Rob Astbury writes:

For the
past six years I have resided and worked in Thailand but I am proudly Australian,
or I was until last weekend.

Australian expatriates living in south east Asia are fortunate that ABC Asia Pacific
television provides a service comprising the best programs from the ABC and the
Australian commercial networks, with the notable exception of The Footy
Show
!

Last
Saturday I invited two friends from the UK to my home in Pattaya to watch the
AFL preliminary final which was followed by Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope. My friends
are soccer fanatics but they seemed to enjoy the live telecast, once I had
explained the rules. However, the real motivation for accepting my invitation
was to watch the controversial interview with Mark
Latham.

Well
aware of the furore surrounding the publication of Mark Latham’s book, I had
told my friends that Mark was interviewed on Denton’s show last week and we
were all particularly keen to watch the program. You can imagine my
embarrassment when Mark appeared in his previous role as the Shadow Treasurer.
Although the REPEAT program and the interview with Mark was interesting and
entertaining, it was terribly dated considering what transpired last week. I
really felt like I had been conned and was extremely
disappointed.

Recently, ABC Asia Pacific has been heavily promoting
its programs including sport, the best Australian drama, children’s programs
and the latest news service and features. I accept that repeats are inevitable
but surely those responsible could have programmed a different edition of the
Denton show to
avoid the frustration and embarrassment that resulted for its expatriate
viewers. Instead, in a few minutes ABC Asia Pacific destroyed all the
good work it has done recently in promoting its
service and credibility.

The
fact is, ABC Asia Pacific has the responsibility for placing Australia and
our image on the world stage. Surely someone must be held accountable for what I
feel was a bad programming mistake.

When
many expatriates from the UK refer to Australians they appear
to take great delight with the tongue in cheek expression, “One must make
allowances for the Australians, after all they are all convicts anyway!” And
that was the comment my guests made when they realised we had been duped and
were watching a very dated replay of Enough Rope.

Peter Fray

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