Saturday, October 19, 2013

Transit Townsville: some hitherto unreported - and surprising - comings and goings – and one notable leapfrogging of the ‘Ville.

With that in mind, The ‘Pie poses a few questions:

What do Bill Shorten and Bob Katter have in common?

Why are illegal boat people posing a safety issue for the Townsville community?

Why has News Corp further down graded its Townsville operation – in favour of Cairns?

Also, herding cats – why is the Townsville City Council wasting more than $100,000 in a pointless exercise in bureaucracy?

Why has David Moyle exposed himself as a self-seeking barefaced liar?

And the quiet, unreported departure of one of Townsville’s best known public figures … all answered here in the nest this week at

It has often been said that everyone can bring a little joy into the lives of others – some by arriving, some by leaving. That’s been turned on its head during the week, with the arrival of the undemocratically elected Labor leader and the news of a well-liked local figure heading for cooler climes.

But first.

Laurie Ferguson

Best bitchy quote of the week goes NSW federal MP Laurie Ferguson, yet another Labor politician who just doesn’t know when to SHUT UP.

‘Sad collateral payback’. Laurie’s ingenuous tweet on factional politics when his  pal Kate Lundy missed out on shadow ministry duties under the Short 'Un. After 23 years in the House of Reps and a lifetime in the party, you’d think Laurie (brother of Martin) would have the nous to know how things work, and to realize that it is time to take the dreary personal sour grapes out of the media. Former speaker Anna Burke ditto. Some hope.

Also on the national scene, we have the unedifying spectacle of Bill The Serial Clitorist Shorten realizing the penultimate step in his long and treacherous political campaign to become PM. Like Bob Katter, the Short ‘Un was clearly the more unattractive candidate for the great unwashed, as was The Mad Katter with the good folk of Kennedy. Like Katter's low primary vote, the Short ‘Un got only a third of the membership vote, but because of he ‘Rudd-style’ democratic process, the caucus of a few dozen was weighted equally with the thousands of the rank and file, Shorten did the deals and got the nod.

His wooden, bunny-caught-in-the-headlights style of media performance is already starting to grate, (' ... as we go forward into the future'....) and the general population, well aware of his 11th hour treachery twice in the past four years, is surely having trouble believing anything this poisoned dwarf has to offer.

The Pie believes he isn’t a real person anyway, and is the latest incarnation of another familiar and thoroughly unpleasant character.

This is what we see …

…. but underneath the masquerade, this is the reality.

Moral turpitude – a phrase used in US Criminal Law to describe conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty, or good morals – doesn’t sit well in the CV of someone seeking to be our prime minister. Privately or publicly. And Shorten is no Bob Hawke, the days of permissive larrikism are long gone is this PC world. 

On the local scene, here’s a yarn for the Astonisher to belatedly follow-up. There is a staffing crisis out at the Stuart Prison, and if things get too dire and a shortage of screws results in a lock down, things could get ugly indeed. And dangerous.

The problem has arisen because many of the Queensland Corrective Service people are being wooed away by the Commonwealth’s big bucks on offer for tucking in boat people on Nauru, Manus Island and Christmas Island. Queensland pays its turnkeys a base of about $64K pa, but many – especially now – pick up tasty overtime rates of around $600 per 12 hour overtime shift. But the money on Manus and the like far outweighs the joys of xylphoning the baton along the bars here in the ‘Ville. The ‘Pie hears that the situation has reached the point where the growing number of overtime shifts can’t be filled. Be worth watching. One for Sam The Milkmaid Healey ... she'll squirt every last drop out of this one.

A departure of a different kind quietly took place recently when former radio waffler Dave ‘McMumble’ Harrison and wife Susie moved down to Brisbane. 

How The Pie remembers Harro
after one of our legendary 1990s lunches.
As they wanted it, there wasn’t any hoopla and farewell bashes. Harro, a top notch political interviewer on 4TO and later a successful businessman, said they made the move to escape the heat.  Indeed, Harro, tempus fugit, as the monkey said when threw the clock at the elephant. The Pie noted the departure as a marker in his own history in the ‘Ville … Dave, news boss at 4RR when The ‘Pie hit town, organized The ‘Pie’s first journalistic gig in Townsville, covering the Ward 10B saga all those years ago. Later, on 4TO, he was also generous in his promotion of the Magpie's column in the paper, and The ‘Pie is happy to take the opportunity to thank him and co-conspirator Steve Price for helping make it such a success.

