Great sports, painful PM
THERE’S a good couple of lines in the classic BBC TV comedy, Yes Minister, that talks about courageous decisions.
It is relevant here because Mayor Jenny Hill has just made one of them.
Bureaucrat Sir Humphrey Appleby ( Nigel Hawthorne) tells his colleague Bernard Woolley ( Derek Fowlds) that if you want to be really sure the Minister doesn’t accept a course of action, you must say the decision is courageous.
Bernard asks: “And that’s worse than controversial?” To which Sir Humphrey replies: “Oh, yes, controversial only means this will lose you votes. Courageous means this will lose you the election.”
Not that an election is imminent – at least for the council.
Cr Hill has until 2020 before that occurs, which might be why she either ignored her advisers or believed enough time would elapse so people would largely forget her courageous decision.
But committing up to $ 18.5 million of ratepayers’ money to build an airport in Isaac Shire near Clermont for a supposedly extremely wealthy company building a coal mine is courageous.
If Townsville were not in uproar now over draconian water restrictions, despite having to pay for a resource which it is unable to use, it is now likely in outright revolt.
People are confused enough about a council unwilling to pump water from the Haughton, because of the expense, and yet preparing to build another one. Now they will be dumbfounded. Townsville is securing hundreds of jobs by sharing the airport costs and fly- in fly- out rights with Rockhampton.
Apparently there will be some kind of postcode demarcation in job selection.
Cr Hill referred to a “fine” or “rebate” Adani will have to pay if it doesn’t deliver but details are thin on the ground.
Ratepayers have a right to know exactly how this will work and that there will be a return on the dollars spent. THIS year’s Bathurst 1000 brought out the best with true characters winning the race and inspiring millions along the way.
The win by Holden’s David Reynolds, Luke Youlden, their team Erebus Motorsport and it’s great owner Betty Klimenko was one we’ll remember for a long time.
Their win was nothing but hard work, talent and passion for the sport and the people who love it.
Reynolds is a star, a larrikin and a sportsman who refuses to wear the corporate straight jacket. He speaks his mind, has fun and has put a ton of effort into becoming a champion.
Youlden won the race at his 18th attempt and is a reminder to us all to never give up, while Klimenko is a superstar. Supercars should shine the brightest spotlight on her. Betty’s life story is amazing, but her passion for the sport and the people in her team is phenomenal.
The day after the race I spoke to them for Sky News. But it wasn’t without a reminder of some of the stupidities that try to snuff out the things that make these guys great.
We arranged to meet at the Sydney Opera House for the interview and from the second they got out of the car they were mobbed by school kids, race fans and a load of people who wanted to have photo.
They brought the Peter Brock trophy with them and gladly handed it to anyone who wanted to hold it as they took a snap with the winners.
It was a wonderful scene, not of fame, but of how sport can inspire a goodwill politicians would give their right arm to bottle.
But out the corner of my eye came the sight of a security guard who descended on the scene to break up this spontaneous moment to query if we had a permit to film there.
“Come off it,” I said. “They just won Bathurst and we want to talk to them at one of the great public buildings we all own.”
But no, we didn’t have the paperwork.
So with Brock trophy in hand we were shunted to not just the bollards that guard us against terrorists, but three metres beyond where the security guard’s authority ended.
It was unnecessary and a frankly embarrassing reminder of the nanny state we now live in.
Meantime, we all know politicians try to use sport to pump their own polls. On Monday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull filmed himself talking to Nathan Walker, the first Australian to professionally play hockey in America’s National Hockey League.
It’s four of the most painful minutes of tape I’ve seen. Turnbull has no idea who this bloke is and has virtually nothing to say to him.
After a couple of minutes of the smallest of small talk, Turnbull asked Walker if he’s met Australia’s ambassador to the US, Joe Hockey.
Hockey, get it? He plays hockey and ambassador’s name is Hockey.
It was all just skin crawlingly awkward stuff.
Funnily enough, Turnbull never tweeted or called Reynolds, Youlden or Klimenko after winning Bathurst.
Now, you’d think if he was going to fake an interest in sport, it might be the one that we Australians actually watched on Sunday.
But then again, can you imagine how embarrassing that call would have been too? “So ... um ... Bathurst ... yeah.” Joining Paul on the program this Monday are Graham Richardson, Ross Cameron and Janine Perrett.