There were two Q and As last night. The first Q and A went for about 45 minutes and consisted of two intelligent politicians and two intelligent economists having a civilised policy discussion about Australia’s economic future. It made for a refreshing break in the political mudslinging and brought about a sense of wistfulness.
The second Q and A was about 20 minutes long and was a whole other kettle of fish. It could have done with a bit of mudslinging.
The two “elephants in the room”, Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull, went head-to-head on the Q and A panel last night, with Heather Ridout and Judith Sloan thrown in for some policy heft, presumably to keep the pollies honest.
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Sophie Mirabella is copping it this morning because unlike Greg Combet (Clark Kent anybody?) she didn’t rush to the aid of Simon Sheikh when he collapsed next to her on the Q and A desk last night.
Visually it didn’t look great. As the Get Up! director slumped forward unconscious the Shadow Industry Minister appeared to recoil. It was certainly an odd moment. Climate Change Minister Combet, who was mid-sentence, expressed the confusion everyone would have felt when Sheikh (who is ok, thankfully) first connected head with desk. “I’m not quite sure what Simon’s doing there. Is he okay? I think… he’s not okay. Simon is not okay,” Combet said, before going to Sheikh’s aid.
Mirabella’s inaction was for a just a few short seconds, but from the reaction you would think the woman had poisoned the political activist’s glass of water.
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Why didn’t the Q&A shoe‑thrower Peter Gray toss former Prime Minister John Howard a lamington instead?
Taking his cue from an Iraqi journalist, turned footwear rejecter, who flung his possessions at then‑US President George W Bush, Gray in one unoriginal act exposed the limitations of the Q&A program as an uninhibited experiment in deliberative democracy.
According to the program’s website, Q&A aims to place punters, pollies and pundits together to ‘thrash out’ the hot issues of the week. Think of it as the political equivalent of a WWE steel cage match.
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