Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Terrorists by any other name

Further to this post yesterday, I was reminded by John Quiggin this morning that nowhere in the mainstream media have these "Christian" nutters been referred to as “terrorists” or even “terror suspects” as they would have had they been Muslim.

Public drunkenness and public posturing

I wasn’t at the Forum on Homelessness/Public Drunkenness yesterday so can only respond to The Bulletin’s reporting of Mandy Johnstone’s press release and Councillor Dale Last’s throw away comments.
A few things struck me about the report:
  • The idea of mandatory (forced) alcohol rehabilitation (presumably the issue requiring legislative change) is a nonsense – mandatory detox perhaps but nobody can force anybody to be rehabilitated (except perhaps former Chinese Governments).

  • Will such mandatory rehabilitation also apply to the nightclub drunks regularly arrested in Flinders St East?

  • Dale Last’s proposed 6pm curfew got knocked on the head – presumably because someone with some smarts at the meeting pointed out that to do so would in all probability be illegal under Human Rights and/or Anti-discrimination legislation – especially as it presumably wouldn’t apply to the drunk whitefellas roaming Flinders St East and filling up the coffers of the club and pub owners at all hours of the night and morning.

  • There are apparently about 60 rough sleepers in the Town - from my understanding, about the same number there were about five years ago (and probably well before that). Not exactly the “burgeoning” issue that The Bully likes to beat up.

  • There was no detail provided about housing responses to the needs of the rough sleepers – perhaps the one response that would get this group “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” as our civic leaders so desperately want.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

What would JC say ?

Hot on the heels of international outrage at the Catholic Church’s propensity for protecting and excusing (or is that forgiving) child rapists within its power structure, comes news today of that nine members of a US (where else!) Christian militia have been charged with plotting to kill police and trying to wage war on the United States government.
“Prosecutors allege they were just days away from planning to kill a policeman and then launching an attack at his funeral with homemade bombs.
Court documents said the group would then retreat to one of several "rally points" to "wage war against the government and be prepared to defend in depth with trip-wired and command-detonated anti-personnel improvised explosive devices, ambushes and prepared fighting positions".
The Hutaree website says it is "preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive".  More at

I think I see a pattern developing here and it's very scary!  Again, to quote Richard Dawkins:
No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice – the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution – while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.

“Football” and corporate welfare

I’ve noted before (here and here) that, despite the hype, the NQ Fury are nothing more than a marginal business trying to survive in a crowded market.
But their mouthpiece Glenys Schuntner gave their game-plan away in today’s article in The Bully:
''Having Townsville City Council commit its support was a priority because this is where the club is based and where the most obvious economic value is,'' she said.
''Approaching other governments for support will take time and the process it takes to sign them on can take even longer. There is a fourth group of potential backers (like regional councils and the NT Government) that we haven't got to yet, but see as interested parties who we can approach after April 1.''

They are no more than business-welfare bludgers, apparently expecting the governments of Northern Australia (not just sucker Townsville) to dole them out - presumably because local businesses have worked out that sponsoring them would be money down the drain

More on the ALP battle for Herbert

The Poll Bludger reports:
Labor’s national executive has installed three marginal seat candidates in what The Australian reported as a deal granting Herbert to the AWU sub-faction of the Right, Dawson to its rival Labor Unity sub-faction and Bowman to the Left. The respective candidates are former Townsville mayor Tony Mooney, who won the nod despite local support for councillor Jenny Hill; Whitsunday mayor Mike Brunker, who was picked over Julieanne Gilbert of the Queensland Teachers Union and finance industry worker Louise Mahony; and “local businesswoman and mother of two” Jenny Peters. The candidate for Bowman in 2007, Jason Young, reportedly lost his Left faction’s backing late last year due to his campaigning against the Bligh government’s asset sales in his capacity as an Electrical Trades Union organiser. Sean Parnell of The Australian reports Brunker faces the difficulty of a “lengthy Crime and Misconduct Commission investigation over his links with property developers”
I still can't help but wonder whether Mooney has brought a pup

Sunday, 28 March 2010

A cartoon is worth a thousand words

From John Sherffius:
From Gus Leonisky:

From Peter Brookes at the TimesOnline

From Mr Fish at TruthDig

Say no more...
...well, almost!  I did particularly like this from Richard Dawkins in a great piece in ValuesAustralia on the world’s most famous cross-dresser:
“Should the pope resign?” No…he is perfectly – ideally – qualified to lead the Roman Catholic Church … a man whose preaching of scientific falsehood is responsible for the deaths of countless AIDS victims in Africa; a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence…
No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice – the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution – while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.
Now that's definately the last word!!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Worth a read #3

Bits and pieces I liked this week:

Well...I did tell you

After my post on Tuesday advising readers to stick it to Westpac and switch to a Credit Union comes this news from SmartCompany :  More competition in mortgage market as CUA cuts rates

How will the climate change deniers explain this away?

New Moore Island in the Sunderbans has been completely submerged, said oceanographer Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta. Its disappearance has been confirmed by satellite imagery and sea patrols, he said.

'What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming,' said Hazra."  Source

Credit where it's due

A few days ago I got stuck into Mary Vernon over her article on bullying but credit where it's due. Today she has an excellent and timely article in the Bully (not available online) about the child slaves on whose backs the chocolate manufacturers prosper.

