This morning, Julia Gillard, as is the case when needing to sell something, was all over the airwaves and TV screens. She fronted up to David Koch where she had to try and explain to him that the contingency fund in the budget was not a slush fund to be used for a rainy day. It is used for programs that are demand driven – eg Medicare that are not capped – ie you don’t get to the end of the financial year and see the Government say, “Sorry no more operations for you, we’ve used up all our money for Medicare this year”. In the budget they estimate how much they need for such ongoing and demand driven programs but if, for whatever reason, they under-estimate, there is money available.
Personally, I wouldn't want the Government to muck around too much with that.
She then went on 3AW to “talk” with Neil Mitchell.
Now I’ll admit I am no fan of Mitchell’s. I think on his best days he is a bad interviewer who takes everything personally. The main reason he went in hard on Abbott last year was because Abbott had admitted on the 7:30 Report that he had pretty well lied to Mitchell when he had said to him that he wouldn’t bring in any new taxes. Mitchell wasn’t going to stand for that, and so in he went studs up, and forced Abbott to sign a pledge not to bring back WorkChoices.
My biggest issue with Mitchell is that when he doesn’t get an answer he likes (ie one that confirms his pre-held belief) he lets out groans and sighs like a petulant school boy. It is the kind of response that were my 7 year old daughter ever to do it, I would be quickly giving her lessons in manners and sending her to her room (though unfortunately, my 7 year old daughter actually likes her room…).
Today against Gillard he put this into overdrive. His views on the BER spend were set in concrete (and oblivious to any actual evidence), so too his views on the levy. He adopted a petty tone, and at one point put on a rather weird voice. Gillard snapped: “Neil,you don’t need to patronise me” which quickly had him back peddling, and then laughably accusing her of patronizing him!
Listen to the interview (16 minutes, good luck) to judge.
Later in the day, on 3AW, Derryn Hinch commented on the interview. Now I am also not a huge fan of Hinch, but I think he makes some good points.
Most conservatives on Twitter that I have conversed with compared Mitchell to Kerry O’Brien. Personally I think the comparison ludicrous – O’Brien uses facts for a start, not lines that he thinks his audience wants to hear. And if you think O’Brien doesn’t have to worry about fact, you should watch the head of ABC sit before the Senate Estimates committee, where any small error of fact is usually raked over by Liberal Senators.
The thing about talk back radio shows like Mitchell’s is that mostly Liberal Party voters listen to it (and old ones at that), so there’s bugger all upside for Gillard doing them. And if she comes a gutser, there can be a big fall out – as it will be reported widely (and “victories” of course, will not).
Personally, after this morning, I’d be inclined to put Mitchell on the black list for a while. He’ll sook about it, but so what? Better he sook to himself than sook while you’re sitting opposite him.