Monday, 30 November 2009

I told you Fielding was mad!

From Spillwatch at Pollytics
Fielding tried to gate crash the remnants of the Turnbull presser, wanting a Royal Commission into the science of climate change chaired by Ross Garnaut and Ian Plimer. Most of the press left, some chuckling. (via.. well, the whole press gallery on twitter).
See earlier post here.

The story develops

What started out as a tweet this morning is gaining strength and creedence as the day unfolds. See John Quiggin on The case for a split and A Progessive Party for liberals from CoreEconomics.

Well there goes the chances of a Republic

There goes the chances of a Australia becoming a Republic inside the next 5 years: Queen to visit Australia for 2011 CHOGM

I love this story

Further to my earlier post here today, there's this from from Larvatus Prodeo:
Turnbull to found a new party?I mentioned in my previous post that a lot of speculation has now turned to Malcolm Turnbull’s intentions should he lose the leadership tomorrow.

I also linked to the thoughts of Christopher Joye of Business Spectator. This paragraph is particularly interesting:

Perhaps following this fracas the big fella will throw caution to the wind and found his own political party…I am thinking of the Australian Republican Party with an unconditional commitment to combating climate change and reinvigorating the dormant republican movement. Now that would be sure to split the Liberal Party vote.

While we shouldn’t get carried away and underestimate the barriers any new party faces in the Australian political system (or the powerful forces of inertia and ambition which work against individual MPs and Senators splitting from the Libs), this prospect is being taken seriously, I’m informed by a number of sources this morning.

Given the difficulties that the Liberals have had in unifying their disparate bases (and as I’ve commented previously, the problems Labor might potentially have as well with its soft liberal constituency), such a development, if seriously pursued, would have the potential to be something of a game changer. And Malcolm Turnbull could certainly fund a social and economically liberal party out of his own resources, at least for one election campaign.

I’m told there may be more coming out on this later in the week.


Pity Peter Lindsay today

Poor old Peter.  He's thrown his hat in with Malcolm, who it's increasingly looking like, will lose tomorrow's Party room meeting and now he has this to contend with: Qld Liberal MPs told to vote against ETS .

He must be seeing the big fridge slip further and further away as the day proceeds.

12.14pm: Joe Hockey has just gone into Malcolm Turnbull’s office

That's 12:14pm AEDT.  From The Punch's live blogging of the day's events

An annual annoyance - The Bulletin

Given everything that’s happening on the Federal scene, The Bully didn’t get much scrutiny on Saturday and today’s wafer thin edition was only worth reading for the local cricket.

I did notice on Saturday though, something that has become an annual annoyance – one that keeps on giving all through the holidays.

The Bully published its annual reader’s survey.

All through the silly season, when they have a skeleton staff comprising mainly juniors, The Bully will use the results of this survey as the basis for a heap of space-filler articles about “What the People Think”.

Of course the survey is a completely invalid basis from which to project anything other than the opinion of those readers who bothered to buy the 50 cent stamp and respond. But I bet that won’t stop The Bully?

Racist theft

Crossposted from Larvatus Prodeo who crossposted from No Right Turn.

Australia has some of the worst racial disparities in the developed world. The average household income of indigenous Australians is only 60% of the average. The proportion with high-school or higher educations is only half that of the average (a fifth for university qualifications), while their unemployment rate is triple that of non-indigenous Australians. Their health statistics are equally appalling, with complication and disease rates at least double the average, with a consequent effect on life expectancy. The average indigenous Australian dies a decade earlier as a result of poverty, disease, poor access to health services and institutionalised racism.

The Australian Federal Government spends billions trying to correct these disparities, with apparently little effect. But that’s because most of the money never actually reaches its target, instead being diverted to buy votes in marginal seats:

THE Northern Territory Labor government has for the past five years diverted $2 billion earmarked for indigenous disadvantage and other key services to mainstream spending in marginal Darwin seats.

Detailed figures obtained by The Weekend Australian reveal that hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars provided by the commonwealth and intended for indigenous health, homelessness, delivery of services and families have been used to service debt and bolster superannuation payments.

The figures come as the Territory government continues to defend its handling of the $672 million Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Project, which has so far failed to result in one new house being built, despite $45m being spent in the first 15 months of the project.

This is not a new story; the National Indigenous Times highlighted it back in 2006, the Sydney Morning Herald in 2005. But still it goes on – and indigenous Australians suffer as a result.

It is time to end this organised racist theft, and for state governments to spend the money they are allocated for indigenous peoples for its proper purpose, rather than misappropriating it. But that would require Australians to accept that indigenous people matter, that they are human beings equally deserving of government attention. And looking across the Tasman, even after Rudd’s historic apology, that acceptance is still a long way away.