Google will find you plenty of stories on the issue including these:
Think before you buy this Easter

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

A real dog

From Media Watch (the best program on TV):

It's all happening in Ingham

Guest post by Slim Cayenne

They're so excited up at the Ingham branch of the ALP that they've sacked the proofreader and forgotten what each other looks like. (click to expand and count the errors)

Getting out while the getting is good?

Just in from Michelle Grattan at The Age:  Liberal powerbroker Nick Minchin to quit politics

Minchin is one of the Lib's best strategists so I can't help but wonder whether he saw the writing on the wall for the Party after Abbott's performance yesterday?

It does however give the Monk the opportunity to shift Barnaby Rabble to a nice and quite portfolio (perhaps one where he can accompany Bronnie Bishop to nursing home morning teas) and it ensures that Minchin is nowhere to be found when the party starts to ask the hard questions about how the Monk got elected leader in the first place

The Great Health Debate - the last word

Anyone who watched the 7:30 Report last night was probably a little amused by Liberal spinner Grahame Morris' assertion that no one (important) watched the Great Health Debate other than a few punters looking for Days of Our Lives

However Glenn Dyer in Crikey (via Larvatus Prodeo) reports the reality:
Nine and its worm won that comprehensively with 274,000 viewers, the wormless ABC had 183,000, the Seven “worm”, 180,000, Ten, 63,000 and Sky News, 25,000.

Including Sky, 824,000 people watched the debate in the five metro markets. ...Compared to the same time the day before, the audience was up 10% or so

When the debates are broadcast live with worms measuring reaction, they replace the press gallery and the heavies in it as the filters of how the debate went and who won in the minds of people watching the broadcasts, hours before the gallery opinions are published.

The best part of 3.3 million people would have seen the worms on Seven and Nine News across the country last night and the message they sent into living rooms. It again proves why TV matters most in political debate these days ...
Me thinks the Monk might be a little mad (at himself) - and perhaps looking for a new spinner

Maybe this is The Fury's problem

Just because it provides cheap content for Murdoch's Sky network doesn't mean that anyone is actually interested - unlike for example, AFL's Collingwood:  Magpies pass 50,000 membership milestone

Now if The Fury could generate interest like that, Townsville taxpayers wouldn't have to subsidise them (or Robbie Fowler's $1 million per year salary)

PS - The Fury don't seem to publish their membership numbers - funny about that eh?

The great health debate wrap-up

I looked for some reporting of the great health debate between Rudd and Abbott in the Bulletin this morning but to no avail - nothing, nix, zilch

So for those who look to the local rag for real news, I offer this summary of the best of this morning's blogs:

The Great Health Debate: the reaction - from Larvatus Prodeo
Throughout this term, the Liberals have mistaken public support for the adulation of the commentariat, and much of the ‘media narrative’ reflects nothing more than the navel gazing of the opposition/journosphere
And again in No one watches daytime tv; and other Health Debate myths
As anticipated, commentariat memes very quickly emerged after the Great Health Debate – “Abbott was disadvantaged because he didn’t have a policy”, “Abbott came out swinging”, “He was authentic”, “Rudd played to The Worm”, “It’s not important anyway”, “No one watches daytime tv”.

Presumably the press gallery wizards got these stunning insights direct from Liberal spinners, or maybe Laurie Oakes. But, it’s always interesting to see how quickly and unanimously these memes develop, and how they reinforce the existing ‘media narrative’, which brooks no contradiction.
When the Worms Turn – The inside info on audience response from The Possum at
One of the most important things (the worms) demonstrated – and something that the polling has been suggesting for a while now – is that Abbott has very little political room to move and his support appears to be generally soft.
Rudd does negative better from the Piping Shrike
It has taken a few months, especially given Labor’s natural inclination to make Abbott into an extremist that he is not, but the government looks as though it starting to have Abbott’s number.
@PremierMikeRann Twitter 23 March 2010
PM scored strong win against Abbott in health and hospital debate at National Press Club. Abbott too weirdly negative for mainstream Oz.
 Comprehending the Great Big New Health Debate from the Political Sword
It seems that Kevin Rudd is fully back to his 2007 form. While he exhibits that, and Tony Abbott relies on negativity, carping criticism and unconvincing alternative policy, he will flounder around, flailing his arms wildly, landing few blows, and exhausting himself while Rudd waits patiently to land the killer blow.

Federal politics changed ominously for the Coalition today.
 Are Our Leaders Showing Vital Signs? By Ben Pobjie at
This is the choice we are faced with: a bureaucratic serial killer on the one hand, and a scantily-clad sex fiend on the other. We cannot get this wrong — the good health of our children, and our children’s children, makes it crucial that our decision is slightly less terrifying than the alternative.
Abbott’s Bingle by John Quiggin
…the debate reminded us that Abbott was an undistinguished health minister whose policy agenda, to the extent that there was a consistent one, went nowhere. His only contributions of any note were attempts to turn his personal prejudices into law. Now, he has no policy, and it’s a safe bet that anything he comes up with won’t stand up to even momentary scrutiny, as with his alternative to the ETS.
And finally Fiona Katauskas at

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

The great health debate

The following table may be worth keeping in mind when analyising the news reports about "The Great Health Debate"

PS: Sky News are reporting that the worm has declared Rudd the winner of the first debate. Maybe that's what Abbott was expecting when he decided a few days ago to embark on a 9-day small target strategy

Headline of the week (so far at least)

Icon 'McBulldozed'

McBulldozed is sort of funny but Icon??

