Crikey: Conroy’s really bad week #347

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Just when you thought you’d covered every possible angle… Wow, what a packed week for Senator Stephen Conroy, eh?

I’m in Crikey today with a piece they’ve entitled Conroy’s really bad week #347: Classification Board website hacked. Which it was. And what a lovely new welcome message they had.

This site contains information about the boards that have the right to CONTROL YOUR FREEDOMZ. The Classification Board has the right to not just classify content (the name is an ELABORATE TRICK), but also the right to DECIDE WHAT IS AND ISNT APPROPRIATE and BAN CONTENT FROM THE PUBLIC. We are part of an ELABORATE DECEPTION from CHINA to CONTROL AND SHEEPIFY the NATION, to PROTECT THE CHILDREN. All opposers must HATE CHILDREN, and therefore must be KILLED WITH A LARGE MELONS during the PROSECUTION PARTIES IN SEPTEMBER. Come join our ALIEN SPACE PARTY.

I also offer some comments on Senator Conroy’s performance on ABC TV’s Q&A last night. You can watch the video for yourself, but I reckon he performed poorly.

There wasn’t room in my Crikey piece for another angle: that the Stephen Conroy I’d seen in 2007, alert and in control, was missing in action. However Mark Newton summed it up in a Whirlpool post:

The best bit about Q&A, though, was Conroy’s demeanour. I’m accustomed to seeing him in Question Time, Estimates, or in doorstop interviews, where he looks like he’s in command, on the attack, confident and assured.

Tonight he looked hunched-over. He rambled. He started sentences then stumbled as he tried to work out how to finish them. He stuttered. He was defensive. It was almost embarrassing to watch, and he looked defeated.

When the show moved on to the Afghanistan war, it was like the old Stephen Conroy had climbed out of his shell again. Completely different person.

He said the censorship issue was a distraction, but his performance tonight suggested to me that it’s eating him away inside. Weak, vulnerable, and factually wrong. My god what a perfect combination.

This raises a point that’s been in the back of my mind for ages: Does Senator Conroy personally support this policy?

I suspect not. Or if he did, he certainly doesn’t now. I’m hearing that he’s been ordered to continue by the Prime Minister. If Conroy is looking defeated, it could well be because he’s realised that he’s now personally identified with this lousy policy, and his own political career is now anchored to it. And we all know what happens to anchors when the chain gets cut.

4 Replies to “Crikey: Conroy’s really bad week #347”

  1. Your last comment raises a good question, should our focus be on K Rudd himself. Whether he is actually instructing Conroy to go ahead or not is not important, the buck stops with him.

  2. @Cameron: There’s certainly been been reports that Kevin Rudd’s management style is even more centralised and control-freaky than John Howard’s ever was. If the Internet filter is identified with Conroy — which it certainly is, and I’ve helped that along by calling it “Conroy’s Rabbit-Proof Firewall” — then he can be made the scapegoat in an instant. Conroy isn’t stupid. Far from it. He’ll know that’s where he stands. Poor sod.

  3. @Stil: On exactly that point, is it worth turning some of the ire towards the Chairman himself? In that doing so may have a couple of beneficial effects:

    1. Making the pain felt where it actually hurts — on the PM’s popularity. (And in fact, would this even work?)
    2. Leaving Senator Conroy to do some of the things that we actually WANT him to do (like deal with Telstra etc)
  4. @Crispin: I imagine that Kevin Rudd wouldn’t like being made to look the fool. But he’s also made of stronger stuff than to be mortified by a little ridicule. The only way to really hurt a politician is to hurt their chances of re-election. With the Rudd government still doing just fine in the polls, thank you, he really doesn’t care.

    The latest Newspoll has Labor’s two-party lead steady at 56-44. Kevin Rudd’s preferred prime minister rating is up four points to 65%, and Malcolm Turnbull’s is down one to 21%. He can afford to tell Senator Conroy to STFU and do his job. For now, anyway.

    As I said in my Crikey piece, Q&A was Senator Conroy’s big chance to tell Australia, clearly and simply, live and unedited, precisely what was being planned. He blew it.

    But he gets a second chance!

    The SBS program Insight‘s next edition is “Blocking the Net”, with Senator Conroy as a key guest. Tuesday 31 March at 7.30pm, repeated Friday at 1.30pm and Monday at 3.30pm

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