More recommended reading in strange times

My weekend blogg of interesting reading was getting a bit full. Tome for a new post which I'll keep adding to during the day

Friday, 27 November 2009

Recommended reading in strange times

Strange days in the federal opposition – strange days indeed.

Here are some links to good pieces I've found on the rss feeds. I’ll add to them as I find them.
Can’t imagine my carbon footprint this week having has Sky News running constantly in the background.

Fielding is mad

There's a lot I could say about Family First senator Steve Fielding but, given that he won't survive the next election, there doesn't seem to be much point.

The lastest from the mad-man is to compare same-sex marriages to incest! - completely nuts.

Bob Brown's response reported in the same article is well worth a read though.  Also see my earlier post here.

Townsville’s reputation as a racist town confirmed

How is it that someone who shoots two kids playing in a park and then admits that he has done so, get bail?

Today’s front page story in the Bully is simply outrageous on a number of scores:
  • 2 kids (about the age of my own son) get shot while playing in a suburban park
  • They almost certainly get shot because they are black – No matter how pissed he was, I’d bet he wouldn’t have done it if they were two white kids - I’d put any amount of money on it
  • He admits what he’s done to the coppers and gets bail! Yes, he admits to shooting two kids and he gets bail!! – how does that work?
  • He a soldier – how is it that nutters like this aren’t screened out of our defence forces?
  • The army takes him under their wing to help keep him out remand. How is it that on the basis of his own admissions they don’t throw him into their own lock-up and launch an immediate inquiry and disciplinary action? Instead he’ll get to joke about it with his mate at the Mess and sleep in a nice bed on barracks.
  • The coppers argue against bail – not because he shot at two kids but because they’re worried about his own safety. And when the Army agreed to take him, the coppers agree that that’s sufficient to allow a potential killer of innocents to go free.
The reality is that if he’d been a blackfella shooting at white kids he would never have got out of remand – in fact he may well never have survived even the watch-house while waiting for his bail hearing – remember Mulrunji died even before getting to the watch-house and he’d only been arrested for disorderly conduct!!

Townsville’s reputation as a racist town is confirmed – again.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

What others are saying about Peter Lindsay

From The Punch - live blogging of Question Time today just after the Prince of Herbert got chucked out:

And no, I'm not Zeta - I had to leave the exchange early.

I would however add the following to Zeta's list:
Nov 26, 2009: while the biggest new story in the nation for the last week or so has been climate change, the ETS and the Liberal leadership, on the day the future of Yalulu has been called into question, and on the day Terminal Turnbull's hold on the party of Peter is completely falling apart, the Prince of Herbert's only public utterance is to welcome the Government's (yes, that's the Labor Government's) decision to spend a further $80 million on Lavarack
WEIRD hey?

An important milestone on the road to a tollerant, rational Australia

Australia's first legally recognised same sex civil ceremony was held in Canberra yesterday.  Perhaps we're finally growing up as a nation??

This story, Church's opposition to gay marriage a by-product of capitalism, by John Passant in Fairfax's National Times is well worth a read.

What annoys me about schoolies week

No! it’s not the schoolies or the occasional misdemeanour or over-exuberance that a few of them can be guilty of. I get annoyed by some of the press’ constant search for the sensational story (not The Bulletin I must point out – their coverage has been sympathetic and measured).

But I get really annoyed that no one seems to point-out that Schoolies as we know it is the invention of the tourism industry and the accommodation and alcohol retailing industries in particular – designed to fill their coffers during what would otherwise be a dead quiet period before the start of the xmas money making season.

This story, Criticism of schoolies smacks of hypocrisy, by Jane Fynes-Clinton in today's Courier Mail is worth a read for a bit of balance and perspective.

Will Peter be rewarded with a larger fridge?

I presume from Tony Raggatt’s update to the Oz’s story from yesterday about the ETS and the Yabulu Refinery, that Peter Lindsay supported the ETS in Tuesday’s joint party room bun-fight.

Judging by a grab I saw on Sky News yesterday when the Prince of Herbert pointedly came out of the room to announce that “Someone should give Tuckey a needle” and then turn on his heels to return to the fray, he certainly voted against the West Australians’ spill motion.

But then, Peter has always known which is of the bread his butter is on. The big question now is whether Terminal Turnbull will reward him with a promotion to a junior Ministry and the bigger fridge and postal allowance that goes with it.

Best headline of the day: Farting pig sparks gas leak emergency

This was actually the titile of the RSS feed for the story.  Unfortunately, when you follow the feed, the article has the far less funny headline of Swine of a smell causes a stink - the story is still worth a chuckle though.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

How does this work?

Compare:  Melbourne's elite men-only clubs have been given the green light to keep women out
and:  One woman's hope of starting an all-female travel company has been shattered, after it was ruled her submission pigeonholed men.