Hat Tip to Anonymous

Looks like Labor will form Government with the Green in Tasmaina

Tas Liberals rule out Green ministers

The economic benefit in TCC paying Robbie Fowler’s wages

The TCC report (apparently purposely leaked to The Bulletin, before today’s Council Meeting to consider how to meet David Crissafulli’s promise to his mates to bail-out The Fury) speaks some truth and some complete nonsense.

It is unquestionably true that, as the report states, ''Over a period when council is seeking to reduce its operating deficit from the current year estimate of $14.7 million to break even this sponsorship commitment makes the end goal that much more difficult to achieve''

But it is arguably nonsense to claim without any supporting evidence, “…that the money would benefit the city and its residents in two major areas including:

•   Promoting or contributing to economic development of its area or part of its area;

•   Promoting or attracting commerce, industry or tourism in its area or to part of its area

The Fury is a business – pure and simple. What other business in this town does (or should) TCC subsidise to the tune of $1 million – certainly not mine! (and please, don’t suggest The Cruise Ship Terminal)
Exactly how will the economic development of the town benefit from the subsidy? – Surely not from supporting Spotless to further develop their game-day junk-food franchise (at the expense of local community groups)?

As for attracting tourism to the town (the most often cited reason for public subsidies to sports events such as this and the V8’s) – when was the last time you decided to visit Perth as a result of watching a Fremantle Dockers game at Subiaco on the box?

See also this post by John Quiggin on the subject.

We may all have to pay for this nonsense but I suspect that, as a result, Les and his apprentice will pay at the next Council election.

Westpac - How to lose friends (and customers)

News today that Westpac, the bank that turns a $17.5 million profit every day of the year, is about to charge its customers interest on their interest. That’s after they it jacked up their variable home lending rate by 45 basis points last December when the Reserve Bank raised its cash rate by only 25 basis points.

Time to switch to a Credit Union I reckon

Do you think there might be a problem here?

Queensland police are investigating another death in custody - the fourth in just over a month.

No other state has a record that even approaches this.  A problem - I certainly think so!

But please,  let's not have a CMC’s probe into the problem - remember that 5 years and 3 months after it stared we're still waiting for their report into the coppers investigation into death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee!!

PS: To keep tabs on the goings-on in the Qld Police force, I recommend John Ray's blog Queensland Police -- With dishonour they serve

Monday, 22 March 2010

Gratuitous sex

Got your attention with that headline?  A bit like the Bulletin's objective with the following on the "news" page of their web site today:

I wonder how newsworthy the women journos at the Bully rate this stuff??

More State election analysis

Further to my earlier post about some of the rubbish the mainstream media is running on the implications of the SA and Tassie elections, the following interesting pieces have come to light this morning:

Herbert – could this be the ultimate game plan?

Over the weekend I started wondering again about the ALP’s federal intervention into the preselection for Herbert .

Could it be that this pick has been made in the expectation that the ALP will lose the seat – that the preselection is a give-aways to appease the factions or to settle old debts in the expectation that it in fact won’t be won?

Unless Abbott totally implodes (a distinct possibility but maybe not a probability), history tells the campaign strategists that, in all likelihood, Labor will lose rather than gain seats at the next federal election.

Understandably, parties concentrate their campaign resources in marginal seats and, if the expectation is that seats will be lost, they are concentrated in those seats you marginally hold and not those marginally held by your opposition.

For the record, Anthony Green estimates that the currently Liberal (or is that LNP) held seat of Herbert is marginally Labor (by 0.4%) following the last redistribution.  Green also estimates that on the new boundaries, the ALP has to protect 14 seats which they currently hold by a margin of 3% or less.

With the demographics of Herbert changing since the 2007 election and arguably trending to the right over the last decade or more (witness for example the increase in defence force families in the electorate), the seat could be difficult for Labor to win if, as realistically expected, the national swing against them is on come election time.

If I’m right, the ALP’s campaign resources won’t be wasted on seats such as Herbert (they will seek to, for example, protect Maxine McKew in Howard's old seat of Bennelong before taking a punt on Herbert), Mooney will lose, and his last shot in the locker will have been spent (and all party debts to him will have been paid).

Worth thinking about? What do you reckon?

Election analysis or just plain rubbish?

I was (half-heartedly) getting ready to write a post in response to some of the nonsense that started to appear in the mainstream media yesterday and this morning about the election results in South Australia and Tasmania on Saturday. (This morning’s front-page of Murdoch’s Australian being a doosie!  Time and again we have seen that drawing federal implications from state election results is just plain rubbish).

However, this post by Larvatus Prodeo says it all really and saves me the trouble.  Cross-posted in full:
After the two weekend state elections, it’s likely that two Labor governments will be (re-)formed: a majority government in SA and a minority government in Tasmania with Greens support (unless the Greens flip to supporting the Libs).

Not that you’d know it from today’s headlines…
  • ‘Rudd Faces Anti-Labor Headwinds’ – The Australian
  • ‘Libs back from the dead’ – Glenn Milne in The Australian
  • ‘Abbott says elections a warning for Rudd’ – News
  • ‘Liberals win the vote, lose the election’ – Adelaide Advertiser
  • ‘Liberals hail the fabulous four’ – Adelaide Advertiser
  • ‘Liberals ready to share power’ – The Australian
The only thing missing is for some muppet to point out just how strong and consistent the Liberal’s election results are across the nation – just look how often they come second!
For some meaningful analysis of the SA outcome and Labor's campaign strategy in particular, I recommend this post from Possum at

Sunday, 21 March 2010

One for the Journos at The Bully

Make your own at the Batman & Robin Comic Generator

Worth a read?#2

Springborg couldn't get it right as leader of the Opposition and it seems can't get it right as a pumpkin farmer. (if you're that keen, his original claim is here)

The catholics amongst you are not going to like this story by Christopher Hitchens in The Great Catholic Cover-Up.  The pope's entire career has the stench of evil about it. The rest of you probably aren't going to be all that surprised.

