Comedy gold from 7.30

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When are the next AACTA awards? I want to nominate ABC’s 7.30’s report last night into “The Quiet Australians” for best TV comedy show.

How they packed so many belly laughs into a segment less than 14 minutes long is testament to the professionalism of the show’s producers, presenter Leigh Sales and reporter Laura Tingle.

Why was the show so funny? Well, firstly, it simply had to bring tears to the eyes to hear from the voters the program found who supposedly were swung over by Scott Morrison’s campaign strategy of kicking footballs, drinking beers, repeatedly calling Bill Shorten a liar and pledging to slash income taxes so governments can’t do much any more. It was very, very funny.

Okay, perhaps funny/sad is the better fit for any viewer hoping, six months down the track, to finally watch a segment from someone in the MSM that explained clearly and with balance how Scott Morrison scraped back into office against all odds.

What happened to several thousand voters in a handful of seats to give Morrison his “miracle” win against all the odds.

Instead, much of last night’s program sounded like a Liberal Party advertisement to entrench in all our minds that Morrison’s term, The Quiet Australians, is a piece of marketing genius that is going to hold him in good stead for years to come.

We’ll discount the academic who waxed on about the genius of the term – hint: most of her life’s work appears to have focussed on researching the Liberal Party – or the pollster bloke who worked with Texter Crosby Stills and Nash to get the LNP over the line.

Leigh Sales herself joined the party, at the beginning and then at the end by reinforcing the slogan as one that “Scott Morrison has used and seems to have really stuck”.

Not with anyone I fucking know, Leigh!

“Why is it becoming so significant to his prime ministership?” she asks Tingle at the end.

Let’s leave La Tingle’s response for later. Let’s wind back to the biggest reason for last night’s chucklefest – Tingle’s earlier claim that quiet Australians “are pragmatic and many appear to be swinging voters”.

Which then begs the question: why didn’t the program look for some?

Wouldn’t that have been fine investigative journalism? Put under the microscope some of these swinging Australians who quietly went down to their polling booths, defied all the opinion polls and the bookies and put Morrison back in?

But if the people the 7.30 people selected were swinging voters who made up their mind during the May campaign, then I was Johnny “The Wad” Holmes in an earlier life and I truly hope you enjoyed all my movies.

Okay, who were these people? Strap yourself in lest you shake yourself off your seat with uncontrollable laughter.

From Oaklands just outside Parramatta we have Fiji immigrants Ajendra Diwakar and Janita Singh, both confessed swinging voters, although if they’re swinging voters, I’m the reigning world chess champion.fijian couple - net.jpg

Janita, a former Newscorpse journo (leave it alone!), came out swinging: “I would say that if there was a dog standing up we probably would have voted for the dog as opposed to Bill Shorten.”

Not so much SCHWIIING! But already SCHRUUNG!!!

“Obviously with Scott Morrison being the face of the Liberals that helped a little bit. If you invited him down to your house for a cup of tea, he would come..

“Every single thing that he said is what we are!”|


Take it away Ajendra: “I have a great respect for Morrison. I know him from his tourism days – Where the Bloody Hell Are You, you know – he’s a Sharks supporter, he’s a rugby league man and he’s a church goer.”

While we dab the laughter tears from our eyes, let’s rush over to Ballarat where accountant Stacey Price has never, ever, before, told her hubbie financial adviser Richard Gough how she has voted.richard and stacey - net.jpg

When she admits on camera that, yes, she voted for Morrison, Richard is virtually beaming: “That’s all I needed.”

Not so much SCHWIIING! But already SCHRUUNG!!!

Stacey opens up: “I guess he just told me what I wanted to hear in terms of what he thought he was going to do for the country. It wasn’t about the other parties in the race; it was all about him and what he had to offer.”

Schwiiiing low, schruuuuung high, sweet chariot!

And now it’s to just outside Toowoomba where Kingthorpe resident Terese (we hope that’s right) Houghton, in her early 50s with a FIFO husband, explains her own Road to Damascus conversion. If Teresa is a swinging voter, I’m the current Mr Universe titleholder.theresa - net.jpg

“The clincher came for me when Shorten (she practically spat out the word) stood beside the electric car and started talking about electric cars. It was just idiotic. I just went: Oh, my god, I think you’ve lost it. I was convinced from that point that I like practical, down-to earth politicians. Not all the La La Land stuff.”


And we can all suspect Terese had schruuunnnnggg long before Shorten had the temerity to suggest a target of a 50% EV share of all new vehicle sales by 2030. And before she took in that risible media call with Minister Cash and Morrison where they claimed people’s utes and commercial vehicles were going to be taken off them.

Terese is so far in Morrison’s camp that she probably hasn’t heard that vehicle manufacturers will probably all be making only EVs by 2030, making Shorten’s target all rather irrelevant.

Okay, so we get to the end where Sales continues to be hellbent on helping the Liberals reinforce “The Quiet Australians” (trademark pending) as their major campaign thrust for years to come.

Replies La Tingle, adding to the effort: “It’s got a certain marketing connotation. It allows people to say: oh look, I don’t actually have to pay much attention to politics. I’m allowed to be quiet. I don’t have to have a view. It’s as bit of an absolution of responsibility in a way to not be involved in politics but it is a marketing thing that is good for Scott Morrison.

“At a time when people don’t like politicians, they identify with him because he is a  dorky dad.”

Okay, let’s all stop laughing and finish on a sombre note.

If there were ever one single ABC program of recent times that highlights just how scared Aunty is of the Morrison government with its ongoing budget cuts – and how cowed Aunty is by the relentless attacks on their “objectivity” by right-wing politicians and the shock jocks for years now – then last night’s 7.30 report was it.

Sadly, it all came across as a bit of a PR exercise lauding Scott Morrison’s marketing and campaigning genius, with suitable gushings from rusted-on Tories – and I’m not just talking about those being interviewed!

Six months on from the election, we are still waiting for a MSM program that explains what went on in the final days of the May 18 election. When it comes – even though it won’t – it could easily be called “The Conned Australians”.

Makes those tears more from sorrow than laughter, does it not?

Don Gordon-Brown