Thursday, 15 December 2011

Minister 'effs' himself

Australia's Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, dropped the coyly described 'F bomb' live on television during a lunchtime address he gave this week to the National Press Club.

Stephen Conroy
Rather apt for a communications Minister, don't you think? Well a few of the Minister's political opponents, some no doubt from his own Party quite apart from those in the Opposition, as well as the usual small legion of  the 'holier than thou' set don't think so and they have got stuck into him for this lapse in good manners.

In the grand scheme of things his careless slip of the tongue is scarcely a hanging offence no matter how much the opponents might bleat. Yes, Minister Conroy should have exercised sufficient discipline not to 'F' in broad daylight on a rarely viewed program but if that proves to be his only mistake in a political career then he will have done rather well.

The  Minister's bigger mistake to my mind was an apparent failure to take the heat out of the issue with an immediate and unequivocal admission of error and apology. All he had to do was say 'I was careless in my language, I didn't intend any offence and I apologise unreservedly to anyone I have offended'. All the wind would be taken from the sails of the whingers.

The former Queensland state Premier Peter Beattie was a master of the speedy admission of guilt plus apology strategy whenever he was caught out over a matter. In fact towards the end of his career these apologies were coming so regularly they were almost the only utterances we were hearing from him in the other states. So well did this strategy work for Beattie that he won a number of re-elections against predictions and was able to retire on his own terms rather than be bundled from office as was predicted would be his fate.

Getting back to Conroy, as recently as this morning the Sydney media has quoted his staff as saying the Minister did nothing wrong. The needless and rather silly fire keeps being stoked.

Most politicians never seem to learn.


  1. In my opinion, this makes a public figure seem ream more real, down to earth and human.

  2. Your observations about Beattie are interesting. I can barely recall him. But yes, I do remember some mea culpas, now you mention it. I remember Goss better. All it would have taken Conroy was to say, oops, sorry, that was out of order. Call me precious if you will, but I think swearing is best saved for when you hit your thumb with a hammer or find your rent boi has cleaned out your bank account. Once public figures start swearing in public, then it really is all over red rover.