Monday, 5 September 2011

HOWARD v HICKS (Spectator editorial)

This week, attractive ABC Newsreader Juanita Phillips suddenly started wearing glasses. But it's her employers who are clearly having problems seeing straight.

It's hard to think of a more myopic sense of perspective than that displayed by the decision to devote an hour’s "special" on Tuesday night to telling the “Australian story” of failed terrorist David Hicks, and only nine minutes and eleven seconds to interviewing former Prime Minister John Howard. Is this the public broadcaster’s idea of commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11?

Howard’s brief interview with the impressive and skilled Chris Uhlmann made for compelling viewing. It included as succinct a diagnosis of the problems plaguing the current government as you will find anywhere. On Gillard: “She lacks authority.” On the hung parliament: “The experiment of a new paradigm - this cosmopolitan Coalition - hasn't worked.” On Tony Abbott’s so-called negativity: “None of the big reforms of my government, none of them, were supported by the Labor Party in Opposition.” On industrial relations: “Well, it's blindingly obvious that one of the worst mistakes Julia Gillard has made is to re-regulate the labour market. It is affecting our productivity and it will therefore affect our competitiveness.” On the Greens: “They have a deep anti-Israeli streak in them which frightens and concerns a lot of people.” On the Independents: “I think both Oakeshott and Windsor, if they run (again), will lose their seats.” On China: “America and Australia will always be closer than China and Australia because we have shared values.” There was even a bit of friendly banter, as John laughingly admitted to Chris that: “You haven't lost your touch.”

All in a hurried nine minutes. Followed by a tedious, self-pitying, inaccurate and dissembling hour-long interview lauding the robotic David Hicks, built around such banalities as: “As a child, David was into the more natural side of things.”

It’s about time Auntie got her eyesight checked.

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