Relentless Cross-promos for The Howard Years

What do the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and John Howard have in common?

They are relentless!

The cross-promotions for the documentary The Howard Years on ABC TV and radio are ubiqitious. Not just ads but ceaseless items on the News and other programs. Even the News-in-Brief. For a sample try the online promo which was under ‘Just In’ yesterday: Howard dug heels in after ‘deal’ note revealed

ABC2 Breakfast is interviewing the program producer Deb Masters as I write. One of the key participants in the Howard story who would not talk for the cameras was Janette Howard. I wonder what her one word is to describe little Johnny. Obedient? Please feel free to add your suggestions in Comments.

Virginia Trioli called it “ummissable”.

Was thinking of just watching the fourth and final episode. That’s the one with the happy ending. We have to learn from history. Don’t we?

This is not a paid promotion. Unless the ABC publicity department chooses to send money, of course.

Kevin Rennie


64 Responses

  1. I just turned off 702ABC radio Sydney because of the plugs it was getting.

  2. “relentless?”

    Sounds like a euphamism for “bloody-minded”

    Interesting that Jeanette refused to be interviewed, maybe she’s not as good as feigning sincerity as Howard is…

  3. Kevin

    I love that you are “just watching the fourth and final episode. That’s the one with the happy ending”. LOL

    I will miss it as I am away in SE Asia… but I imagine there will be no end of comments from the blogocrats on the content.

  4. Hi guys. Im back on deck from 2 weeks leave, Did you miss me ? LOL.

    Have attended an engamanet, wedding, funeral and now my cousin who is more a sister than a cousin has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is operated on tomorrow so please keep her in your thouights. Has been a high and a low time for my 2 weeks off.

    Riley is well although it seems his left side will never recover fully.

    Looking forward to getting back into the debate of things however today will be very busy being my first day back.

    I hope all of you are well and happy. Looks like the blog numbers are growing and thas fantastic.

    As for the John Howard years, been there and done that, it is over, move on.

  5. Welcome back Shane!

  6. Joni

    I will probably watch the other episodes but it is tempting. It will remind us why the ending was such a satisfactory one.

  7. Fran Kelly has something to do with this series as was revealed on Insiders yesterday. They also shamelessly plugged it but also openly stated this was all about the previous government pollies attempting to get their side of things into the history books, but that doesn’t mean their side of the story as told in the series is what really occurred.

    Insiders also attempted to justify it by saying it is a balance for the doco The Labor Years, but that documentary was a warts and all story of a turbulent time both outside the party and within it. If anything can describe the Howard years it is lots of blandness with little achievement except sailing a straight and steady course on mostly calm seas.

  8. A side topic if I may…if you were to make a movie or such of the last government who would cast as the PM?

  9. Personally I am going to avoid it. I have lived through it for 12 years and that’s enough thank you very much, it would be as entertaining as a documentary about pus enclosed in the tissues of the jaw bone during teeth abscesses.

    Catherine Deveney, a allegedly professional Howard hater, has written in her TV column on Saturday that “lefty latte sippers would be riveted’. Well here’s one that won’t. She suggests to watch it and move on. I did. The night Kevin Rudd won the election and Howard lost his seat.

    And of course, as Kevin states, the worse thing about it is that as an ABC watcher I can’t avoid the continuous self promotions everywhere including news bulletins. “The former Minister in the Howard Government states….” and then at the end “The Howard Years will be shown on Monday Night blah blah”.

    I hope they are not going to go on with this throughout the series!

  10. Scaper @ 8

    – Danny de Vito (for the size)
    – The nazi villan from Raiders of the Lost Ark (for the creepiness)
    – John Howard (the actor)
    – Peter Lorre (he always played villans)

  11. Just thinking..isn’t it odd how phrases such ‘leftie latte sippers’ now sound very strange and peculiar.

    Disagree joni, Danny de Vito and Peter Lorre have too much of the comedy actor about them. I am thinking Jack Nicholson.

  12. Rick Moranis who acted in Ghostbusters comes to mind for me.

  13. Min,

    Jack Nicholson? Perfect!

  14. A side topic if I may…if you were to make a movie or such of the last government who would cast as the PM?

    Frank Thring (if he is still alive, although I’m sure a dead actor could play the part).

    Thring played Pontius Pilot in Ben Hur. So many similarities.