Scary America: Meet href="">Murray Hill, Inc., the first corporation to run for Congress in the United States. From
An interesting juxtaposition:

Townsville suppermarkets should be very worried by the second of those stories.  Full report here from The Cairns Post
And another interesting juxtaposition:

Finally, someone slipped-up at The Bully on Friday

Friday, 19 March 2010

Rupert Murdoch - owner of The Bulletin

Understanding the reach and power of Rupert Murdoch - owner of The Bulletin

Click around to have a look or go to the source at

Dinosaur music for dinosaur racing

I see that Oz music legend Michael Hutchence's old backing band will be playing at the V8's Reid Park sales expo this year.

There is some sort of beautiful irony about a band that will be on its fifth lead singer (that I can recall at least) since Hutchence's death in ’97 and which had to stoop so low as reality TV to try and kick-start (poor pun, I know) its career again (unsuccessfully so) now playing to petrol-heads at an event for dinosaur vehicles that will be extinct in another 10-15 years (or at least unable to afford the petrol).

INXS haven’t done anything worth listening to in the last 13 years – a bit like dinosaur racing’s contribution to humanity over the same period.

Finally, it's an oldie but a goodie:
     Q: What's the difference between Michael Hutchence and Princess Diana?

     A: Michael Hutchence had his belt on when he died.

For the sake of completeness

Further to my post here about moves by some disgruntled ALP members to set up a NQ Labor Party to run (against Mooney) in the race for Herbert and for the sake of completeness, click the graphic below to read Mooney’s letter to members

Tagging Officer Dibble or how The Sun supports Graffiti Artists

Guest post from Greg

Just plucked the "throw over" Townville Sun from my letter box to be faced with Officer Dibble on the front page espousing his anger over vandalism in our fair city that has apparently cost the equivalent of a councillors salary in the past year to clean up. If it gets much worse perhaps we should just ditch one or two of our elected officials and use the savings to hire more clean up gangs, but indulgent thoughts won't get me anywhere.

Anyway in the article Officer Dibble makes a few significant pronouncements about graffiti in our town by saying " vandalising any property is a criminal offence - it's not art work, it's vandalism" (funny but I never seem to use a sentence that includes both "Officer Dibble and "artistic appreciation"), "they are very difficult to catch as tagging accrues(?) late at night" (I bet every defence lawyer in town shook in their boots when Officer Dibble gave evidence for the prosecution with such a grasp of reality) and that " the more graffiti you have the more it generates (so) it is important to clean up and paint over these senseless works as soon as possible".

Ignoring the fact that the final comment can be seen as a call to arms to paint over much of the awful signage that carries the TCC logo in our once attractive locale, Officer Dibble does make sense on this one point. One of the big attractions of graffiti to the artist is that it allows his or her graphic to be seen by all and also (hopefully) provoke a public response.

But here is where our once proud member of the thin blue line has also shown how his thirst to be portrayed in the media as "the tough on crime" Councillor overtakes good sense and effective public policy. The centrepiece of the photo on page 1 of the throw over (that has a circulation of 52,858) is a crystal clear shot of a tag on a concrete culvert in the new Eyre St carpark (replete of course with the obligatory mug shot of Officer Dibble).

This particular tagger must have thought that all his/her dreams came true by being provided with the biggest audience in town and subsequently driving a very public discourse about graffiti. The price tag for having the Last word is $72,000 and climbing.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

I hope you weren't relying on The Bully for your news

I see The Bulletin has finally uploaded an item on their website about Mooney's preselection - about 3 hours after I broke the news here.

And I thought that they followed Blogging Townsvfille a bit more closely than that :-(

Breaking News: Mooney wins preselection

News just through that, as expected, Tony Mooney has "won" ALP preselection for the race for Herbert.  Well actually, he has been handed the preselection by the party's National Executive.

Don't bother checking The Bulletin's web site for the news - well not for a few hours anyway.

While everyone is a bit focused on the off-shore cyclone right now - I forecast, as a result of the ALP's decision, an extended period of mud flying for the next few months (see, for example, my earlier post)

I'm currently setting-up a book on Mooney losing the seat as a result.  Any takers?

Townsville's pub profiteers: "We are the innocents. It's everybody else's fault (and problem)"

Expect more tomorrow from the local pub owners’ mouthpiece, Greg Pellegini, following his piece in today’s Bulletin claiming that alcohol related violence is everybody’s fault except those who profit from it.

News this morning that the parliamentary Law, Justice and Safety Committee’s Inquiry into Alcohol-Related Violence has recommended 2am closing for pubs in Flinders St will have him crying in his beer.

And a damn good thing too.

Pellegini's argument that “the onus was on club patrons to control themselves, rather than entertainment venue hours being restricted” is a bit like those who profit from pokies (and deliberately design their venues to encourage gambling) arguing that they have no responsibility for gambling addiction, or that the sale of heroin should be legalised but the consumption of it policed.

