Why it’s absolute madness for the Tony Abbott Government to strip the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

November 23, 2014

Peter FitzSimons

Columnist

I’ll say it again. At the best of times, the government slashing and burning such a beloved institution as the ABC would be political madness. But doing it when you have risen to power after a three-year crusade that your predecessor is a “liar” for breaking a promise on carbon tax, and you have made a specific election-eve promise that there will be “no cuts to the ABC or SBS”, when you are trailing in the polls 55-45 on two party-preferred, when even Andrew Bolt is publicly wringing his hands at your likely fate, when beyond the hard-right commentariat there is absolutely no groundswell of support to bash them?

Total madness! This government can find $250 million to have people in schools that believe in the Magic Sky Daddy (see the chaplaincy program) but feels it must slash $250 million of beloved programming.

Death-wish politics.

Gough off the cuff

Oh, go on with you. As H.G might say, too many Gough Whitlam stories are still never enough.

Now Radio National broadcaster James Carleton who – as the son of television journalist Richard Carleton and his wife Suzie – grew up around the great man, will shortly be releasing a collection of his witticisms.

For example, back during his prime ministership, Gough returned to Kirribilli House from a trip abroad, only to receive a report from the head of security that while deputy prime minister Jim Cairns had been in residence, a routine patrol of the harbourfront gardens had revealed a most embarrassing situation involving the deputy PM and a female member of his staff.

Gough summed up the report in an instant. “In flagrante delicto, al fresco.”

On an another occasion, while in PNG for a gathering of the tribes in Goroka, “a short local – wearing little more than bird of paradise feathers on his head and football socks on his feet – looked inquisitively at Gough. Diplomat Richard Woolcott tried to explain in rusty pidgin ‘him long fella number one belong Australia’. A second Australian official said, ‘Do you realise you have just referred to the prime minister as the biggest prick in the country?’

“Overhearing this, Gough said to Woolcott: ‘Thank you, comrade. Not all my attributes are known to public servants’.”

The book, published by Melbourne University Publishing, will be out on December 1 and launched by Graham Freudenberg on December 6. Where else, but at the Bellevue Hotel?!

Kids are different today

TFF went to the Rolling Stones concert at the Hunter Valley’s Hope Estate on Saturday night and was stunned, across the board.

What a night! What a venue! What a band! And how extraordinary are Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in redefining just what “living in the ’70s” means!

Back when he was 32 years old, Jagger told People magazine: “I’d rather be dead than sing Satisfaction when I’m 45,” and yet here he is, 71 years old, rocking like a mad thing and skipping across the stage for three hours with all the nimbleness of a 12-year-old girl.

Gag of the week

One day the directors of a large finance company are called into the chairman’s office until only the newest, most junior executive is left sitting nervously outside. Finally, it is his turn to be summoned. He enters the office to find the chairman and the other eight directors seated solemnly around a table.

The chairman turns to the young man and asks, “Have you ever slept with Miss Foyt, my secretary?”

“No, certainly not.”

“Are you absolutely sure?” persisted the chairman.

“Absolutely, I’ve never laid a finger on her.”

“You’d swear to that on a stack of Bibles?”

“Yes, I swear I’ve never had a sexual relationship with your secretary.”

“Good. Then you fire her.”

They said

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST, and, no cuts to the ABC or SBS.”

Tony Abbott, whose mantra for the three years of Julia Gillard’s prime ministership was that she lied on her promise not to introduce a carbon tax, made this promise before the last election.

“When someone says ‘no cuts’, you think ‘no cuts’ . . .”

Leigh Sales, on 7.30, cuts through Malcolm Turnbull’s rather tangled explanation of how when Prime Minister Abbott promised “no cuts”, he didn’t actually mean “no cuts”.

“I feel parents everywhere cringe at this scene, watching extremely privileged children suing to get even more money unearned by them, after their mother’s lifetime of hard work.

Gina Rinehart via her spokesman – and this is curious – Jason Morrison, after some of her children’s legal machinations against her became public.

“No brown in town.”

Former Channel Nine supremo Sam Chisholm, rather sniffily, to a Fin Review columnist who wore brown shoes to the relaunch of Machiavelli’s on Tuesday.

“To mark President Xi’s visit, Australia and Tasmania … and, and … Australia and CHINA have reached agreements. It’s hard to confuse Tasmania and China – but I have.”

Tony Abbott, at a parliamentary reception for the Chinese president.

“One finds that if you’re walking along a crowd of people, you’re faced with an iPad, not a face. But it’s a live event. Why do you need to film a live event?”

Prince Andrew said the royal family are beginning to find public engagements “disconcerting”.

“When Bill and I play that game where u can live anywhere, [we] choose . . . Sydney.”

Melinda Gates, wife of Bill Gates, to Time editor-at-large Belinda Luscombe. No surprises there. In the words of Paul Keating, “If you’re not living in Sydney, you’re really just camping out”.

“There was a time when for many of us, Australia was a distant land at the southern edge of the world. Today, the world sees Australia to be at the heart of the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean region.” 

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to Parliament. And yet our flag still proclaims to the world we are a British outpost in the South Seas.

“She asked for an apple. I cut it up into several pieces and rubbed it with scotch bonnet [chilli] and it worked a treat.”

Jamie Oliver on disciplining his daughter Poppy for rude and disrespectful behaviour. There was hell to pay.

Source : The Canberra Times

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