Media man Kevin

5.30am interview. The media are as troublesome and unwieldy a group of moppets as ever there was. I see them every day as they come up against me, the padrone of press conferences, and I’m yet to be bettered, matched, outwitted or embarrassed.

Of course one has favourites. Fawning admiration, accolades and adulation do not go unnoticed. And yes, there are problem children in the press corp. Well, working Australians, working families, ordinary mums and dads doing it tough, they know a gormless clodhopper when they see one. And I’m not just referring to Steve Price. One quietly seethes to one’s press secretaries about the ridicule one is held up to.

Am I peeved, for example, by Andrew Bolt? In this game you have to go with the rough and tumble, that’s life. And frankly, Bolt’s a few rallies short of a pogrom. He hasn’t got it in him to stand for office and face the scrutiny he demands of others. Of course, he’ll deny that. But then again, he’ll deny anything: climate change, the stolen generation, injustices at Guantanamo Bay, Malcolm Fraser.

Am I too thin-skinned when it comes to the facsimile columns of Piers Akerman? Firstly, if the man chooses to be a fat toad f-cker, then far be it for me to resort to childish name calling. Secondly, if Mr Akerman chooses to wear a flannelette shirt on Insiders, then so be it. I’m sure I’m not the only viewer to switch on their television on a Sunday morning only to splutter their vegemite toast over the bed sheets.

What do I make of Janet Albrechtsen’s constant attacks on me and my minions? To be honest — and the Australian people expect their prime minister to be straight with them — I find Ms Albrechtsen a rather despondent person. So unhappy. So glum. Ditto for Neil Mitchell, an opaque autopilot of monumental mediocrity. I sleepwalk through his interviews. Boring. Same with Mike Carlton. A somnambulist would deliver better entertainment value.

My relationship with Alan Jones has likewise been the subject of speculation, given the way I fawn in his presence. Can I just say this; Jonestown is a disgraceful and disgusting biography, especially those photos on pages 56, 57 and 124. Jones is a respected, generous supporter of many causes, as I told him in the 5,073 letters I wrote to him when I was in opposition. He proudly supports young athletes, he is a pillar of the community, a tireless worker for those on struggle street and an astute political commentator. Plus, his own brand of coffee is a favourite in my office.

Then you’ve got your Virginia Tripolis and Butch Cassidys and Leon Byners and David Spears and Madonna Kings and the lesser marsh mellows all tackling the great orator — but they’re cannon fodder at best. Bantamweights. And there is occasionally banter too. I accept that in this life not everyone will agree with you. That’s just a fact and you deal with it, especially in these tough economic times.

The point is this: I’ve been interviewed by just about every goon, jackass, bozo, dimwit and ignorant numbskull this great country, Australia, has to offer and I’ve learned this: stick to FM radio.

Working people want me to be on every news bulletin and in every newspaper. When I meet working people, ordinary mums and dads, organ donors and elite athletes, you know what they say to me? They say “we love you Kev” and “you’re the best prime minister ever” and “why isn’t there a news show just about you” and “you’re a pasty git”.

Am I Mr Media Choreographed, A Man of Inaction, A Talker Not a Doer, a Control Freak; a Foul Mouthed Pr-ck who is the Maker of Unreasonable Demands on my underlings? Despite what the plaques on the office wall state, these are matters for the Australian people to decide.

I return to my favourite media crèche, the Sunrise program…

Transcript: Sunrise. PM/Mel/Kochie:

MEL: The PM joins us in the studio, good morning Your Wonderfulness.

PM: Good to be here. Good to be back. Good to be talking to ordinary folks. Good to have my bottom sponged dry.

MEL: With FuelWatch Your Sparkiliness, you’ve got public servants — is that what they’re called? — who are paid to advise you. And they’re saying that it won’t work, that we’ll be paying more for petrol. Why are you going against their advice?

PM: Well, let me just say this bimbo-brain, there is an organisation out there and it’s called the ACCC. And you know something else, it’s Australia’s competition watchdog. It’s there, paid for by the Government, to provide advice. Something your stylist needs to do more of.

Can I just make this point? There are a whole lot of other factors out there affecting the global fuel price — even a creature from the blonde lagoon like you should know about those. But, your question is, what advice do I take? I take the advice of the competition watchdog. They came out with a conclusion. And frankly, what would happen in this debate today if all that evidence then went out into the public domain? We’d be f-cked.

KOCHIE: Mr Brilliant, a lot of the independents are saying, “hey, if we’ve got to signal our price the day before, it takes away a lot of the flexibility for us to whip in a price drop during the day, we’re sort of locked in for that 24 hours”?

PM: Yeah well, what would independents know? The point is this, you bald headed fantasizer, I take the side of consumers. I love a consumer, battling in these tough economic times. Now, if you’re a consumer, my question to myself is this: why shouldn’t the consumers of Australia have access to that information, knowing that it’s going to be that way for the 24 hours ahead? And let me answer that. Because at present, all that information is only had by the major oil companies. So, in this debate, and this has been my challenge to the Liberals, either you side with consumers, the ordinary mums and dads, the working families; or you take the side of Satan.

MEL: Quick question My Liege, on the leaks and all the information that has been coming out … you’re pretty confident it wasn’t a Cabinet colleague. Have you gone around and asked each of the Ministers? And if you find out who it was, whether it’s come from the public service or elsewhere, what will you do?

PM: Well look you poster child for stupification, the process you go through here is that I’m absolutely confident of how my team works. I mean, I know them all, we’ve debated this matter as a Cabinet, and you know the folk that you’re working with. And you know how you got to a particular decision. And in doing that, there’s always disagreements internally. But that’s normal. And let me just say this, when I find the undermining disloyal f-ckface who told the media that FuelWatch is a $20 million waste of taxpayers’ money, I’ll have them seconded to Justine Elliot’s office.

KOCHIE: Now I don’t believe this for a moment Sir, however a lot of newspaper editorials are saying that the honeymoon is over, the training wheels are off. Is the honeymoon over?

PM: Oh, look, people will make their judgments about me over time. And that judgment might be, “you’re the greatest leader ever” or it may be “you’re a precious show pony”. That’s the rough and tumble we all face in this game. I mean, I’ve been leader of the Labor Party now since the end of 2006 and, look, the business of being a national political leader is there are some weeks that go well, there are some terms that go badly.

MEL: Busy weekend Mr Pumice Buttocks?

PM: I wish I knew what I was doing. I’m here in Sydney, it’s Friday. I’m heading to Brisbane from here. Then Adelaide, Caracas, the Black Hole of Calcutta, back to Canberra and then back to the great state of Queensland later today.

KOCHIE: Because you still get out on the street, don’t you? You’re still a cool dude in your local electorate. You take your, sort of, card table out onto the sidewalk and just chat with people? Aren’t you the hippest, guru-like, loveable and even — can I say this — you’re rather hot, aren’t you?

PM: Well, that’s not for me to judge. But let me just say this Mel and Kochie, I am my own Viag-a.

KOCHIE: Thanks for joining us. Good to see you Your Splendiferousness.

PM: Thanks for having me on the program when I demand it.

Tomorrow: Wanker, part four.

Peter Fray

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