Alan Jones is no longer just Gloria, but Gloriana, the reigning queen of radio so Crikey is keeping an ear on what Australia’s most powerful shock jock has to say. And guess what? Going by this week’s suprises you can teach an old bird new tricks.

Why does the Crikey Bird-watching team spend so many hours sitting in the shrubs near 2GB disguised as tempting native nuts? Easy! Observing our feathered friends is so rewarding. They offer constant surprises and our special Parrot is no exception.

Early on Monday he revealed himself to be the most unlikely silverchair fan since Tim Fischer, when he gave Daniel John’s an affectionate peck on the cheek and wished him well in his battle against reactive arthritis. Here’s hoping the Parrot isn’t plagued with psittacosis that won’t help young Daniel none.

At the end of the week Alan Jones, feminist, emerged as the Rotarian reactionaries of Surfer’s Paradise copped a serve on the Today show.

But most amazing was the war he waged through the week on radio and TV on capitalism.

Yep. It’s hard to believe, but our feathered friend seems to be a fan of the planned economy. He didn’t stop pecking at the evils of capitalism all week. Just look at some of these squawks:

Monday, 2GB:

“I will tell you something.

“Prime Minister Howard yesterday warned the Reserve Bank not to be stampeded into lifting interest rates too far, in what he called the ‘current cycle of monetary policy tightening’.

“And John Howard said it was understandable the RBA would increase interest rates to stop the economy from overheating

“Every time the economy is going well, it means that business expands.

“Business expands with imports: the imports can’t be paid for by the exports so the debt goes up.

“So to stop the debt going up, you have to stop business expansion and jack up interest rates.”

Tuesday, Today Program:

“Well, the Board of the Reserve Bank meets today and is expected to lift interest rates tomorrow.

“We are told the economy is growing at its fastest rate since 1999.

“March quarter national accounts figures to be released tomorrow will show the economy growing at an annualised rate, they say, of nearly 5%, one of the strongest performances in the developed world.

“So, the Board of the Reserve Bank will meet today to tell us that all these good results mean we have to be punished and interest rates are going to go up by a quarter of a percent, though some say half a percent.

“What a peculiar world we live in.

“The economy is doing well, so bash everybody up and jack up interest rates

“What a peculiar world we live in

“Yes, the Board of the Reserve Bank will meet today and tomorrow.

“As sure as the sun comes up in the east, interest rates will go up.

“Whatever else it might mean, it means that the banks will get more money, and they will be taking it out of the hip pocket of individuals and small business.

“And debt will grow.

“All because our economy is doing well.

“If that doesn’t contain more contradictions than anyone can understand, nothing does.”

Friday, 2GB:

“Well the Reserve Bank might be determined to kill off the housing market and slow down the economy and prevent overheating, whatever those jargon words are.

“But the Bureau of Statistics figures issued yesterday showed total employment grew by 44,000 in May.

“Unemployment rate – 6.3% and steady.

“More people joined the search for work.

“Full time employment rose by 75,300 last month.

“The labour market is recovering.

“Robust jobs data.

“The economy is expanding at an annual rate of 4.2%.

“That can make inroads into the unemployment rate, so long as this is all not killed off with interest rates.

“Now, if you are going to drive unemployment down, the economy has to grow at a rate of 3.5% of more.

“Now, if you are increase interest rates and cut down economic growth, you are not going to reduce unemployment

“What is the balance between interest rates, economic growth, lowering unemployment?

“The RBA and the Government have to get it right.”

Er, yes, Alan. What is the balance? Any suggestions? After all, the market like God moves in a mysterious way. Our friend the invisible hand is just that invisible and that’s why it needs a nudge from kind folk like central bankers every now and then just so we can push in the right direction. That’s how it works.

But there’s the Parrot squawking about the “contradictions” of capitalism. Does he have a copy of Gramsci hidden under his feeder tray?

Finally, there was something that seemed like a surprise another editorial denouncing the Cole Royal Commission into the building industry that not only seemed to endorse all sorts of union shenanigans but even seemed to criticise the Parrot’s pal the PM:

“It heard claims that unions were demanding 100% union membership before they signed off on enterprise agreements.

“Look, how much of this is a whole heap of rubbish about not much

“It seems to me some of these people are grasping at straws

“Look, what are we saying – that sometimes the unions demand money to get a job finished ahead of time.

“Well so what.

“In the scheme of things, this Royal Commission is costing us $60 million.

“It was put on as a means of raising votes for the Howard Government at the last election.

“They didn’t need the votes.

“They would do everyone a favour if they called the damn thing off now.

“No-one is interested.”

Surprising until we remember how certain developers and the construction industry used to help keep the Parrot’s feeding tray topped up.

Yes, he may have dropped cash for comment and, of course, the seed never swayed his opinions but as our feathered friend likes to say about his Parrot pals, “We pick and stick.”


From all of us at the bottom of the cage, until next time, goodbye.


The Crikey Bird-watching team can be contacted at [email protected]

And now for the last word on the Parrot, let’s throw to Crikey cartoonist Mark Cornwall:

Peter Fray

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