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The Courier-Mail - - OPINION -

GET SET FOR A KOOKY KING

THE royal road­show by Prince Harry and his ex­pec­tant wife, Meghan, was so suc­cess­ful, I’m sure it set the repub­li­can move­ment back a decade. I hope so any­way. And now I am look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing King Charles, King of Aus­tralia. The Prince of Wales may be kooky, but he is end­lessly en­ter­tain­ing.

Con­sider the some­what bizarre in­ter­view he gave the BBC to mark his 70th birth­day. Our fu­ture sovereign said his car runs on wine. And he promised not to be a “med­dling” king.

Charles (pic­tured) has been crit­i­cised in the past for pro­mot­ing ho­moeopa­thy, GM foods, and wacky green causes, al­though he was praised for back­ing the bad­ger cull. Pressed on whether his pub­lic cam­paign­ing will con­tinue, he says: “No, it won’t. I’m not that stupid.” It seems Charles, like his mother, knows his place.

An­other high­light of the in­ter­view was the boast his 38-year-old As­ton Mar­tin Volante runs on wine – an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly fuel that “smells de­li­cious as you’re driv­ing”. It’s ac­tu­ally a bio­fuel made from Bri­tish wine. I’ve tasted Bri­tish wine and that’s a good use for it.

KILLER HIGH­WAY NE­GLECT

THE killer War­rego High­way may be the most ne­glected road in Queens­land. The Mem­ber for Lock­yer, Jim McDon­ald, has be­gun a cam­paign for a ma­jor up­grade, point­ing to Main Roads data over seven years show­ing traf­fic along the high­way has grown by 25.6 per cent – well above pop­u­la­tion growth. There have been some up­grades, but not enough. McDon­ald was sur­prised when Jen­nifer Haslam, the sec­re­tary of the Hat­ton Vale Progress As­so­ci­a­tion, un­earthed min­utes from a meet­ing in Oc­to­ber 1995 in which a Main Roads bof­fin said the high­way be­tween With­cott and Haigslea was in se­ri­ous need of im­prove­ment and that 12 in­ter­changes and six over­passes had been planned. “That meet­ing took place 23 years ago and since then, only two of the in­ter­changes have been con­structed,” McDon­ald says.

ABC OF WASTE

IF YOU needed more proof the ABC squan­ders tax­payer money and fails ac­count­abil­ity tests, con­sider this. A se­nior ex­ec­u­tive got a $232,500 bonus on top of a base pay of $388,702, tak­ing his or her salary past $600,000. The pay­out was re­vealed in an an­nual re­port. The rea­son for the ex­trav­a­gance was with­held, but the per­son who won the bonus must have achieved an ex­tra­or­di­nary man­age­ment feat to earn it. We de­serve to know what that feat was. For all I know, it may have been well de­served.

The re­port shows half of all ABC se­nior ex­ec­u­tives got a per­for­mance bonus. What irks me is that lav­ish sums are splashed around to man­agers at a time when cul­tural Marx­ists at the ABC whine about fund­ing short­falls.

The bonuses came as the ABC posted a $71.2 mil­lion loss. Who could for­get how its eco­nom­ics cor­re­spon­dent was crit­i­cised for con­fus­ing rev­enue and profit when at­tack­ing cor­po­ra­tions over low tax con­tri­bu­tions?

Of course, the ABC doesn’t have to bother about pay­ing tax, and with guar­an­teed tax­payer fund­ing of $1 bil­lion a year, the loss seems all the more ex­tra­or­di­nary. If the ABC de­mands ac­count­abil­ity of pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions, it should tell us who was paid the big bonus and who au­tho­rised it.

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