Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Townsville Bulletin completely sells out – but not at the newsagency counter.

Yes, without a whimper but the rustle of mega-dollars, The Astonisher surrenders its last vestige of credibility with an Australian first in the newspaper industry.

Indeed, The Magpie goes all Media Watchy, because in the past few days, the Daily Astonisher has been so - well, astonishing, let the old bird count the ways ... 

... and the dangers of zoo poo: the Darwin Awards start rolling in for 2014.

All that and a lot of other trinkets here in the nest at

Here’s a little newspaper lore. 

It is an unwritten rule but rock solid and well-established practice for almost as long as serious newspapers have been published in Australia that the most valuable real estate under the direction of an editor is pages 1, 2 and 3 of any issue. This is where the solid, important information is supposed to be found on any given day, and sets the general tone of the publication - such as that may be.

Editors have forever been at odds and go to war with bean counters and advertising executives when the back-room boys try to pile in too many ads on those pages. It is accepted that the credibility and gravitas of a paper of record is tied up with these all-important upfront pages.

Certainly, there have been what are called ‘wrap-arounds’ – dummy front and back pages of advertorial or promotional material – but once the wrap-around is removed, you have the paper proper. So it was no small amount of –indeed, astonishment – for The ‘Pie when he started his onerous daily duty of wading through Friday’s edition of the Townsville Bulletin.

The front page was OKish, your stock standard missionary position mix of newspaper fare, albeit with an actual story for a change.

But turn the page and what do we get – this :

That would be page 2 on the left, page 3 on the right.
Page 2 was given over to a full page, paid ad for Coles. And that The Pie believes, and so do many of the disbelieving journo colleagues in Sydney and Melbourne, a first in Australian papers … and one of the biggest sell-outs of a time-honored and  credible tradition in the newsprint industry.

And not a one-off – today, Saturday’s issue had the same arrangement with Coles, an ad that could easily have had the same impact on page 4 or later, given the front page pointer. But the deal was without any doubt a matter of money, with page 2 being sold off for anything up to five or six times the value of any other full page. National companies can afford that, and it seems mighty like a toe in the water.

Editors like Mick Carroll and John Affleck would have gone to the wall over this one, they may well have resigned if they were walked over like this (Typo Gleeson would’ve done what he was told, administering the relevant knob polish and not troubled himself with the scruples of his job).

So the advertising department had to wait for the arrival of Lachlan Heywood before they found someone they could walk right over.

'Page 2 for an ad, no worries, go for it.'
Iditor Lachlan Heywood

They must’ve recognized that Lachy was, in Paul Keating’s immortal phrase, a shiver looking for a spine to run up. He's said to be too nice to be an editor, but The Pie will sit that one out, he's never met the bloke. However, he appears to have been a pushover, and the sad thing is, despite it being a bad look that even the average reader would wince at, it is a precedent. So, with the paper in full 'show us the money' mode, it's surely not the last time we will see this downgrading of Townsville news (such as it is anyway) in favour of a cash windfall. News and community information has been gazumped.

But The ‘Pie isn’t going to suffer a throbbing temple and rampant reflux over this, because it came at the end of a couple of interesting weeks of change at the Townsville Bulletin.

First there was their apparently failed experiment of the Behind The Bully blog, an obvious misadventure which was widely lampooned. It disappeared a few days ago after little more than a week without explanation. Indeed, maybe it was just a staffing problem and may be back, but that seems unlikely, so one would think and hope it has gone to wherever wrong-headed ideas go to die.

But it's timely to shine a little light on how The Astonisher does a nice little job of ignoring its own high faultin’ rules and ‘ethics’.

On Wednesday Feb 12, when Corbymania was slipping into top gear, we were treated to this page 8 story, lame headline and photograph.

And a closer look.

The free plug for Corona would’ve kept those back-room boys happy. But this pic caught the attention of more than one person, and one seasoned journo was so outraged that they thought the Press Council should be notified.

