Terry Television shrugged off his hangover and soaked up all the post-election television on Sunday morning.

Terry Television spent election night listening and chatting to friends. No Toy Story for him, or even the Ten Network’s forgettable collection of American crime shows, such as Monk.

It was not a night we can be happy about. Like all old blokes of Terry’s vintage the night peaked too early-90 minutes after counting started at 6 pm Michael Kroger rightly called it over. It was so clear that we didn’t even miss Richo until the Sphere had called it over!. Richo still must be hampered by some small matters in the Swiss banking industry!

And like all affairs involving the ancient, the infirm and the slightly dotty, we were left watching the ABC and Nine Network struggling to make the afterglow appear climatic. We all know it takes a lot of time at our age to recover, especially in Television.

The Seven and Ten Networks could have dropped their updates after 9pm and had a small news break at 10.30pm and then continued with whatever they were doing. It would have been more interesting.

And the obviousness of the government’s win made the morning after the night before on Sunday just as hard to get enthused about. There was the Sphere on Sunday accurately taking the whole thing apart and making the point that it was a loss plain and simple.

And on Seven a smug Grahame Morris, Howard’s adviser and former Chief of Staff, was telling Labor’s Tanya Plibersek that the ALP should be looking at a six year plan! And Tanya telling him and whoever was watching that John Howard had won a term too many in his fourth. Well, that might very well be, but we’ll have to wait a few years to judge the accuracy of both comments. And Wayne Swan on Saturday night saying Latham only had 10 months to make an impression. That’s pretty thin.

And on Aunty’s Insiders, The Grave Father, Paul Kelly, making the point about the blow to Labor and Latham, and the Senate position. On Labor ” I think it was bad. He did campaign well, but it was the wrong campaign”, intoned Fr Paul. A “vote on experience and record” the Grave Father added.

So how were the Sunday morning shows? Business Sunday got its act together and did a judicious mix of business and politics because that’s where the action will be over the next year. Industrial relations, the sale of Telstra for example. All big issues for business, not political junkies.

Despite the stronger vote, the Greens are dead as a ‘friend’ of the Labor Party. And Bob Brown is going to have to start talking about politics and outcomes and not the ‘fairies in the Styx Valley’ type of approach to political life.

Business Sunday had a panel of a businessman, an economist and a union leader, as well as an interview with an obviously wounded Senator Stephen Conroy. Watching the defeated in any game (and we’ve seen it in the previous two weekends in the AFL and NRL Grand Finals), is hard. And Conroy was stoic, but still stunned.

Seven’s Sunday Sunrise had the dynamic duo of Morris and Tanya, and they did as well, with glee and gloom (but isn’t Tanya a political pro. Belted with a good combination from a Government with a leader she doesn’t like, she was up off the canvass on Sunday morning swinging!)

The Insiders went for the operatives and chat as did Sunday, which also had a nice profile of John Howard. But there’s a message in all this for the Sunday morning programs. That for all the talk, chat, soft and hard questions, the great viewing public can only take so much.

After all Toy Story on Seven did the job for viewers on Saturday evening, not the Sphere and Ray boy on Nine or Red Kerry and Antony Green on the ABC. It was as though having voted for the Prime Rodent and his mob, many voters chose not to be reminded of their decision.

Elsewhere both Michael Pascoe on Sunday Sunrise and Ali Moore on Business Sunday looked at Rupert’s rollover on shareholder governance. Pascoe talked to Michael O’Sullivan of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors and Ali Moore talked to Institutional Shareholder Services of the US which forced the big rollover on Rupert.

But how big? Pascoe inferred quite strongly that John Malone in particular (holding of 9% of News) ‘could drive a truck through’ what had been agreed by the funds and News, while the ISS guy had a good line, “Trust but verify” when asked whether he and ISS ‘trusted’ Rupert.

However, there was a nice reminder of just who owns Business Sunday when Ross Greenwood, the ‘Finance Editor” of the Nine Network, did a little package which resembled a ‘house advertisement’ on The Bulletin magazine’s Smart 100, with James Packer the star turn!

It’s a pity that James Packer won’t expose himself to questions, even from a genuflecting Ross Greenwood, about the PBL results, media policy and other issues on which his thoughts would be far more interesting than the Smart 100.

We’ve remarked before that Geoff Dixon’s win in the business part of the Smart awards was all a bit incestuous, given that James Packer sits on the Qantas board and the closeness of the business dealings with PBL with magazine publishing and friendship with CEO John Alexander. I think The Bulletin has got the better part of the deal on this Smart 100 series than Business Sunday!

The ABC’s Inside Business matched the others by going the Business Sunday route by talking to the Business Council head, Hugh Morgan and ACTU Secretary Greg Combet.

In the past Business Sunday would have gone for the top business-union spokesman for separate interviews. Being a Melbourne-centric program, Inside Business was helped by having both Morgan and Combet located close to the studio for the live interviews on Sunday morning.

The Melbourne-centric approach was emphasised by having the NAB economist, Alan Oster and market commentator, Marcus Pedley in the studio. The ABC obviously doesn’t have the will or the money to fire up a studio in Sydney to give the appearance of a national program, unlike Business Sunday which had unionist Bill Shorten and Senator Stephen Conroy interstate.

Morgan and Combet contributed as much to the debate as did Business Sunday’s panel and Stephen Conroy. But after the political Insiders, who was watching Inside Business more than a hour later? Inside Business at least attacked the story full on, and live, which is the name of the game.

And after Sunday on Nine had finished, summer started with the first one day interstate cricket match between NSW and Queensland from the Gabba. Bring on the jacarandas and the cicadas!

Peter Fray

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