Seems like one rule for the (rich) boys ........

Jetstar The Movie

No this isn't actually about Jetstar (see this post from yesterday).... but it easily could be:

The Bulletin - the no news paper

You have to worry about those punters who rely on The Bulletin for their news. There is not one story in today’s 56 page edition about the week’s biggest story in the Nation – the proposed CPRS-ETS and the federal opposition’s implosion over the issue.

And certainly no mention or questioning of:
There is however front-page outrage about year 12 school leavers receiving a drink cooler as a parting gift – clearly the most important issue facing North Queenslanders.

What a rag!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Its a pity that Storm Financial's Clients did'nt bank with this mob

Not to excuse their own naivety, but it’s a pity that the Storm Financial clients who were ‘managed’ by the Bank of Queensland’s North Ward Branch, didn’t instead use this fine German Banker!!

Change can take a looooong time

Way back in the late 70’s I was lucky enough to have some peripheral involvement with three inspirational men who led the modern-day fight for rights for people with a disability.

All have now sadly passed, but they would be horrified at yesterday’s reports of the treatment of Paralympian, Kadoka Track conqueror and truly inspirational sporting hero (as opposed to today’s footballers), Kurt Fearnley at the hands of junk airline Jetstar. Now comes the report today of Trevor Carroll’s hospitalisation for six days after similar treatment by this mob.

Sadly, change can take a very, very, very long time

Get yourself a good lawyer girl

Further to my post yesterday, it was good to see Terry O'Gorman reported in today's Bully that Suzette Pootchemunka would be entitled to a five-figure settlement for her wongfull arest and 5-day imprisonment.

I just hopes she gets a good lawyer!

How will Peter Lindsay vote on the CPRS?

Today is a big day for the Libs in Canberra as they attempt to reach a position on the Government’s proposed CRPS-ETS without blowing themselves apart. But how will the Prince of Herbert vote?

Trawling Hansard and the web for any indication of Peter Lindsay’s position is a near fruitless exercise.

What I did learn is that:
I’ve not been able to find anything that indicates whether he actually believes in Global Warming or not.

I did however find a piece in The Oz by Samantha Maiden reporting on a Coalition partyroom meeting in October of this year where The Prince declared his current leader Malcolm Turnbull a “man of steel”. She went on to point out that Lindsay was also “fond of declaring his love for the previous leader”, Brendon Nelson.

And that is the real clue to how The Prince will vote today. Now that he’s decided to try and save the Libs from almost certain defeat in Herbert at the next election, he will do anything to keep the big fridge (and extra postal allowance) that goes with being a shadow Parliamentary Secretary.

As such, my bet is that, as the sycophant he is, he will get in behind whoever looks like winning the vote and being the Liberal leader tomorrow.

Come on Peter – tell us what you really believe

Monday, 23 November 2009

Queensland's very own FreddoGate - without the Freddo

News just through that "An Aurukun woman was wrongly thrown into jail for five days by Queensland Police after she was wrongly arrested without a valid warrant."

Although not reported, it goes without saying that it wasn't one of the white women of the town!!  No news of compensation but I hope she sues the blue pants off them.

If there's any silver lining to this story, it's that she was lucky that a certain Qld Detective Sargent wasn't the arresting officer!

A satisfactory ending to FreddoGate

Good news!  Further to my earlier posts here, here and here, the WA coppers have backed down and it's gonna cost them a lazy grand to-boot!

A slow day at The Bully and in Peter Lindsay's office

It’s not often that I agree with Peter Lindsay.

But in his first foray out of the departure lounge since announcing his intention to recontest Herbert in a last-ditch attempt to save the Libs (or the LNP, or whatever they will be calling themselves next year) from what seems will be inevitable defeat in the seat, he has in typical style chosen a State issue to go to the barricades over.

He probably right when in today’s Bully he asserts that the planned Cruise Ship Shed should be built by the State Government and that the proposed 3-way splitting of the $90 million bill between the State, Feds and TCC is a tactic by the State “… to make impossible financial demands on the Council so (it) can blame the council for the project not proceeding” when they rightfully refuse to come to the party. In this last regard, I suspect he’s picked it in one.

I’ve written before about the doubtful logic and benefits of the proposed Ship Shed.

If we are to have the damn thing, my advice to TCC would be to suggest to the State and Feds that we will make do with a measly $60 million Shed, paid for from what they have already put on the table.

Having said that, my advice to the aging Prince of Herbert would be to fess-up and tell us what he thinks about a few Federal issues – like Climate Change and whether he thinks that the Pacific Solution, Temporary Protection Visas and kids behind razor wire should be re-introduced.

After all, Climate Change and not Ship Sheds is the single largest issue that will effect the future of tourism in North Queensland

Sunday, 22 November 2009

My most shamefull addiction

To be honest - it's my addiction to newsprint that drives me each week to buy the Sunday paper.

Today's Sunday Mail confirms just how shameful that addiction really is.

Page three is fully taken-up with a mindless story (not available on-line) about a British dog (no! not even an Australian dog) with a weight problem, the efforts of the RSPCA there to reduce its size from 70 kilos to a more healthy 35 kilos and the banning of its obviously stupid and irresponsible owner from keeping pets for 10 years.

Page 45 (yes, that’s page 45) carries a 1/4 page report (not available on-line) of a Qld Council of Social Service study showing that over 1,700 people die each year in Qld (that’s 30 a week) as a result of their living poverty and that some $1.22 billion a year could be saved in the State's public hospital bill if the issue was properly addressed. (Link not yet available but check the QCOSS site in a few days).

There is no way this rag can be called a Newspaper!

Any advice on how to overcome my shamefull newsprint addiction will be most welcome.

Friday, 20 November 2009

You have to wonder about The Bulletin

The on-line news services are full if items today about both the upcoming second inquest into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee and, perhaps even more pointedly, the appalling delays by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) in their inquiry to the Qld coppers’ mishandling of the investigation of Mulrunji’s 2004 death-in-custody which we are told will take another six months to be finalised.

Not only did the Bully devote just one column on page five to the stories (not available online), a little under half of that is in fact about another CMC investigation into policing of Aboriginal communities generally. 

By comparison, The Australian today has a 1/4 page article plus a scathing lead editorial on the issue.

Far worse, they refused to use Mulrunji’s name – preferring to call him Cameron.

And they certainly made no mention (as reported in their sister Murdoch tabloid, The Courier,) of the coppers failure/refusal to participate in yesterday’s commemoration of the 5th anniversary of his killing.

No picture of Mulrunji or his grieving family and community – but there is a very nice one of clean cut copper Hurley.

No reporting of the very apparent conflict of interest arising from the CMC Commissioner Alan MacSporran representing Queensland police at today's reopening of the coronial inquest into the case.

The Bully did however manage to publish the following from Jenny Stirling on their comments page yesterday:
"Five years after the death in custody on Palm Island of Mulrunji Doomadgee, the CMC has finished its inquiry into the conduct of police officers investigating the death. By comparison, it took months for people to be prosecuted for throwing rocks and threatening police in the subsequent protest. These officers face disciplinary action for actions which contravened common decency, the law and good practice but I can guarantee you none will be going to jail. The Minister for Police should resign or better still, be sacked. Tardy justice is justice denied."
That was big of them wasn't it ??

I'm no fan of The Australian either, but I recommend this excellent piece by Tony Koch on the appauling performance by the CMC.

As for The Bully - the tag below says it all

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Best line of the week

"These are the heroes in our country, not the sports people" Moira Kelly, speaking of the mediacl team at the Royal Melbourne Children's Hospital who sucessfully separated the formerly conjoined twins Krishna and Trishna.

I couldn't agree more - stuff John Coates and his little fiefdom at the AOC!!

Well the would wouldn't they

More to my earlier posts here, here, here and here about FredoGate (couldn't resist that, sorry) , WA Police reject discrimination claim.

Nice try guys.

Jeeze and I though WA coppers were bad

And I though WA coppers were bad ...Cop Tasers 'unruly' 10-year-old girl.  A US police officer used a Taser stun gun to subdue a "combative" 10-year-old girl in her own home because she refused to take a shower. More...

Is Cr. Vern flogging a dead fish?

You gotta admire Councillor Vern Vetch for championing the cause of local recreational fishers, but given the demise of the local lobby group Sunfish because of lack of interest, you have to wonder whether he’s flogging a dead fish.

As Chair of TCC’s Environment and Sustainable Development Committee, maybe his re-election changes would improve if he actually focused on environment and sustainability issues like, for example, the 50/50 chance of survival for the Great Barrier Reef if global emissions aren’t cut by at least 25 per cent by 2020

Dinosaur racing goes international but will they continue to graze in Townsville

I see that the V8 Dinosaur Race is set to go international with events planned for Bahrain and Abu Dhabi next year. You can’t really blame them of course – like the Dinosaurs of old, they will always go where the money (i.e. food) is most plentiful.

But you have to wonder how long they will continue to graze in little old Townsville??

An eerie silence from The Bully

Interestingly, The Bulletin’s parent paper, The Oz has this front page story:  Five years on, Doomadgee death investigators facing discipline

And the Bully has ... precisely zilch!! Even more interesting given that our copies of the Oz are printed on the Bully’s presses right here in Townsville

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

He's damn lucky he didn't pinch a Freddo Frog as well!

