Sunday, May 26, 2013

From smear to sneer - The Astonisher reveals the true worth of their objective reporting i.e zero - and Desperate Dave Moyle is back on the scene, entertaining us as always with his latest reach for relevancy.

On the national scene, the feds make it legal; they can take money from your bank account with out asking – and for no discernible or justifiable reason. Bentley is rightly furious.

That surprise resignation from Townsville Enterprise last week wasn’t quite the surprise it was made out to be ….

And if for some reason you’re disaffected with your local council in this neck of the woods , it could be worse – a southern council has created ‘smile spies’, and had introduced – fair dinkum – a ‘smiles per hour’ program.

Plus the Irony of the Week, and the best number plate seen around town, all here in the nest at

Now here’s a brave little Territorian; The ‘Pie spotted this plate over in the Palmer Street area recently.

Bit ill advised if you keep turning up late for work, or even worse, if you rolled the wagon after falling asleep at the wheel.

A footnote to that bit last week about Ross Contarino suddenly resigning as the Townsville Enterprise economic development manager. It seems his ‘resignation’ wasn’t quite the out-of-the-blue Monday morning surprise it was laughably made out to be.

The Magpie has discovered that an email did the rounds of the movers and shakers on the weekend prior giving a heads up about the ‘sudden’ resignation. Which also means that the TEL board would’ve known, too (no doubt including deputy chair Mayor Mullet) well before CEO David The Kipper Kippin made his fumbling doleful announcement.

The ‘email offered no reason for Mr Contarino’s sudden departure, but it is standard business practice everywhere to let the shafted offer their resignation to save face. There is little doubt he was nudged, despite very carefully worded official denials and claims that it was entirely voluntary … it is believed there were possibly some questions about his in-house office behavior, but we’ll probably never know for sure – like so much of what goes on down there at Dudley Do-Nothing House. But given the present employment climate in the $100K++ bracket, it is passing strange to walk away without a word of explanation.

But good timing though, as the resignation comes as The Kipper is said to be coming under mounting pressure to rein in the galloping staff costs of TEL. He has said he is in no hurry to replace Mr Contarino (well, look it is only the region’s economic development manager) and somehow, the new situation has revealed some apparently hitherto hidden structural changes that will allow The Kipper to take over some of that portfolio himself. Gawd help us.

And gawd help our poor neglected bank accounts.

In a recent amendment to an existing law, it is now OK for the Commonwealth to seize, without asking, the contents of private bank accounts that have been inactive for three years! Even that the old law allowed this to happen after seven years is inexplicable. 

The advice from other flabbergasted financial folk is to make sure you deposit or withdraw even just a dollar every three years to protect your assets which should be protected anyway. Another impost a democratic country could well do without.

Although The ‘Pie has looked everywhere around the web, he cannot find a single explanation even attempting a justification behind this unbelievable move from an unbelievable government. Bentley has quite rightly got his dander up, well and truly.   

There is a word for this, not appropriation or sequestering … no the word is theft – this isn’t even socialism, it is thieving. And would you believe, at about the time this was rammed through parliament, everyone in Canberra was up in arms about the EU’s arbitrary cash grab in Cyprus.

The irony of the week is the fact that a large Sydney based firm has gone belly-up this week – one of Australia’s biggest contract cleaning firms – Swan Cleaning. And yes, some of their biggest national accounts were with - the banks! 

Other matters closer to home.

Over the years, we’ve had His Radiance, we’ve had Captain Snooze and The Kid, we’ve had Cuddlepie, George McAllbran, Messagebank and of course, The Moaning Mullet, now elevated to Mayor Mullet. But now, dancing on to the local stage (tap-tap-trip, tap-tap-trip) in candy striped jacket, straw hat and cane, we have that ever entertaining party animal David Moyle the Magnificent … or Magnifico for short.
Thinking cunning plans:
Magnifico Moyle channeling Baldrick.

