Joe Hockey is copping grief for saying the Coalition would not sell the ABC, as if this was some sort of betrayal. Actually, it's a testament to the future Treasurer's acumen.
How could you sell the ABC? Any potential buyer would look what must be at least a cool billion (and probably more) in severance benefits and run screaming from the table. No matter how much those who love to fantasise about handing the walking papers to Young Chip, Red Skelton and all the other incestuous fruits of an organisation now run by mates for the benefit of mates, it just can't happen that way.
Make the public broadcaster carry ads -- that's not a bad idea. Neither is making those Friends of The ABC show just what their friendship is worth by donating to keep, say, the Artscape wankers or First Tuesday Book Club on air. That's what the Americans do with their Public Broadcasting Service and that seems to work OK.
They could even run raffles and competitions. Win a date with Old Scrotumface! Scoop the pool by nominating how many times Tony Jones will interrupt! Guess what present Mark Scott will give his mentor, Fred Hilmer*, on Godfather's Day! Have your name tattooed on Marieke Hardy! Hire out Jon Faine as a kiddie-party clown! The possibilities are endless.
The ABC cannot be sold, it's impossible. But come September 8, that doesn't mean we can't have a lot of fun with it. You know, just like cats with the mice they capture.
Give us strength, Great Bunyip, to torment the living daylights out of that rotten, rancid outfit.
*After Uncle Fred was finished with him, Scott was a natural for the ABC: rotten content with not even the pretense of an obligation to make money
A FURTHER THOUGHT: One fruitful area for investigation -- very uncomfortable investigation -- must surely be how the ABC goes about hiring its, er, talent. Do Marieke Hardy's parents put in a good word for her? Or consider Julia Baird. Freshly returned from the US, where she helped shunt Newsweek into oblivion, she appeared fleetingly in the Silly, but no jobs there with all those lay-offs. Then -- hey, presto! -- she's all over the ABC, compering the Drum and popping up all over the place.
So who hired her? Where was the position-vacant ad published? If it was published, who drew up the required qualifications ("candidate must by blonde, good looking, have helped ruin a venerable magazine and be no taller than 163cm now less than 161cm...." You get the idea.)
These are questions it will be so much fun to have answered!