Why? Well, pix of Corby post-prison are, or were at that time, as rare as rocking horse poo, and this certainly is a photo-shopped effort as illustrative ‘colour’. 

So what, you chorus?

Well, just this, not from The ‘Pie, but from that light-hearted, laugh-a-minute thigh-slapper, the News Corp ‘Code of Conduct’

18. Photographic enhancement and manipulation policy
18.1  Images prepared for publication should meet the following guidelines. It is the responsibility of staff to produce true and accurate representations for publication. The credibility of our photographs is all important to the integrity of our newspapers and online sites. Enhancement of photographs is acceptable. However, this should be limited to simple procedures which improve reproduction quality, ie; auto enhancement.
…and then this …

18.2 Colour alteration, over sharpening and image manipulation is prohibited.
 …and then this …
18.5 Any image that has had the subject altered or added to should be clearly acknowledged in the caption as  “Digitally Altered Image ”.

Well, what did we get? This.

Whomsoever Rick Carmichael may be, someone is lying on his behalf. One chum checked around and that image wasn’t used anywhere else that could be found in Oz – in fact, if it was genuine, you can bet it would’ve run everywhere in News Corp papers. On the front.

So this had to be another moulting feather in the rapidly fraying cap of iditor Lachlan Heywood, who would’ve had to have approved it.

Then there is the matter of letters to the iditor. All sorts of wild accusations, unproven and slanderous claims (who do they think they are, The Magpie?) and blatant unfounded politicking, mainly by Labor’s well organized wailing Greek chorus of sore-loser letter writers, get through. One major boo-boo, concerning a prominent local real estate agency, has already been reported here.

Remember seeing this little Astonisher homily sent a letter writer a couple of weeks ago, reminding her that ...

‘Feedback will be rejected if it does not add to the debate, or is a purely personal attack, or is offensive, repetitious, illegal, or meaningless, or contains clear errors of fact.’

So, at random, let’s take Jabberwocky Jacob, wannabee councilor, co-founder of the Lovable Laughables the Townsville Ratbags Association and shallow self-promoter. 

Paul 'Jabberwocky' Jacob

He insists in the paper he has ‘evidence’ of council’s presumably illicit dealings with ‘developers’, but has steadfastly refused to reveal any proof of questionable deals. He has also made unfounded - and in The 'Pie's opinion actionable - claims amounting to criminanlity against Planning Doo Dah Tony Parsnip. He no doubt hopes that he can give everyone a spray under the protection of the an official inquiry for which he is calling. 

Given the tetchy attitude of the investigative spooks in Brisbane, The Jabberer might find himself in hot water for 'vexatious and frivolous claims'.

He, by the way, is the economic and social genius who wrote to the paper a couple days ago suggesting that the Queensland Act of Parliament granting bore water rights in the Black River/Bluewater area to Yabulu Nickel Refinery be repealed, and the refinery be made to pay the Townsville Council for water. Big win for the council, he hee haws. If that was even hinted at in George Street, how long do you reckon before the already flakey Fatty Palmer pulls the plug and 1500 people are out of a job. Thanks Paul, you’re a deep thinking giant among we midgets.

Moving on, but a final matter regarding the paper this week that momentarily alarmed The Pie, but he was mistaken (yes, it happens).

His first glance at this page  

Given the headline beneath the image and The Pie's faltering eyesight, for heart-stopping moment he thought that the Astonisher  had decided to fight back at the old bird's slings and arrows, and drag out an old file photograph of him from years ago. It taken on an infamous night on the tiles by your correspondent down Flinders Street East.

But no, the subject was sitting up, not lying face down, so it wasn't him. Phew.

Then it occurred that the Astonisher could in fact be raking over old coals regarding anther famous night in Canberra a couple of years ago when newby MP Ewen Jones was noted to be ‘tired and emotional’ in extremis.

But then on closer inspection …

… the headline below belonged to another story and the baby dumbo had taken a tumble in India. No story without the pic, but it’s a beauty.

