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 exploring psittaciformes psychology in an attempt to unlock one of the great unknowns do parrots use their brain before they squawk.

Most parrots tend to limit their conversation to “Who’s a pretty boy, then?”. Not our feathered friend. He can’t shut up.

Like Wednesday, for example. After all the dramas over the Canterbury Bulldogs and their Oasis pokie palace, you’d think he have kept his head under his wing. Not our Parrot.

Even though the Dodgy Doggies won’t be able to get their grand dream off the ground without pokie revenue, the Parrot said that was all irrelevant and that all they were talking about was new Leagues club premises. He then went on to bag Big Al Constantinidis, saying he was the source of all the negative leaks on the Doggies and the Oasis after all, no-one is writing nasty articles on him.

And guess what? None of this seemed to find its way onto the 2GB home page, where you’d think it would sit very comfortably with the transcripts of the rest of the Parrot’s words.

This has lead the Bird Watching team to ask if our particular Parrot thinks before he squawks.

As ever, every day last week we got up before the break of day and were in our hide as the sun rose, ready to listen and take notes. Here are a few extracts:

Monday

Prime Miniature has pulled out at last minute. Parrot suggests he is a afraid of questions on the disabled. Gently mocks.

Tuesday

Amazing! We would have thought that the Parrot would be more into Judy than her daughter, but he speaks knowledgeably about Cabaret and praises Tina Arena’s performance. Later check transcript and discover that the show is advertising on the site. Squawks about another sponsor, Virgin Blue.

Wednesday

Completely contradicts his squawk on the Australian Democrats from Friday previous. Building Royal Commission a yawn all bent.

Thursday

Comments on credit card reforms and loyalty programs completely contradict remarks earlier in the year. More on Democrats ditto Wednesday.

Friday

Tommy Haas and Serena Williams and their outfits at the US Open.

We’ve spent the weekend analysing the results. Tuesday squawks indicates high intelligence. Making a racket that scares off the advertisers is maybe even worse than making a racket that scares off the listeners.

Friday’s comments were nothing but pure Parrot chatter, talking plumage.

The rest, however, aren’t promising. They show a very worrying tendency to squawk first and think later.

Wednesday’s sounds concerned us in particular, so we made a detailed transcript and came across these words: “All the unions are crook and all the employers are nearly crook”.

Now, that was just plain bird-brained.

Everyone knows that the go-go end of the property industry tipped in plenty of seed to make sure the Parrot’s feeder was never empty, but really!

The Parrot, like all the worthies in the Emerald City, genuflects towards the great goddess Laura Norder in fact, more so than some. That makes it astounding that he’d not only reject evidence of malfeasance at a Royal Commission, but the need for the Royal Commission itself.

From all the material trotted out at the Cole Inquiry so far, there appear to be a range of curious practices in the building industry.

And when you run through them all, who are the two groups who end up paying for them.

Yup. Those solid citizens from Struggle Street Mr Taxpayer and Mrs Consumer.

The Parrot really should think before he squawks.

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

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

ends

Now let’s take a look at last week’s Parrot Droppings column:

The Parrot goes drag

Like many other long-term Newtown residents, the Parrot takes a keen interest in drag. And this week the Parrot was cross dressing down ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope over the matter.

Drag racing, that is. The Parrot thinks drag racing is so important that he devoted his entire squawk on the Today show on Friday to the matter:

“It’s no wonder the public lose faith with elected representatives.

“And they bristle at the hypocrisy, if not the dishonesty they often see in Government.”

(Yes we’re talking matters of great importance here.)

“The Government of the A.C.T and its Chief Minister, a fellow called Jon Stanhope, are the latest to prove that a politician’s word is often not worth very much.

“In December 1998, the Canberra International Dragway closed down.

“The Liberal Government at the time sat on their hands and did nothing about it.

“So the drag racing issue was a big issue in the lead up to last year’s A.C.T election.”

“And, at the time, the Labor Party lodged a motion in the A.C.T Legislative Assembly no less, stating the significant benefits that drag racing had delivered to the A.C.T.

“And they urged the Liberal Government to enter negotiations with the Canberra International Dragway to reach an agreement for a permanent venue for drag racing in the A.C.T.

“Then Labor was elected in October last year and this bloke Jon Stanhope became Chief Minister.

“And, on June 13 this year, Labor turned their back on the Canberra International Dragway.

“Suddenly they said the benefits of a drag racing strip in Canberra had been substantially overstated.

