What the ABC can learn from Eddie McGuire

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The NSW upper house recently “condemned” Eddie McGuire as a “continual boofhead,” in what is quite possibly the first, and probably the last, motion of any parliamentary body in Australia censuring anybody on these grounds. He has had some humbling moments, with last year’s slip of the tongue rolling into this year’s criticism of his strong words on Adam Goodes’ “war-dance.” What Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, who moved the motion, seemed unaware of was that when Eddie described Goodes’ actions as “quite agressive,” and said “I don’t think we ever want to see it again, to be perfectly honest,” he was just saying what everybody else in Australia was thinking.

imageEddie is made of stern, resilient stuff. Despite a disappointing stint as CEO of Channel 9 in 2006-07, he continued to devote himself tirelessly to multiple professional commitments. He is ultimately the man responsible for cementing Collingwood’s position as a powerhouse of the AFL, and for its Premiership in 2010. As a Melbourne supporter it pains me to say this, but it will probably go down as his greatest achievement.

Eddie McGuire is a man who gets things done.

When you listen to him interview former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennet, without the audible “raised eyebrow,” it is like listening to a meeting of the minds, between two people who know how to get things done, and have a record of achieving great things.

There is actually a lot you can learn from him when you listen to him speak on the radio. A few events stick out in my mind. In early May, he interviewed former Footscray and Melbourne player Craig Ellis, who has started the Triangl bikini brand. Eddie was impressed how he had made a success of himself, and noted that you don’t need a fancy degree to get somewhere in life, just a good idea and a lot of hard work.

When a Senate Inquiry into bank fees was announced last week, McGuire cut right to the heart of the matter, pointing out that we all know the banks will get at worst a slap on the wrist, and be allowed to continue business as usual. He then stated that the best solution to any problem is competition, and surely it wouldn’t take much for someone to come along and undercut the big four.

Words cannot adequately express how refreshing it is to hear someone say this. No tiresome comparison of credit card rates to the official cash rate, no boring history of regulation of the banking sector. It takes a special kind of intelligence to cut through all this fluff, and identify the solution as clearly and as simply as Eddie did.  It is also refreshing to hear someone articulate the universal benefits of the free market with ease, and without apology.

The moment which sticks out most in my mind was when a comedian announced he had a scoop on Eddie McGuire’s past. It was revealed that someone who had studied with him at RMIT said Eddie only lasted a term at his Journalism course. Snorting in amusement, Eddie happily admitted words to the effect that this was probably being very generous. As he pointed out, he got a gig with Channel 10 when he was still studying. He figured, why waste his time getting a degree when he already had a job and could get practical, on the job training and get paid for it?

I think it has been to his enormous benefit that he never completed his journalism degree. The ideological zealots churned out these days appear to have less and less care for the facts, as long as the “greater truth” is told. The ABC could take a leaf out of Eddie’s book, and ditch their ideological garbage.

From my own point of view, while I freely admit that I will let my bias run free, I think it is also of great advantage to me that I never attempted a journalism degree. I have actually learned far more since I completed my own Arts degree, majoring in History and Political “Science.” In fact I think it is to my great benefit that I have forgotten much of the crap they taught me.

ABC take note. Eddie Mcguire is worth emulating.

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David Hiscox
David has studied history and political science at Melbourne University. His thesis was written on how the utilisation of Missile Defence can help to achieve nuclear disarmament. His interest in history was piqued by playing a flight simulator computer game about the Battle of Britain, and he hopes to one day siphon the earnings from his political writings into funding the greatest prog-rock concept album the world has ever seen.