Election 2010 silliness and some great ABC TV

First, someone in Labor circles thought it would be a good idea to confront Tony Abbott in a shopping mall thus:

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ABC News pic

A red Speedo-clad man who confronted Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in Melbourne yesterday has been exposed as a Labor campaign officer. The stunt happened as Mr Abbott visited the Knox City Shopping Centre in the seat of Aston to drum up support ahead of the August 21 election.

Wearing a lookalike pair of Mr Abbott’s trademark swimmers, the man shouted: "Do you like the cut of my speedos Tony?".

It has been revealed the man is Conrad French, who works in the ALP head office in Victoria with state secretary and campaign director Nicholas Reece. ALP national campaign headquarters says he is not employed by them and directed all questions to the ALP’s Victorian headquarters…

Well it is funny, but is also a bit dumb as Julia doesn’t need the distraction or the potential usefulness of this jape to her opposition.

Cracker Media Watch last night.

Yet another in a series of great moments in tabloid TV.

And tonight, an election-free zone.

Instead, we’re going to focus on the nonsense that all too often passes for ‘investigative journalism’ on Nine’s A Current Affair…

Announcer: Eighty thousand dollars a year for doing absolutely nothing.
"They’re a heap of bludgers"

Announcer: On A Current Affair the Centrelink insider blows the whistle on what Australia’s welfare recipients really get paid.

— Channel Nine, A Current Affair Promo, 11th July, 2010

And on Seven’s Today Tonight…

Ron Roberts: If they commit a felony on your property, you shoot them. They are punks, they are scum, they are thugs, and they’re oxygen thieves.

— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 14th June, 2010

We’ll come to the Grey Vigilantes later.

In fact the Grey Vigilantes story tops that one for sheer hypocrisy.

… For Today Tonight’s viewers, fine old men like Ron Roberts are so much more credible – and his response to youth violence so eminently satisfying…

Ron Roberts: And if anybody comes at me, swing it out and use it. And I will use whatever’s necessary to stop them… An ex sugarcane knife, a cutting knife.

Tim Noonan: And while the law has limits, they don’t.

Ron Roberts: They will get hurt.

— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 14th June, 2010

But remember, Ron Roberts admits that his persecutors are three grown men down the street. And Today Tonight knows he’s not the most peaceable of neighbours himself.

Seven years ago, the program showed a very different side to Mr Roberts…

Kara Furlong: It was horrifying, it really was. To be hit by someone as big as he is…

— Channel Seven, Today Tonight, 19th August, 2003

Back in 2003, he was cast as the villain in a classic Today Tonight expose…

Australian Story

Back in October 2006 I posted Admiring ex-Big Brother star David Graham, still quite a popular entry (770 views so far). Farmer Dave appeared again last night on Australian Story, though the real focus of the episode was “a well manicured Brisbane housewife who has become an unlikely advocate for gay rights.”

…SHELLEY ARGENT: Well, it’s hard to explain how I feel, because it’s extremely an emotional time because when he marches with me, it’s a real union I guess. And he holds my hand and it’s sort of like ‘This is my mum’ and in that sense I know that he’s proud of me because I’m there with him.

JAMES ARGENT, SON: The acceptance from your parents, it gives you I suppose self esteem to say ‘I want people to treat me with respect, I want to have healthy relationships myself’. It gives the person coming out mental health, I think.

KATH TROTTER, FRIEND: James’s brother is very supportive. Both Shelley’s children, they’re really lovely young men. The whole family are very close and very supportive of each other. Don, of course, is just very, very proud of his wife.

(Excerpt of Shelley and Don Argent at a Brisbane rally for gay equal rights):
SHELLEY ARGENT: Don, my husband, this is his very first Pride Rally. It’s a real landmark for him. He’s never marched before, so this is.
DON ARGENT, HUSBAND: No, never had the guts, no.
SHELLEY ARGENT: No, but he’s done really well and I’m really proud of him that he’s done this this year.
(End of excerpt)

KATH TROTTER, FRIEND: Don’s attitude has changed and I think at first he used to just want to sit in the background, didn’t want to be involved. Shelley could be the face. But now he has no difficulties at all.

DON ARGENT, HUSBAND: Looking back it’s probably been one of the most enlightening and even rewarding experiences of my life. I mean, that’s the irony of it I guess. It’s something that I never expected. It’s something unique in our life, yeah.

JAMES ARGENT, SON: If parents would love to march in the parade, do it, because to know that your parents are in the background pushing your cause is priceless….

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The Making of Modern Australia

This is a new series beginning on ABC1 on Thursday. I’ll watch for sure.

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