(PS A couple more reporters’ report cards next week.)

Moving on.

Given it is the by-election time in Queensland today, the following seems appropriate no matter what the outcome.

From the Resaders Digest Gallery.
Funny if it wasn’t so true.

The week’s wet weather put The ‘Pie in mind of this other Readers Digest ‘toon.

And one wonders if some of those making the top ten of the Darwin awards in the past year will end up sending us blurter bolts from on high. 

It would poetic justice if Hans Klunziger, a German zookeeper starts fluffing from fluffy clouds, given the manner of his demise. Seems Hans was being Hans-on, giving a constipated elephant an olive oil enema to clear the blockage. The move was so successful that Hans hadn’t time to get out of the way and copped the full force of an evacuation bigger than Dunkirk, hitting him so hard he fell back, cracking his head. It still isn’t clear if he died of brain injuries or suffocated under the continued rain of zoo poo from the much relieved elephant.

The Pie wonders who and how authorities broke the news to Hans missus - without laughing.

The other award The Pie noted this year was the burglar in America who fell headfirst through the ceiling of the store he was breaking into. He died when the torch he had been carrying in his mouth to keep his hands free shattered the back of skull.

Both a bit hard to explain at the wake.

Finally a chart with mixed messages. First, it is self explanatory BUT is only of relevance to those who have jobs. (Grumpy, you’ll love this one, its from your pals at the right wing think tank IPA.)

Enough now, it is away to Poseurs’ Bar, where the old bird has promised to show an exclusive pic of a aircraft prang involving his former girlfriend (the cruel one who broke his heart). Seems after the break-up, she took flying lessons, but got lost in the recent rain, resulting in a stack-up. Fortunately, the aircraft was carrying very little fuel. So there was no fire, and she just suffered bruising from a small fall.

Here’s a seek preview of what the old bird will be showing his chums.

Scroll down.

 Bit of a new look next week.


  1. Pie,

    What a corker of a week. Well said and funny.


  2. Bahaha Pie - a few typos there but no where near the Astonisher! A great read as usual!

  3. Down down prices are down!

    The Astonisher has sunk to a 2 page low.

  4. The Courier Mail had both pages two and three as a Coles or Woolworths ad a few years ago, which was mentioned at a press conference by Clive Plamer, as well as a front page wrap around last year.

  5. Corby image gives media photographers a bad name. Alas, it's probably the designer from overseas who thought it nice and creative thing to do.

    Maybe in India it's accepted? They have a designer in Mumbai creating the paper?

  6. On the same day that Jacob had his letter in the T/B on the oposite page was a letter was a Rex Agacy (Inspector Rex) regarding Dump Vouchers . Agacy claims he is a retired Maths Professor from JCU (when push comes to a shove) retire or else and is a connected to the Rate payers association..

  7. Fab read this week.
    I'm over Shapelle and her new freedom.

    As for the Bully's page 2, Coles advert? They deserve low circulation.

  8. Labor Smashes LNP Dictators in Redciffe
    Now that's a headline.

    1. Tool.

      If it were indeed a dictatorship, there would be no elections.

      But the barrels would run hot.....

  9. How much tax did news corp receive back this week?

  10. Just to emphasise that the News Corp is treating news and its presentation as second class citizens, have a read of this link (which is also mentioned above). The top part is the blatantly lying reply to the Media Watch inquiry last year.

  11. Lots of feathers will be flapping over at Astonisher headquarters.

  12. As usual 'Pie, as I was reading your blog, a few good laughs were heard coming from my house on Maggie Island... But mainly due to my eyes keenly looking at Page 3 - opposite that giant Coles Page 2 ad - to see 'Flashing rampant...' which of course made me think that a 'mucky raincoat brigade' of flashers had descended onto our fair city! A sigh of relief was forthcoming, when I realised it was only car headlights that "The Astonisher" item was on about...