Harro, you said you didn’t want a pic with this piece so The Pie has compromised … it’s just a small one for those who may have forgotten your curly locks and rugged lumberjack good looks.  And good luck to you both.

And good luck to the Townsville City Council, with their dopey extension of the free cat registration scheme. In the Harumph Dept, this, frankly, is an exercise in chucking good money after bad, in the best Nanny State tradition.  The term ‘as hard as herding cats’ is a great descriptive phrase for the truth of it, but the council appears set to continue trying to keep tabs on tabbies, for reasons that are obscure at best and tissue thin on reasoning and reality.

The ‘Pie’s point is that is isn’t ‘free’ at all, ratepayers will cough up a tasty $116,000 for the extension – with no return of revenue. (Dog regulation on the other hand is a necessary council responsibility, but the current $2.13million cost is offset by the $1.58million in revenue from fines and licences. And you can catch dogs.)

If ever user pays should be the anthem, then this be it.

The story is that as of October 21,the state government has dropped Bligh's Nanny State requirement that local councils have a cat registration program. But council’s have been given the option of an extra year operating the nonsensical program, so they can decide – God help us – whether to implement their own ‘cat regulation law’. And the TCC is aiming at just that.

Bad regulations are ones that cannot be enforced, and this sticks out like a tom’s testicles as one that has no hope of meaningful success, whatever measurements of such success may entail. Speaking of such protruberences, Bentley reckons cats themselves aren't too keen on human intervention at the best of time.

The council seems to ignore that costs will escalate if we need officers to start a futile policing of the moggie population. – and that’s a cost that will escalate when council staff are put on to handle the job of poking their unwelcome noses into unnecessary areas. It seems that the only benefit of the cut-price micro-chipping is that an errant puss can be returned to its owner. So let the bloody owner pay, and if they don’t want the initial cost, don’t have the bloody animal chipped.

6028 cats have been registered in Townsville so far. At a guess, that’s not even 10% of the puss population. But the point is this is one area where the council should butt out … or otherwise, all ratepayers will have to share the burden of the futility of trying to ‘herd cats’. The registration does not do a single thing to stop the main problem of cats attacking and killing wildlife, and if Vern Veitch says the program raises awareness of ‘responsible cat ownership’, whatever that means, let those who want to own cats pay the piper. No cat has ever done The Magpie - and no doubt 99% of the rest of population - any harm.

It is said that dogs have masters, cats have staff, and there’s bugger all that can be done that won’t induce curtain-ripping rebellion if cats are locked down.

Dropping this feline flapdoodle should be a win-win situation for everybody, and a good chance for the ever omnipresent council to show it is willing to leave us alone in at least one area of our lives. It would be sensible governance to boot.

Another crowd that would be good to have leave us alone is the lovalable laughables, our favorite sox’n’sandals brigade, the risible Townsville Ratepayers Association. During the week, the Astonisher treated us to this arrogant little rant from the ever desperate David Moyle, who appears to be rapidly approaching the point of needing professional help.

To accompany his droning narcissism and puerile litany of grievances, we copped this smarmy up-himself photograph, with several other Laughable’s making sad little noises in the background.
Guess whose poo doesn't smell?

Daniel Moynihan once said that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts. Desperate Dave, suffering under severe Relevance Deprivation Syndrome, hasn’t a clue about this axiom of public life, and has resorted to telling an unquestioning Townsville Bulletin straight-out lies and making childish claims in his ever-more panicked search for the public ear.

His pompous posturing has led to him knowingly making a completely false claim when he is quoted saying: 'Townsville First Councillors have failed to consult with the residents and to appear at public forums.’

Dear, dear, Davey, mate, did it slip your mind that the very night before this story appeared in the paper, that is last Tuesday night, you and your mob met with the mayor, all available councillors (only a couple couln't make it) and planning staff for one and half hours to discuss your concerns.

