The ABC has leapt to the defence of its election analyst Antony Green after his expletive- laden tirade and physical threats he made during the national broadcaster’s TV broadcast of the Victorian election results.
Under pressure to call the election while the evening was still fairly young, Mr Green faced a succession of technical glitches with the interactive monitor he uses to show various aspects of election results for federal and state polls.
Saturday night’s broadcast from the ABC’s Melbourne headquarters had barely started after the polls closed at 6pm daylight saving time when broadcast hosts, ABC identities Tamara Oudyn, Michael Rowland and Richard Willingham, as well as other panellists, were agitating for Mr Green’s verdict.
Mr Rowland called out to the election analyst: “How Green is your tally!” and when the computer hiccups began, he quipped: “Now that’s one helluva green slip”.
An ABC spokesperson said Mr Green’s agitation was understandable given the difficulties he had experienced with his interactive monitor.
Those problems included its failure to display the correct figures on statewide swings, primary votes, and two-party-preferred votes.
At one stage Mr Green called up details of the seat of Bentleigh only for his monitor to display a slideshow of vintage theatrical photos (pictured) presumably from his own private stash.
Viewers who contacted The Bug said they could detect temperatures were rising in the election broadcast studio when Mr Green began muttering expletives and threats of physical violence under his breath, but loud enough for his lapel microphone to pick up his dislike for Rowland.
It is understood that it was when Rowland quipped: “Did you need a green card to work here tonight?” that the noted psephologist turned green under the gills, swore profusely and launched himself across the floor at the ABC breakfast news presenter. The entire ABC election broadcast was then taken off air for just under a half-hour shortly after 7.15 pm Melbourne time when alert producers in the control room saw what was unfolding.
Just before the transmission ended, Rowland exclaimed on air: “Hey, give me a break, Greenantz. I’m on a roll here. This is punny stuff!”
While Mr Green was calmed by producers and crew, the ABC switched its broadcast to a rerun episode of Are You Being Served.
An ABC insider, not related to any insider appearing on The Insiders, told The Bug that no calls or complaints were received at the broadcaster’s Melbourne switchboard while the episode Mrs Slocum Scratches Her Pussy was being screened.
“Perhaps it was the vision of preening, heavily made up, and heavily scripted would-be stars that made viewers think the election panel was still on screen,” the insider mused.
Mr Green admitted later that Rowland had finally worn him down. “Every time we do these election nights, Rowland starts up in makeup. He knows I hate it as a nickname but he always calls me Green Antz. He says stuff that he thinks is funny like: “What’s your favourite meal? Eggs and Ham?” or “Do you really have a pet hornet?” or “Can anyone else use the green room?”
“I apologise for my actions but he really is quite annoying.”
Green reportedly asked the program’s executive producer after the broadcast eventually ended: “How does Trioli put up with this shit five mornings a week?” to which the producer replied: “Who says she does?”