  13. Pie, Your start to 2014 has been stellar so far. Look forward to your new look next week. Gonzo

    1. Genuinely flattered, Gonzo, the kind words coming as they do from such a highly regarded national journalist as yourself. Given your career, the News Ltd (Corp) spiral and astounding lack of ability to adjust to changing times must be both galling and disheartening - bet you're glad your not there anymore.

  14. Another of Paul Keating's acerbic comments -- "All tip and no iceberg" -- also seems appropriate when describing the Bully's current editorial direction.

  15. I love magpie. Budgies are boring.

  16. Apparently Tempo is so desperate to get stories in the paper now he has been shut out in the cold he has been lobbying the editor to give him his own column called Tempo's Battlers, where he speaks once a week to the downtrodden and luckless to see how they are doing. He says he wants to bring to light the injustice the council and state governement are doing to the poor. He wants to give the every welfare bludger a free page in the paper just so he can spin an anti Townsville First sob story. The bloke is a maniac. Something needs to be done about him.

  17. Happy Monday, pie.

    Good read and a barrel of laughs.


  18. Good yarn today by the Astonisher's David Sparkes about a public housing tenant rort, not overwitten, crisp pun-free headline (Tenant Cons System) all relevant and to the point.

    But the online story (haven't seen the paper copy yet) raises a couple of questions.

    First, there is a clearly readable number plate on a car apparently owned by the alleged rorter. The 'Pie could be wrong, but isn't the rule to pixilate all number plates specific to investigative reports, not just accidents, which could lead to identification? (Nothing to do with you, Mr Sparkes, maybe the night editor was yet again snoozing).

    So, what happens now if some feral fu$kwit happens to see the car driving around and do what feral's so often do, or see the car outisde the house and again, do what ferals so often do i.e administer what their scrambled brains consider fair and summary justice to a welfare rorter.

    And then there is the the faux secrecy about the location of the house, which is in fact a bit of horse laugh. The idea obviously is to keep vigilante troublemakers away.

    No suburb is mentioned BUT the rightly indignant complainant in the matter is named as Sam Costanzo AND photographed next to the aforementioned car. AND HE IS NAMED AS THE RORTER'S NEIGHBOUR!!!

    Pure genius, Inspector Closeau, one trusts you were 'clevair' enough to check with Mr Costanzo if he had a telephone entry. If he does, then there are only two Costanzo's in the book, one in Wulguru and one in Pimlico. Neither are 's', but, you know ...

    Even a feral could work that out, so The Pie is giving nothing away (and besides, apart from certain Bulletin staff, feral's don't read this blog).

    Be interesting if something unpleasant happened and said vigilante had to admit in court he got his information from the Townsville Bulletin.

    You can bet THAT would be missing from the paper's court report.

    1. Re the above story.

      Have checked the paper, and the numberplate is blacked out, as is the rule, in a different photograph ... BUT the online story still carries the same pic showing the number plate.

      Here's a question for the layout folk down at The Astonisher. If it is required that the numberplate be masked in the paper, why is it OK to show it on line?

      Laziness, stupidity or an office that is all over the place like Fido's breakfast? Probably all three.

      This is the clearest indication that the Bulletin, and News Corp in general, haven't come to grips with the reality of presenting news over the various modern media platforms, in the way that Fairfax has. If it is WRONG to show the plate in the paper, then it is WRONG to show it on-line.

      They just don't get the message that all the legal obligations of the paper apply equally to on-line. But they continue to make asses of themselves down there at the Astonisher.

    2. It's about press releases that are easy stories for jernos........

  19. Has anyone else noticed the sudden increase in the ABC's use of reports from Al Jazeera journalists? I was somewhat bemused by recent cross to an Al Jazeera reporter doing an on the ground piece on the floods in the UK.

    They mates of that sanctimonious, pious, look-at-me-ain't-I-just-so-clever twerp Waleed Aly?

