New South Wales

Sep 6, 2017

What Utopia can teach us about the Federal Court’s recent coal port decision

In this case, what happened in Utopia was actually less ridiculous than the real-life equivalent, writes former board member of Prime Minister and Premiers Road Reform Project Luke Fraser.

A recent episode of ABC television’s satire Utopia featured political spivs trying to convince the fictional Nation Building Authority to endorse anti-competitive conditions on a multibillion-dollar port asset sale. Head of that authority, Tony Woodford -- played beautifully by Rob Sitch -- resisted valiantly. Shortly thereafter, a newspaper review criticised Utopia thus:

"… the writers of Utopia make their point by reducing pivotal players in the policy formation process to idiots. (They) are straw men, delivering obviously untenable arguments, which guide the viewer to think no one in government knows what they are talking about. It’s a lazy critique, but the writers get away with it because the viewers are entirely sympathetic. Lampooning 'those clowns in Canberra' is hardly a controversial undertaking."

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