You might also like to explain why you and your friends shouldn’t be termed – in Paul Keating’s famous phrase – ‘unrepresentative swill’. That may sound a bit harsh, until we learn that during the Tuesday night meeting – by no means the first you have had with councillors and council officers – one of your mob stood up and shouted at councillors and staff ‘You are all fu#king crooks’. The man was forced to rescind when one councilor correctly said ‘If that’s the tone of the meeting, I’m leaving.’ Chair Mayor Jenny Hill had said nothing about this sort of behavior until CEO Ray Burton told her it was well out of order. The Mullet then made a lacklustre ruling.

And this isn’t the only justification for the 'unrepresentative swill' tag. In the Bulletin story, David, you pompously grandstanded by honking –
"We've now drawn the line in the sand and invite all councillors to attend this rally.
"This rally will be their final chance to meet with the public and hear what they have to say. If they choose not to consult with us we'll have a meeting with the action groups and will start a campaign for the removal of council in the lead up to the 2016 election."
You've drawn the lineWarning: mothers, do not read this next line out to your kiddies.
Just who the fu#k do you think you are, your egotistical twerp? The arrogance is breathtaking. The council has been conducting information sessions across the city, and willingly help those wishing to make submissions of protest. (The North Ward session on The Strand yesterday (Friday) and today attracted more than 60 people who politely sought information and asked intelligent questions.)

Removal of the council? You’ve tried to get yourself elected to any forum that pays money, Mr Moyle, under any banner that you believed served your purpose – and no one wanted you. That being the case, what fosters the delusion we are interested in your unelected self-appointed presence? You are a prize jackass, mate and have now added bare-faced lying to your CV of failure and fu#kwittery.

But you have a nice day, y’hear.

On matters Astonisher, the paper seemed to be a bit more sober-sided in its editorials and news columns over the past couple of weeks, enough to prompt some Magpie enquiries. Turns out iditor Lachlan Heywood is on hols, and the redoubtable Ray Andersen has been in the chair (alarmingly, assisted by Lendl Ryan, of all people. maybe he's grown up by now). Andersen should be the editor anyway, so there ya go Ray, how’s that for the kiss of death? In reply to several hopeful inquiries, no Anthony Simpleton aka Templeton hasn't left the paper ... he's been missing from the pages because he too is on holidays … in of all places, Ethiopia. thought they had enough bloody trouble.

But the head shaking snorts of derision keep coming. This from the paper during the week.
As a Magpie pal said, up the the creek without a poll.
The reason may be found below.

But during the week, an alarmed chum rang to say he’d heard the paper was being edited from Cairns. 

Well, no, not true, but the rumour started from a nice little snub for the Townsville advertising cash cows. 

The paper’s top sales manager, the well-liked Sue Willis left to go to TEL (interesting career move, that) and her replacement, The Pie believes is one Kylie Fletcher. But it’s a regional position, and Ms Fletcher, or whoever she elects to do the job, has chosen to be based in Cairns. So every advertising dollar that  the good burghers of Townsville spend will now be channeled through Cairns before heading south to Rupert’s counting house.

But if that seems a yet another finger to the locals, it is nothing to the disgraceful  management mendacity in Holt Street HQ.

Remember those scores of sackings at the Bulletin and the from satellite publications, explained with the rationalization that central hubs would be doing layout, subbing and ‘pre-press’ – that is preparing advertisements onto pages. Almost a dozen pre-pass folks got the unceremonious chop in Townsville, with their jobs supposed to be going to Brisbane, and possibly New Zealand. Well, all those Townsville pre-press jobs have ended up in – ta da – India!! Didn't they tell you? Wonder why.

So the advertising dollar is channeled through Cairns, and the artwork through India.
News Corp isn't satisfied ripping jobs out of the Townsville economy, they are taking them right out of the country. The Townsville community salutes and thanks you, Townsville Bulletin - as you say, you’re  soooo much for the North.  Bloody hypocrites, one and all.

Finally, this is just too good not to reprint. It is the work of Mike Carlton in today's SMH. Gilbert and Sullivan fans will get an extra kick, when they recognise the Modern Major General patter song.

I am the very model of an immigration minister
In charge of refugees and matters maritime and sinister.
At school I studied hard at maths and lessons alphabetical,
I learnt the scriptures backwards and the canon evangelical.
I made my rise to greatness from political obscurity
Conflating xenophobia with national security.
Endlessly I preached the word to ordinary Australians
Arousing fears their homes were being overrun by aliens.
I blamed the Labor gang for this invasion of Muhammadans 
Who wear the burqa, pray to Mecca, starve themselves at Ramadan.
Fanatics who would have us all obeying their sharia laws
They’d ban the Easter Bunny and abolish dear old Santa Claus. 
But! Now that I’m the minister I’ve vowed to turn the boats
I’ve got a three-star general to keep our borders safe and sound.The bleeding hearts and Greenies call me cruel and confrontational
But I riposte: “My lips are sealed on matters operational.”
When Jakarta once accused me of egregious hypocrisy
I shrugged my shoulders lightly and replied: “Well, that’s 
And though it’s not much help in dealing with the Indonesians,
I quote the Bible’s letters of St Paul to the Ephesians.
With humanity and decency my only motivation
I am standing resolutely at the frontiers of the nation.
And armoured in self-righteousness I spurn each rude inquisitor
For I’m the very model of an immigration minister.


  1. Notice the Media Hound and Political Pest and failed Council Candiate Paul Jacob stand on the right holding the sign Save our Strand. Where was Tender Lovin' Mr Whippy....

  2. ah David Moyle, somewhere a village is missing an idiot.

    1. There is a whole valley of villages out there looking for their idiots...although probably not looking too hard

      The sign on the far left...WTF is that supposed to mean?

      Puffed up, vain, little popinjay - a more punchable man you are never likely to meet. Get a job, you loser.


  3. Good one Pie especially about the narcissistic David Moyle and his fellow drawers of lines in the sand! Doesn't he realises that the tide several times a day reduces his lines to nothing?

    From this Fairfield Waters side of the city we were kept up to date by the biased Astonisher on matters westwards, by their printing of the tale of Paul Niven's 2,000 signatures in favour of the Pinnacles Development. He states it was a rote petition, I gather that means a Dorothy Dixer being asked like, "would you like to see your children have lovely parks and footy fields and you and your partner have $125million spent on those nasty gravel roads and floodways turned into multi million dollar bitumenised roads with flood free bridges"....... yes or no!!
    The facts which that mob out west seem to forget is that they purchased cheap rural land that is outside the urban boundary. Now they have become drenched with greed with the desire to have the chance of subdividing their little acreages and making millions........ all brought on by the glib smooth sales pitch by a large company from the south who stand to make squillions if they can get the locals (about 100 apparently) to bully the bully and others into changing the town plan to satisfy their greedy demands. Residents out in the west don't seem to be that keen to have thousands upon thousands of car movements through the quiet suburbs of Kelso, Rasmussen and Condon.

    1. At least they have God on their side

    2. Fed Up Idalia Read comment previous weeks re Fth Lancini 's support for the proposal

  4. Interesting to note the editor of the Herbert River Express (the other JT - Julian Tomlinson) has also been filling in at the Com Post (Cairns Post) recently. There sure is movement at the station!

  5. I'd like to wish Harro and Susie all the best with their move to Brisbane. They were both part of the fabric of Townsville during my time in the city and I'm sure they will be sorely missed.
    During recent visits, I have been listening again to Pricey and remembering the qualities he ,Dave and a few others (such as John Hubbard,King Billy and the 'Pie) brought to local media that are currently missing from most capital city print and broadcast commentators. Among these things are a true commitment to the city and its people, a touch of genuine ratbaggery and a refreshing lack of PC.
    As an aside on another front, the old bird must thank his lucky stars that David Moyle hasn't decided to leave town. He really is the gift that keeps on giving!

  6. Almost right about Moyle, Ron, but he's actually the git that keeps on giving.

  7. Susie was my counter part at Ansett. Those were the days you had a respect for your opposition A very nice couple.

  8. Add in the T/Bully Sat 19 Oct Under Government Vacanies for Correctional Officers at Stuart (not that i,m going to apply)

  9. Greetings Dear Magpie,

    On Wed of this week I had a little spat with the Townsville Council regarding excessive bureaucracy which was resolved after a few tense emails, and me emailing the police that I would be committing a crime by playing my fiddle on the Ross River dam wall with out a permit. The Townsville Bulletin did an article (with photo) which did appear on page 24 of the Gold Coast Bulletin. I kid you not.

    1. Dave you finally made the Bulletin 21/10 Correctness gone mad..

  10. Always good and always entertaining.

    Miss Lou.

  11. Not a David Moyle fanOctober 20, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    So Pie, have you actually joined the Townsville First "team" or are you just a groupie?

  12. Ah ha!

    The Magpie's assistance to the Bulletin in matters of maths has obviously been gratefully received.

    In a previous comment, The "Pie pointed out that a story dripping with financial drooling claimed that the 400 US sailors heading to town for four days shore leave from today 'will inject $200,000 into the local economy' with their average spend of $400/$500 per day.

    Magpie the Maths Master pointed out that that would be more like $800,000 for the visit.

    And so it turns out to be. Today's iditorial tells us that the yanks will spend $200,000 -per day.

    Glad to have been of help, folks.

    Now how about that tip from The 'Pie about Stuart Correctional Centre running so low on staff that the centre is struggling to fill more than 20 overtime shifts. Seems the screws are taking the tasty Commonwealth shilling in large numbers for duties on Manus, Narua and Christmas Island. But don't want to tell you everything, or The Astonisher won't have anything left to add.

  13. 'Laos crash probe hones in on black box'
    In another version the Australian states that they are 'honing in' [sic}. Surely this should he homing and home???

    1. Certainly should be, 'honing' is to sharpen - the word comes from Old English for stone. The mix-up is ubiquitous, and has even been heard on the ABC (gasp!)
      And while we're with Icon Watch, The 'Pie notes that not only is the brand spanking new Navy terminal in Townsville instantly 'iconic' - a person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something - the Astonisher's weekend iditorial had the opening of the wharf as marking 'the coming of age of Townsville'.
      This city has been 'coming of age' with every laudable advance for more than 100 years, and the cliche is up there with 'icon'.
      Spotted any others?

  14. 'Pie...the Bull-Tin is using "iconic" so frequently and inappropriately lately that I am beginning to suspect that they may be taking the piss.

    To follow through with your mathematics exercise...$200K per day is a $500 per day per sailor for full complement of 400 out on the town, or $1,000 per day if half of the lads are in the naughty corner. Way nearer the mark. Probably a lot more if the ship does any provisioning for fresh rations, fuel and maintenance works. All a little infra dig, regardless.

  15. Was amazed re Dave South's experience with Bully article in GC edition.
    A further comment on the Bulletin's demise into the depths of obscurity - I use the Bulletin website to check out the 'Sun' material; a site often used by David Moyle and his band of merry men.

    If anyone can demonstrate how I can access this, please advise.

    We live in the largest city in Northern Australia. Do you enjoy being treated like a fool?

  16. On the front page of today's TB is a picture of a US Sailor with a caption giving his surname as Corello! But the name embroidered on his shirt is Corella. Usual sloppy work TB.
    They're only here for 4 days so will miss out on the Friday ritual swill along Via Vomitoria ...shame to miss out on such a cultural highlight eh? Coincidence ??????

    1. It was an "i" at the end and he has lost his mandolin

  17. Working on it, and definitely will publish the report and Mike Shearer's analysis ASAP. Will advise subscribers by email.

  18. Yippee!!!

    We have a new record holder for the Tuggers and Touchers Trophy, for the Astonisher kiddie columnist who manages the most first person personal pronouns in a single column. Kate' I Can'T Believe I'm Not Married' Higgins has valiantly held the trophy for weeks now, with her brilliant 27 self-mentions. Challengers have come and gone, and that David bloody Sparkes, what game do you think you're playing? A recent couple of columns without a SINGLE self mention!! About a subject that didn't involve yourself, puppies, or laundry folding techniques. Get with the program, sport.

