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Monday, May 23, 2011

Bmag May 24th 2011 - When Spencer is Premier

Nova 106.9 breakfast host Meshel Laurie was recently asked in a live chat online who she hopes is Premier of Queensland after the next election. Her reply: “I wish Spencer Howson could be our Premier. It would be a lovely, informative state and [referring to my penchant for donning ABC-branded clothing] we’d all wear tidy polo shirts every day”.

Crikey, I thought to myself. With Meshel Laurie’s clout behind me, I’d better come up with some policies quicksmart. I started jotting down ideas. I also enlisted my ABC breakfast listeners and together we’ve come up with a blue-print for my assault on the top job. Email me at with any additional policy ideas!

It goes without saying that world peace and an end to poverty and discrimination top the list and will be achieved within the first 100 days. But the real question is: what next?

First of all, there will be a government-sponsored advertising campaign reminding people how to use apostrophes, the difference between “there is” and “there are”, and when to use “fewer” instead of “less”. A second campaign will teach people how to indicate on roundabouts and how to stand on escalators (to the left unless overtaking).

In a similar vein, ABC listener Pam of Eatons Hill wants white dotted lines on all footpaths to encourage people to walk on the left. Sue says pub pool rules should be standardised. For example, does a coin on the table mean you play the winner or you take over the table? Colin, of Bribie Island, suggests a set day and time for leaf-blowing and mowing to make the rest of the week just a little bit more peaceful!

Under a Howson government, airports will paint a yellow line two metres from the luggage carousel, behind which passengers can wait until they see their bags.

Shops and fast food restaurants will have one queue, peeling off at the cash registers. There is no fairer way of deciding who is served next. It also saves the stress of trying to pick the fastest queue! There will be no such thing as a minimum EFTPOS transaction. Instead, you will be given the option to pay a small surcharge. I watched a young boy the other day unable to purchase a $4.99 toy because of a shop’s $10 minimum transaction. I’m sure he would have been happier to pay an extra 15 cents than cough up another $5.

Listener Glenn, from Eden’s Landing, wants petrol stations to display tomorrow’s price alongside today’s. Chris suggests a signal be devised so that motorists can indicate they’re about to perform a U-Turn. Marlene says seniors wanting smaller portions should be allowed to order from the children’s menu in restaurants.

When I’m Premier, we’ll have more doors on trains, making it easier for passengers to get on and off, and speeding up the entire network. When you have no mobile phone coverage, you will be given the option to pay a small fee to use a different carrier. This will be just like paying to use another bank’s ATM. TV shows will start and finish on time. Post offices will have stamp machines, or separate stamp queues, so you don’t get stuck behind people paying bills, applying for passports and buying novelty office equipment for birthday presents!

Finally, to ensure the ongoing support of my campaign manager Meshel Laurie, everyone will be supplied with free polo shirts!

In response to my last column on improv vs scripted theatre, I received a note from Alison Pollard-Mansergh who plays Sybil in the touring Faulty Towers Dining Experience. Alison is back home in Brisbane now but was on tour in the Netherlands – they read bmag online all over the world! – when she wrote: “I’m often asked how I could play the same role in the same show for 14 years. The reason is that the show is both scripted and improvised. Often the audience doesn’t know where the script ends and the improv begins. This is a huge joy for us as performers. It’s about time improv had a resurgence in Brisbane. International festivals such as Edinburgh and Brighton Fringes are full of fantastic edge-of-your-seat improv shows.”

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