Further my earlier posts here and here about the 12 year old Aboriginal kid who was arrested, thrown in the watchhouse and charged with recieving a stolen Freddo Frog, comes this news that a WA copper has "escaped a jail term for using the police computer system to access the details of more than a dozen women he fancied".

It's gotta make you wonder...

Didn't the editor read the story??

Judging by the juxtaposition of the pic, the ABC's online editor didn’t bother to read the story!

"Unfortunate" or Appropriate ??

Further to my earlier post here, the WA Premier has said today that "it is unfortunate that police have been held up to ridicule by charging a 12-year-old boy over a stolen chocolate"

I would have said that the ridicule is totally appropriate and warranted.

The only unfortunate thing is that the Premier obviously has no intention of questioning whether the incident is evidence of either systemic stupidity or systemic racism amongst his Police Force!

The incident is still outrageous

Peter Lindsay confirms that the Libs are in trouble

So Peter Lindsay has declared his hand and will defend his throne at the next Federal Election.

As I’ve noted previously – the Libs (or NLP or whatever they are this week) would call him back from the departure lounge and his tour of potential retirement villages if they expected the election to be difficult and needed to protect all of their existing seats.

The other interesting thing in Lendl Ryan’s piece in The Bully today is that Lindsay clearly indicates his preference to go up against Tony Mooney – perhaps he knows he’s the only one of the potential ALP candidates that he has any chance of beating.

Ryan, The Bully’s “City Reporter”, has been barracking for Mooney ever since she drew the amazing conclusion that Kevin Rudd’s saying that “I have known him for 20 years” equals a ringing endorsement of Mooney and a guarantee of his preselection

In a second article today, Ryan seeks to convert her conclusion into fact when she describes “a stunning endorsement from Mr Mooney’s close friend, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, earlier this month”.

All that Ryan has successfully done today is confirm that the Libs expect to lose the next Federal election and probably the seat of Herbert as well and that no one can predict the outcome of the ALP preselection process until we know whether the choice will be made by a local plebiscite of members or by their federal Administration Committee

Attempted suicide is illegal and will be met with the full force of the law

And I thought WA coppers were a bit over-the-top:

Man trying to harm self shot dead and here Man shot by police has died, and here Officer with Taser used gun to shoot 'self-harmer'.

You'd hope that they'd teach coppers to shoot to disable rather than to blow them away.

Today's best headline

Another shocker from the Bully today - page 3

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

More twaddle from The Bulletin

Today’s front page headline about the wages bill for TCC Councillors is the sort of beat-up we’ve come to expect from the Bully. Interestingly, the on-line version of the article doesn’t seem to be working!!

The big dollars splashed all over the front page are of course the Total Employment Cost associated with the Councillors.  I'd hazard a guess that very few workers (and a surprising number of employers) have no idea of their Total Employment Cost (as a rule-of-thumb TEC is 3 times salary cost).

But we find when we finally get to Lendl Ryan's full article that the figures for King Les for example include income from other (that is, non-TCC) activities such as Board Directorships.

And if anyone bothers to read all of her article we find buried in the middle an admission that TCC Councillors base salaries are “...still less than counterparts in other parts of the State...”.

So... a complete beat-up – a trash-piece in fact.

A conservative approach to climate change

From Lindsay Foyle in New Matilda

Monday, 16 November 2009

This is just outrageous !!

Stolen Freddo: boy, 12, charged - an Aboriginal kid of course!!!

As retired Family Court judge, John Fogarty, said: ''If this was a non-indigenous child, the most he would probably get in Victoria and most other jurisdictions, would be the mildest of warnings by the local sergeant.''

Mind you, if you're a white backpacker in Cairns, things are a lot different - just harmless youthful fun after all!

Update:  Maybe the WA coppers aren't quite as stupid as I thought!!  Police may drop Freddo charges

Mooney boosters are at it again

So the Bully is at it again today - leading the Mooney for Herbert cheer squad!

Lendl Ryan’s assertion that Herbert was “once died in blue” and that now, because of an evil redistribution, “Peter Lindsay is staring down the barrel of political annihilation” shows both her youth and her political naivety (a bit of a worry for someone the Bully has tagged as their “City Reporter”, whatever that is).

Herbert has always been a Labor seat and the election of Lindsay on the back of Howard’s Battlers campaign was always an aberration. Lindsay’s vote has been dropping since his first term and he would have lost the last one if Labor had had the right candidate and had massaged the defence vote the right way.

Given that Lindsay hasn’t been seen or heard of in the last two years in the departure lounge (except for the very occasional bagging of the State Government and reports of his very important overseas junkets), he was always going to lose the next election irrespective of any redistribution. The only reason he’s not gone already is that the Libs are having trouble believing that Crisafulli could win it and they (foolishly) believe that the incumbency factor will let Lindsay sneak back in again.