    But now one of Kate's female colleagues has snatched the award from the Higgin's mantlepiece ... none other than Emily 'Emac' Macdonald.

    Today, our new record breaker turned in one of the best and teasing performances to date. A whirlwind start, with an incredible four 'I's in the first two sentences and it was personal pronoun heaven with 13 in just the first six pars. The Pie was on th edge of seat, willing Emac on to greater personal usage, but she appeared to be falling away mid-column - Ms Higgins looked safe to retain top honours. The Pie was out of seat, shouting encouragement 'C'mon, you can whack an unnecessary 'I' in that par ... dig deep and use a couple of redundant 'my's in there'. All was looking lost - and then a miracle which will stand for years in the annals of personal pronouning. Maybe it was the 'Pie's frenzied barracking but our gal responded with one of the finest flurries ever seen from a personal pronoun pro with an unbelievable 10 -yes, 10!! - in the last four pars. A total of 31, breaking the record by a massive four 'I's and a 'my'.

    So what was the column about? Haven't a clue, you don't expect a bird to actually read it do you? you can if you want to

  19. What the ...?
    Weird statement of the day goes to Emily Macdonald's mysterious effort 'A Townsville fire season makes me realise how women go back and have more children after the agony of childbirth'.
    This inexplicable drivel (and she doesn't explain what she actually meant) puts me in mind of the age old and pointless question, 'which is more painful - childbirth or a kick in the nuts?'
    The answer is unequivocal. As Ms Macdonald indicates, a little while after having a baby, you will hear a woman say 'I'd like to have another baby'. I'm yet to hear a bloke say 'I think I'd like another kick in the nuts'.
    I rest my case ... and my nuts.

  20. Yes but what I don't get is how it is allowed to go into print? Doesn't the Editor or even Chief of Staff give approval for the column idea and when written, final approval to appear? It's all kiddie drivel and an embarrassment to the paper - well it would be if I was the Ed as it reflects on the paper and my professionalism and judgment. Professionalism was considered important last century but sadly not now -it's all tabloid crap.

  21. What a great site,a bloody good read and comments that crack me up. Your on a winner I reckon pie.

  22. Precisely my raison d'etre, Bullyboy. Until now, there's been no one to examine the - ahem - examiners. And it pisses them off no end that the their examiner is someone who resigned from the paper in disgust.

    And who knows where the bodies are buried.

  23. Can it get any more puerile than the infantile "column" of Galloway today? Pity we can't utilise a device similar to his pen name and put us all out of our misery. Or would that be stretching "things" a bit too far?

    1. Disagree, Martink - thought it was very Magpie-ish. Didn't enter it in the Tuggers and Touchers Trophy because the essential tongue-in-cheek element was a spoof person.

      Maybe the paper should listen to him and stop those unquestioning Moyle articles that add nothing to informed community debate. Indeed, they hamper and confuse any such debate.

  24. I stand corrected and humbled your eminence, .... 'though you have to admit he's tempting the Fates with a sobriquet aka Gallo's just needs a W and let it all hang out!!!!

  25. Very enjoyable to read.

  26. Pie,

    Just a heads up on circulation figures possibly for the Daily Terrorgraph, They are matching dollar for dollar if you buy their paper for the bush fire appeal.
    The Tele are only doing this to boost figures.

    FYI, just donate at Woolworths as you don't have to buy anything.

  27. Pie, we can only hope for some justice. As a former worker, I can't wait for that day. Not that I will. As for Ms Wobber, she's a rough nut dressed as a sydney trend setter.

  28. They have been able to keep their names out of the Gold Cost Bulletin newspaper until now as Nyst was a columnist for the paper and Murakami was a former journalist with the paper...but now there is a new editor there all will soon be revealed...


  29. The point is Typo would have known about this situation. He knew about the asbestos in ville, he'd know everything and shouldn't play dumb dumb. I hope you post this article on the main page pie.

  30. The situation inside is toxic. We all know it. No one can cure them. It should be dismantled. All of it.