Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jarrod Crackers McCracken lives up to his nickname, but falls short of doing the job properly at his bizarre closing down party on Via Vomitorium on Thursday night … and what do former Townsville Mayor Tony Mooney and the late Margaret Thatcher have in common? More than you’d think.

Plus, is  current captain of SS Townsville, Mayor Mullet, is steering us towards the political rocks? She looks to have given up all pretense of being politically independent (don’t look so surprised) with her latest damaging decision …

Is there a chance of any kick-on effect from NSW’s ICAC hearing that has put an adverse spotlight on Guildford Coal’s Craig Ransley – could any adverse finding against him affect the cheery prospects of the Townsville-based coal venture? The ‘Pie investigates.

And a startled olf bird looks at those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune so instantly aimed at Baroness Thatcher even before she’s planted, and seeks some balance amid the vitriol …

… while our penman Bentley sees a new use for Townsville much-maligned Cruise Ship Terminal and The Pie has his own cunning plan to peacefully settle the Korean Problem,  all here in this week’s blog at

The bizarre 'closing down party' at the Consortium Nightclub on Thgursday night had a touch of the childish 'if I can't have it, neither can you'. Jarrod McCracken allowed a personal free-for-all party to trash his former club, just ours before the liquidators took over to raise money to pay outstanding legal bills owed by the former league star.
Mr and Mrs Crackers in happier times -
at the opening of The Consortium

but all the more bizarre for two others reasons. Both Crackers and his wife Michelle (does that make her Crackette?) are bankrupts, but that bankruptcy ruling is under appeal, with the judgement currently reserved. This is a strange way to behave when trying to paint yourselves as wronged citizens ... it demonstrated an irresponsible hooligan streak of immaturity. But then again, at least he has the excuse that he was a footballer. What's yours, Michelle? 

And if he is going to reportedly sit around and laugh at the destruction and  

It’s dangerous when that boy Bentley starts thinking. Our resident doodler reckons that the shortcomings of the marine approaches to the Port of Townsville won’t hinder a possible new type of operation, given the tourism highlight of the week in Western Australia.

Here’s an idea to ease things over on the Korean Peninsula – The ‘Pie proposes an elite squad of  trained ‘hot butto’ issue experts take on a non-lethal detachment of the North Korean Army in a break-dance style contest to settle the issue.

This is the North Korean contingent …

…. who would be up against some equal;ly highly decorated opponents …

If that fails, a big magnet could be used to wipe out the North’s tin men.
So just what has the woman ...

Ultra conservative Margaret 'The Iron Lady' Thatcher
now rusting.

have in common with this man?
our erstwhile mayor, the ALP's  Tony His Radiance Mooney.

Well, it occurred to The ‘Pie that both were, in their own arenas, highly successful politicians, wildly popular with some sections of their communities, and who both broke out-moded molds public governance. But the single most striking commonality between the two is the reasons for their political demise: they both got turfed out of office because of that one fatal step too far, a step prompted by the over-weaning belief that they could do no wrong, and were always right, no matter what anyone else counselled.

In Thatcher’s case, it was the disastrous, unworkable and plain politically suicidal poll tax (which abolished rates on houses and properties and instead levied a tax on all individuals to fund local government). In mooney’s case, it was the conservative-like presidential style he adopted in later years of his mayoralty, which pissed of the faithful as well as opponents. It’s true, politics has its parallels and lessons across all types of government.

Now, the lady who said she is not for turning will continue that vow, resting serenely in her conviction that she had always done the right thing.

She also jeft behind some memorable bon mots, the best of which is undoubtedly ‘Socialism is fine until you run out of other peoples money’.

But the big side-debates this week was the unseemly (in the sense of instant) bile spewed out at Baroness Thatcher  only hours after she died last Monday, aged 87. That there wasn’t even a time-honoured pause of even a day before the unseemly glee started with ‘death parties’ and the vicious public comments ,all of which, to The Magpie’s mind, said more about the commenters than it did about the woman herself.

