On Alan Sunderland

Joe Boswell writes: Re. ” Alan Sunderland sent a video to ABC staff saying everything is fine” (Friday)

Thanks for reporting the video by ABC’s head of editorial policies, Alan Sunderland, which he says he made in response to “comments in some quarters that the ABC was bowing to government pressure.” 

This is a variation on the notorious non-apology that begins “If I have offended anyone…” . The problem the ABC must recognise and address is not ” comments in some quarters”. The problem is the ABC “bowing to government pressure” , thereby betraying its own journalists and independent editorial standards. Sunderland’s shameless assertions that the ABC has not buckled and is doing everything right is a comedy classic. It compares well with a famous line in the Marx brothers film Duck Soup, though maybe Sunderland needs to work on his timing and find a Margaret Dumont to be the butt of his best lines. Perhaps Emma Alberici would volunteer? It would give her something less thankless to do for the ABC instead of wasting her talent writing unnecessarily accurate and informative articles concerning government tax policy. 

On questions of “character” 

Pjp writes: Re. “Character comes to the fore but not in the way the government hoped” (Friday)

Is this it? Is this modern politics Australian style? Is this all that our contemporary bunch of politicians have to offer? Incompetence, anger and outrage, and snouts in the trough? Devoid of wit and intelligence and refusing to govern for the good of all? Is this truly what it’s all about?

Does one grow numb to the outrage of it all? Or is it best to resign oneself to day after day of this grey stodge being served up to us all as Australia’s model for effective government and good governance? I don’t know. I spent the Howard/Rudd/Guillard/Rudd/Abbott years out of the country safe in the arms of a European social democracy. So I truly don’t know how to cope with this.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey