Time to give it away, Barrie


Aunty is really starting to give me the shits. Big time. I’m not talking about some old relative with a purple rinse and a mind starting to go smutty or to putty. I write, of course, about the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.dgb dinkus NEW

My Aunty. Your Aunty. Australia’s Aunty. The one I’m not nearly as fond of as I once was.

To the point that if for some unfathomable reason the Morrison government sneaks back into power, a growing part of me couldn’t give a rat’s arse if it carried out the Liberal Party’s national (organisational) policy (the IPA’s too, or is that the same?) and flogged the whole shebang off to Murdoch or Costello World, aka Nine aka ex-Fairfax.

Take this morning’s political week roundup with Barrie Cassidy on ABC News Breakfast.
Program co-host Virginal Trioli kicked off the discussion by making the point that both sides have had missteps during the campaign (how balanced and professional of her!) but immediately wanted to focus on Labor first, inferring the ALP had had the worst of it.

And why shouldn’t she? I reckon the way ABC news on all platforms have banged on about a gaffe made by Shorten midweek over Labor’s superannuation plans put even Rupe’s rotten rags to shame.

So Barrie waffled on for a while about how Shorten needs to take more care with his words for the rest of the campaign.

But here’s the thing. Barrie then said he agreed with Michelle Grattan that Shorten’s slip-up “was not particularly damaging”.

Well, fuck me roan, Barrie! Why were you giving it such airtime and emphasis then!

Still, it’s nice to know Barrie and I can agree on politics sometimes. I saw that interview live. The journo asked if Labor had any new plans over superannuation. Shorten said no.

Does Cassidy really believe that media exchange would be a barbecue or water cooler stopper topic for any length of time? Does anyone other than Morrison and his nodding ministers believe “shifty” Shorten was trying to hide from the public the party’s plans over superannuation that were announced two years ago? Or he forgot about them?

So then the conversation turned to the government side.

Barrie rightly pointed to three major campaigning hiccups that blighted the Morrison government’s first week, and that they were in three crucial marginal seats. They were:

Peter Dutton’s highly offensive and widely reported comments about Labor opponent Ali France in his marginal electorate of Dickson. Early in the week he accused France of using her disability for political gain and as an excuse for not living in the electorate; he doubled down later in the week by accusing her of not loving Australia. Sheer crass. Sheer lack of class from a bloke who I understand is more or less living in his ocean-front home in Palm Beach on the Goldie.

Let’s also not forget he tried unsuccessfully to flee to a Gold Coast seat for the 2010 election when his chances in Dickson looked less than flash.  So much for his commitment to residency requirements.

Then we have the Member for Manila – sorry, Dawson – George Christensen all over the front pages for possibly rorting his travel entitlements on his way to his real home, Manila. All together now: “there’s George Jetson…flying out from Sydney”. Fresh reports too on crucial times in the electorate’s life when he was in Manila on his parliamentary salary of $500 a day using his iPad to slam pollies rorting the system. Head-shaking, vote-changing stuff.

Then we have the Liberal candidate in Chisholm – the only seat the Libs took off Labor in 2016 – Gladys Liu getting into all sorts of bother over the views of local Chinese people on LGBT issues that sounded a fair bit like her own.

Considering the LNP has to win extra seats just to regain power, that to my one good eye was all pretty damning stuff.

Barrie might disagree but I reckon those three were deadset barbecue and water-cooler stoppers at least in those three crucial electorates. Nothing much open for one-eyed misinterpretation there.

But here’s the money shot.

Poor old Shorten’s “not particularly damaging” campaign moment had Barrie agreeing with the Liberal Party’s view that they’d won the first week! What the absolute fuck, Barrie! Really?

Not mentioned in the segment but let’s run through the list anyway.

The government’s $387 billion “Labor Tax Grab” claims that lasted about as long as the family’s chocolate Easter eggs will this weekend;

The government’s risible claims of tradies having their utes taken off them by Labor’s electric-vehicle “target” for 2030. The Barrie I once knew would have argued that once a government gets laughed at as much as Morrison and Cash did – and still are – over that total overreach then they are bound for the Opposition benches;

Minister Angus Taylor throwing legal threats around like confetti at a wedding over social media buzz about his involvement in the Cayman Islands-based parent company of an entity that made tens of millions of dollars in profit selling $80 million of water back to the federal government. Taylor strenuously denies any financial gain at any time. And who signed off on the water buyback a year ago? Oh, that’s right: then Water Minister Barnaby Joyce who for years had totally opposed such buybacks.

Anything else, Barrie? Oh, that’s right.

Devoted Christian Scott Morrison began just about every media conference with attacks on that shifty, serial liar Shorten, while Shorten copped a bit of social-media flak for spending too much time announcing health initiatives.

Yet, the Liberals claimed to have had the better week and Barrie readily agreed.
As did Chris Uhlmann at the end of his Channel 9 News report the other night.

But you know what, Barrie? I have always hoped that this sort of push-polling that the commercial media use at every federal election would be anathema to Aunty and totally unacceptable to one of its supposedly most revered and senior political reporters.

Personally, Barrie, I think you should give it away. Leaving Insiders should be just the start.

You’ve had a good run; enjoy retirement. Spend your time driving Heather to her various Back Roads destinations.

Don Gordon-Brown