Clubs and pubs trade into the early hours of the morning for one reason and one reason only - in order that people can drink more and for longer and thus generate more profits.

Finally, ya gotta laugh (or, is that cry) at representatives of “free” (ro do anything) enterprise who argue that their right to profit should be protected by the expenditure of more public money – this time on coppers and hospitals.

Who exactly is backing Mooney for Herbert?

I hear that it’s not so much the PM who is backing Mooney for ALP preselection  for the race in Herbert (as The Bulletin and others would have us believe) but one Leigh Birmingham who has been touting for Mooney’s consulting business in recent times - presumably in return for his doing quite well out of TCC when Mooney was Mayor.

With the Federal ALP executive apparently taking the risky road and likely to back Whitsunday mayor Mike Brunker for Dawson preselection despite his being under investigation by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, you’d think that they’d look a bit more closely at the links between Birmingham and Mooney as investigated in a previous Criminal Justice Commission probe.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Expect more federal intervention in Herbert

Expect an article from Rosanne Barrett in The Australian in the comming days/weeks on the federal ALP's intervention to assure the preselection of Tony Mooney in Herbert. 

It seems that quite a few local ALP members are only too happy to voice their outrage (and opinions on Mooney's chances of getting local members to "man" the booths on election day and of actually winning the seat).

You heard it here first

The answer is in what’s not said

Jenny Hill’s assertion, as reported in today’s Bulletin, that ratepayers and the TCC are now paying the price of the former Thuringowa Council’s failure to keep up with that city’s infrastructure development needs is, I believe, spot-on.

That failure was either a result of incompetence or, as Hill asserts, a deliberate ploy by team Tyrell so that they could enter the amalgamated council race claiming to be debt free managers.

The truth of the matter is in Les’ inability to answer Hill’s argument that the current council has to play catch-up for his past failures and/or election strategy.

Actually, Les does give it way in his “From the Mayor’s Office” piece later in the Bully (page 15 – not available online) - $323.6 million being spent on infrastructure catch-up in the old Thuringowa compared to $83.8 million being spent in the old Townsville city boundaries (all on facilities that, it could be argued, the whole of Townsville/Thuringowa will benefit from/use - Murray stadium, Civic Theatre and Flinders Mall)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Who's encouraging bullying now?

I see that Mary Vernon is increasingly editorialising in The Bulletin. Her article on Saturday about bullying was a shocker – in particular her advice to “…tell our children who are being bullied: belt those who belt you, they will respect you much more

While ignoring the overwhelming research that shows (amongst other things) that bullies have often themselves been the victims of bullying and/or adopt bullying behaviours as a way of avoiding bullying, she would be wise to consult with some experts on the issue rather than relying on a bit of home-spun advice.

There’s a plethora of advice and research available on the web which she could have drawn on to write an article that was useful to parents and kids alike - I’d suggest that she would have done the community a much greater service by, for example, reporting on developments such as this from her sister tabloid, The Courier Mail:
School bullies part of solution under 'shared concern' method of intervention

NQ Labor Party - The letter

If you happened to read John Andersen's reference to moves to set up an NQ Labor Party in response to federal intervention in the ALP's presenection for Herbert you may be interested in reading the letter he mentions.  See it in full by clicking on the pic or here.

Movers & shakers, Bulletin cash-cows or welfare bludgers?

The article in today’s Bulletin which has this big end of town rating Townsville City Council is a laugh. How did they expect these business-welfare bludgers to rate the golden goose?:
  • Laurence Lancini - his some-day Flinders Plaza Development will be the major beneficiary from the $56 million Mall redevelopment
  • Tony Ireland – whose car sales are a major beneficiary from the $30 million Reid Park dinosaur racing track
  • Trevor Goldstone – Council is the principal sponsor of Townsville Enterprise
  • Richard Ferry – a major profiteer from the Council approved Rocky Spring development
Interestingly and apart from all of these being major purchasers of advertising in The Bulletin, the real creators of wealth in this city like the Port Authority, the Armed forces, Sun Metals, Yabulu etc apparently weren’t invited to comment.

A vox-pop of the punters that are paying for all of this corporate welfare would have been much more instructive

It’s a bit late for that

Today’s front place splash in The Bulletin “Let’s get this one right” is wrong on two counts:
  • The closing of the Mall to traffic in the early ‘80s wasn’t wrong – it was in fact incredibly successful - until the rise of the suburban (car-centric) shopping malls.
  • It’s a bit late to hope that TCC has “got it right”
Mayor-in-waiting David Crisafulli’s comment in the page four article that follows is a bit of a giveaway:
“What we’re doing is a catalyst that will lead to investment for private enterprise”
I’m sure he meant “…by private enterprise” be he’s actually right as quoted – it’s a subsidy to the profit sector (and Lancini’s planned some-day Flinders Plaza Development in particular).

It’s $56,000,000 worth of business welfare, pure-and-simple.

Paid Parental Leave – why Abbott is backing away from his own plan

It seems that Tony Abbott is backing away from his own policy plan on Paid Parental Leave and will not oppose the Government’s scheme when it is introduced into the Senate.

I wonder if this could be why?
From this week’s Essential Report as analysed in some detail by The Possum

Monday, 15 March 2010


"I have said publicly that 1967, when the Australian people voted to give this Parliament an opportunity to assist Aboriginal people, was the worst thing that's happened for Aboriginal people in history - it's been downhill ever since".

