It seems former One Nation politician David Oldfield, suspended from shock jock duties at Sydney’s 2UE for insensitive comments on asylum seekers, just can’t help himself, taking yet another opportunity to cause offence on the issue during an appearance on Sky News’ The Nation last week, which, despite the best attempts of Sky’s political chief David Speers to tweet up interest, has largely passed unremarked.
Oldfield, mysteriously dropped from 2GB’s lineup in March, switched to rival 2UE but was dumped just three days into a fill-in role in the Sydney station’s drive shift after disgusting listeners with suggestions asylum seekers should be “fried” or “barbecued” on electric fences if they tried to flee detention centres.
But despite his radio career remaining in limbo over the gaffe, Oldfield appeared on Speers’ show to discuss the asylum seeker issue alongside Sydney Morning Herald journalist David Marr, Labor MP David Bradbury and Liberal MP Stuart Robert.
Hosted by Speers, the live broadcast featured fiery exchanges on the Rudd government’s approach to immigration compared to its Coalition predecessors, thanks mainly to the tension between Oldfield and Marr:
(NB: The rivalry is nowhere near as good on the show’s audio feed without the facial expressions and body language)
Marr was clearly unimpressed with Oldfield’s contribution, at one stage describing him as “a disgusting human being”. And when the cameras stopped rolling at Sydney’s Silk Studios after the hour-long show, it was clear Marr was still peeved.
Dispelling any notion the pair’s on-air theatrics were somehow concocted, their differences spilled backstage when Oldfield went to shake Marr’s hand as he departed the studio.
Marr refused to oblige, instead offering Oldfield a blunt but forceful: “F-ck off, you racist”.
Minutes later, Oldfield declined an invitation to join Marr and Speers for an after-show beverage in the studio’s green room, admitting: “I think I’ve caused David enough stress tonight.”
Studio boss Harry Michaels — considered an expert in directing live television — decided to personally direct the broadcast.
“Let’s just say I could see their body language and expressions showed they had little time for each other. I wouldn’t have been doing my job if I didn’t allow viewers to see that too,” said Michaels, a former star of the iconic Number 96 television series.
Oldfield has been bucketed for his media comments numerous times since hitting the airwaves after a lacklustre parliamentary career that included an infamous stint as adviser to Pauline Hanson. In fact, in 2008 Media Watch branded him a “racist wing nut” in a compilation of gaffes.
Oldfield is yet to make a return to the airwaves, but the 2UE bosses would probably be thinking very carefully about whether they can afford any more on-air slip ups given the Fairfax Media-owned station could soon face a legal financial blow, the legacy of its former daytime shock jock Steve Price.
Australia’s best known “cougar” Charmayne Palavi is suing 2UE in the NSW District Court after Price, along with gossip reporter Peter Ford, made some disparaging remarks about her on air, The radio station failed to have the matter struck out nine months ago and could now face a bumper payout when the matter is finally dealt with by the courts in September.
Palavi appeared in the same Four Corners program on the ABC that named NRL player Matthew Johns as being involved in a group s-x incident that sparked a police investigation.