Yabba Deb’ll Do!!!!


With only two editions left before polling day in the Queensland state election, staff at The Sunday Mail in Brisbane are pulling out all stops to produce a professional product that hopefully will make a difference by providing Queenslanders with the crucial information they need to case their votes wisely. Editor Kelvin Healey invited The Bug into the paper’s Bowen Hills office late on Friday afternoon to watch the process.

Healey: Well, this is where it all happens.

The Bug: All your journos fit in here? It looks a bit cramped?

Healey: No, you silly billy. This is the artroom.

The Bug: Right.

Healey: Over here for example, is early work on our front page for this coming Sunday (pictured).

The Bug: It’s got a fair way still to go?

Healey: Yes, of course. We may not even know what the LNP’s drop is going to be until sometime tomorrow.

The Bug: The drop?

Healey: That’s the exclusive story the LNP gives us each week on a major policy announcement that Deb…

The Bug: Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington?

Healey: That’s her. That she’ll be making at a media call on Sunday. We get early and exclusive access to whatever that policy is and then we splash it on the cover and all over the inside election pages. If we have an advertising wraparound like we did for last Sunday’s drop about her excellent, vote-winning $300 car rego rebate, the LNP gets three bites at the apple!

The Bug: Lucky them. And Labor gets its chance to criticise the LNP policy?

Healey: Of course they do. This is a professional and ethical journalism outfit we’ve running here. But not over that announcement. Or in The Sunday Mail. The LNP doesn’t allow that as part of our exclusivity deal. If my colleague Chris Jones…

The Bug: The Courier-Mail editor?

Healey: That’s him. If Chris thinks the story still has legs, Labor will be given every chance in Monday’s Courier to have a fair and balanced reply.

The Bug: Seems only fair. And what are these two over here? (pictured at top).

Healey: Ah, they’re early work on our final election paper for Sunday week, October 25.

The Bug: Clearly they represent your editorial calling on Queenslanders to vote for the LNP on October 31?

Healey: Exactly!

The Bug: Any business – including a newspaper – is entitled to support one side of politics and declare that. I’m guessing that will be your one and only editorial trying to influence voters?

Healey: The 16th, from memory. It’s been a long campaign.

The Bug: And I see one of the covers references a late poll favourable to the LNP. How do you know that result already?

Healey: It will be an inhouse one we’ll make up late next week.

The Bug: Right. I hope you won’t get offended here but those covers look a little amateurish. Something The Bug would do with its 25-year-old version of Photoshop?

Healey: Don’t worry about that. They’ve been worked up by one of my associate and deputy editors’ kids here on work experience. They’ll be much better on the day.

The Bug: Qld needs Deb? It sound a bit familiar?

Healey: Thank you.

The Bug: And the other one. A Little Deb Will Do Ya? Surely only quite old readers will get that one?

Healey: That’s our demographic.

The Bug: Hey! Here’s an idea. How about a cartoon of the State Opposition Leader…

Healey: Deb?

The Bug: That’s her. A cartoon of her as Wilma Flintstone with Fred yelling “Yabba Deb’ll Do!”?

Healey: Now you’re just being silly. I’m starting to wish I hadn’t invited you here.

The Bug: Sorry.