Yep, the Lucky Starr of NQ politics – he’s been everywhere and been in just about every party except the Greens, and only then because they wouldn’t have him – has built his own political launching pad, a Forest Gump Party organization formally called the Townsville Ratepayers Association. As Mrs Gump so famously explained to her son that life was like a box of chocolates ‘because you never know what you’re going to get’.

You can say that again.

Magnifico burst on to the scene during the week with an article in The Astonisher’s little sister The Weekly Surpriser aka the Townsville Sun, attempting to show that he is in touch with his feminine side. Magnifico and his fellow Gumpster the Northern Beaches perennial political wannabee waffler Paul Jacob, have probably been inspired by the visit to Townsville during the week of the actor, Tony Robinson, best known for his role as Baldrick in TV's Blackadder. Because they have come up with a Baldrick-like ‘cunning plan’.

Moyle's mentor?
The Gumpsters have decided to create a ‘shadow council’, with selected members ‘shadowing’ a designated councilor in a particular ward. The article in the Surpriser  - a pause here while The ‘Pie brushes away a tear of mirth – is a doozy.

Since Magnifico founded the Gumpsters on the web a few months ago, he has been stampeded with … ummm, … 25 people demanding to sign up. That’s 25 unless the numerically challenged Mr Jacob did the counting … then it may have been 5+2=7 … or maybe 7+2+5 = errr ..11?

There is a clear threat to our right to peaceful weekends and the general pursuit of happiness, because these shadow councillors – read intrusive dingbats – have promised to door-knock, letter drop and generally make nuisances of themselves, all in the name of Magnifico’s desperate political ambitions. Those ambitions can’t have been helped by this thigh-slapper of an article.

Magnifico promises these folk are to take a camera and shoot pictures of the area. (Cue Pink Panther music here, as these ‘shadow councillors’, kitted out like Inspector Clouseu, dart from bush to bush, and stealthily peer around corners, their Kodak Go-Shots at the ready).

Now it is said that the sheilas are smarter than blokes, a theory that seems to be supported by the fact that the gals have given this Gumpster outfit a wide berth, as wide as the berth they afford Mongrel the Barrister on Friday nights at Poseurs’ Bar.

Magnifico knows this is a bad look. He’s known this for a while since he tells us that at meetings, ‘it has been discussed that we need more women’, which sounds like the perennial lament along the bar at  Poseurs.

There are three spots left to fill the ‘shadow council’ and the boys want these filled by women. So courtesy of the free kick article in the Surpriser Dave and Paul put on their best come hither looks and posed with three symbolically empty chairs, prompting Mongrel to suggest that made five empty places in all in the pic.

But our boy has immediately hit a few snags with his plan.

Take this quote just for starters:

‘Mr Moyle said shadow councillors as well as the other members of the group, would tackle key issues such as rates and services, council tenders, water fluoridation, body corporate fees and non-performing councillors.’

Body corporate fees? Magnifico must have perceived this to be a current ‘hot button’ item bound to attract support. Only teeny problem is that body corporate fees don’t now, have never, and never will have anything whatsoever to do with local governments … probably not any level of government, actually. But what the hell ….

But Magnifico is offering a firm clear vision of the future, he’s a leader who knows what he wants, and where others should be headed, yes, siree, don't you worry about that. But at the same time, no martinent he, Mr Moyle shows a nice touch of flexibility appropriate for a bloke in touch with his feminine side.

He says this:
"The issue of some of these shadow councillors running for higher office, namely council, in 2016, will in some case most likely occur."  Or perhaps, in no cases, but maybe that won’t occur, it may be unlikely, but then again, some councillors, or maybe none of them might run for higher office, namely council, or Prime Minister, well, golly, who knows? Sounds like his feminine side out shopping at an Ikea of Ideas.

Here’s a newsflash for you Gumpster folks. We already have a Townsville Ratepayers Association – it is called The Townsville City Council – and guess what, they didn’t appoint themselves, they were actually elected by others, and those others – the ratepayers – are the ones to which they answer. Trying to built a pressure group to further the personal ambitions of a couple thought-disordered envious urgers doesn’t do this community and good – or credit. But it does lighten up our day.

