30 YEARS OF THE BUG/FROM THE ARCHIVES:
The Corruption Issue
Or maybe we should be now be calling it the “Has Anything Really Changed Over All Those Years?” issue!
The Bug premiered in 1989, before the Queensland election that saw Wayne Goss and Labor end three-and-a-half decades of Country Party rule.
Back then its full name was The Moreton Bay Bug (cover above) and what was that front-page story all about?
It had has its central figures Wayne Goss as Opposition Leader, confident of taking power after the shock findings of the recent Fitzgerald Inquiry and its unearthing of endemic corruption in state politics and public life, but all was not as it seemed.
The story wasn’t set in 1989 at all but well into the 21stC. The Wayne Goss sitting in the Legislative Assembly and reading all the scandalous details of the Fitzgerald inquiry, set out brutally in the copy of The Courier-Sun Pictorial Mail he held in his hands, was actually the grandson of the 1989 Wayne Goss.
The Fitzgerald Inquiry findings that had him so hopeful that if was finally Labor’s time for power had been conducted by the grand nephew of the original commissioner Tony Fitzgerald.
Goss the younger sat in the house remembering all the opposition leaders who had come before him – Peter Beattie, leader on seven different occasions who had “never once lost confidence in himself”. Then there was Lewis, regarded by many as a better footballer than he was a politician.
That front-page, very first Bug satirical piece ended with Goss the Younger growing increasingly concerned about his chances as he watched the newly installed Premier shout down the Fitzgerald findings and vowing to keep the gerrymander.
Here are the final paragraphs…
“Queenslanders only want good strong stable government and that’s what I intend to give them,” the Premier said. “If they just leave everything to me, every thing will be all right. Don’t you worry about that!”
Goss watched the Premier with growing unease.
The tried old face was still there but the body looked fit and healthy.
Only the thick, maroon cravat around the Premier’s neck gave any indication of the excellent work performed at the Iwasaki Cryogenics and Body Replacement Institute.
Even Goss had to admit it: Sir Johannes Bjelke-Petersen had never looked so good.
A MESSAGE FROM THE BLOKES BEHIND THE BUG….
We hope you’ve enjoyed the past fornight of looking back at some of The Bug‘s lowlights over 30 years of loss-leading publications.
You might be wondering why the general theme of that very first issue was one of pessimism? Trust us, It was. At the time, one of the Bug’s creators was 39 and had no memories whatsoever of a left-wing government in the Sunshine State.
Although the tyrant hillbilly dictator Bjelke-Petersen had been booted, the Fitzgerald Inquiry findings had been damning and the Nationals were on the nose, the media and much of the public thought Labor would still fall short in late 1989.
But let’s forget politics for a moment and consider the stupidity of The Bug‘s business model. The print run of that first issue was, from what’s left of our memories, many thousands of copies.
It had bugger all paid ads in it, a loss compounded by the cost of delivering those thousands of copies to bewildered readers in pubs, clubs, cinemas, theatres, uni campuses, shopping centres, etc, etc.
The Bug blundered on for another 18 years in hardcopy form before commonsense and empty wallets forced it to be abandoned after the Rudd’s a Dud Root issue we featured yesterday.
And can we take this opportunity to thank our one “sugar daddy” advertiser that made many Bugs possible – Steve Fitzgerald of Fortitude Valley’s Fat Boys and Ric’s fame. Steve’s support for the Bug cause was fantastic; whether he got any bang for all those bucks he spent with us is debatable.
It has been our absolute pleasure to have returned to the Australian publishing scene just over a year ago.
Still offending people. Still losing money.
Still in our own humble minds better at cutting satirical content than some of the new players on the block who were in nappies or not even born when we started learning our trade.
DGB and LNM