    Not that Al Jazeera is any more or less truthful than any other news source (yes, 'Pie, including News Ltd), but it IS where Al-Qaeda send their videos of civilians being beheaded.

    Just asking...

    1. It seems strange the ABC doesn't use more BBC reports rather than stories from Al Jazeera. Might it be something to do with copyright or costs?

      Like you, Grumpy, I find Al Jazeera as reliable as most other news media (which is not saying much nowadays). And it probably has a better handle than others on Middle Eastern stories because of its contacts in that part of the world.

      As for Waleed Aly, it's a shame about his self-important and oh-so-precious television and radio persona. His 2007 book, 'People Like Us', makes quite interesting reading although I don't agree with many of his conclusions.

  20. From many previous comments from Sam i'd go for the Pillico address

  21. Very clever Pie. You see numberplates on tv pixilated..

    Why didn't the photo editor find this error?

  22. VC, can't find what you're talking about.

    1. Oh can now see what you're on about, only it's page 13, not 3. Yesterday (Monday) VC commented on the regular reader survey at the bottom of page 13 which asked for people to vote on whether they would be going to the AFL NAB Cup.he asks 'Umm, wasn't that played on the weekend?'

      Yes indeed, the self-appointed opinion leader is anything but on the production side of things.

      Instead of the laughable 'North's Own Newspaper', perhaps the slogan should be 'We Don't Give A Stuff'.

  23. Today s web page looks as if it's from Sydney.

    Topics cross all web pages with no original content.

  24. 'MATHTER, IT LIVTHETH' ... like a phoenix from the ashes, the Behind The Bully blog has arisen from an early cot death grave where it had been inexplicablly buried last week.

    So more fun in store all round!

  25. They apparently don't understand what they write themselves.

    This from today's on-line SAstonisher editorial.

    As this newspaper reported on Saturday, the first tenant in the city was evicted under the three-strikes rule for leaving their taxpayer-funded property in Kirwan in a state of utter ruin, with several holes punched in walls, doors damaged and dirty nappies strewed strewn across the floor. These are precisely the types of tenants we should have to foot the repair and clean-up bill for. (WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? CP)'.

    Good question.

    CP is possibly Catherine Prowse, an able sub asking a good question in the usual manner of a subbing note. The queries are (obviously) meant to be removed when the clarification is made.

    Doesn't anyone proof read the on-line stuff anymore?

  26. Behind the bully has returned.

  27. Re the heist of the Giant Mango, I reckon it was a combined effort by all those Fruit-bats which were evicted from Charters Towers. The ones that were "protected" by the Greens dingbats.

    I wonder where, or upon whom they'll drop it?? Any suggestions?

  28. Always good and Always entertaining.

    Sagely Yours,

    Miss Lou


  29. Townsville, the largest city in North Australia, deserves an official quarterly CPI. Darwin has a quarterly CPI with 75,000 fewer people and Cairns and Mt Isa had a quarterly grocery price index, but amusingly it was produced by the Northern Territory Government.

    Northern Queensland is experiencing unique cost pressures different to the findings in the latest CPI report. In 2013, Northern Households felt the burden of significant price rises and/or differences for home insurance, petrol prices and energy costs. The major summary of current national inflation data didn’t comment on any of these items as significantly increasing cost to all Australian consumers. Nationally insurance costs have only increased marginally, electricity prices are stable and fuel prices have had little impact on household budgets - completely different to our experience. One can only assume that these particular rising prices are North Queensland issues?

    Our Electricity prices and home insurance costs have soared recently as a consequence of carbon tax, gold plated infrastructure and apparently unique weather events. Well we can’t reverse the construction standards but we can abolish the carbon tax. But as for unique weather events that destroy homes and increase insurance costs; Brisbane has floods, Sydney has tornadoes and Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth bushfires. So why is North Queensland paying a higher price for home insurance? Why isn’t the price variation between metropolitan and regional cities being officially monitored?