  15. Just watched a short preview on SMH and I just couldn’t stomach watching the whole series:

    Apparently there are no commentators in it. The audience only sees the ‘players’.

    As Guido said above, the last I want to see of Howard is his final speech election night last November.

  16. I was thinking Frank Thring, slightly slimmer version for’s the accent.

  17. I think it would have to be Quentin Crisp to play Alexander Downer, although Quentin might be a bit too ‘butch’.

  18. I had Elmer Fudd in mind for Downer.

  19. Helen Coonan coul be played by Bette Davis:

  20. On second thoughts, Prince Charles could play Downer.

  21. Ah yes scaper great comedy/tragic actor Rick Moranis. Surely there must be a place for him. What about playing Philip Ruddock.

  22. Pity the ‘players’ can’t be examined on this doco on SBS on Wed night:

    # 8:30 Well-Founded Fear, A #

    Every year, thousands of people flee their homelands to escape war and persecution. The people who make it to Australia end up in detention centres while their claims for asylum are processed. This can take months, if not years and can lead to a sense of profound uncertainty. The Australian Government eventually sends back asylum seekers it doesn’t think are refugees, and who can’t prove they have “a well-founded fear” for their safety. This documentary follows the work of a small group of committed Australians who have made it their mission to find the asylum seekers Australia has rejected. For five years, Phil Glendenning has been travelling the globe in search of rejected asylum seekers. To date he and his colleagues from the small social justice agency he runs have tracked down over 250 returnees in 22 countries. And what they’ve found is truly disturbing.

  23. Oh nooo reb. Not one of my favorites the fabulous Bette Davis to play Coonan. My vote is with the original..the drag queen.

  24. For those who haven’t seen Howard’s concession speech as seen from the Canberra tallyroom then check out “The Poll that Counts” video series on my blog. Brings tears to my eyes every time. I call them ‘The Howard Tears’.

    My pick to play John WHOward is John Jarratt.

  25. Tell me Kev, did you pick John Jarratt based on his performance in Wolf Creek?

  26. John Howard – Rodney Dangerfield. Even though he’s dead, I’m sure he could manage a lively turn.
    Alexander Downer – Nathan Lane. A la “The Birdcage”. Perfect.
    Peter Costello – Will Ferrell.
    Tony Abbott – The Gimp from “Pulp Fiction” … Bring out yer gimps!
    Peter Reith – The pig from “Babe”.

  27. 50 comments short of the 2pm target..but maybe we should settle for WA time ;-))

  28. joni previously mentioned Peter Lorre..perhaps a good match for Tony Abbott. It’s the eyes and the slinking snake like persona.

  29. ABC is putting all its cross-promotional might behind plugging The Howard Years.

    A good read if you want to find exactly how much the ABC is pushing The Howard Years.

  30. min – Jack is wrong for Howard, because Jack has charisma.

  31. Point taken joni. However Jack can act.

  32. Oh good 50,011 hits. I can now resume my previous task of peeling spuds for dinner.

  33. Adrian@31

    I read that and watched the Skynews/Fox video.

    I think Howard’s getting ready to make a comeback!!

  34. “I think Howard’s getting ready to make a comeback!!”

    Bloody hell, Sansy, I sincerely hope you’re wrong..

    Although, in times such as these the silver top brigade might just welcome saviour rodent with open arms…

    *Cough* *Gag* *Wheeze* Perish the thought…

  35. It should be renamed the Liberal Broadcasting Corporation.

  36. I said that kinda jokingly, Reb, but now that
    I’ve planted the thought … 😯

  37. The only people who should be formally questioning Howard & Downer & those other mean-spirited, immoral, ego-twisted half-wits are prosecuters in a war-crimes tribunal. The relationship between the media and the pollies in this country makes me puke. Enablers, apologists…some even co-conspirators & allies in crime. Plenty should hang their heads in SHAME. I hope the faces of the dead children in Iraq & Afghanistan…& the images of traumatised families in detention camps…HAUNT their waking and sleeping moments.

    There will not be FRESH AIR until the WAR CRIMINALS & ENABLERS are OUTED…and appropriate media regulation & ownership rules are put into place.

    Any politician & journo & public servant who covers up these crimes for pragmatic &/or selfish purposes is complicit.