As for Ryan’s assertion that Mooney is a shoo-in for preselection and then Herbert – it’s a total beat-up with no new information since I last posted on the subject here. Mooney won’t declare his hand until he knows he has the numbers for preselection. He knows he can’t win a local plebiscite of members and is relying on the Administrative Committee or National Office to determine the candidates. But even then he knows there is no guarantee – he’s as much disliked and distrusted by the ALP power brokers as his is be the local membership.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

It was all AC/DC's fault Judge

How could i not republish a headline like this from the CourierMail!!!: Rapists wore AC/DC t-shirt

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Joker

Publisher of our very own Townsville Bulletin. 

Hat-tip to John Richardson - read more here...

Aquapella back on stage and recording

Cross posted from one of our favourite reads - the Magnetic Times

Magnetic Island and Townsville’s own celebrated choir will give a triumphal return concert at Sacred Heart Cathedral this coming week-end. This is their first major concert in two years.
Sixty singers from Magnetic Island and Townsville will gather for this gala occasion for one concert which will not be repeated. Read more ...

The death of Dinosaur Racing sooner rather than later?

It seems that our (taxpayer) investment in the Reid Park Dinosaur Racing circuit may be wasted earlier than I'd expected

See this story by Terry Macalister in the Age: Global oil supply 'far worse than admitted'

Get over it!

Which Townsville housing development, top right or bottom really looks most like the 1975 East German housing block pictured top left on today’s front page?

In typical Bully style and on a slow news day, it’s time for a bit of a beat-up. And in the process, why not give a free ride to the Prince Regent, Cr Crisafulli.

As chairman of Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee, the pretender to the throne of King Les has been copping a fair bit of flack for his appalling Cape Pallarenda decision (see: Another win for the developers). And what better way to distract the punters and redirect any residual anger than to use a couple of well-tested tactics learnt by the prince from his mentor the Monarch of Herbert, Peter Lindsay:

1. Shift the focus to a different level of government.
TCC has made and continues to make some truly dreadful and certainly uncreative planning decisions, so let’s get stuck into the State Government.

The reality is that around the country, State Governments can veto local government planning decisions just as the Feds can overrule State decisions in environmental planning and other areas. It has been that way for decades and for good reason – Local Government decision-making is arguably more open to graft and corruption, less focused on the greater good and more swayed by the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) factor – see 2. below

2. Frighten the bejesus out of the punters.
NIMBY is a world-view that runs deep in the Australian psyche and there is no more effective way of diverting attention or whipping up a bit of a storm than to appeal to this unsavoury undercurrent. The most common and effective NIMBY frenzy targets (in rough order) are:
  • paedophiles (including former paedophiles)
  • boat people (as opposed to illegal immigrants or asylum seekers per se),
  • blackfella rough-sleepers,
  • blackfellas,
  • the mentally ill, (See Catherine Jones' excellent piece Fairfax's National Times today: It's not right to demonise mental illness
  • whitefella rough-sleepers,
  • Public Housing tenants,
  • the poor, and then
  • teenagers
The story is a shameful beat-up by the Bully, playing to the Prince Regent’s tune in order to distract attention.

Was I wrong? ...we'll see

You should have taken my bet!!

No photo accompanying a republished press release in today’s Bully as I expected!! See: How to get your picture in the Bully #1

But then, it can take the Bully a while with complex issues like this so maybe we’ll see the story tomorrow – my money is still on the table if you want to take me on??

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

What really gives me the Sh*ts #1

What a cool kid and what a drop-dead appalling school! Schoolgirl suspended for cancer head shave

How to get your picture in the Bully #1

You have to admire anyone trying to establish a foothold in a town where Carey Ramm's AEC Group have most of the economic consulting work stitched-up.

The former and possibly aspiring Candidate for Mundingburra has today released a new economic survey for the town  – a welcome addition to our understanding of what’s happening in the local economy and job market.

No doubt it will also be worth a nice photo piece in tomorrow’s Bully (given they are the sole source the report’s data) - which can’t be bad for recognition in either the business or political marketplace.

But really, you’d think that he’d get with the slow death of newspapers and count on-line job adds as well - otherwise the results are meaningless!

Anyone want to take a bet on where the story will appear in tomorrow's Bully or how big the pic will be??

Worth a look?

I suspect that this will sell-out quickly

The Music Centre North Qld presents “The Crown v Killer Quayle” – a Q150 project.