    It’s not just price increases we need official monitoring of we need comparative price monitoring of individual products. Townsville motorists have noticed a slight increase in the price of ULP in December from around 153c/litre to 156c/litre with a 2.7c lower average price than Brisbane. But last year there was a massive 20 cent per ULP litre higher price in Townsville than Brisbane. Such irregularities are worth investigating. Something’s not right in the petrol market!

    As the largest city in North Australia Townsville needs a consistent, official and comparable consumer price index that informs Canberra and Brisbane as much as local businesses, unions and families about our unique market conditions. This way policy makers can make informed decisions that consider North Queenslanders, compare product price variations and when market irregularities occur they can act to protect and help North Queenslanders prosper and continue to contribute our fair share.

    1. You can’t use the CPI (or, to be more accurate, the CPI increase) to compare the actual cost of living in two areas. Because it does not measure the cost of living.

      The CPI measures the changes in price of a fixed "basket of goods". It is virtually useless as anything other than a macro-economic tool. It measures price movements, not price levels.

      Why do you say that local businesses, unions (of all f**king people) and families would find a CPI (All Groups) (Townsville) of any particular interest or relevance? And, if so, precisely how it should be used?

      Or, bless your booties, are we being just a wee tad over parochial?

      I am suspicious of any suggestion that is going to add to the number of shiny-bums suckling off the public bosom.

      Comparative price monitoring is something entirely different. Returning to the two non-imaginary properties, one near Hobart, the other in Kings Road, Hyde Park. Both have landlord's insurance with AAMI. Almost identical age and construction. Both policies are for replacement (not fixed value)

      Hobart: $790 a year
      Townsville: $3480 a year

      You say that down south they have their floods and fires and earthquakes. Indeed they do. In fact, I read somewhere that the overall cost to insurers of the Brisbane floods in 2012 was considerably more than the cost of total cost of Yasi. The Victorian fires regularly deliver a higher butcher's bill than any of our individual cyclones.

      However, there are a lot more people down there. More people = more premium income. If the cost of payouts is $50 million a year, but you get $70 million in premiums, that's called profit. But if you only get $20 million a year in premiums and one good blow will cost you $40 million, problem. You therefor increase your premiums to cover potential loss.

      Unless you suggest that insurance companies should not make a profit?

      Or perhaps the government should help out?

      What was that you were saying about entitlement, ‘Pie?

      If I lived in a flood-free part of Brisbane, I would be mightily pissed off that my premiums rise because my insurance company cops a loss in NQ.

  30. Pie, I am no fan of the Bully but I do believe it has improved under newish editor Lachlan Heywood, as opposed to Peter Gleeson. There have been some solid additions in the newsroom such as David Sparkes who is diligent and if I'm not mistaken is the chief reporter. The visual aspect of the paper looks cleaner and it is less bias although not totally absent from the editorial pages, which is a shame. The online site has dropped off substantially though. Do you believe the paper has become worse under Heywood? And what are your biggest complaints with editorial policy and staff selection? I would be interested to read your honest thoughts, as I think sometimes your criticism of the Bully can be too harsh.

    1. OK CJ, you did ask. Here's Part 1 of a reply, another to follow.

      No I don't believe the paper has become worse under Lachlan Heywood, and perhaps he has somewhat tempered the excesses of his predecessor (which wouldn't be hard). Indeed, though, the improvement has mainly been in the past three or so months, except for the poorly handled egg-on-face overkill of the cyclone that didn't happen. Heywood has been on holidays during many weeks of the noticeable improvements , so there might have been a message in there for him. Those 'improvements' mainly consisted of backing away from the sensationalist mind-set.

      But the paper remains extremely sloppy in technical terms, and the overall News Corp problem and cost of coming to grips with the multiple platform product is magnified at the Bulletin.

      You are right about David Sparkes - his maturity and ability perhaps stands out more prominently that otherwise given some the behaviour and juvenile naked ambition of some of his colleagues - one in particular. More on that in Part 2 of this reply.


