1 The phrase “Back to you Barrie” is synonymous with the ABC Sunday Morning political program Insiders. Last Sunday saw the retirement of its co-founder and long-time host Barrie Cassidy.
Cassidy had a prodigious knowledge of politics and the intrigue that surrounds it.
To say that I will miss Cassidy’s hosting of the program would be an understatement. He had a capacity to involve the viewer in his own emotive take on any particular subject or indeed crisis, of which he saw many over a long career.
My poached eggs on toast will never taste the same again. Nor will the aroma of the freshly ground coffee that always followed.
Wikipedia tells us that:
Cassidy was born in Wangaratta, Victoria, on 4 March 1950, and grew up in the Victorian town of Chiltern, attending Rutherglen High School. He had four brothers and an elder sister, and grew up with a love of football and sports.
Starting his career as a cadet on the Albury Border Morning Mail in 1969, he moved to the Shepparton News about a year later before being hired as a court reporter for the Melbourne Herald. Joining the ABC Network, he initially covered state politics. He moved to Canberra to become the ABC’s federal political correspondent for radio and television in 1979.
In 1986, Cassidy was approached by the then prime minister, Bob Hawke, to become his personal press secretary.
He remained in the job—which he has described as “the most rewarding and interesting period of my life”—until Paul Keating took over the leadership in 1991 following a challenge.
Moving to Washington, Cassidy worked as a correspondent for The Australian before returning to Australia to host the Last Shout and Meet the Press programs on Network Ten. He returned to the ABC to replace Paul Lyneham as host on The 7.30 Report, before he and his wife, Heather Ewart, were sent to Brussels as European correspondents.
In 2010, Cassidy wrote The Party Thieves: The Real Story of the 2010 Election (Melbourne University Press, October 2010, ISBN 978-0-522-85780-1), which one reviewer called “the standard text on precisely what happened in 2010.”
Cassidy has hosted the Sunday morning political discussions show Insiders since its inception in 2001.
He formerly hosted the sports panel show Offsiders, but he stepped down from this role to write The Party Thieves, and at the end of the 2013 season left the program entirely. He has also hosted the morning show ABC News Breakfast.
Cassidy appeared as himself in the first episode of the 1998 Australia television series The Games. He has a keen interest in horse racing, and is a devout fan of Collingwood in the Australian Football League. He is also a keen jogger, running almost every day.
Cassidy was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Quill Awards presented by the Melbourne Press Club on 15 March 2019. In accepting the award, he announced his intention to retire from Insider son 9 June, after the Australian federal election.
What often surprised me about the show was the amount of content they packed into the hour and it often didn’t occur to me until I analysed it later.
Take his last show for example. In addition to all the tributes paid by a lot of people from both sides of the political divide and the normal segments he still managed to give the following a decent going over.
The AFP raids and the corresponding assault on a free press, an interview with deputy Labor leader Richard Marles, tax cuts, scare campaigns, Bill Shorten’s future, further analysis of the election, the cash rate crisis, the difference between Treasury’s assessment of the growth rate and the treasures, our relationship with China, and the downturn in the economy in general.
The journalists for the day were the same three who appeared on the first show all of 18 years ago: Dennis Atkins, Malcolm Farr and Karen Middleton.
The tributes to Cassidy were brilliantly compiled but it was unfortunate that Gerard Henderson couldn’t find a few words for the host who had given him much exposure over the years. But then he may not have been asked too.
All in all the tributes were serious but at times funny if you get my drift and Barrie was left with a few tears running down the indented creeks of his weather worn face.
The head-nodding interview of Tony Abbott with Mark Riley always leaves me looking for further thoughts on psychoanalysis and the total incomprehension of Bob Katter left me in fits of laughter.
The most absorbing bits were the reflections by politicians of being interviewed by Cassidy and the comparisons made with other great political interviewers like Laurie Oakes, David Speers, Kerry O’Brien and others.
He wasn’t a trapper for the gotcha moment, as many confessed. It wasn’t until later that you realised that he had enticed the truth from an unsuspecting spider caught in a casino’s web.
2 Here are some other thoughts in what is quickly turning into a continuance of the style of governance we have become used to now for 6 years, heading for 9:
Despite what you may think of our relationship with China she is responsible for the biggest elimination of human poverty in world history.
The inconsistency is absolutely astonishing. One cannot help but believe that they have one set of rules for one side of politics and another for the other. Talking about the AFP.
Truth has grown beyond tired. It seems to be exhausted.
Freydenberg logic: The worse it gets the better off you are sticking with the government who created the mess in the first place.
Labor deep in the red with its finances having failed to win as many votes as it thought it would.
The embracement of women’s sport in society over the past 5 years has been an outstanding success as has been the support of their male peers at grassroots level.
Scott Morrison gets an $11,000 pay rise, the day workers lose penalty rates. And if the tax cuts pass he doubles his money in 2024 with an $11k annual tax cut 💰💰
Yet in July thousands will lose their penalty rates.
Craig Kelly: How on Earth does this gonzo qualify for a permanent gig on Saturday morning News 24. More importantly why do people vote for idiots with empty heads.
The President of the USA has tweeted that the quality of air in his country has improved since he became president.
There was a time when it was harder to get out of the Australian Cricket team than it was to get in. It would seem that getting out of the CFMEU is of the same degree of difficulty.
3 On Wednesday despite many in both the Labor and Union movements seeking his resignation, John Setka refuses to go. For most people he comes over as nothing more than a union thug who has been a stain on the Union movement for many years.
“I’m elected by CFMEU construction division members, right, every four years,”
“They’re the people that I’m beholden to and they’re the ones that pay my wages and I answer to them.
“I don’t answer to anyone else but them. So when an election comes, if they, for whatever reason, see fit to not have me as their secretary, they won’t vote for me.”
Setka has been facing calls to quit following some outlandish criticism about the much-respected domestic violence advocate and former Australian of the Year, Rosemary Batty.
He is already facing charges to which he plans to plead guilty and if he has a sentence recorded against him then he cannot hold public office.
All that said it is not my intention to waste further words on people of John Setka’s breed.
Well other than to say congratulations Albo for having the guts to be rid of the bastard.
My thought for the day
Something is drastically wrong with the moral compass of a nation when it legislates to make bigotry a right.
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