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Richardson: Tough times at the Tele Town Hall

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The Gillman debacle:

After the success of this week’s ‘Tele Town Hall’, with a Jay Weatherill ‘bot’ cold-calling thousands of voters ahead of a mega-phone-forum, the State Government decided to repeat the process, with its three most senior ministers stationed in a call centre taking questions from electors. Here is a transcript of the event:

JAYBOT: All right. Welcome to my Tele Town Hall. There are 100,000 of you on the line with me right now waiting to ask me questions.

JOHN RAU: Um, actually it’s more like 6000.

JAYBOT: 6000, is it? Exactly the same number of jobs we’ve created at our oil and gas hub at Gillman.

JOHN RAU: Er…no. That’s more like…well, zero.

JAYBOT: Zero, 6000. I’m not great with numbers. I’m more about the vibe. What do you think, C-Bomb?

TOM KOUTSANTONIS: (Swears incoherently for several seconds)

JAYBOT: Exactly. Anyway, let’s take some calls.

CALLER: Hi, Jaybot. Does the Treasurer always swear like that?

JAYBOT: Oh, sure, it’s pretty routine, really. But it’s usually directed at me in private. I’ve never witnessed him swearing in front of other public servants.

CALLER: What about in cabinet?

JAYBOT: Well, what happens in cabinet stays in cabinet.

TK: Well, that was a f***in useless question. Next!

CALLER: You’re a disgrace, mate, a bloody disgrace.

TK: F***in hell, who let Duncan McFetridge on the line?

JR: We always end up with some Liberal or other infiltrating our deliberative democracy initiatives. I’m sick of all these left-wingers informing our policy process!

JAYBOT: We need to have a word with the organiser.

TK: Maybe I should do it, being the government’s head kicker…for lack of a better word.

JAYBOT: You’ve never been short of a better word, C-Bomb. Go to it.

TK: (Dials phone) Hey, you bunch of useless c***s! There’s a Liberal in our Tele Town Hall. What the f*** do I employ you for? For Christ’s sakes, what are you doing? Da da da da da.*

(Hangs up) I think they took that on board.

JR: I hope you weren’t seeking to influence them too much.

JAYBOT: I thought it was fairly subtle.

TK: Well, I don’t claim to be perfect, and, you know, I do occasionally slip.

JAYBOT: Well, no-one’s perfect. Besides me, I mean. Let’s take another call.

CALLER: Hi Jaybot, I run a business and I think the Government needs to do more to create jobs. Can’t you provide more contracts to local firms?

JAYBOT: Great suggestion! We’ll incorporate that into our Northern Jobs Plan. What a brilliant idea this Tele Town Hall was! Next caller.

CALLER: Hey there guys. I run a business, and I wish Government would stand aside and let the private sector get on with things. We need less Government interference.

JAYBOT: Another great idea! We’ll adopt that as policy too.

JR: Um, Jaybot. Doesn’t that policy fundamentally contradict the last policy we adopted?

TK: It does? For f***’s sake…

JAYBOT: Never mind, this way we can have our cake and eat it too. Next caller.

Jay Weatherill facing the media this week: "His demeanor is of a man perpetually annoyed with the travails of electioneering." Photo: Nat Rogers/inDaily

JayBot and C-Bomb. Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

CALLER: Hi Premier, I’d like you to do something about manufacturing in the north.

JAYBOT: Great idea! What did you have in mind?

CALLER: Um… how about something new in the transport space?

JAYBOT: Space? You mean like rocket-ships?

CALLER: No, like driverless cars or…

JAYBOT: What about hoverboards?

CALLER: Um…

JAYBOT: That’s it! Let’s fund a pilot hoverboard project. Right now! C-Bomb, I’m putting you in charge of this one.

TK: F***.

JAYBOT: Ok, one last caller.

CALLER: Hi Jaybot, I have one question… How is this Gillman business different from the Motorola affair?

JAYBOT: Well, I think it’s the absolute opposite. I think the problem there was John Olsen should have been upfront about the fact he’d done some side-deal, and he wasn’t. Whereas we’ve been absolutely clear that we weren’t going out to tender and we were doing that in the public interest.

CALLER: Not according to Bruce Lander. Or the chief executive of Renewal SA.

JAYBOT: And also, Motorola was about phones. So that was completely different. And also, no-one’s resigned over Gillman.

CALLER: Not yet… But it’s the same principle surely? You did a deal with one company to the exclusion of due process.

JAYBOT: Well, I’m not going to apologise for giving a couple of young entrepreneurs a go!

JR: Um…actually, Premier, Stephen Gerlach’s no spring chicken.

JAYBOT: I meant ‘young’ relative to the Jurassic era.

JR: Anyway, we still got a great deal: the price being offered by Adelaide Capital Partners for that land was good value, full stop! Right, C-Bomb?

TK: I’ve got no f***in idea.

JAYBOT: Actually, it was a bonus that we got good value for the land. It wasn’t our objective.

CALLER: So what was the objective?

JAYBOT: Jobs, of course.

CALLER: But there aren’t any jobs.

JAYBOT: Sure there are. I’m still Premier, John’s still Attorney and C-Bomb’s the Treasurer.

TK: F***.

CALLER: So, it wasn’t about job creation as much as job retention.

JAYBOT: Actually, I think we’re out of time.

CALLER: I think so too.

Tom Richardson is a senior journalist at InDaily. His political column is published on Fridays.

The JayBot story is true – read it here.

*This alleged quote comes directly from the ICAC report into the Gillman land sale (Koutsantonis denies using the “C-bomb”).

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