A demonstrator with a sign proclaiming ‘The Bitch Is Dead’ was confronting no matter what your own opinion may be. One paper chose a similar vein with ‘Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead’, and indeed, the song of the same name (from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz) was pushed up to number three on the charts as stations received thousands of requests for it across the country. Such is the all-consuming divisive nature of Thatcher’s legacy that the BBC television is under fire for only playing a brief clip of the song in a news item aimed at explaining the song’s popularity.

Elvis Costello’s 80s song in which he said he would stamp down the dirt on her grave also had a brief revival.

 Like so much to do with politics everywhere, it was the timing and not the sentiments that were confronting.
Socialist film maker Ken Loach

There was at least an element of wit mixed with sharp political reflection in the comment from film maker Ken Loach, famous for an anti-Thatcher documentary in the 80s. Loach suggested that ‘Margaret Thatcher’s funeral should be privatized and put out to tender, with the winning bid being the lowest. You know that’s what she would have wanted’.

The vicious attacks clearly demonstrated the abiding deep wounds suffered by socialists in Britain when their strangling Orwellian grip on the country was broken by The Iron Lady, It stands to reason that if you strip someone of power and perks, they are going to remember it. And as we all know, socialists everywhere are world champion haters with the longest memories.

But there was some balance in all this, albeit from the pommy conservative press and media, and in the United States. And here, many tried for a balanced view, while predictably, others ignored the very real hardship caused by Thatcher’s uncompromising reforms. Here in this predictable but generally accurate hagiography, neocon Andrew Bolt points out two things that can’t be denied; she was elected three consecutive times at general elections, and she did fix the economy, albeit at massive social cost.


The Lindsay Dynasty goes on.

This young lady is Kylie Jacobson. She is Campbell Newman’s Deputy Chief of Staff.  She is also Prince Peter of Lindsay’s daughter.

According to her justifiably proud poppa, the former Laird of Herbert says (Princess) Kylie’s ‘rise to power’  started as the school captain an Aitkenvale State School in 1990. Although The ‘Pie hears that Kylie won her spurs on her own merits, there are those who think that baldy Campbell figured he needed a bit more hair around the place. He couldn’t have chosen better

The daughter’s climb up the bureaucratic greasy pole will be worth watching, because this trajectory so often is a jumping off start point for a political career.

But this must all be just a welcome distraction for Prince Peter, and also for his former bitter political opponent and now best buddy Tony His Radiance Mooney. Both their focus right now would be much further south, at the ICAC hearings in Sydney.

Down there in the thick of the Eddie Obeid cesspit, Peter Braham SC, counsel assisting the inquiry, this week said that in an effort to recover tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, conspiracy and corruption charges could possibly be brought against former NSW minister Ian MacDonald, (no, not our straight-arrow NQ Senator  Ian MacDonald) and three others – including one Craig Ransley. 

Mr Ransley is the head of Guildford Coal, based in Townsville and promising excellent economic returns for the region. Prince Peter is the company chairman, and Tony Mooney is some sort of communications pooh-bah with them.

The ICAC Inquiry has already heard that Mr Ranlsey was an investor in a coal lease at Doyle’s Creek near Newscastle. The manner in which that lease was granted by ex-minister MacDonald is a focus of the inquiry.  Mr Braham told the inquiry that Mr Ransley had invested a little over $300,000 and received in return $15 million. Mr Braham quoted a text message sent by Mr Ransley when he received the windfall news which read ‘ Merry bloody Christmas – I can’t wipe the smile off my face’.

Mr Braham will trying to do exactly that, and wants charges recommended against the Guildford Coal boss that, if proven, could possibly see all his future communications written on Long Bay letterhead. But it’s a long way from that right now.

However, quite a few folks around here have been somewhat exercised by any possible involvement that could affect Guildford Coal’s projects up here.

Now , first and foremost, let The ‘Pie be clear that all this so far has nothing whatsoever to do with Guildford Coal. And more importantly, there is absolutely no reason to believe that either Peter Lindsay or Tony Mooney had anything whatsoever to do with events in NSW or the ICAC Inquiry.

