ABC Friends News

Pro-RN Story in Saturday Paper “Gadfly” Column


Saturday Paper – Sat 1 April 2017

By Richard Ackland*

Gadfly took a leisurely drive along the Hume Highway to Canberra and what a treat to have Radio National for company.

By the Mittagong turnoff there was James Carleton’s show “God Forbid” with an item on the advantage of being white, leading into a top-rate discussion on 18C with academics Helen Pringle and Iain Benson. Hands down it was one of the liveliest talks on this well-worn topic since Dr Andreas Bolt (BA-in-waiting) had trouble with his fair-skinned Aborigines.

As I turned onto the Federal Highway, Richard Fidler was in conversation with British journalist and author Decca Aitkenhead on the drowning death of her husband in Jamaica. This was no ordinary husband: he was a reformed crim and crack addict who had spent an inordinate part of his life in pub car parks wholesaling drugs.

On the way back home there was Sir Phillip Adams’ interview with David Marr on Marr’s Pauline Hanson essay, and Damien Carrick’s “Law Report” dealing with divergent decisions from the European Court of Justice on the sacking of women who wore the hijab to work, plus a British case about a temporary receptionist who lost her job for not wearing heels at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The intersection of dress codes with the law is a neglected topic, but not on Radio National. And thank God for that. There have been disturbing signs that former Moloch trusty and now ABC chief Michelle Guthrie doesn’t “get” RN, but more recently there have been smoke signals that the new ABC chairman, Justin Milne, is quite keen on the network.

Frankly, you could scrap large chunks of the ABC and the nation wouldn’t lose any sleep – but not so with the eccentric and informative RN.

*Richard Ackland is the publisher of Justinian. He is The Saturday Paper’s diarist-at-large and legal affairs editor.