    How they’ll live w/ the GUILT is beyond me. I guess some are like Downer, narcissistic & delusional, mocking others over inconsequential events in order to DISTRACT from their own crimes… & laughing off any deep analysis, internally or externally, of their behavioural abnormalities & despicable actions. In constant need of REWARDS & COMPLIMENTS from his CHOSEN superiors…lacking any spine…or depth of character…not rounded. Just greedily slurping from the Conservative tit.

  38. Worth reading:

    (Happy Days: No Crime, No Foul for the Media-Political Club: Empire Burlesque, 6 Nov, 08)

  39. Nasking @ 39,

    I completely agree. The fact that these people will get off without any ramifications for crimes pisses me off. And it means that in the future, politcians will launch wars without any thought for possible charges because we, as the public, allowed Bush, bLiar and Howard et al to get away with it.


  40. “The only people who should be formally questioning Howard & Downer & those other mean-spirited, immoral, ego-twisted half-wits are prosecuters in a war-crimes tribunal”nas

    Now we’re talking!

  41. Moves are afoot …

  42. Very off topic, but with no where else to put it. I thought that this input via samprat via the Oz was worth a read… (swamprat..improve your puncuation! but the meaning gets through well and clear)

    Mon 17 Nov 08 (08:24am)… one journo on Sky News decided the body language was a bit stiff and all the other sheep took it up word for word, nothing was said about the warm greetings the next day, nor that Rudd was the first leader that Obama’s reps chose to confer with,nor even that Rudd was the only leader given the honour of holding his press conference in the G20 venue, the journos only saw what they wanted to see and what they’d already decided they were going to see, the standard of journalism in this country is absymal and it’s about time we started to get the real news be it good or bad, Turnbull and co will be dining out on this sample of lazy reporting for a while but they should remember that they’re not immune from the chronic inertia of our esteemed press, it’s about time the reporting standards of our journo’s was put under scrutiny and they started writing their own copy instead of their sheeplike following the leader, oh and while i’m at it they’d better leave the body language to the experts.

  43. Min, I’ve been looking for my mate Swampy, the war hero for ages…that’s great news that he is back on line and I hope it rains tomorrow so I can catch up with him.

    Might even try to get him over here.

  44. Am so pleased. I’ve been reading Swamprat for ages and have admired his straight forward, down to earth approach. When you catch up, please let him know that I am a fan.

  45. I’ll try as some blog moderators over there have had their knuckles rapt because of me but there is one that lets me through…timing will be the key.

  46. Miglo

    Wolf Crater is well worth a visit but I wouldn’t go with John Howard. I hope they interview someone from John Howard’s Ladies Auxilliary Fan Club tonight. They deserve a bit of the credit.

  47. I predict that ‘The Howard Years’ will rate very, very well. Good comedy usually does. ‘The Office’ with David Brent springs to mind.

    Like Brent, Howard is a pathetic little man who seems oblivious to how others actually see him. How could anyone with an ounce of awareness promote a person who gave him the moniker of ‘The Lying Rodent’?

    There should be an ongoing contest. Spot the Rodent’s Biggest Lie Tonight. And it will be a contest with so many lies from which to choose. The winner will receive a fridge magnet or perhaps a mouse pad.

  48. completely agree. The fact that these people will get off without any ramifications for crimes pisses me off. And it means that in the future, politcians will launch wars without any thought for possible charges because we, as the public, allowed Bush, bLiar and Howard et al to get away with it.


    What is just as disgraceful IMO is that THE ALP are ‘going to let them get away with it’.

    No Govt wants to do something that may come back to haunt them when they are once again in opposition.

    How is this not corruption and completely at odds with of made claims that we have transparent and accountable Govt?

    And to think these guys have the nerve to go around branding others as ‘rogue states’.

  49. Nature 5,

    Might I suggest a drinking game?

    “Australia’s best interests” (take a sip)

    “Best interests of the party” (take a sip)

    “Tewwoist Thweat” (take a sip)

    “National Secuwity” (take a sip)

    “Weapons of Mass Destwuction” (take a sip) actually scratch that one

    “We will choose who comes to this countwy, and on wot terms they come here” (take two sips)

    “I rejwect that” (take half a sip) it’s bound to come up often…

  50. I am so jealous of your guys getting to watch Howard try to rewrite/re-right history tonight.

    Oh well – I just relax in the Martini Bar here at the Mandarin Oriental here in Manila.