Two nights only - Saturday November 14, at 8pm, and Sunday November 15, 7pm, at the Court Theatre. Book now on 4721 1771 or

With a script by director Suzy Gilmour, visual images and design by Glen O’Malley, composition and soundscape by Michael Whiticker, and Tropic Sun actors Mark Reed, Karen Gibb and Ron Pulman, this multi-arts performance interprets historical stories relating to the Old Magistrate’s Court. The action revolves around the trial of Killer Quayle, a shell-shocked WW2 veteran, and the true story of flowers that - in the early 60s - started to mysteriously disappear from Townsville's Queen’s Gardens and reappear in Flinders Sreet hotels.

”Songs of a City” - music on a Townsville theme by Michael Whiticker, Victor Purkiss and Brian Kneipp performed by the Poms from OZ, Madonna Davies, and David Blair will precede the theatrical action.

WHAT: The Crown v. Killer Quayle

WHEN: Saturday November 14 at 8pm, and Sunday November 15 at 7pm

WHERE: Court Theatre, cnr Sturt & Stokes Sts

Tickets: $28 full, $22 member, conc., groups of 5, $12 student, child.

Bookings/Enquries: Music Centre North Qld 4721 1771, and online at
Approx total length of show 90 mins (including interval).
Suitable for all ages.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

What future for the racing dinosaurs

You have to wonder what today's announcement in the Sunday Mail means for the viability of the dinosaur racing in Townsville. The announcement that there are plans to make the Gold Coast SuperGP part of $2m V8's Grand Slam should send shivers up the spines of all tax-payers.

If the plan goes ahead, you have to wonder whether interstate and regional Queensland punters are going to come to the Townsville warm-up race or spend their hard-earned on the main game at the Gold Coast. Tourist inflows were of course the singular justification for the taxpayer 'investment' in dinosaur racing in our little town.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Abortion debate rages in the Bulletin

Isn’t it interesting how little The Bulletin reports on, let alone expresses any outrage about, Queensland's primeval abortion laws.

It’s parent paper the Oz doesn’t seem to have that much trouble hereherehere, or here.  Nor does The Cairns Post, the NT News or even The Westender in the urbane bit of Briz.

It's a bit unlike the Bully to not use an opportunity to stick the boot into Anna Bligh, given that 2/3 of Queensland voters are in favour of at least the decriminalisation of Abortion in the State??

Nothing to do with Townsville #2

I've long thought that cartoonists are the truly insightfull and influencing editorial comentators of the press.  This Andy Singer toon is no exception

That Ship Shed again

I see that TEL are at it again - spruiking the benefits of tax-payers building a fancy shed for any cruise ship types who may be sailing past.

"Up to" 30 cruise ships and "up to" 40 military ships will berth here every year we are told - if a pretty enough shed is built. I love the use of "up to" in such statements - it really means they have absolutely no idea of how many would actually berth.

I can understand that possibly more military ships might pull up here if more berthing space was available in the Port. This is a military town and all of the major manoeuvres held in Queensland in some way involve the military establishment here, and anyway the boys and girls prefer to play with their own types when on leave. Of course, whether the town has a port-side shed or not has nothing to do with whether such ships stop here - all they need is a berth.

TEL would have us believe that the presence of a shed will have everything to do with whether the cruise ships stop here or not. Again, the real issue of course is whether such ships have a guaranteed berth or not – the shed just provides somewhere out of the sun while disembarking. Even if such a berth is available, my understanding is that there are no guarantees that any ship will use it – it really depends on the weather, schedules and where the best sunset will be that night.

TEL do have one thing right however – whether any of these ships ever return to the town will depend on their experience when here. Townsville simply cannot compete with Cairns for tourist shopping experiences or the Whitsundays for porthole views – if we could we’d already be a tourism based economy which thankfully we’re not (See DS Economic’s report on the state if the Cairns economy).

If an extra berth reserved for cruise ships and military types were really a profitable venture, the Port Authority would have built one years ago – with the same confidence they and Sugar Terminals Limited had when they built the new sugar shed a few years back.

It strikes me that TEL would do a lot better to look at how we can get major ships to stop here to replenish their larders by for example taking on fresh fruit and veg from the Burdekin rather than entering into “the best shed” competitions with real tourist destinations in Queensland in the hope that we can attract passing souvenir shoppers.

Finally – TEL demonstrate their real confidence in the town when, in the same article, they announce that they’ve engaged a Brisbane based mob (EC3 Global) to prepare local businesses for the expected onslaught of fat American tourists looking for a souvenir experience! In fact, it seems that local consulting firms were never given a chance to even bid for the work as the tender was never advertised!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Cruise Ship Shed

The Ocean Terminal rears its head again today with the Bulletin's front-page piece announcing that the talks are on again! Don’t hold your breath though - now that the cyclone-estate canal-estate has been removed from the development equation one wonders how it will ever stack up without 100% tax-payer funding.

