Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders usually don’t agree on much during an election year. And as law-abiding citizens who want to set a good example, Prime Ministers and Opposition Leaders are usually very careful not to meddle with the wheels of justice.

But, of course, the rules are different when it comes to Alan Jones. Which is why John Howard and Kevin Rudd (as well as Communications Minister Helen Coonan) fell over themselves to issue forthright statements this week in support of the broadcaster who had just been officially excoriated by the federal government’s own regulatory watchdog, ACMA.

Alan Jones arouses controversy wherever he goes, and that’s the way he likes it. Jones shamelessly trades his insidious, scheming and highly dubious influence, not only spraying his elderly, conservative radio audience with his views, but privately wheeling and dealing influence with media owners, politicians, business people and anyone else who is seduced into his networking web. All based on his well-enunciated “stick and pick” philosophy, which ensures stickers are rewarded with Jones patronage while non-stickers face the prospect of public and private condemnation.

As tacky as it is, what Alan Jones says on air is not the real problem. What is far worse is the pathetic spectacle of the country’s heavyweight political leaders rushing to defend a squawking Parrot who has them grovelling at his feet because they fear the consequences of not doing so.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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