As long-standing readers of this blog (if indeed, any such beast exists) will know, I'm a strong supporter of The Greens as an alternative political force in this country. They consistently set the agenda in sensible environmental policies, but when they stray into areas where they lack expertise, the results can be embarrassing to watch.
Case in point, this press release from Senator Scott Ludlam (AG-WA):
Greens expose Play School alcohol and pokies link
Greens Senator for WA Scott Ludlam is demanding to know why the ABC is holding Play School concerts in clubs with alcohol and poker machines.
Senator Ludlam quizzed the ABC’s Managing Director Mark Scott about an advertisement for an ABC concert at a registered club in NSW, in Senate Estimates earlier this week.
“I was dismayed to learn that the ABC is forging this association between Play School, alcohol consumption and pokie machines,” Senator Scott Ludlam, who is also the Greens’ Communications Spokesperson, said.
“The idea that the Play School brand should be used as a drawcard to bring kids into licensed gambling premises needs a rethink.
“I’m sure many parents will object to one of Australia’s must loved television institutions being used in this way.
“I have asked the ABC’s Managing Director to provide me with further detail. I intend to pursue the issue further.
“It is clear that the failure of successive governments to adequately resource the ABC has forced the broadcaster to gradually commercialise, but these kinds of arrangements will be sounding alarm bells for ABC viewers,” Senator Ludlam concluded.
(source: Greens MPs website)
One wonders whether Senator Ludlam has ever been to a show at a club, or whether he has even been inside one. While the use of gambling and alcohol as an income stream is a cause of concern, there can be no doubting the benefits of community social clubs, RSL clubs and the like. In many localities, there would be no decent venue for events such as a Play School concert at affordable prices for families.
Taking the kids to a show at the local Rissole does not equate to taking them into licensed gambling premises - something which, of course, is against the law anyway.
Senator Ludlam is drawing a very long bow here (and I don't mean the cider). The transcript of the Senate Estimates hearing where he makes a fool of himself over Play School can be found here.
Oh, and check out the tour dates and venues for Play School's coming tour. Then try and think of a suitable alternative venue in each location...