Flat White

Redefining the ABC

24 February 2021

6:40 PM

24 February 2021

6:40 PM

Question: What do you call a discussion between people who have no idea what they are talking about but are certain of their righteousness?

Answer: An ABC panel.

On one of my morning constitutional two-wheeled chariot rides, I was listening to a podcast of an earlier ABC radio show. That show being the Party Room hosted by Fran Kelly and Patricia Karvelas. Here is the link to the show and particular episode where David Speers was guest.

I was blown away. Get these samples.

It starts with the usual climate change discussion. Then in classic ABC banter, they bag the Commonwealth Government for not committing to some carbon reduction target that will achieve absolutely nothing for global climate emission yet Fran Kelly at around 10 min lamented that her listeners “were really apoplectic” that the government has not yet released a plan to reach some irrelevant target in the never-never.

Gee. Fran Kelly’s listeners, a mix of Green, Socialist Alliance and Labor voters, calling in to Fran on their way to their public service jobs complaining about the government not meeting Fran’s climate policy wishes. Knock me over.

Then was a discussion of the recent ALP policy announcement relating to employee entitlement portability. Apparently, the relevant Minister, Christian Porter, said that the ALP’s policy would cost $20billion. At around 15 min, this is what David Speers said:

[T]hat’s why Porter’s gone to the extreme end and said it will cost the economy $20 billion. Well it won’t. But we don’t know and Labor can’t say what it will cost.

So let’s get this right. According to ABC political legend Speers, they don’t know what it will cost but they do know what it won’t cost.

Confused? Well, Patricia Karvelas wasn’t because she replied:

That’s right.

Yes. That’s right.

But for the cherry on top was the discussion of Labor’s proposal to deal with so-called unsecure work. They latched onto the plight of someone case-studied by Anthony Albanese. Apparently “Rosa” was a gig food delivery driver who got injured at work and because she had no sick leave had to return to work. And because Rosa could not perform to her prior standards was terminated. So of course the entire Australian economy has to be further regulated.


This is clearly a very sad story, but you don’t make national policy from sad stories. Particularly if, as I suspect, not all the facts were presented.

Firstly, while a sad story, there is already a social safety net to deal with cases like Rosa’s. It used to be called Sickness Allowance but it now wrapped into JobSeeker. But I would bet that the reason Rosa can’t get JobSeeker is because she is not a citizen or permanent resident. I would bet that she is a foreign student.

Yes. One of those foreign students who have borrowed up to their eyeballs to get a crap credential in Australia but need to work to meet their debt obligations.

So basically, the ALP is proposing to set up a safety net for workers who are victims of another crap government policy that require universities to bring poor students to Australia to pay for the salaries of the high priced yet utterly unnecessary university administrators and officials. The same unnecessary university administrators and officials who call into the Fran Kelly radio show.

As the Sarah Lee cake commercials used to say, layer upon layer upon layer. Except not of pastry but of Australian regulatory detritus.

In a race to the public policy sewerage pit, when the ALP faces the ABC, it often a dead heat.

Let’s work to have this added to the Macquarie dictionary:

ABC — a noun meaning a discussion between people who have no idea what they are talking about but are certain of their righteousness.

Stephen Spartacus blogs at Sparty’s Cast where a version of this piece also appears.

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