But should Mr Ransley, who on Thursday announced he was taking ‘leave of absence’ from Guildford’s affairs, is nominated for a striped suntan, then what effect could this have on Guildford Coal? Is there a possibility that there may be some sort of forced sale if Mr Ransley is ordered to pay back the $15 million plus whatever hefty fines are imposed?

The answers, as explained by Prince Peter to The ‘Pie, are in order none and no.

‘Guildford is a public company, and any events that should affect a single shareholder will not affect our plans – we are steaming ahead, opening an office here in Townsville and hiring staff,’ Chairman Lindsay said. ‘The only affect those NSW matters have had on Guildford Coal is out temporary loss of a skilled and valuable businessman from our board, and a speculative drop in our share price, which I also believe is temporary.’

Besides, Mr Lindsay said Mr Ransley is yet to have his day in the judicial sun, and the whole aspect of the alleged matters in NSW could change focus sharply. Being the canny politicians that he was, Prince Petere chose not to elaborate on this statement.

So in the unlikely event of everything goes arse-up, Prince Peter could at least ask his daughter for a job. And rumours persist that Mayor Mullet is still trying to get ex-mayor Mooney into the council CEO’s chair. (The ‘Pie doesn’t believe that – the two are far from friends, or political buddies and the last thing Mayor Mullet needs is a far more politically savvy and generally well liked former mayor looking over her shoulder.)

Speaking of which, this item in the Astonisher caught the Magpie eye on Thursday. Ho hum as far as it goes … about the state opposition leader having a ‘town hall’ style meeting for the locals to come along and vent at government job cuts and express their views on asset sales. It was ho-hum until the very last throwaway line which reads  ‘The meeting will be held by Ms Palaszozuk from 6.30pm on May 7in the Mayoral Reception Room at the TCC building on Walker St.’

Oh, really? That would the reception rooms of our unaligned, independent mayor, who leads an unaligned council as its minority figurehead? A mayor who would never do anything to damage the prospects of ratepayers?

So what’s the beef?

Simply this. The issues the ALP’s Ms Unspellable-without-checking-100-times will be canvassing are valid subjects for political debate, but you can’t get away from it, this will be an LNP bash-fest, and a Campbell Can Do kick-a-thon. A political rally, in other words, guaranteed to be a vicious one involving irate people. And it’s to be held in the Mayoral Reception Rooms?

Whether or not the Newman Government deserves a shellacking for its more brutal policies is a matter of opinion and debate, but the wisdom of holding a biased political rally in a venue which makes it appear that it is endorsed by the mayor and/or the whole council is goofy strategy at best. And damaging and unfair to Townsville ratepayers, because this is the mayor, who, in political reality, must go cap in hand to the state government to seek the best deals for the people of this city across all sorts of matters.

And The ‘Pie would like to think that there haven’t been other Mullet-directed shots at the LNP Goverbnment, so perhaps it was an accident that just recently, the flag pole outside the council chambers had the Queensland flag upside down – the international signal of distress.

Aussie politics being what they are, and with a state government that no matter what will be back next time, payback won’t be far down the track. Especially if Jenny Hill’s vaulting personal ambitions – aided, abetted and applauded by the Townsville Bulletin - are going to come before the duties of the office she so luckily fell into last council election. Mullet, you mutt, don’t you get the message – the voters have clearly told you they want party politics left out of council matters as much as possible. This is red rag to a bull - that bull being a snorting, ground-pawing electorate waiting to charge.

Still on matters Mullet, she certainly seems to be running scared.

Using her position as an honorary deputy editor of the Astonisher - is unethically politicking by raising confidential council discussion agendas in the paper. She is openly aided and abetted in this by her political (but platonic) toy boy, the paper’s ace ‘revealer’ Anthony Simpleton. And even the Ititor proved to be just that, by promoting an illusory looming fight between her and councillors.

