Malcolm Turnbull appears to want to mend fences with shock jock Alan Jones, reaching out to the broadcaster to end his office’s boycott of 2GB. Jones, full of confidence in his own influence, says Turnbull needs to appear on his program or his election chances are sunk. He told The Australian:
“We have had this kind of nonsense in the past with people like [Kevin] Rudd and [Julia] Gillard and even Paul Keating. I simply have said that no one has ever won an election by not appearing on my program.”
But like Rupert Murdoch’s prized possession itself, Jones might be overstating his own case a bit (The Australian has backed the wrong horse almost 40% of the time since the 1975 constitutional crisis). Jones’ audience share is dropping, from 19% of the Sydney market in 2011 to 15% last year. And he has just 5% of the Brisbane market.
It is true that John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and even Julia Gillard appeared on his program. But you know who else has spoken to Jones? Kim Beazley, Mark Latham and just about everyone running for federal office, win or lose.
Jones’ audience is older and more conservative than the Australian population, and their numbers are dwindling. Maybe it’s time for Turnbull to show the right-wing shock jock that he’s not the kingmaker he thinks he is.