Then there is another problem for our boyo; the article prominently mentioned a meeting to fill those vacant chairs this Saturday, and Saturday was  also mentioned at the bottom of the article giving the time and place. But in the story, we get this quote

‘The last thing we want is to be perceived as a boys' club, so we appeal to all women in the community to get involved and come to the meeting on Sunday’. Hope he made it. Read the report here.

But there’s another pause-giving matter in Mr Moyle’s article. Did you note this:

‘Mr Moyle said the group currently had 25 active members and recently had also garnered the support of federal Liberal MP for Herbert, Ewen Jones’.

Now The ‘Pie thought Dumbo Jumbo galumphing into this bit of nitwittery was a stretch even for him, so The Magpie fired off an email asking if it was true. With admirable promptness, our man replied thus:

I was sent a FaceBook request to like the page, which I did, as the local member. I have not been approached by David or Paul at any level regarding involvement. I was not contacted by the journalist for this story.

I wish them all the best.

(Sigh) Mate this is politics 101.

You ‘liked’ the page because you’re the local member? What if the Trotskyite Youth Brigade – Townsville branch – send you a similar request, would you ‘like’ them too 'as their local member'?  Or would you make the most rudimentary of inquiries about them? And would you ‘wish them all the best’?

Ewen,old fruit, in this day and age, a Facebook ‘like’ is support, slim as that may admittedly be, especially from a federal member, and wishing them 'all the best' is political naivety at its best. Christ, in political terms, there are a growing number of people who think you can’t even dress yourself, mate.

Look, here's how it works - privately, you would normally be able ‘wish the best’ and ‘like’ away to your hearts content, but you have no business entering into a screwball local government bit of flummery as a federal member – a stance by which many people are affronted and offended, including properly elected councillors and those who voted for them. 

As his elected federal member, The 'Pie requests you stop this mindless quest to be loved by everyone and endorsing of all sorts of things that really don’t concern you, (you're becoming a bit of a serial offender, mate - remember the help offered the Pinnacles urgers) -  and matters over which you can have no sway. You’re not an ordinary citizen, you are our representative in Canberra, so get your well-upholstered, taxpayer-funded arse into gear - the depth of mindless buffoonery is getting dangerously tedious.

On this occasion, The 'Pie is forced to agree with Mongrel the Barrister, who reckons his private member has more brains than his federal member. 

Magnifico isn’t the only one pre-occupied with the council at this time.

The Daily Astonisher says it believes in 'mixing it up', - that's their words verbatim in the series of self-promoting ads (see last week's blog) so they have now adopted the old adage that variety is the spice of life.

Not content with head-kicking the council with manufactured stories ever favorable to the paper's honorary associate editor Jenny Mayor Mullet Hill, now her greatest admirer, political acolyte and cheerleader Anthony Simpo Templeton has switched during the week from a smear campaign to a sneer campaign.
To the mayoral eye,
a cutesy pie?
Simpo readies for his own group hug.

Dropping all pretense of objective mature reporting, Simpo has picked up a pen dripping with sarcastic, undergraduate venom, deriding and belittling the decision to adopt the CMC recommendation of a one day 'relationship building' workshop for councillors, the mayor and TCC CEO Ray Burton. Using the famous Townsville Bulletin selective memory process, Simpo skated quickly over the uncomfortable fact (for him) that this whole situation arose from a spiteful and wholly unsubstantiated claim by Mayor Mullet that Ray Burton had withheld vital budgetary information from her.

The smart-arse attitude started with Wednesday's headline: HUG IT OUT - Council Love-in To Learn How To Get Along. Whether Simpo wrote the headline or not, he certainly inspired it in his second par references -'Cr Hill and Mr Burton, along with all 10 elected councillors will be required to attend the group hug'.

Looking down what he imagines to be his worldly nose in condescension, Simpo followed this with 'Each participant will be taught their roles and responsibilities under the Local Government Act , despite already being paid between $90,000 and $400,000 each to run the city'.

It was also clear by inference that Simpo had put the 'group hug' scenario to the mayor, who said 'But it won't be a Kumbaya session, I can promise you that'.

Really, Mullet? The 'Pie reckons your dead wrong about that, me old fruit.

As we know, Kumbaya is the 1930's spiritual song connected with campfires, linked arms, rhythmic swaying, macrame, mud huts, hairy armpits, peace, love and vegetables. But note this from the latest Wikipedia entry about this dainty ditty.

The song was originally associated with human and spiritual unity, closeness and compassion, and it still is, but more recently it is also cited or alluded to in satirical or cynical ways which suggest false moralizing, hypocrisy, or naively optimistic views of the world and human nature.[1]

There may well be a touch of 'false moralizing, hypocrisy, or naively optimistic views of the world and human nature' at the workshop, (all sharp objects to be left at he door, pet pit bulls prohibited) but perhaps those words should be adopted as the official motto of the Townsville Bulletin, who daily sink deeper in the mire of irrelevancy they have created for themselves.

However, if you are one of those jacked off with antics of your local council, take some cold comfort that it could be worse … you could be living in the City of Port Phillip, which takes in several inner city and bayside suburbs of the Sin City of the South.

This mob has started a ‘smile spies’ program, and touchy-feely doesn’t get sillier than this. 

And it's got nothing to with Luna Park, although this is the pic featured on the council website, which tells us how it all works: 

A 'Smile Spy' community volunteer walks on a defined section of the street (averaging 400m) for a 15-minute period keeping their faces up and their expression open. In that time everyone who passes them on their side of the street is counted. People who smile, nod, or make any kind of positive greeting are counted separately. These two numbers are converted into a percentage, and this becomes the Smiles Per Hour rating for that section of street.

You can see the full extend of the lunacy here, but The Magpie wondered about a couple of things.  As in, wonder if a ‘smile spy’ would count say Jack ‘The Shining’ Nicholson as making a positive greeting if encountering him along a dimly lit street.

The sort of smile you get after getting
your rates bill from the Port of Melbourne.
And The ‘Pie was most pleased to see that in the section where you can see where your suburb came in the smiles stakes, that St Kilda came second best. Well does the fledgling Magpie remember being flattered to the point of blushing as a young fellow, what with all the girls smiling at him as they twirled their handbags, chewed their gum and showed a little more of their fishnet stockings. Why, even the occasional bloke in a gabardine overcoat smiled at the young ‘Pie.

Golly, talk about missed opportunities – maybe he could have found life-long love and smiles down there had he not been so shy.

And finally, from the 'It can happen in the best regulated families' Dept of.

Pansy Wong? 

While WIN NQ continues to entertain us with the creative use of 'speling', chortle-worthy mishaps of this sort can happen anywhere - like ABC 2. dug up this little beaut earlier this month.
But you might remember last week the danger of corrections. Crikey points out that this newspaper comment on the TV cock-up came with it's own ribald dangers.
As it turned out, there actually is a Pansy Wong - an ex-minister of a previous New Zealand government. Her sexual orientation - hetro, homo or Border Leicester - isn't known.


  1. Race 2 Sat May 25th Donald (Vic) #4 I'm Knackered You can form your own conclusions..

  2. I think Baldrick is played by Tony Robinson, not Tony Jones...

    1. Thanks, Anon ... a Magpie brain fade, now fixed - since The 'Pie doesn't have any other eyes going over his stuff, alerts like this on substantial errors are always appreciated. The little cockups are there to prove the rather convoluted premise that The Magpie is after all only .... human?

  3. Ron Bairstow PerthMay 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    That NT number plate, in its Queensland form, would be really appropriate on the car of a certain retired politician of our acquaintance.The Captain should check if it's available.

