TONGUE OF THE DAY

by Ross Sharp

I cannot think of a more succinct summation of one of the many reasons I avoid this show, and others like it …

Ben Pobjie on Monday’s (October 8) “Q&A”

… This wasn’t a rowdy debate where everyone was talking over one another. This wasn’t someone feeling so passionately about a subject he just had to break in to be heard. And this was not a case of one or two interruptions. This was interrupting, cutting off, and shouting down Kate Ellis pretty much every time she dared open her mouth, in a manner that couldn’t have been more efficient and systematic if Tanner, Pyne and Akerman had got together beforehand and plotted the course of the evening out on a spreadsheet. This was Akerman preventing Ellis getting her point out simply by repeating the word “shadecloths” four or five times, as if that was a counter-argument that would shoot her down; or later on, breaking in to an answer she was giving on education in order to kindly tell her to go and talk to Margie Abbott. This was Ellis attempting to answer an audience member’s question but being drowned out by Pyne and Tanner starting up a conversation about Downton Abbey as if she wasn’t even there. And this was Pyne in particular (and this is pretty much his lifelong form line) talking over the top of the minister every single time she looked like getting near speaking her piece. It was a horrible display by three men who, according to all reports, claim to be grown adults of fully-functioning intellectual faculties. But in the presence of a federal minister whose views on a range of issues are actually quite important to the country, but who happened to be a woman, they could not find it within themselves to grow the hell up and act like decent human beings. And, what’s more, host Tony Jones seemed quite happy to let them stomp all over the discussion like a pack of St Bernards tracking mud over a carpet …

… Bear in mind, again, this is a minister. Not just a woman who wandered in off the streets, but an accomplished, elected representative, in a position of considerable responsibility with significant influence on our government. Patronised and shut down like a schoolgirl answering back to the principal. It was, to put quite mildly, revolting.

I saw a couple minutes of this behaviour last night whilst flipping channels, and that was all I needed to see.

It’s shit.

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