A memo to all ABC staff regarding the use of inappropriate language in comedy programs has been leaked to Crikey via investigative satirist Ben Pobjie

MEMO: All Staff

Re: Acceptable Terms for Political Commentary.

Due to recent complaints over the terminology used by a certain satirical program to describe certain members of the political class, all ABC employees are requested to abide by the new guidelines enumerated below, which set out what is and is not acceptable speech on the national broadcaster.

Acceptable profanities — swearing should be limited to these words:

  • Blast
  • Bother
  • Sugar
  • Flipping
  • Bum (only after 10pm)
  • Cranky
  • Poo

Acceptable references — avoid reference to personal attributes of public figures, other than the following:

  • Untucked shirts
  • Split ends
  • Poor penmanship
  • Holding a knife and fork weirdly
  • Shiny pants
  • Egg stains
  • Ugly children

Acceptable subject matter — if satirical programs wish to “poke fun” at current affairs, these topics are suggested as more appropriate for the general ABC audience:

  • People who try to take more than 12 items through express checkouts
  • How music today never has a proper tune
  • The high price of veterinary care
  • Midsomer Murders
  • Kids with their underpants showing
  • Cars with their indicators on even though they’re not changing lanes

Please stick to these guidelines going forward


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Michelle Guthrie

Our media landscape is amongst the most concentrated in the democratic world. Big media businesses are marred by big media interests. If you want the full, untainted picture on important issues — our environment, corruption, political competence, our culture, our economy — Crikey is required reading.

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