks and entertainment bonanza, an open air concert, Ross River regatta and a community fun run and triathlon, as well as existing council events such as Strand Ephemera'.

The release was on this letterhead.

ProExposure is a high-powered southern PR and events promotions company run by former national netballer and Aussie rep Demelza McCloud, and is tied up with the Austereo crowd - all of whom do not do anything for nothing. Is the council footing the bill for them? I

If so, that raises another question. 

The release tells us that  'Sail Townsville is the initiative of SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week committee, the Townsville Yacht Club, Tourism and Events QLD, and Yachting QLD with support from the Townsville City Council'.

Notice anything missing in all this? Yep, you got it - there isn't a single mention anywhere of Townsville Enterprise being involved, and you’d better believe it, if they were, they'd be out there making out they were running the whole shebang.

Clive Palmer and a distant friend in Bendigo -
did David The Kipper Kippen miss the boat?
But, hang on a sec, isn't this exactly the sort of thing that Townsville Enterprise supposed to be doing?

The Magpie will be interested to know what support the council will be offering Sail Townsville, and be it in kind or whatever, what is it's monetary value. Whatever it is, (and whatever it is, looks like it will be worth it), the real question is, don't we, the ratepayers, already hand over $800,000 of our dues to Townsville Enterprise to do exactly this sort of thing? (Not that we'd ever know, TEL's quarterly justifications to the council are held behind closed doors, and even if you ask your local councillor, he or she can’t tell you, because they’re not allowed to.)

If the council is paying for any portion of the Sail Townsville extravaganza, will it consider knocking off that amount from the annual begging bowl contribution we involuntarily make to this Dudley DoNothing, no public accountability outfit? Don't hold your breath. 

While we're with the council, here's a question for the green-tinged Deputy Doo Dah Vern Veitch. Why do you not so much want to compress time but rather turn back the clock and bring back a bit of the old and discredited Greens/Labor grandstanding with ratepayers money?

Deputy Doo Dah Vern Veitch
This presumptuous twaddle about placing a plaque in Flinders Street declaring Townsville a nuclear free city is an outrageous waste of ratepayers money ... and a now all-too-familiar arrogant attempt at illusory moral high ground.  What about those citizens out there who perhaps who have soberly considered the considerable advantages and advances of nuclear power, and perhaps favour it? 

They may be wrong – maybe not – but they're ratepayers and citizens too. 

So if they petition to place a plaque suggesting that Townsville is an open-minded community and will even-handedly consider advances in nuclear energy, will you agree to that as well?  And Vern, you're not in the business of giving any of them the finger because of your (no doubt sincere) beliefs.  

If this sort of Mooneyesque posturing is to take place, shouldn't there be a plebiscite because spending a single cent on a plaque clearly suggests some sort of spurious community unanimity?

For those careless readers out there - gawd, there's a few of you - please note that this is NOT a debate about nuclear power, it is a debate about the inclusive processes of local government.

That said, anyone wanting a fair and balanced, plain language summary of the current state of nuclear play - including the magic word 'thorium' - read this excellent story in the New York Times, and here is an Amazon link where you can get a book on the subject - both well worth a gander. And here’s a link to the the other side to the story. There, that should keep Jenny Stirling amused and outraged for a few hours.

And The Magpie will point blank refuse to muddy the issue by publishing any comments that try to falsely conflate the nuclear power issue with uranium mining near the headwaters of an important Burdekin tributary. Apart from the fact that that is highly unlikely to happen, it would be an unacceptable and unnecessary risk because of the sensitive location of this particular deposit at Ben Lomond. The political fallout would be enormous, and all for very little gain to the government or the local jobs market.

Other matters.

When is a day not a day? When it’s a Day.

Every single day of the year is designated something or other day, sometimes claimed by more than one group. From what Mongrel the Barrister calls  ‘International Sheilas Day’ last week to Headless Chook Day (fair dinkum, May 17 in Fruita, Colarado) there seems to be a day for everything, (Mongrel the Barrister again:’They could celebrate those two on the same day, no one would know the difference hur hur hur’). Sigh.

But the usually unflappable ‘Pie found a couple of startling Days during the week just gone. He fell into deep contemplation when he was told that last Wednesday was Digital Action Day. All manner of imaginings flooded the bird brain – was it something to do with priests? … a political call to advise politicians of their standings with the general population? 

But no, it turned out that it was just a shortened version of Day of Action for Community Digital Radio. Drat!

And yesterday, Friday, entirely unrelated to the above, was International Sleep Day, apparently aimed at advising the populace on the rules for getting a good night’s kip. Rule three, as carefully advised by ABC brekky boy Michael Clark, was 'Never use the bedroom as an office, a workroom ... or for recreation’

Huh? Recreation?

Err … ummm … how can this be put delicately? It can’t be actually, so suffice to say, if this rule is followed, the kids will get a bit of surprise if they come home from school early and come across mum and dad 'recreating'  in the lounge room on the aptly named shag pile.  

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs” Bar, where the old bird hopes  to bebubble a comely companion and discuss aspects of digitalization and recreation. But The ‘Pie suspects it again end up as DIY Day.


  1. Bravo to Councillors Ernst, Lane and Gartrell for not allowing themselves to be gradually drawn in by stealth down the extremely risk laden path of TCC becoming a property developer AND purchaser with ratepayer's funds. Shame on the others!

