November 28, 2006 | Jeff Wall

A bitchy former leader spoils ABC election coverage

I have been watching election night television and radio coverage for more than four decades, but it took until Saturday night’s ABC television coverage of the Victorian election to see the worst ever “performance” by a panellist.
The ABC coverage normally leads the way – with Kerry O’Brien as anchor, and Antony Greene doing the stats – but its coverage on Saturday night must surely cause the ABC to be more discerning about its panellists from the major parties.
Labor was represented by Treasurer, John Brumby – who may one day be remembered as the best Premier Victoria never had – while the Liberal “representative” was former Leader, and retiring MP, Robert Doyle.
Doyle was dressed as though he was on his way to a job interview with Tobin Brothers Funeral Directors. And on the basis of what followed, he would be a shoe in for the job.
The party panellists are supposed to be there to give the “inside knowledge” on trends in key seats – drawing on information phoned in by scrutineers. I’d be surprised if Doyle took one call, and if he did he took no notice of it.
Form the first figures Doyle had one message – the Liberal Shadow Ministers were a pack of bludgers, and too many MP’s had spent the last four years protecting their pre-selections. What went unsaid was that all of them were a pack of backstabbers as well.
He even proffered the view that one Shadow Minister would not have done “ten hours work” on policy in his portfolio area in the last four years!
As the figures came in and the continuing woes of the Victorian Liberals became apparent, Doyle gave his successor a real backhander by declaring the Liberals need to start preparing for 2014 – as the next election in 2010 was a hopeless cause!
The politically savvy John Brumby could not believe his good fortune. He said very little – why rain on your opponents debacle while one of them is raining hail stones on it himself?
All Brumby needed to do was to stick to the one figure that embarrassed the Liberals the most – their failure to lift their primary vote from the 2002 rock bottom.
But Doyle was not only mean spirited towards his former colleagues – the Bracks Government was given no credit for another crushing victory, and the Nationals (who had been written off during the campaign) were not even mentioned.
If Doyle blamed the Shadow Ministers once he did so ten times. John Brumby struggled to hide his smile, and even Kerry O’Brien looked bewildered.
Is it any wonder that Doyle led the Liberals to their worst ever result four years ago- and laid the “foundations” for an almost as bad result on Saturday?

Posted by Jeff Wall at 10:43 am | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Yep. It was hysterical. But at least it was the very last we’ll ever hear of Robert Doyle.

    Comment by wbb — November 28, 2006 @ 11:33 pm

  2. I know of a guy that worked for Doyle and it did not surprise me in the least about the laziness.
    Their staff are even worse believe me

    Comment by Samantha — November 29, 2006 @ 4:23 pm

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