  4. Its 5 weeks to go until the 13/14 financial year and other than a news report that TCC will possibly be passing on larger than expected rates increases is Mayor Mullet getting the councillors involved in the process and they seem to be running out of time?.

  5. The perennial political pains in the bum, Moyle and Jacob have morphed into Monitors (according to their free add in the Sun)
    The Wikipedia definition has it just right:
    "Monitors: are generally large reptiles"

  6. It is interesting to note that the total debt of Townsville City Council is roughly $20.million les than the entire State of Tasmania $390. Million compaired with $412. Million.

  7. I understand that (political Pest and Media hound magpies words) is in deep trouble with the Thuringowa branch of the Labor Party .It would seem that a confidential issue was discussed at a Branch meeting as as his usual fashion Jacob told the world . I believe he has been told to toe the party line or he may have a serious problem....

  8. Informative & entertaining as always, but would you please stop quoting Wikipedia - it is as dubious as the Astonisher.

    1. Strange...I have always found it to be reasonably reliable and well referenced. Certainly a good starting point at least for serious research.

      Do I detect a whiff of intellectual snobbery here?

  9. God help you if you want to have a go. At least some one is trying something rather than taking it up the proverbial from this council

    1. Your key words are 'some one is trying something' - spot on, and in the case of Magnifico Moyle - to whom The 'Pie guesses you're referring - the words 'wool' and 'eyes' spring to mind. It is clear - abundantly, hilariously clear - that Mr Moyle is besotted with the glare of publicity, and his organisation is simply a vehicle he deludedly believes will elevate his standing until he can - he hopes - cop a sweet little earner on the council.

      If he and fellow gumpsters like Paul Jacob get anywhere near the TCC as councillors, The Magpie would be in seventh heaven, never having to fret about not having anything to write about come Saturday. The ratepayers however would be in Dante's various nine levels of hell very quickly.

  10. Best opening words to a column in the Astonisher go this week to our old chum Kate Higgins, with her plaintive cri de coeur this morning: 'Oh, to be young again'.!

    In the same column, Kate let's us know she is a 20-something, and bemoans the hateful aging process when she asks us:
    'How often, as a man or woman in your 20s, can you dress to the nines and shamelessly post as many selfies to Facebook as you like without having a nightclub in the background? Not many, I'll tell you'.

    Oh, the agony, the shame, the blame the regret.

    Age is always a thing of perspective.

    So is absurdity.

    Your certainly are something, Kate, 20-something or otherwise.

    But The Magpie is a bird of compassion, so he's found a site for you to assist you in accepting your decrepitude.

  11. Therein lies the rub...

    Most of these immature little brats at the Bully-Tin honestly believe that they are the font of all wisdom and that their sophomoric take on the world is simply the way it is. Without guidance and example from experienced and mature journalists, it is like the pre-schoolers taking over the tuckshop.

    One day, when they grow up, they shall read the nonsense they have written today and cringe.

    On matters council...I hear that the TCC is going to deliver a budget that is in the black. Further, I hear that Gee-Jenny is claiming credit for same due to her excellent fiscal management skills.

    Wow. "Pie, this must be a stand out candidate for the Janus Award of the Decade.

    If that silly woman would have implemented her ridiculous, unrealistic and naive budget last year, how deep would we have been in the doo-doo now? If not for wiser heads prevailing, we would have been in a right royal mess. The mendacity is breathtaking. That gal has more front than a rat with a gold tooth.

    Oh - for John N - that "Jekyll" number plate in the Mater car park belongs to a BMW, not an Audi. I was staring at the bloody thing all last week.

    1. Bhahah and well said Pie. I'm afaid Kate seems "wet behind the ears" to me. And why with little life experience (well, that's my take) she has her own column is frankly astonishing.Watching the grass grow is more interesting and entertaining.

    2. Remember, it's about 'prozac' the youngies into thinking that they're 'selebs' around The Ville.

      Hard hitting reporters just like Raggot.

      ps. 60 years. Good on you ED !

