Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Alan Jones has apparently

just repeated his apology to the Prime Minister on his "breakfast show". For those of you outside Australia this will probably mean very little.
Alan Jones is a radio "personality" - somewhere in another state. I have never heard him present a radio programme. It is not the sort of thing I could be bothered with but many people do listen to him. He was also asked to give a speech recently - at a private function. In that speech he apparently made a throwaway comment that the Prime Minister's father "died of shame because of her lies". 
The comment was out of line. I do not condone it in anyway. Nobody should make those sort of comments about the deceased parent of a grieving child.
That said there are some other equally disturbing things about this incident. First, the Prime Minister has refused to accept an apology. Yes, she is hurt but failing to accept the apology is a tactical error. If she had accepted a phone call from Jones and graciously accepted his apology then people would have thought well of her.
Second, the Labor speech writer Bob Ellis made an equally disparaging remark about her reaction to her father's death being "girly" but nobody has made a fuss about that - after all, he is on the same side of the political divide as the Prime Minister and most of the media.
Third, there have been calls to sack Alan Jones and companies have withdrawn advertising from the radio station in question. Those demands and those actions are also out of line. They are playing into the hands of a political party which is anxious to see someone they view as influential removed from his position. They would make no such call if the speaker had been Bob Ellis.
Fourth, the Attorney General and others have placed the blame and the responsibility for the remarks on the Leader of the Opposition. That is also way out of line. The Leader of the Opposition has no control over Alan Jones. The Leader of the Opposition has also made it clear that he believes the remarks were offensive.
That of course is not good enough for the government or the media. He is, somehow, supposed to have had control over what someone else says at a private function - and which was then reported as "something of public interest". It was not. It should have been ignored.
Of course this is politics. It was too good to ignore. It was an opportunity to do harm to the Leader of the Opposition.
I wrote something about volunteering yesterday. The Leader of the Opposition has volunteered for years. And yes, it is mentioned in the media from time to time - usually in a disparaging sort of way. It is something else which must put people off acting as volunteers - fear of being likened to a man they are supposed to loathe. It is also way out of line but the media does not see it that way. It's just politics.
Alan Jones was out of line - but so was the reaction.


Donna Hosie said...

It wasn't a throw away line. It was a deliberate line in a very long speech.

It was disgusting and the man deserves all the reaction he is now getting.

Calls for the Liberal Leader to take responsibility are ridiculous. It was nothing to do with Abbott.

I HATE politics in this country. I really do.

Anonymous said...

I understood it was a throwaway line - from someone present. He also said the audience was on the whole embarrassed when they realised what had been said.
It was, as Cat points out, indefensible but the media use of it has been even more indefensible. Roxon's comments on SBS were indefensible and Albanese's comments were even worse.
The media's treatment of Abbott is however generally indefensible. Why he should be lampooned for volunteering - something he did long before he became leader - is beyond me. Chris

catdownunder said...

Hi Donna
I understood it was a throwaway line - the sort of thing idiots say as asides when diverting from the prepared speech.

SM Johnston said...

I think the reaction from both sides of politics has been poor: the labour backlash and the LNP response the Labour backlash.

However, I don't blame Gillard for not taking Jones' call. She is still in a time of grieving. I lost my dad, the pain is immense. And to have someone say you're responsible for that death more than adds salt to wound.

It was beyond a political attack. It was very personal.

Deborah Lamont said...

ABC have played the recording. You can hear the crowd gasp as he says the line, but you can also tell from the inflection of his voice that is was not a throwaway comment. He said it for a cheap laugh.

Deborah Lamont

Anonymous said...

I was ready to sympathise with Julia Gillard but she is now allowing the words to be used as a weapon against the Opposition and I find that even more offensive.
Stop and think folks - someone is allowing words she found offensive to be used to accuse someone who had no control over what was said of being responsible for it. Roxon, Albanese and endless others are also using it. I find that even more distasteful than the original comments. They intend their comments to be made public. Jones was disgusting but he was not on air and it was not intended to be made public. They intend to milk it for everything they can.
Like Donna Hosie politics in this country disgusts me. Ros