That is amazing about all of this is how the "need" for the facility has become unquestioned fact over time.

The facility was proposed by developers as a lure to government to support a tax-payer supported housing development. In the process of course, cost-benefit analyses and return-on-investment arguments were compiled to prove the benefit to the community of supporting the developers' profit plan.

Not once has the comparative benefit of using tax-payers funds on alternative ways of supporting the regional economy been examined.

I suspect that it will eventually be built because it's now the established mythology that it needs to be and would be good for the city.

Given however that it will be an operating lemon (a facility such as this can't survive on 5 or 6 days of trading per year when cruise ships come to port) the really interesting question how it can be used for real productive benefit for the other 360 days of the year.

Nothing to do with Townsville #1

Best headline of the day:  Shoe-thrower attacks John Howard.

But Ben Power in the SMH might be drawing a long bow when he concludes that the popularity of Doc Martins (the type of shoe in question) "...seems to be inversely correlated to economic growth and general well being. I suspect it means that there will be no sustained economic recovery"

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

How to post on Blogging Townsville

Tired of what passes as news and current affairs commentary in Townsville?

Blogging Townsville is an irregular, irreverent and, at times, irrelevant commentary on the movers and shakers in our “small rural city somewhere east of Mount Isa”.

Currently, our favourite targets are The Townsville Bulletin, Council and the various pretenders to Throne of Herbert.

If you like what you see (whether you agree with a post or not), why not join the debate by:
  • Reading the Rules of Engagement - them's the rules!
  • Posting a comment on any published article – just click headline of any post and scroll down to find a comments box,
  • Making a guest post – just send it to
  • Become a regular contributor – email me at at and I’ll organise Author access to the blog
I value my anonymity and will do likewise for anyone using the Blog.

With friends like this...

In some way I guess the Bully’s front-page splash today “Rudd back’s Mooney” is the story that had to come. Mooney has clearly been working the back rooms of the ALP for some time to keep his name in the ring for preselection for the federal seat of Herbert.

While Herbert is eminently winnable by the ALP (with the right candidate and the right campaign), Mooney is no risk-taker and doesn’t like to lose. He won’t commit to his candidature until he knows his chances of winning preselection (clearly, it’s in his interest for there NOT to be a plebiscite) and then the seat.

For what it’s worth, I think he’d lose the seat but not by as big a margin as George Cobram would. Whether he wins preselection will depend on who makes the decision – plebiscite or State Office.

Back to today’s front-page story by Lendl Ryan and Jessica Johnston. To infer endorsement of Mooney from Rudd’s comments is just a bit of a stretch.

As for the 20-year ”friendship” between Rudd and Money asserted by the article, Rudd reveals it all: “Tony is a great guy. I have known him for 20 years”. Rudd of course would say exactly the same for all of those in the ALP in North Qld he has played the game with (and against) over the last 20 years – including Jenny Hill.

Speaking of games, I expect the Bully to continue to push Mooney’s cause in the lead-up the ALP’s federal preselection just as I expect them to continue their hands-off-the-poor-old-bugger approach to Peter Lindsay’s dithering about his future in Herbert - the guy has been in the departure lounge reading retirement village brochures for at least the last 2 years and the Bully continues to use the velvet glove!

Monday, 2 November 2009

About time

Today’s Bully reports that (finally!!) “Townsville City Councillors will be forbidden from holding secret meetings with developers”. No mention of control over Council Staff meeting privately with said developers, and no questioning why it took until the Local Government Association of Queensland came out with a draft code when NSW at least had a Code of Conduct in July of this year!! and almost 18 months after a NSW Town Planner was found guilty of serious corrupt conduct!!

Credit where it’s due

I thought that John Andersen had two excellent pieces in Saturday’s Bully – links for neither of which are available on their site.

The first was, I thought, a sensitive response to Lendl Ryan’s disgraceful front page trash-piece on 9/10 titled “Cemetery Outrage. Aborigines desecrate city graves”. To quote Happy Valley resident, Ray Condren, from Andersen’s piece “We respect graves. Our own people are buried here…We respect all graves”.

The article and Ray then rightly slam Councillor Brian Hewett’s original defamation of Happy Valley residents in Ryan's trash-piece and shewer Council for it’s own neglect and disrespect for the graves of a number of early (white) settlers of the town.

Andersen also wrote a great piece to mark recent the passing of Bill ‘Kookaburra” Coolburra on Palm Island. Again it’s not available on-line but it respectfully tells the story of a veteran who “served with distinction in not just Vietnam, but in Borneo, Malaysia and Singapore” … “but when he returned to Australia (after working as a Tunnel Rat in Vietnam) he couldn’t go to the RSL or into a bar because Aborigines then were still non-citizens with no right to vote, no right to drink and no right to think he was Australian”