“The same Labor Party last year lodged a motion, recognising the ‘significant benefits’ that drag racing had delivered to the A.C.T.

“Needless to say, the drag racing community in Canberra have had a gutful.

“In the lead up to the election last year, the A.L.P issued more than 7 press statements in support of the dragway.

“But that now becomes not a commitment.

“The simple question people want answered is whether or not the Labor Government of the A.C.T are going to keep the promises they made while they were in opposition.

“In relation to the Canberra drag racing facility, the bets are being laid already as to what untruth the A.C.T Government and its Chief Minister Mr. Stanhope are going to tell next.”

Stern stuff and unless he kills a kiddie blowing up some building as a stunt, Stanhope is never going to get coverage like it. So how did he respond?

Well, that’s very interesting.

The Parrot is the defacto leader of the opposition in New South Wales if not a defacto member of the cabinet.

If you want to know what happens to people who defy the Parrot or that the Parrot doesn’t like you can look at a certain commissioner of police.

But, funnily enough, the leader of the little toytown parliament in the Australian Capital Territory decided to stand up to the Parrot and told him to get stuffed:

“GOVERNMENT TO SET OWN PRIORITIES

“The ACT Government would not be blackmailed by lobby groups threatening interstate media campaigns to push their cause, Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, said today.

“Mr Stanhope said the Government would determine its own funding priorities, in the best interests of Canberrans.

” ‘The fact that dragway enthusiasts have enlisted Sydney media commentator, Alan Jones, to push their cause has no positive influence on the Government,’ he said.

” ‘Any decision we make about providing assistance to the dragway will be based on its merits against other priorities – not on any comment by Mr Jones.

” ‘That has always been our position, despite what Jones and the dragway backers are claiming.

” ‘We do support the dragway proponents in their efforts to re-establish. But we have never said we would give money or land.

” ‘In fact, four days from the election last October, my office told the Develins in writing ‘The Labor Party has been the only voice for the dragway in the Assembly . The Labor Party remains supportive of dragway racing but will not make any suggestion about possible sites or funding.’

” ‘That is still the case. There was no election commitment to fund a dragway.

” ‘What the dragway proponents and Mr Jones fail to understand is that there are many competing demands the Government has to make decisions about.

” ‘In our Budget considerations hundreds of funding bids failed to get up because there is just not enough to do everything.

” ‘For instance, we had to knock back a bid for a long overdue $5 million refurbishment of the paediatrics ward at Canberra Hospital.

” ‘Mental health, disabilities, cancer services and elective surgery all need more money. Dozens of major education initiatives, which we support, could not be funded.

” ‘Thirty thousand people in the ACT live in poverty.

” ‘What does Mr Jones suggest – that we fund the dragway over the paediatrics ward? Or mental health services, or education, or poverty, or indigenous disadvantage?

” ‘This is the essence of government – deciding funding priorities when there is never enough to support every worthy project.

” ‘The Government will continue to make these decisions in the best interests of Canberrans – not on the basis of whatever lobby group shouts loudest,’ Mr Stanhope said.”

Isn’t it ironic. The ACT Chief Minister can stand up to the Parrot because his office is so insignificant, because the electorate is so small bird-brained Parrot listeners don’t make up an element with any clout.

Stanhope is on strong ground. Canberra isn’t all Mugga Ways and embassies. Drive five minutes from Parliament House to the older parts of Narrabundah and you’re in real squalor. Go to the fringes of Civic and look at the “guvvies” the public housing. Redfern’s better.

The ACT does have a loud drag lobby after all, this is the city that hosts the hoon festival, the Summer Nats each year. But the dragway proponents haven’t been able to come up with much of a business plan other than asking for a generous dollop of taxpayer’s money.

Speaking of which, tax was another matter that got the Parrot squawking last week.

He told his audience on Tuesday “no-one on $50,000 should be paying tax”, and let us know “I will be looking at this whole question of tax reform fairly shortly”.

Strange, Parrot logic. Our feathered friend is always demanding that we spend public money and always concerned by the way it is collected.

Just one thing before we go.

The Parrot returned to the respite care issue on Wednesday, and interviewed a couple of parents caring for seriously disabled children. He also said he would interview the Prime Miniature soon and again raise the issue. Will he do it politely this time? Or has the PM caved in and approved the extra money, so Gloria can say once again what a great PM he is and how he is so attuned to the needs of battlers on struggle street?

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

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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