One of the practical problems for political parties is finding a way to get their message across to young Australians. Those 18 year olds vote but they don’t buy newspapers and only watch the television news by accident. And forget about AM , PM and The World Today. With young people those serious programs so beloved by we political junkies do not rate at all.

Horrifying as it might be to the serious minded, it is the comics like Rove McManus on Channel 10 and The Chaser team on the ABC that are a primary source of political information for the young, and that should be a very worrying thing for John Howard and his Government. As anyone who watched Rove straight after Australian Idol last night would know, our Prime Minister has become a figure of fun rather than a respected leader. Watch the video here.

Rove began by likening Mr Howard to herpes – you cannot get rid of him – and followed with a cutting, if humorous, analysis of the absurdity of having a man contest an election while promising that the job will be handed over to Peter Costello. If Mr Costello is fit for the job, why not give it to him now?

The verdict was not much better last Sunday night either with the Rove monologue introducing his show beginning with the comment on the Sydney APEC Conference and its security: “Whenever someone comes here from overseas John Howard has to lock them away behind a fence.”

Forget about Kerry O’Brien, Tony Jones and Laurie Oakes. Start looking at the really influential commentators.

Rove McManus. A commentator with real influence:

“John Howard is like herpes – you cannot get rid of him!”

Peter Helliar. Had fun on Rove’s show with those Joe Hockey references likening John Howard to the great Sir Don Bradman:

“The Don at least knew when to declare. The Don’s average of 99.94 is the age at which John Howard will hand over.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey