30 YEARS OF THE BUG/FROM THE ARCHIVES:
The “Borbidge Licks Cunningham’s Gap” issue.
Try to imagine how angry and frustrated The Bug felt 23 years ago when a fantastic political news scoop was cheapened and sensationalised by readers with dirty and sordid minds.
Here’s how it happened. Back in March 1996, The Bug was tipped off about a motoring incident involving new Queensland Premier Rob Borbidge: one that showed the man had courage and determination in spades and would turn out to be a great state leader!
Anxious to attend a Country Party function in Warwick, Premier Borbidge ignored police warnings after heavy late-summer rains and made his way up to the Darling Downs via a flooded and treacherous Cunningham Highway.
Older motorists can attest to the fact that back in those days travelling west on the highway was tricky enough in fine conditions in broad daylight as it wound steeply through Cunningham’s Gap, let alone on a dark and stormy night!
As Borbidge explained in the paper’s scoop on our Page 3: “I’ve never seen it so wet.” (pictured below).
On the same page, The Bug ran a separate story on Opposition Leader Peter Beattie who, it turns out, was already in Warwick to address the local Labor Party member.
At that meeting, Beattie gave independent member for Gladsone, Liz Cunningham, an absolute tongue-lashing over her earlier decision to break a 44-44 seat deadlocked Queensland Parliament by supporting a Borbidge-led Country Party government.
Reaction to that edition of The Bug and those two excellent stories still rankles with its publishers.
“An excellent edition was cheapened by people with dirty minds and a predilection for ribald and corny undergraduate humour,” the publishers said in a prepared statement issued this week.
“It was all rather sad, really. Still is.”
Tomorrow: The interview that changed forever many people’s perceptions of perennial pollie Pauline Hanson.