ABC TV News Breakfast co-host Virginia Trioli is set to quit journalism after another silly error on this morning’s show – the second in a just a few weeks and only the third she’s made during her stellar career in the profession.
Early in today’s show, Mr Trioli clearly confused the total tax cut involved in the LNP’s planned changes to income tax rates with the savings Labor had wanted to make by closing down various concessions and benefits.
Ms Trioli repeatedly said the Morrison government’s planned legislative changes to flatten out income tax rates over the next decade would amount to $157 billion back in voters’ pockets.
The actual amount is $230 billion. Labor claimed during the campaign – and its costings bore that out – that changes to franking credits, negative gearing, superannuation, capital gains tax and keeping a debt levy on high income earners would bring in $157 billion over time to spend elsewhere.
It was this combined total – $387 billion – that the Coalition successfully if quite misleadingly called Labor’s tax hike.
Trioli appeared to recognise her mistake almost immediately but despite appearing a little ashen-faced (main picture above) she ploughed on professionally until the show ended at 9am.
She then rushed in tears to her star’s dressing room where The Bug understands co-host Michael Rowland, Paul Kennedy, and studio staff have not been able to lure her out from her locked room since.
Always the consummate professional Ms Trioli had told work colleagues after her most recent gaffe that she believed in the three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy but was fairly confident she was highly unlikely to make that third error with only 20 years’ career left in her.
And just like back in April when Ms Trioli made what was believed to be only her second ever mistake, her colleagues were unable to lure her out with some of Ms Trioli’s favourite Italian pastries from the Brunetti Cafe at Carlton along with a takeaway caffè macchiato with exactly the right amount of foamed goat’s milk, just the way she likes it.
Just before noon Ms Trioli could still be heard sobbing uncontrollably, stopping only now and then to shout out: “Call out any really large number and I’ll call back its square root in a flash!”
Through her dressing room door she also recited the GST implications for the birthday cake and every single component of it that perplexed then Opposition Leader John Hewson in his 1993 interview with the late Mike Willesse, using a range of prices for the cake and its individual ingredients adjusted for inflation at annual intervals over the intervening 26 years.
Between sobs, she also claimed to have worked out the complicated maths conundrum on the chalkboard in Good Will Hunting long before Matt Damon’s character did.
The Bug understands the Walkley-award winning Ms Trioli’s decision to walk away from the career she loves means the ABC will now have to find a new replacement for veteran broadcaster Jon Faine when he finishes up at ABC radio’s morning show in Melbourne at year’s end.