Terry Television was once again feverishly channel surging from 8am till 11am on Sunday morning taking in all the chat shows to produce this review.

Business Sunday with The Bulletin (BSWTB), Sunday Sunrise, Inside Business, Sunday, Meet the Press and Insiders – what aheady group of agenda setters each Sunday morning.

So how did they go this Sunday with their agenda setting? Sunday won with Laurie Oakes and Peter Costello because of the conjunction with the looming Reserve Bank move on interest rates.

Costello also looked a bit defensive as well on the WA poll results. He would never have wanted anything to do with Colin’s Canal, but his self interested footwork on interest rates, like that of Prime Minister Howard on Friday, shows how short of ideas and arguments the two are when pressed to discuss current events. Great on history, poor on policy.

Insiders looked at the WA poll, as did Sunday. Apart from the Sydney riot, that was the news story of the morning.

Seven’s Sunday Sunrise and Business Sunday with the Bulletin had honourable mentions with commentary, as did Inside Business. Meet the Press?

BSWTB is moving quickly to be an hour version of Sunday, but without the edge of Laurie Oakes interviews or a voice like the old Business Sunday had with Michael Pascoe’s Extraordinary Items gossip column. It’s a very muted program.

At least Terry McCrann was talking about interest rates. There was precious little chance for the story to be covered elsewhere, except in the interview with legendary stockbroker/fund manager Bruce Teele of AFIC, which it wasn’t.

Meet the Press on Ten looked at Iraq with the main interview a talk with Defence Minister Robert Hill. Where were the questions on WA, to make the program current? The return of the Gallop Government was mentioned off the top.

Sorry folks but the country is drifting back to domestic issues this week: the WA poll fallout and the interest rates and economy questions.

On BSWTB Ross Greenwood at times seemed to be answering the questions he was firing at people in the first part of the superannuation forum. Quite an achievement.

Ali Moore did a good job with the story on the brawl over the broadcasting of racing in Australia, which gave you a sense of the absurdity of the situation. When will the dopes in the NSW and Victorian Race Clubs come to understand that they depend on the drip of money from Tabcorp and the respective state governments?

If ever there was an industry in desperate need of rationalisation, it’s the racing industry, from horses, to dogs and the trots. Too many meetings in too many small towns and cities across Australasia. The provincialism and greed of the NSW and Victoria racing clubs though, was on full display.

The superannuation game is another where rationalisation is long overdue, especially among the fat cats who are getting fatter in a boom market, which is very, very easy to do.

Why Business Sunday did a story on the value of the Chinese currency is beyond me except to say that it got Karen Tso’s head up on the program. It was as far off the pace as anything that’s appeared on the program this year. No mention, for example, of how the Chinese Government has been using export taxes to try and slow the volume of exports in textiles, clothing and footwear after world wide controls on these products disappeared last month.

Nor was there much linking to the way the likes of Pacific Brands, Woolworths and Coles Myer are using China as sources of supply.
Just a brief chat to Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman who had the hide to suggest, unchallenged, that Australia might have to think of tariffs on imports from China!

Strike me lucky! Is that business hypocrisy at its worst? Right after we have just lowered tariffs on the TCF products and cars.

Gerry Harvey was allowed to get away with this rubbish when his group has been exploiting China’s lower costs for years and making money. What do his shareholders think of his musings in favour of higher tariffs, that old fashioned and not too bright idea?

Ross Greenwood also talked to Bruce Teele of AFIC in a curiously ‘light’ interview. Read it for yourself here and wonder why not one question was broadcast (assuming it was asked!) on interest rates and the impact on the market.

Teele’s company has a $3.5 billion dollar portfolio and should have been asked about what the RBA Governor said a week ago and what’s been going on in the market. It was also a poorly shot and recorded interview and the redness in the colour of both Teele and Greenwood did neither any favour.

I just loved the plug for The Bulletin and the cover story this week on how Andrew Mohl plans to boost the AMP. The first thing he can do is hope the stockmarket doesn’t fall, because when it does, the AMP and a host of other listed fund managers, cash boxes and the like are not going to be pretty places to be. Is The Bulletin paying real cold cash for all these plugs?

The bad days of 2001-2003 are still in many minds in the market and they know that when the downturn comes, that’s what it could be like. It would have been nice to have heard Bruce Teele’s opinion on that line of thinking.

Over on Seven’s Sunday Sunrise, Michael Pascoehad two good interviews with IAG’s Michael Hawker and Paul Little of Toll Holdings, but both were too short. Sunday Sunrise suffers from being too male. Where is Chris Bath who was there earlier in the year.

Both of Pascoe’s interviews looked at two very profitable companies in different industries, insurance (IAG) and transport (Toll).

With Little, who arguably should have been on Business Sunday, you got a good idea of the huge changes happening in transport and logistics and Pascoe showed how to link events last week to events coming up in the shadow of Tuesday’s RBA board meeting.

Over on the ABC’s Inside Business, a worthy interview of Phil Green of Babcock and Brown and a couple of curly questions for Mr Green, which he handled not badly.

Inside Business had a nice story on Rupert’s mum. Anyone who is good as she is at 96 deserves to make their tonne! There was also a nice informed yarn on the change in TV ratings, a story you wouldn’t see on Business Sunday or Sunday Sunrise, would you?

Sunday, Business Sunday (with or without The Bulletin), Meet The Press, Sunday Sunrise, Insiders and Inside Business are among the most important current affairs programs of the week. They are worthy, at times dull and boring, but at least they are agenda setters and a chance for the various networks to speak to highly important groups and networks in the community.

Peter Fray

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