    2. Not sure The Pie agrees with your point about visuals - and for that matter story selections. There is a mish-mash across many pages involving state, world and local news, which often leads to risible juxtaposition ('Many Dead in Kiev' and 'Burst Sprinkler floods Charters Towers Road' sort of thing. But that's very subjective, everyone's opinion, including The 'Pie's, is equal to all others except that of the editor.

      Much of what we see here is imposed by the News Ltd (Corp) Soviet in Sydney, in particular the inhibiting doctrine of the one-story front page screamer. That might work in the big markets where news is churning 24/7, but here, where a story 'worthy' of that sort of treatment is an occasional thing, has painted the paper into a corner that often ends up with ludicrous results (empty chairs come to mind) and because of this policy, unworthy stories are promoted to the front because someone comes up with a catchy punning headline (i.e 'Sit Happens' on the chair story). This is a grave miscalculation, and so many potential readers tell The Pie they can't take the paper seriously (or even understand the headline, which after all, is the purpose of a headline), and so desert it.

      Anthony Templeton's reporting of council matters remains a serious problem for this community, yet he and his editor seem to not grasp why most councillors won't take his calls, or if they do, under strict agreement. Simpo appears to see himself as a rough. tough journo telling it how it is, unpleasant though it may be. He can't see that the exact opposite is the truth, and his puerile negativity and sensationalist approach remains a canker on the paper's credibility.

      Put simply, Heywood's persistence in keeping a reporter who has been the subject of numerous complaints and personal boycotts and clear bias is a major failing. A David Sparkes would be the answer. Unfortunately, such complaints and boycotts are no doubt glibly put down to Simpo doing a good job because he's 'stirred them up'.

      Then there is the question of columnists. Several of the current batch are clearly there as space fillers, most of which display both the arrogance and ignorance of youth that is a rage-inducing insult to the intelligence of many former readers. That's The 'Pie's feedback from may others, although he shares that opinion.

      One last point, CJ ... The 'Pie is greatly critical of editors from the south being appointed over several very able candidates who have been with the paper for some time and understand the community. is News Corp's policy that the Bulletin is a plaything, a stepping stone to News Corp glory if you cut your teeth here with some elan and panache (ha!) but all the southern imports know is the sensationalist metro style,) which is anathema to readerships in smaller places like Townsville.

      It's management, southern editorial control and purely profit-driven agenda (virtually none of said profit stays in Townsville) is shameful, because inter alia, it is a disservice to those several fine journalists who remain at the paper.

      They'll never go broke - monopolies rarely do - but the squeeze is certainly on, witnessed by the Coles page 2 stunt last weekend (across all News Corp mastheads in Qld, it turns out, not just the Bulletin).

      Don't believe the old bird? Just check the figures over the past four or five years, the Townsville Bulletin is the Hindenberg of regional publishing.

      Well, as said, you DID ask, CJ.

  31. This is just a repeat of what was published in the T/B (letter to the Editor) this week. Covering all bases are you Colin the next State Election is only 13 months away and the Council Election 2 Yrs away....t

  32. This is a sensible suggestion and something that is long overdue (and an added benefit is that it would also generate some tidy business for local economists and pollsters). When I had a business in Townsville and was dividing my time between there and Perth I noticed that prices were generally higher in Townsville, even though the WA capital is more distant from most of the major Australian manufacturers and suppliers. This may have something to do with economies of scale, but I doubt it. And even today I can attest that household insurance costs are strongly skewed in favour of the capital cities Apart from the Bulletin (where I'm told your comment appeared as a column) , have you approached other local media and the council so they can float the need for an official quarterly CPI ? The Bully says it is "all for the North" so this is a great opportunity for them to get them to further expose what is a fundamental rip-off.