Wilson "Iron Bar" Tuckey this morning.  Full report here.

The label below says it all!

Policy on the run

Ya gotta love Bill Leak.
Cross posted from

Don't forget

Don't forget to check-out Monique Bond's excellent blog on the proceedings of the 2nd Inquest into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee here.

And, by the way, who thought that Hurley's "apology" to Mulrunji's family was a cynical attempt to take the heat off and appear as the compassionate victim of circumstance?

Could Mandy be in trouble?

The traditionally safe Labor State seat of Townsville has been drifting away from the ALP for a number of elections now as the demographics of the seat (and in particular, the inner city suburbs) change.

However, as this report from the Possum at shows, Mandy Johnstone could be in real trouble at the next election over the asset sales issue.

Analysing the “leaked” results on the issue of union polling by ALP pollsters UMR, Possum shows a -9 point swing in the primary vote against Mandy in Townsville resulting in a Two Party Preferred result for the ALP of 47% of the vote.

Keep in mind though – the results relate to an election if it were held now and involve a margin of error of 5.5%

The full report is here

Friday, 12 March 2010

I can't help myself

News just in that a man with an axe has caused thousands of dollars damage to a pet shop in Adelaide.  It seems that the man bought a bird from the shop at Elizabeth days earlier, but it died.

The perfect excuse for a bit of classic Monty Python:

It's not all about politics - cute things happen too

You gota love the story about Mr Shuffles - follow it here at the Taronga Zoo's Baby Elephants Blog

Do I see a pattern developing here?

Further to my post yesterday and earlies ones in a similar vane, comes this story today

Do I detect developing evidence of a bullying culture in our Armed Forces?  I'd call it a scandal but I wonder if The Bulletin and the rest of the mainstream media (MSM) will?

Worth a read

10 stories to make you think (or chuckle)
  1. Now here's an investment that might actually get people into Townsville's down-town ghost-town mall would be a damn sight cheaper than the $56.6m being spent on the current redevelopment
  2. And I thought The Bulletin was good at yoof bashing: Pot Holes in Crack Alley
  3. Just in case you didn't see deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop on Q&A this week- Respect Her Religious Beliefs Or She Will Eat Your Soul (Via The Orstrahyun).  See also this Facebook page
  4. Is the national curriculum a Marxist plot?
  5. My dream car runs on coffee and I'd much rather see this going around in circles on Reid Park than dinosaur V8s
  6. And I thought The Bulletin was good at beat-ups: News Ltd beat up (it's a Murdoch thing it seems)
  7. This is even more stupid and un-news-worthy than the Michael Clarke/Laura Bingle rubbish that has been filling the mainstream media all week: Boyfriend of Brumby's daughter ejected from casino
  8. Americans are weird: cheese made from breast milk
  9. No, Americans are really stupid!  This is presumably what they mean when they say that "it's not guns that kill people, it's people that kill people"
  10. Australia's boat people "problem" put into perspective

Finally! Townsville gets a uefull racing venue

Great news today that, having realised that the $30 million Reed Park race track has within a year turned into a white elephant, Townsville City Council has decided to invest in a race track that is likely to be used 365 days a year – much better value-for-money than the 5 days a year that Les’ memorial dinosaur racing venue used.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The battle when you're not having a battle

So, the first battle for Herbert begins.

Both Jenny Hill and Tony Mooney have nominated for ALP preselection and we learn today that, contrary to previous reports from ALP state office, the preselection decision is to be made by the national executive of the party and not by local members.

From what I’m hearing around the traps,

When bullying isn't bullying in The Bully

Further to my earlier posts on how the bullying issues gets dealt with in the press (e.g. here and here), we see today in The Bulletin, the tragic death of Pte Benjamin Pape at Lavarack Barracks in 2008 dealt with in a very sympathetic and non judgmental way – as it should be.

However their Soldier's final goodbye headline clearly ignored the import of the final paragraphs in Emily Macdonald’s piece:

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Breaking News: Some Bullsh*t Happening Somewhere

This is very funny (warning: some of the language is a bit strong so turn down the speakers if the boss is near).

I wonder if a broadsheet version could be done to ape The Bulletin?

Fron The Onion via Murdoch's The Punch

Townsville Council - leaders in change management? I don't think so

Expect yet another reorganisation within Council soon – probably around budget time.

It seems that staff are beginning to learn of changes to their jobs and positions in the organisation but in typical Council style it appears that it is being managed appallingly.

I hear that staff are one day learning that they are to “lose their job” and are then being left hanging for a few days before it is explained that they are actually being shifted to a new function or position in the organisation.

World heritage values or the value of the round ball?

I gather that The Bulletin isn’t too impressed with the cost to Council of bringing rubbish to the mainland from Magnetic Island once the current land-fill dump is closed (“Townsville City Council will have to fork out $900,000 a year to transport waste off World Heritage-listed Magnetic Island”)

I can’t help but wonder whether they will call for a study of the cost-benefit to the city of keeping our one major tourist attraction in good shape compared to similar expenditure on subsidising the big end of town's tax write-offs for marketing expenditure and trying to keep The Fury from moving to Cairns (let alone the added value to the views from, and property values of, Yarrawonga).

The race is on – But who will the Bulletin back?

So the Bulletin has discovered that both Jenny Hill and Tony Mooney will run for ALP preselection for Herbert.

