The focus turned late Thursday to the “looming chaos” that was coming our way courtesy of a Friday bus strike.
TV stations crossed live to reporters alongside bus stops, union officials sighed with reservation that there was little choice, the Opposition’s Vickie Chapman raged against the dying of the ride and Transport Services Minister Chloe Fox got sidelined by the notion that the husband of a Liberal Party candidate’s camapign manager might be a Liberal voter.
The bus story had further twists Friday morning when the State Government rolled out its mellifluous fixer John Rau.
On 891ABC’s breakfast program Rau talked of “Force Majeure” and matters “not germane”. We’ll explain why this a smokescreen shortly, but first may we point Mr Rau, Ms Chapman and others in the direction of last night’s ABC TV appearance by the International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director Christine Legarde.
Mme Legard fronted a special edition of the ABC’s Q&A and took long, detailed questions from the audience of economic smart arses.
One by one the questioners spoke in complex economic terms so that we may know just how smart they were.
And question by question, Legarde turned to the audience and explained in concise language what “Quantitative Easing tapering”, ” economic failure contagion” and “fiscal austerity measures” mean in everyday terms.
It was a masterclass in communication from the sharp intellect of the former French Finance Minister and all politicians should take a moment to watch and learn – you can see the session here.
But back to the buses, and we should point out that the “looming chaos” won’t happen, because non-union drivers will be filling in while their colleagues have a stop-work meeting between the non-peak hours of 10am and 2pm.
So what were John Rau and Vickie Chapman on about this morning?
Rau’s “Force Majeure” and matters “not germane” are a Donikian* way of saying not my fault and irrelevant.
We here at Campaign Diary, however, ask that the combatants in this blame game for trouble On The Buses go back to the February 25, 2013, issue of InDaily where letter writer Heather Webster (formerly in charge of such matters at TransportSA) made it ever so clear.
“Just like plumbers or any other service supplier, there are good private transport operators who will turn up on time, know the right equipment to use and do a good job, in contrast to inefficient, unskilled and unreliable operators,” Heather wrote.
“It’s the government’s responsibility to choose a good supplier, specify the job they want done clearly and pay according to performance.
“The history of bus contracting shows that the right private operators can do that much more efficiently than the previous government service.
“But, the high level of justified dissatisfaction with a current provider suggests that the government has contracted a lemon.
“Neither the current government nor the operator, is showing the expertise or will to fix it.”
That’s just our way of saying “We Told You So”.
*Donikian – a term to describe people who think a flourish of foreign accent equates to intelligence; named after legendary newsreader George Donikian.
As with all big Shows, there is a sideshow alley and for some years ABC Radio has dominated the ground with its 8.30 Friday morning Spin Cycle where a panel of journalists take the listener inside the hurly burly of the daily political circus.
Today FIVEaa’s new brekkie team rolled out its answer to the Cycle, a half hour (also at 8.30) called ‘On The Hustings’.
OTH features the sparkling repertoire of part-time Labor MP and Minter Ellison lawyer Pat Conlon and yet-to-pack-his-bags-for-London Liberal Party President Alexander Downer.
The half hour was dull with predictable pitches by both men for their respective parties.
There were however, two great moments.
Firstly, Conlon’s description of the Australian Capital Territory’s ALP Government as so PC that “if a kangaroo gets run over they have a sorry day”.
Secondly, Downer’s reference to the story that FIVEaa so badly missed two weeks ago (the Don Farrell-Jay Weatherill pre-selection stoush on ABC Radio) which he summarised thus: “I mean, for a radio station, what a massive coup to get the Premier to come on and consider resigning unless Farrell relents.”
Spin Cycle 1 On The Hustings -1.
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