Somehow, Lachlan Heywood  has parlayed a sensible ‘can’t comment, those discussions are confidential at the moment’ from deputy mayor Vern Veitch into a looming battle royal within council over aspects of rubbish collection.

Huh, how’s that? Talk about schoolyard-style promoting of a run-of-the-mill debate to a fight. .

All Deputy Doo-Dah Veitch said was that he was surprised that a matter under closed ‘budget workshop’ discussion was aired publicly by the mayor before being debated in open council. But using her sway with the Bulletin, Mayor Mullet continues to run her political mayoralty agenda through the media … or that section of the media dense enough to act like incontinent puppy dogs.

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs Bar, where the old bird will bebubble a suitable companion in the hope that the lady will for turning, so we can ummm… get our assets together in a new definition of privatization ... but one trusts money won't be involved.


  1. Does this mean Cr Ray Gatrell from Townsville First gets reported to CMC for what statements he made in the Astonisher.
    Waste and Water Committee chairman Cr Ray Gartrell said there were several options on the table for improving rubbish services for ratepayers.

    "From my perspective we have to have a look at all the (rubbish-related) proposals as part of the budget process," he said.

    "There are proposals floating around including hard rubbish collections, increasing the number of dump vouchers (sent to ratepayers) and potentially some form of free dumping system on certain days at the city's landfills."

  2. Does this mean that Ray " look at me" Gartrell has to be reported to the CMC for spilling his guts? Silly Ray!


    Funny as usual Pie. Lots of gossip and the drama never ends.

    Sagely Yours,
    Miss Lou

  4. As always, good and entertaining.

  5. On the ball and the money frozen shoulder and all

  6. The commentary on your warbling is sooo dismal. I do not for a minute believe that the old bird needs or welcomes such fawning & vacuous reflections.
    Your item on Kylie Jacobson was most engaging. Further reports on her doings, along with the odd happy snap would be welcome. Intelligence on her habits, proclivities & haunts would be enlivening & useful.
    Was your Mum also a redhead?
    The best way to deal with Rangaphilia is to feed it.

    1. Steady, SPQR, your starting to sound like a stalker. But i love the term' rangaphilia'. brought on doubt by the likes of Hanson and Joolya. Kylie may need a strategic dye job if and when she makes the jump.

      As to the fawning, The 'Pie will take anything that will soothe his shattered self-esteem, trampled into the dust (sob) by the likes of the following (real) love letters - 'Magpie, you still suck up to the LNP. When are you going to stop teling lies for Vern Veitch? Anonymous.'

      Brave little petal, isn't he/she? The 'Pie doesn't tell lies for anyone, but if he did, the answer would be that he'll stop telling lies when the Bulletin starts telling the truth - particularly about Jenny Hill.)

      And then there was this non-instructive piece of twerpery - 'Old bitter and twisted. Still playing the flute for the bullys (sic) to follow. Poor little Magpie'. Again anonymous.

      Seems like this last correspondent has been playing the old blue-vein flute a bit too often, he/she is so full of it. These occasional trite bits of ad hominen diatribes which add precisely nothing to public debate or humour don't get published (start your own bloody blog if this is your go, sport, this isn't text The Editor) and anyway, are too easily answered with the following adage: “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is what others think you are”

      However, The 'Pie is always happy to engage in side exchanges on opposing points of view through the comments column with the likes of yourself, SPQR, and Grumpy and others who wish to attack the argument and not the perceived motives of The Magpie.

    2. Pie, I hope this twerp comes back to visit. It makes you know that you're on the right track. Argie bargy can be good as it makes you realise this when jerks post.

    3. Pie has no motive but to write it how it is.

  7. Next stop for illegal,economic refugees, Noosa? How about housing the boaties there? Nice break and good for the Sunny coast holiday economy.