Local ALP members of course worked this out a while ago when Mooney started sending out letters seeking support.
As for Wetherup’s speculation that recent ALP rule changes “could have a major impact on how local members vote, and even a locally preferred candidate could lose” – I really don’t follow. It has always been the case that a locally preferred candidate could lose if their vote was overturned by the electoral council.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Exactly who is the CMC protecting? Certainly not Mulrunji's dignity or memory

Readers are no doubt aware of the current/new Coroner's Inquiry into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee at the hands (and knees and feet) of Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley in the Palm Island watch house on November 19, 2004 - a bit over half of my son's lifetime ago.

While, other than to point to this excellent recent summary of the history by Jeff Waters, a Senior Correspondent for the ABC's Australia Network television news service, I will (probably) reserve comment until the results of the current inquiry are released.

BUT, in the meantime, I would remind readers of the scandalous and never-ending delay in the release of the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission’s probe into “the dodgy police investigation into the death” – an inquiry that started (as best as I can find) in December 2004 – that’s 5 years and 3 months ago.

It certainly wouldn’t have taken the CMC over 5 years if it had been Chris Hurley who had died on the watch house floor that night!

I recommend following Monique Bond who is blogging on the current hearing.

See also my earlier post here and my racism taged posts here

I like this cartoonist - a lot

John Sherffius in the Boulder Daily Camera

This is all the more poignant if you happened to see and hear Richard Dawkins on Q&A last night

The ghost who sits....and sits....and sits

News today that this is the anniversary of Phillip Ruddock’s 36nd year in federal parliament.

Will the man who brought us Tampa, children overboard, Haneef, the Pacific Solution, the refusal (as Minister for Reconciliation) to recognise the stolen generation, the labelling of refugees as “parasites”, “queue-jumpers” and “double dippers” and the defence of the Northern Territory's racist mandatory sentencing laws to the United Nations Committee On The Elimination of all Forms of Racial Oppression never go away??

As the then One Nation member of the New South Wales upper house, David Oldfield, once said:
“When I see Mr Ruddock talking on television about [refugees], he looks and sounds like somebody from One Nation”

Is it Latham resurrected or Turnbull reincarnate?

The Mad Monk can’t seem to decide on the persona that he’s going to run with.

First there was all of the macho “check me out in my speedos” – a bit reminiscent of Mark Latham’s “Macklin is as useful as pockets in your underpants.”

Now today we learn that, in the tradition of MalcontentTurnbull, his party knew nothing (and don’t much like) his (lets shift the focus off of health reform) Maternity Leave Plan - the plan you have when you’re not having a policy.

Mind you, he could be channelling either of them (and Barney-the-rabble Joyce as well) with the whole homophobic "Gays" thing!

Me thinks this is going to be a very long weird year

Monday, 8 March 2010

Local insulation installer speaks-out

I received the following press release from a local insulation business and thought it was worth reprinting in full.

Fortunately some of the shonky insulation operators are now facing the full force of industrial law (see for example, here and here). I’m sure there are a lot more convictions to come – as there should be!
Long established insulation provider AllSafe Energy Efficient Products has spoken out in support of the federal government’s cancellation of the Insulation Rebate Scheme. The company’s senior management claim that many have lost sight of the goal of the Insulation Rebate Scheme.

Has Crisafulli cooked Les’ goose (and maybe his own as well)?

News that debt-ridden Townsville Council has put $1,000,000 on the stump to help rescue the North Queensland Fury won’t go down well with ratepayers forking out the highest rates in Queensland.

Those who regularly drive past Council’s $5,000,000 “investment” in the V8 dinosaur racing track and see it vacant and disused for 360 days of the year will be livid – along with the 164,484 or so locals who don’t go to soccer matches.

And it seems from the reports that this was a decision made solely by mayor-in-waiting Cr Crisafulli – apparently without reference to full Council, any committee of Council, possibly any official of Council or even the Mayor.

Perhaps it was all part of a clever strategy to sink Les’ re-election chances if he’s game enough to stand again? If so, I don’t think young David thought it through very well. I suspect that he’s cooked his own goose along with that of Les.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

This seemed appropriate

I finally cancelled my subscription to the Australian today.  I simply couldn't take the bias and blatant attempts to set the political agenda any more - See for example this post from The Political Sword ). 

This toon seemed apt:

Friday, 5 March 2010

Newsflash: Athiests responsible for the world’s religious wars

Well, that’s the logic of this little gem:
Monash University Sociology Professor (and Anglican priest ) Gary Bouma says people without a specific faith are fuelling sectarian conflict and cause division in society.
By-and-large, wars are, and always have been, fought over either religion or property and, by this logic, all of those fought over the later have been the fault of the poor.  Weird

Noel Pearson under attack by Coen Parents

I’ve often wondered when Noel Person’s fiefdom and his dominance as the Right-wing's preferred voice of blackfellas would start to unravel. Perhaps this story in the Cairns Post heralds the beginning with the mob in the Cape questioning his approach on education:
"Nearly 30 parents, guardians or carers of students at Coen State School have threatened to withdraw their children from classes unless there is a return to the "mainstream education system".
They have slammed the teaching method, called Direct Instruction, and called for "Noel Pearson’s group" to leave."
Perhaps sooner rather than later we will hear others from around the State publically voicing their concerns about both his approach and his track-record of sucking a disproportionate share if "Indigenous affairs" resources into his organisations and his mob’s country.

Rumours heard this week

Heard around town this week:

Rumour #1
Mayor-in-waiting David Crisafulli has put the kybosh on any of his “independent” Councillor colleagues putting their hand up for the LNP preselection race for Herbert.