  51. “Oh well – I just relax in the Martini Bar here at the Mandarin Oriental here in Manila.”

    Yeah right, and we get to watch the rodent….

    Tuff life you lead…

    And aren’t those delightful young philippino men so dreadfully accommodating…?

  52. Alexander Downer is the ultimate mandarin. Costello the ultimate lemon.

  53. I have no understanding at all of what you could possibly be alluding to reb. I am innocent!

  54. reb

    They will have to be very, very small sips.

    For me there will be too many ‘gulps’ for he has no shame as Hyacinth revealed with her claim that keeping promises is somewhat a foreign concept.

  55. oh sure Joni! I’ve been to those bars!!!

  56. Can someone near the ABC station chew the legs off the broadcasting tower before part 2 is aired.

  57. “The fact that these people will get off without any ramifications for crimes pisses me off. ”

    There are plenty of us “pissed off” types out there joni (thnx to you & the other “authors”/bloggers for letting us express it), those of us who wonder how teachers & parents & grandparents & uncles & aunts & guardians can look the children in the eyes and tell them to “respect the rights of others” and “not commit violent acts upon others” and “always pay your taxes & be a good and active citizen” and “defend the innocent” when too many of our political & corporate leaders continually get away w/ breaking these moral & social laws & codes.

    Is it any wonder that so many young people are cynical, angry & disrespectful when so many in authority act as atrocious role models…and JUSTICE is rarely seen to be done?

    Whilst talking heads & so called “journalists” & “reporters” take their profession down alleys of distraction…and despair…and in tandem high-level crims smile and dance on THE BOX like frenzied tourist guides doing the BIG SELL on the eve of an industry CLOSING DOWN….one last song & dance before the shops put up the END DAYS signs and spinifex and tumbleweed merge as they are shoved thru the streets of the GHOST TOWN known as FOSSIL FOOL.

    There’s a FOUL wind a blowin’…and if our pollies don’t get REAL soon & send these crackerjacks in the present media a packin’ & provide conditions for some big time JUSTICE, it wont be the Islamics that GW Bonzo stirred up in their hornet’s nests that we’ll have to worry about…there will be plenty of poor, starving, agro, extremely frustrated, jobless, justice seeking, dispossessed home owners and tenants on the streets looking to exact revenge on whoever steps into their sights or becomes the focus of their rage…and let’s not forget that over the decades the irresponsible, profit-driven rampant capitalist media has provided them w/ heaps of “How to…” shows and movies. No IIMAGINATION necessary.

    Good to see you on here too Human Dividend.

    TIME FOR REAL CHANGE…not just talkfests. Before it’s too late.
    (I’m seeing the optometrist tomorrow so hopefully the new glasses will arrive a week later & I won’t be reading & typing at the speed of tortoise…please excuse any errors)

  58. “Alexander Downer is the ultimate mandarin.”

    The seedy, dried up and ultimately tasteless type. Bit of a foreign affair.

    “Costello the ultimate lemon.”

    Bitter and prone to twisting. Add preservative and it can be kept in a plastic, re-usable bubble and stored in the fridge for many years. Doesn’t lose its sourness when brought out and squeezed.


  59. Anybody see it and would like to give a precis of what it was about and what they thought.

    I couldn’t bring myself to watch it though I normally make a point of doing so for political shows and documentaries. It is beholden on someone who is debating political points and using history that they get all sides of the story, but for me Howard is the exception to that tenet of mine. There is no need to get his side because without researching or watching you know exactly what it will be and can iterate it almost to the word, and there won’t be a lot of facts involved.

    Looking back through history a lot of things will be associated with John Howard but truthfulness will not be amongst them, but even more than that his name will become synonymous with tergiversation.

  60. Like you, Adrian, I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. Wall-to-wall “Liberals” – ugh! there could hardly be anything more excruciating.

    I’m just hoping that Howard will remain history, and not keep making himself current. Now that he’s broken his self-imposed “cone of silence” in such a big way as to contribute to a TV series, I’m predicting we will be hearing much more of him in the time ahead, despite his earlier saying he never ever would he be a noisy ex-PM.

  61. …Anybody see it and would like to give a precis of what it was about and what they thought…

    Redemption without atonement. The re-writing of history by Jackboot Johnny and his headkickers without anyone else being allowed to critique or even comment on their selective spin.

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