  8. Pie, Excellent, as usual. I particularly liked your coverage of reaction to the Thatcher death. Gonzo

    1. Perhaps the ding dong the witch is dead song for some of our policians here in Tville?

  9. is it problematical that by having both former sides of politics on the Company payroll eventually i would guess they will want to ship coal thru the port of Townsville so they cover all angles although they are a Public Company... Also isn't Craig Wallace some sort of hanger- on in Outer Mongolia for the Company. Our intrepid Paul Jacob now with the Townsville Rate payers Association claims Wallace promised that he would be the Labor Candiate for Thuringowa at the next State Election (dream on) he seems to using the current group to do nothing but bucket Sue Bloom who defeated him easily at the Council elections

  10. Another boring week's read in the Astonisher's paper and wGood stuff Pie.eb page.

  11. Does not the lovely Kylie bear an uncanny resemblance to Rebekah Brooks? They say that the only way to get a redhead to argue with you is to say something.

    I was watching, as is my normal habit, early morning ABC 24 when news of Baroness Thatcher's death came through. Maggie was never my favourite pollie, even though I had the utmost respect for her. However, I was appalled to see that the ABC commentators could barely contain their glee. Virginia Trioli did not even bother to hide the smirk on her face. And to that vain popinjay Bob Carr...I'm calling you out on your Thatcher story as being an outright lie. 'Cause if it was true, you would have carted it out long ago.

    And I do hope that Billy Bunter-Wallace does run again in Thuringowa. I'll have the pleasure of voting against him again.

    I feel for you 'Pie. Frozen shoulder is a grim meal indeed. I get it served to me quite often - cold shoulder with a side of hot tongue

    1. Was disgusted that ABC breakfast host called the Boston victims ... Rich white people...

      Shame on you Virginia Trioli.


  12. I find it remarkable that 2gb's Ray Hadley keeps reading articles from the Astonisher? Always court stories.

    Does Ray know the Astonisher covered up the asbestos issue in their office?

  13. You spell it - Anastacia Whats-her-facia...

  14. Did you read page 22, Struth column in The Weekend Australian - Darwin Awards - The Bully gets a dishonourable mention ..

    1. No, about what? Can't find it - believe you were talking about Strewth. Please enlighten ... really, please!

    2. It's about time the Astonisher was exposed during the 2010 2012 period with such bad managers etc...

    3. Pie, do you remember when the 2009 year of images disappeared as some idiot in IT deleted them? (he never got fired)

  15. Ah, they think we live down under. That's why the flag is upside down.

  16. Fugly duckling hasn’t improved with age - Couldn’t get up for down!
    Swan dive or belly flop? Surely this budget debacle has to be doomed, even without the carbon tax cock up!
    Let’s hope this is the goose’s last swan song

  17. Couldn't help but notice that most of the hecklers at the Baroness' funeral procession would not have even been born when she was PM. They looked to me like the usual braying rent-a-mob of sophomoric uni students that the socialists cart out to give the impression of greater public support than what they really have. Anything to gain attention to themselves, the puerile idiots.

    You are right, 'Pie, about the unions being good haters. I know families in Cunnamulla who, to this very day, refuse to talk to their neighbours because their grandfather "shore for the new rate" in the '50's.

  18. Always good and always entertaining. Miss Lou.

  19. I think it's important to show what goes on behind the newspaper scene. For example: Pr agents like this
    create 'media moments' for the journalistsand photographers to report and fill the paper. EX:!/photo.php?fbid=10151569678985804&set=a.10151569678885804.1073741828.197769015803&type=1&theater

    On Several Occassions, I've seen the director having 'secret' lunch, brunch with Atil of the Hun (bulletin's HR and editorial manager) at the Balcony resturant. I overheard them organising the Chamber of Music publicity. She was sitting on the edge of the resturant near the cash register side.


  20. Your readers must ask is it news if it's being generated and created by a pr company?

  21. I really hope this Astonisher photographer is not freelancing. The chances are: in her contract that she's exclusively Astonisher or No News.Ltd.

    If she's a registered business?

  22. OH my! Tie me kangaroo down.

  23. Well done Magpie with the naming of Rolf Harris several weeks ago. The major news outlets are today naming Fri....

    1. Magpie, great stuff. This is what journalism is about not PR releases which the Bulletin's journo's feed from.