Alan Jones (Image: AAP/Dan Peled)

The Victorian Liberals put politics over health again, Kristy McBain’s campaign launch has a few teething problems, and why is Graham Richardson a protected species at the Oz? Plus other tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

Always be culture warring Victorian Liberals appear to be putting party politics ahead of science (does that sound familiar?) in their desperation to kick Victorian Premier Dan Andrews.

Following the mini-COVID outbreak, federal Senator Sarah Henderson and state Liberal MP Tim Smith both accused Andrews of hypocrisy for not blaming it on the Black Lives Matter protest in the state a few weeks ago.

One point they are slightly eliding: as I write, there have been no community based transmissions linked back to the BLM protest. Not one.

The future of tomorrow is today How does one run an election campaign in lockdown? Yesterday’s launch for Kristy McBain’s Eden-Monaro run might give us a clue. The Zoom-based event took place at McBain’s home and was hosted by Senator Katy Gallagher in “fairly passable morning show” host mode.

There were a lot of technical problems familiar to anyone who’s used Zoom to do anything, with live crosses to various Labor branches being at first silent, then loud, then silent again — all the while, McBain and Gallagher’s encouraging smile frozen on their faces — before being abandoned all together.

All up though, Zoom campaign launches might be a go in the future, even post-lockdown. Apart from the kitchen counter, “I’m just like you” vibe the domestic setting provides (McBain’s husband seems awfully nice), the controlled setting means no loose talk for a journalist to overhear, no ability to bail up the candidate with an unexpected question, and, most important, no way of gauging just how flat Anthony Albanese’s “the Liberals probably think Eden-Monaro is just another car that doesn’t get made in Australia anymore” joke really fell.

News Corp watch Amid calls today for more “community heroes” to be given Australia’s top awards, The Australian has singled out ex-broadcaster Mike Carlton as one of the problem recipients.

But the Oz has neglected to mention the outrage generated by the award of a Queen’s birthday gong to former senator (and current Oz columnist and Sky pundit) Graham Richardson. Richardson might have a record as a political fixer, NSW ALP factional heavy and a history of questionable business dealings — but at the Murdoch empire’ “our Graham” seems to be a protected species.

Parrot dropping (in ratings) So Alan Jones will be taking up a four nights a week gig on Sky News next month, announced with an “exclusive” in the News Corp tabloids on the weekend.

The gig will mean an end to his double headers with Peta Credlin and Graham Richardson. They averaged around 55,000 to 60,000 viewers nationally a night. If he keeps those numbers up, it will be less than half his 2GB audience in the first radio ratings survey of 2020.

Shooting his Bolt This morning Andrew Bolt put out one of his sparkling additions to the discourse, calling journalist Osman Faruqi and writer Michelle Law “race hustlers”.

Apart from anything else, it doesn’t seem like it’s been legalled yet. Fasten your seatbelts.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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