    1. 'Gropes, the last time I was in Perth ~6 months ago, I was stunned by how expensive everything was. I recall that two mugs of less-than-average coffee and a couple of minuscule muffins was well over $30 in an inner-city coffee shop. The ordinary people I met over there complained bitterly about the escalating cost of housing and general living expenses in general.

      I got the impression that there was a class of people made wealthy by the mining boom (the Qantas club was wall to wall with vulgar and loudmouthed Cashed Up Bogans). Another class existed simply to gouge the first class. The rest of the State was simply being screwed in the crossfire.

      I can also tell you that Perth lawyers are a sly and tricky bunch of perjurious scoundrels.

    2. Points well taken, Grumpy. It's a while since I retired and the mining boom has certainly created inequity.

      Prices have skyrocketed, particularly in the CBD and Northbridge entertainment precinct, and crass, bogan behaviour is prevalent. However, as a regular visitor to Townsville, I still believe it is cheaper to live in the west because of lower rates (comparable to Hobart for properties of similar value), vehicle licensing fees and energy costs

      I will add that some of my best mates in Perth are lawyers -- .and your description of them is spot-on.

  33. So now it's Jumbo Dumbo the Dietictian - and a dangerously stupid one at that.

    Ewen Jones, in a jumbled, truly confused ramble on ABC local radio this morning, made a complete ass of himself when talking about the need to drop the food rating website run by the Feds.

    The main blunder in his muddled reasoning and ramble was that 'NO ONE IN AUSTRALIA IS FAT BY CHOICE'. Err, mate, with the exception of a very small genetic minority of the morbidly obese, EVERYONE who is overweight CHOOSES to be fat. They so choose through ... wait for it, Dumbo, stay with The Pie here ... the CHOICES they make about food types and amounts. You're thoughtless grandstanding attempt at populism offers every overweight person the excuse that they didn't 'choose' to be fat (your term throughout the interview) and they are actually victims.

    Then there was the party political shot about the need to cut spending 'cos those nasty Labor people left such a mess. Maybe they did, but chucking out any program that allows everybody to have information about what they are putting into their bodies makes a damn sight more sense than ... ummm, let say, PM Rabbit's ruinous unaffordable Paid Parental Leave rort. And you had the colossal hide to sanctimoniously bray '(At) what point does the government get out of your life?' You could bring that to the party room if you some guts and othger than your bulging belly. And because you're not just fat but also a prize fathead, you have developed a heart condition ... it's called no ticker.

    Saying all this OK because you yourself are a fat man (your description) is just plain silly, and cracks about The Church of the Fatter Day Saints having communion in the form of a buffet, doesn't add any gravitas to a subject that sorely needs it.

    You giving social and dietary advice to the electorate at large is like getting marriage counselling from Kim Kardashian.

  34. Becoming thin becomes a choice. Reading Allan borushek's calorie book.1990.

    Different foods. Nowdays most food is high in fats.
    Portions and exercise.

  35. On page 2 of the TB each day is a template that is probably filled in by the office cat. Such blanks to be filled today are the Lotto results.
    It looks like nobody won anything in any category, also the price of Gold and our $ Exchange rate are now calculated in 4XXXX beer?

  36. The usual boy fishing pic by potty Radford on palm Island. It's interesting, to find out if the sent two photographers for palm island re tourist destination.

  37. Is it not Tender Lovin's Day in court Tomorrow...

  38. Bill Shorten should sack Senator Stephen Conroy from his portfolio as shadow defence minister following his attack on one of Australia's most distinguished soldiers, Lt-Gen Angus Campbell.
    Conroy, a waste of oxygen who has cost the Australian taxpayers billions with his mismanagement of the NBN rollout, likened the officer to the villain in the military courtroom drama 'A Few Good Men' , accusing him of aiding a political cover-up.
    From now on, Conroy's relationship with the military will be totally unworkable.

    1. Seven Sunday program must have spent or paid something for Shapelle s first babbling words of freedom.

      Re. Astonished Staff might think it's better now but left behind a train wreck of destruction to past employees.