Alan Jones is no longer just Gloria, but Gloriana, the reigning queen of radio and Crikey is keeping an ear on what Australia’s most powerful shock jock has to say. This week, the Crikey Bird Watching Team has been watching the Parrot make a new friend.

We pick and we stick. There’s nothing like the Code of the Parrots for simplicity, is there? But how does the Parrot decide who to pick?

That’s the question the Crikey Bird Watching Team set out to answer last week as we made our observations, because it’s been clear that a wonderful new friendship has developed between our Parrot and Virgin Blue’s part owner, Chris Corrigan.

Corrigan and the Parrot are scarcely strangers. The Parrot took to Corrigan way back in the days of the war on the docks, but things have only really flourished of late. And why? They have one big enemy in common Macquarie Bank, the owner of Sydney Airport.

Corrigan doesn’t like its charges and says it’s dragging its feet over allowing Virgin access to the old Ansett terminal. The Parrot doesn’t like it ‘cos it hurt his feelings.

The Parrot has been merciless to Macquarie for weeks now and had Corrigan on a few times to tell his listeners what a pernicious outfit it is.

Our Bird had a warm up squawk on the subject on Tuesday:

“Well, Macquarie Bank.

“Investors don’t want to know about it

“Macquarie are geared to the eyeballs.

“They have gone on an acquisition binge and basically, they can’t digest any more, and nor can the investment market.

“And with the precarious nature of the international economy, and markets falling apart everywhere, this is dynamite stuff.

“And the Federal Government are involved here as well.

“They allowed Sydney Airport to be sold for $5.6 billion.

“And everything else has flowed from there.

“Macquarie Bank, believe me, is in big trouble.”

He did an interview with nice Mr Corrigan, and then returned to the subject on Thursday, fairly bouncing up and down on his perch with rage:

“I see that Professor Fels is saying that the Federal Government should look at price controls to combat exorbitant increases at major airports,” he squawked.

“And he is right.

“He said he wasn’t surprised airport operators had raised charges after the Federal Government lifted price caps.

“Now, as you know, they were removed on July 1 this year.

“Landing charges at larger airports are going up from 40% to 130%.

“Greater increases at some smaller airports.

“And the airport operators are increasing other charges, such as taxi fees, car parking rates, check-in counter rentals.

“I warned all this would happen.

“And Professor Fels is arguing that the Government said it would reimpose price controls if operators abused their market power by unjustifiably raising prices.

“Well, is the government monitoring these prices, and what is it going to do.

“Processor Fels said access to the ex-Ansett terminal at the newly privatised Sydney Airport had become a significant competition issue.

“He said, ‘any agreement between Sydney Airport and the incumbent airlines, Qantas and Virgin Blue to tie up available gates at the Ansett terminal will create a significant hurdle to new entry. The Commission will monitor developments closely’.

“Well Professor Fels is right to monitor.

“And he is also right to argue that price controls should be reintroduced.

“It is ludicrous.

“Aviation is a right for people.

“And they shouldn’t have to pay a loading because they use a taxi, a hire car, or whatever.

“Or, are we being told now that the Sydney Airport is another branch of the Tax Office.

“Except it’s a private tax: a means to make unscrupulous business monopolies recover theirs costs at the consumers’, the airport users’, expense.”

And, whaddya know? The Parrot’s morning editorials are now sponsored by Virgin Blue.

Money and mutual enemies, or so it seems to us humble ornithologists, appear to be a vital part of the decision to pick and stick.

Other observations

Before we go, the Bird Watching Team has a couple of other interesting observations to share from our time out in the field this week.

We don’t know if any others have noticed it, but there’s barely been a caw from the Parrot on the subject of respite care since that spectacular interview with the Prime Minister when he really got the claws out. Has he been told to stay on his perch and behave?

Our Feathered Friend was on about the Kokoda Trail last week. He didn’t get to talk to the PM, but on Thursday he was able to interview Bronwyn Bishop who somehow made it up there on a very dodgy mobile line. Readers will be pleased to know that Bronnie is still a media tart.

And finally, Stephanie was back comparing Steven Martin’s decision to resign with the valour of our boys in the New Guinea campaign. It wasn’t one of her better commentaries and not very logical, either but she deserves marks for trying.

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]

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW