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Posted on 11 Aug, 2017 in The Godfather: Peter Corris | 3 comments

The Godfather: Peter Corris on bad news days

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On Friday 3 August I listened to The World Today on  ABC Radio National and made notes. ABC radio is my chief source of news and I had the impression that I’d heard nothing but bad news on this and many other similar broadcasts for as long as I could remember. Was I mistaken?

The first item dealt with ICAC’s investigation of corruption allegations against politicians. With ICAC struggling against cuts, this was a long-delayed report. Three ALP members were found to be seriously in breach of the law and the egregious former Minister for Fisheries and Mineral Resources, Eddie Obeid, already in gaol, was named as suspect on other accounts. It was as though Michael Corleone had been elected to the US Senate to further his business interests and those of his family.

Next came an unsurprising but distressing finding that young people with mental illness were disproportionately likely to become homeless.  Then a survey reported that addiction rates were higher among the LGBTI community than among the general population, with some presenting at 12 years of age. Most alarmingly, it appeared that some of the young adults had been introduced to the drugs by their parents.

The next item concerned Big Data, which I found difficult to understand. The upshot was that Australia is not as prepared for hostile forces to manipulate this data as it should be.

There followed an allegation that a particular and sizeable insurance company had somewhere managed to keep a profit, running to hundreds of millions, off its books.

Then to the US, where the stock market was down despite profits having risen and Donald Trump’s move to accept only skilled migrants. This, a plan only at this stage, is thought to be based at least in part on the Australian model. Not a cause for cheering here at home.

Following that was a heartfelt complaint from a woman whose daughter had died in Uganda, that she could not get any coherent information on the cause of death or assistance to return the body home.

My sinking heart was mildly uplifted by a report on an anti-cancer drug developed in Melbourne, which promised benefits for those with breast cancer. Its deployment, however, would be delayed for four or five years depending on clinical trials and, no doubt, commercial considerations.

The last item struck the only truly positive note. Australian winegrowers, apparently, are looking forward to an increased ‘crushing’ and to improving markets world-wide, particularly in China, for the higher-end-of-the-market product.

 Overall, to judge from this program, it seems the world is a doleful place and, where not doleful, weird. The last report conjured up images of Chinese plutocrats in the one-party Communist state sitting down to a few glasses of Grange with their Mongolian lamb.


  1. I recently had 3 week’s leave where I’d heard no news whatsoever. 3 weeks without hearing or reading the word Trump. My days were filled with discovery, human interactions, history and culture.

    Back in Australia, the first news bulletin I heard on waking up had three big stories. Trump-Kim impending nuclear war; sex-slavery in the UK; Australia’s continued leadership void towards keeping pace with global social progress on same-sex marriage equality.

    Tuning out is a very attractive proposition.

  2. If you think the ABC is depressing try the commercial TV news. I was recently in hospital and the chap in the next bed had the TV on one of the commercial channels. You would have thought Melbourne had become this dystopic centre of crime, tragedy and controversy. Made me want to get out quickly and reminded me of the virtues of private rooms where you only need to turn the TV on to what you want when you want.

  3. Could not agree more Peter. It is better at times as Craig commented to have a break and just not listen. I can never listen to the news in the car because I am afraid of running myself off the road in despair. One newsish program I love is Landline. I have never lived in the country or been around agriculture but I love Landline because it goes into detail about the hows and whys of production and management of land and is always inspiring. Sometimes it too can be a bit of a challenge like a story on kangaroo culling but the programs about new ways to grow oysters or growing and selling trees to China are gold.

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