    1. Fed Up Idalia It's a shame the 3 of them allow Townsville Enterprise to have no ratepayers accountability of the $700000. to $8000000. plus rebated rent at Enterprise House which the Council owns (Qld Govt own the land) Whats good for the Goose's is good for the Gander's.

  2. Always good and entertaining. I was hoping for Pope Cabonara from Italy.

  3. Magpie I believe the male sitting slighly behind Clive Palmer in the picture & and per your comment last week L Lancini

    1. Yup, looks like Lozza, who no doubt paid his own way, anyway. Wonder if he was the developer said to have flown back with The Kipper from Brisbane? Would make sense, since Lozza is no doubt a lynch-pin in the new stadium deal, but has very politely allowed The Kipper to do the media so TEL doesn't look like just a sideline pom-pom high kicker.

    2. Do you remember the time Jooliya had the Astonisher's basketball corporate box?

      Well spotted with Lancey.

    3. Lancini is also one of the Board of Directors of Townsville Enterprise

    4. Yes, indeed he is, but he GIVES money to TEL, not TAKES money from it.

  4. Will Pat Ernst hand out how to vote cards for Ewan Jones at the Sept Federal Election (Or before)

    1. He'll have to return the favour after Ewan's spirited drivel as Pat's How to Vote man at Willows State School and other places last time. Independent Councillor of course!

  5. I am so tired of the Astonisher running their Cowboys sponsorships stories and passing them off as "news". This week it was Tamou and his pregnant girl friend and then yesterday the new home he is building leading into a sports story - give me a break!

    1. This runs across all the papers. At least you know that it's not news.

    2. This is probably part of the negotiated contract with Lance a lot.

      They've lost this week more feely good come back stories to come.

      Fans don't need the Astonisher when they can have have News feed

      Sick of browsing countless websites to get the information you want? Receive the latest headlines from the North Queensland Cowboys via RSS, with the information sent directly to you. RSS provides an alternative means of accessing the vast amount of information that now exists on the internet, saving you the time of browsing the ever-growing world wide web.

    3. But who wasn't genuinely surprised to read that he's building a house at the Bho-lay?

  6. The lovely Shari

    "Unfortunately we know all too well about asbestos here at the old Bully building. It's a massive pain in the hoo-haa, causes untold disruption, is treated as being more deadly than, say, the ebola virus, while the eye-wateringly high removal costs can't be debated or compromised."

    Finally, another journo speaks out. I told you they were trying to kill us.

    1. At least Shari has integrity to write about it. Still, no news report has ever been written about this.


      Ironic they call them scum. However, they've never reported their own incident.

      or this

      News Ltd hides the asbestos scare from the public in Townsville.

    3. I can't work out why Not ONE journalist exposed this issue with Health and Safety over the years. Fear? Skeen is a walkley award winner.

      I was told once a year air quality control... Ha!


  8. TYPO
    "Alter" boys? Do you imply a gender manipulation ... behind the altar?

  9. Australia is 26th in the world for freedom of speech.

    Townsville would rate last in this country for freedom of speech and reporting. News ltd likes to quash media photographers and elevates journalist's truth.

    but, don't tell the 'truth' about the labor party.

  10. Saw that there was a very nasty Storm in town the other other night.....nah, nah

    Even better than the win, one of the Melbourne boys got to do what 4 out of 5 males in NQ would love to do - smack that egotistical jerk Thurston in the kisser. (go on - admit it - you want to)

    I cannot get myself overly excited about this "super stadium" Forget the parking problem - there would have to be a massive improvement in road infrastructure to handle the traffic flow in to and out of the city. It can barely handle peak periods as it is. Fine for the inner city appartment dwellers (those who won't be firing off complaints about the noise) - but has anyone done an analysis of where most of the regular Cowgirls supporters live? Given the socio-economics of the fan base of Rugby League in general, I'd be willing to bet that it is nowhere near the inner city. However, the convenience of the ordinary supporters is not something high on the agenda of the Cashed Up Bogans running the joint.

    I have a gut feeling that the whole concept is born out of ego, self interest and greed. What, precisely, is wrong with the existing facility? Why do we need to build another one from scratch? Why there? Cui Bono?

    Who indeed

  11. Hey 'Pie...get a poison pen leter from a lawyer, did you?

    1. No Grumpy. Geez, don't you ever bloody sleep?

      The removed comment to which you obviously refer was posted without too much consideration late at night as the old bird was being hassled to pack his computer gear prior to returning home from Sydney after a brief interlude in the Sin City of the South. Overnight consideration decided that it may possibly reflect unfairly on others, so he removed it.

      Your well off the mark - the golden rule for civil action is never sue anyone who does not have any money. The 'Pie qualifies in spades.

      Now go to bloody sleep.

    2. Insomnia is a right bitch....

    3. And...'Pie - the Golden Rule of civil litigation is to make sure you have money in trust from your client before you lift a pen. The Silver Rule is to make sure you bail out when your client runs out of the readies. On top of that, quite a few clients just want the win for the sake of principle, knowing full well that enforcement of any judgment would be unlikely. Any lawyer will tell you that the client who says, "It's not the money, it is the principle" is a cow to be milked dry. An unprincipled lawyer with a principled client is a dangerous beastie indeed...

  12. Always good and always entertaining.

    Sagely Yours,

    Miss Lou

  13. Magpie Very good artical Courier Mail Tda 22 Mar P36 about (who i consider) the only Judge in QLD who is abreast of the times and hands down some realistiic criminal judgements in Qld (although many are reduced on appeal...

  14. The courier mail and ABC can't spell Cyprus