Love was on the air; love was everywhere


Sunday’s return for 2020 of the ABC’s politics program Insiders under new presenter David Speers had a nursery rhyme element to it.

By the hour-long show’s end, The Bug couldn’t help thinking of that old English kiddies song and finger play about this little piggie who cried “wee”, “wee”, “wee” all the way home.

This association was courtesy of one of the show’s panellists, The Courier-Mail’s Renee Viellaris, who did a bit of “we”, “we”, “we-ing” of her own during the program.

Commentating on Australia’s response to the Coronavirus threat, Ms Viellaris opined: “I do think we are forward leaning on this issue … uumm… we have a very good ….uumm… chief health officer… uumm …and we have a very good health minister in the space.”

We! We! We!

The Bug‘s editorial team gathered around and debated who her “we” was referring to. Or if you want to use old-fashioned English …. to whom her “we” was referring.

Our shipping news cadet wanted to give Viellaris the benefit of the doubt and suggested she was referring to Australia’s response overall. That’s possible.

But older and wiser heads at The Bug suggested the “we” referred to the Morrison government in general and prime minister Scott Morrison in particular.

They pointed out to the cadet that a magistrates court reporter wouldn’t write: “We fined a shoplifter $350 in default a week’s jail”. Such old-fashioned scribes would probably just use the magistrate’s name and title!

The cadet wasn’t to know this, of course, but those older heads have a mountain of evidence that Ms Viellaris often portrays herself not as a disconnected, disinterested journalist observer of Australian politics but the loyal public relations officer to the right-wing side of it.

That view was backed up by the obvious close relationship Ms Viellaris clearly has with the PM, as she showed repeatedly during the show.

From the show’s get-go, and straight after Niki Savva and Phillip Coorey had given excoriating views of Morrison’s Hawaiian trip and his handling of the bushfires generally, Viellaris clearly sensed the the mood of her more senior fellow panellists, sensed the blood in the water, and joined in the fray.

“I think in hindsight  it (Hawaii) looks like it was the wrong thing to do.”

Ouch! Is there any coming back for Morrison after that full-frontal assault.

But clearly she had to make immediate amends.  Just in case anyone saw that as being too critical of her PM,  Viellaris stuck it to the real villain in all this piece.

“But I think the other issue too is because we (WE!) have such an anaemic Deputy Prime Minister who didn’t really step up, it exacerbated the problem, that it looked like no-one showed leadership or was running the country and I, I think that’s a lesson learnt by Scott that he can’t rely on his deputy Prime Minister”.

That’s Scott Number One!

“I think that Scott is a practical Prime Minister. He will focus on adaptation, mitigation plus a better sales pitch.”

That’s Scott Number Two!

“I think one thing’s really interesting here is how Scott’s tone has changed from the bushfires so his tone yesterday was much calmer; it was better than it was in the bushfires.”

That’s Scott Number three!

Oh, Scottie, dear Scottie. You do have a loyal fan here.

And in the meantime the little piggie cried “we”, “we”, “we” all the way home shouting “Scott, Scott, Scott” as she did so.