It’s not that he’s particularly concerned that the punters will twig to the fact that the “independents” were actually a LNP ticket all along. Rather he’s worried that if someone like Cr Dale Last (just for the sake of argument of course) were in the Herbert race and lost, as Crisafulli and everyone else (including Peter Lindsay) expect they will, the profile they would gain in the process would provide a platform for Dale them to run against him in the Mayoral race and he’s determined to keep that one for himself.

In a similar vein, I bet Crisafulli is pis*ed of at the Bully’s parking ticket story today – despite ¾ of the article quoting his press release, Dale Last gets the three-column photo!!

Rumour #2

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

What was important today in that small mining city somewhere west of Townsville

In case you're interested, the lead (online) story in today's North West Star was:
Report finds pound policy not followed
MOUNT Isa City Council (MICC) has finalised the report into the accidental death of the Jack Russell-cross, Biscuit.
Biscuit was put down in February by the council despite her owner, Georgie Martin, identifying and paying for her beloved pet's release.

(The report) found Biscuit was not held at the pound for the required three days before being killed, and noted that this was a direct contravention of the council's policy.
I guess we should be thankful that they didn't run with the headline "Council bully nailed" or similar

A graph that is bound to give you the sh*ts

Say no more !

Could this be (the beginning of) Tony Abbott’s enlightenment?

News today that Tony Abbott went bush with some Traditional Owner elder men in the NT on Tuesday and got “lost for hours” brought to mind previous Aboriginal Affairs Ministers, Gerry Hand and Robert Tickner, both of whom were taken bush by some of the old men in the Territory.

Rumour has it that both were introduced to some secret business.

Both certainly came back later with a very different appreciation of Aboriginal culture and a very much stronger commitment to real justice for the First Australians.

Could this be the end of The Monk talking about things like a “black armband version of history”?  Somehow, I doubt it.

Apparently there are bullies and then there are mates

Today’s front page story in The Bulletin is truly sad. To see a young boy so badly injured on his way home from school is shocking.

The only points I’d make about The Bully’s story are these:
  • “…it's important to make sure that we find out [both] sides of the story and get the whole story," as the regional education director, Mike Ludwig, has said today.
  • How is it that an apparent conflict between two primary school kids is a case of bullying and yet a soldier being bashed so severely by his fellow soldiers that “reconstructive surgery is required” is simply a case of someone being “attacked by his mates”?

Could this be the mansion that the V8’s built?

As we predicted here, it seems that Tony Ireland has been the big beneficiary of the annual dinosaur race and the $30 million spent on what has become a 360-day a year white elephant"
Ireland Holden shifts through gears

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

You heard it here first

Parts of parts of Aitkenvale and Mundingburra are among the first five sites on mainland Australia where the National Broadband Network (NBN) will be rolled out.  More here

Either Mooney is desperate or Crissafulli is running scared

Spotted in today’s NQ confidential section of the Bully (hat-tip to renown socialites M&C) is this little gem (see scan on the right - no pun intended).

By my reckoning the only two sitting councillors who also sat on the previous TCC are Jenny Hill and David Crissafulli.

If I’m right, either Crissafulli is a closet member of the ALP or scared of having to run against Mooney at the next Mayoral election if Mooney fails to get preselection for the Herbert race.

Either way, if Mooney has to rely on Crissafulli’s support in the race for Herbert, he’s in deep sh*t!

Bully of the Bully not bullying private school bullies

Further to my weekend post in response to The Bullshocker of a lead article on Saturday, I see in today’s hardcopy edition that all isn’t quite as rosy in the private school sector as The Bully (or the sector) would have us believe.

Mind you, today’s 1/3 of a column piece doesn’t realty rate against the three page attack on our public school system in the Saturday edition.

PS - have a look at the comments at the end of my weekend post - seems that I'm beginning to sucessfully get up the nose of someone at the Bully :-)

Monday, 1 March 2010

Best line of the week

Julia Gillard delivers an absolute killer in response to Christopher Pyne's channeling of John Howard and Geoffrey Blainey after doing a word count on the draft National Curriculum:
“It is neither black armband nor white blindfold version of history,”

Best headline of the week - so far

Sex-crazed elephant causes $303,000 of damage at wedding - since when do elephants get married?

If you’re a wannabe you need to choose your words carefully

I see that Colin Dwyer the wantabe LNP candidate for Herbert (and Mundingburra and Townsville and…) has trouble taking a bit of criticism.

His response to the Retailers Association’s claim that his Townsville Grocery Price Watch site is misleading shoppers because the data is too quickly dated was a little too precious.

Attacking the representative of part of his own constituency (shopkeepers) with comments like the following isn’t very smart:

''This is a typical arrogant Brisbane attitude,'' he said.
''They sit back and wait for us to do something, then come in and say they can do it better.
''Maybe he should come out and do something for the people of Townsville, instead of throwing mud around the place.''
Personally, I thought the Price Watch site was a good idea (and no doubt was good politics) but the Retailers Association’s comments about it being out of date are fair enough – after all it hasn’t been updated since November.

Expect to see more Brisbane bashing from Col – he has form and after all they are very cheap shots to fire.  He just needs to learn to not fire them at his own wantabe constituency

PS: I wonder whether he was one of the 17 people who attended the recent meeting of the North Qld Party in Cairns along with that great retail politician (god! I hate that term), Bob Katter?