Memo Prime Minister – Leave The ABC Alone

So Tony Abbott used to be a journalist. I’m amazed then that he has come out swinging at the ABC, accusing it of virtually being biased against Australia – all because it didn’t give the Australian Navy the “benefit of the doubt” in its story about asylum seekers suffering burns as a result of mistreatment by the Navy.

If he was a fair dinkum journo (like I was when I did my cadetship at the ABC) then he would know that the role of the media in a democracy should be free, fair and fearless, as Michael Gordon put it in The Age today.

If Abbott intends taking the ABC down the state-controlled path we see in so many other countries then I would no longer wish to live here. And I wouldn’t be alone in that view either.

Stick to politics Tony and leave the reporting to our media, uncontrolled and not swayed by any nationalism or patriotism as you would like.

Monotone Slow Speaker Abbott Needs Better Media Training

I see The Age has finally caught up with our prime minister and his slow, monotone delivery. A piece in yesterday’s Sunday Age showed how he now speaks 100 words a minute slower in media interviews than when he was in opposition.

His rate today apparently is 108 words per minute, dropping from 216 words a minute. Normal speech is 180 words a minute.

The article quotes a Dr Cate Madill from the University of Sydney who thinks he has no “disfluencies”, that is, um, ahs and long pauses. To me, as a media trainer, he still has pauses and while the good Dr says his repetition is a good strategy to buy yourself time, it’s no good if you’re not changing the words. Merely repeating yourself two or three times in close proximity is a real turnoff for audiences.

I do agree with Dr Madill though when she says “the speech delivery of the nation’s leader resembles that of a puppet and is equal to the wooden communication style ridiculed in former prime minister Julia Gillard”.

I don’t know who is media training Abbott but I’d love to have a session with him to add some sparkle, oomph and briskness to his delivery.