  12. Engrish peeelease!May 28, 2013 at 5:18 AM

    You would think and hope the Bully could get it right - Tuesday 28 May - this story from Kate Higgins sourced from Facebook's Townsville Crime Alert page and this sentence in her story "Alex Palka said her mother's car was set on fire while her family slept inside." She means slept inside the house not the car! There's no hope is there?

  13. Ah as GBS so eloquently put it "Both Love and Youth are wasted on the young".

    1. Sorry to be a pain, but it was Oscar Wilde who said 'Youth is wasted on the young' - not George Bernard Shaw... Just saying...

  14. For Grumpy Yes you are right I was so besotted with the variety of cars there i made an error I noticed a very very Flash Red Range Rover Sports model there yesterday Oh to have another occupation...

  15. Pie, Excellent, as usual. I hope you weren't hacked by the Chinese, who made the cyberspace hit on the new ASIO headquarters, and the Pentagon defence systems! Cheers, Gonzo.

  16. Ironic to watch Typo Gleeson on the Today Show. The segment before was on TELSTRA asbestos. Typo knew of the ASBESTOS within the Astonisher.

    He and management covered up the asbestos to their workers...

  17. Such a sensible young man, Simpo!

  18. Look, it would seem The 'Pie has been wrong in all his snide sniping at The Daily Astonisher, even occasionally accusing it of not imparting accurate information and doubting the sanit .... errr, relevance of some of its columnists.

    No The 'Pie deserves a kick in the cloaca for his wrongheadedness, especially on the count of trashing the mostly kiddy columnists. Really, where would be without today's opening effort from Amanda Gray (no kiddy her, she's a decrepit 35! We know this because this startling fact was among several snippets of indispensable personal information she so unselfishly shared with us).

    Ms Gray provides the most valuable of services, that of leading us through a confusing life by ensuring we know where we are in this giddy world, thus she gets straight to the nub of it:

    'TODAY being May 31, logic dictates that tomorrow is the beginning of yet another month, but not just any month, it will be June and that means we are half way through 2013 already!'

    You know, after a few minutes of scribbled maths .... she's right!!!

    That's right up there with 20-something Kate Higgins' doleful lament 'Oh, to be young again'.

    That NT numberplate pic further back up in this blog says it all.

    1. I had just read the same column and only just finished burying my head in my hands and moaning quietly into my coffee at the inanity of it all when your email appeared!

    2. For total mis-reporting, check out todays major newsflash on Cowboys coach Neil Henry.

      With selective quotes from the Cowboys CEO the Astonisher had Henry with a two week chance to prove his worth.

      Tonights media refuted the whole scenario!

      This sort of sports reporting smacks of 'hidden agendas' and a bought press. If you can't report honestly, don,t.

      Who the hell is Phil Rothfield - is he another sub-editor from non-NQ Land?

    3. 'Buzz' Rothfield was well known to The Magpie in the days of yore, when Phil was just out of his cadetship with News Ltd. He was and is called Buzz because he was deemed to be the 'great Australian pest' among his colleagues, even back then. Back then, Buzz (he still uses it as his tweeter tag) was a regular at The 'Pie's nearby bar and bistro.

      He is now one of their senior sports editors, 'The Telegraph's sports editor-at-large' is the official moniker, and is generally well connected in the Sydney sports scene.

      His style typifies the News Ltd style of reporting.

      But you've already noticed that, Tom.

  19. On page 19 of Thursday's paper there's a train wreck with the caption "Carnage as train derails. There were no reported injuries or fatalities so it cannot be carnage, there a host of accurate Adjectives for this catastrophe.

    Carnage means 'the killing of many people'.

    In today's paper page 43 there's a wedding announcement which has a couple of omitted spaces hence Donna on is Donnaon [sic] and Dad and is Dadand [sic]. Bloody sloppy

    Re Youth is wasted on the young comment by Lady Byron, I am even more confused as I looked it up and there are 50% of attributes to GBS and 50% to Oscar Wilde but none of the Google searches revealed when or where the quote was made.??????????