Who does Alan Jones think he is to speak to the Prime Minister like that?

I was completely appalled to hear how a well known radio personality in Sydney spoke to the Prime Minister of Australia on air. The details are outlined well by Barrie Cassidy on The Drum in Liar, liar, shock jocks on fire; and you can listen to the entire interview here.

This radio shock jock berated the Prime Minister of this country on air for arriving late for a media interview. Further he called her by her first name throughout the interview. He called her a liar to her face.

I’ve heard him interview Prime Ministers of Australia before. He referred to them civilly to their face and called them Mr so-and-so, or addressed them as Prime Minister. But now, when confronted with a woman Prime Minister, he seems to think he can disrespect her and her office.

I’ve got no problem with people having an opinion that is different to mine or to anyone else’s. And that shock jock has as much right to his opinion as anyone. But what he did to our Prime Minister went beyond the pale. Agree with Julia Gillard and her politics or not, as Prime Minister she deserves to be treated with the same respect as every other Prime Minister that went before.

I can only hypothesise that misogyny drove his behaviour, misogyny coupled with a deep hatred of non-conservative politicians. When confronted with a woman holding that office he seems to have felt that it was acceptable to berate and speak so un-civilly; and to do so in ways he’s never done with a male office-holder.

It reminds me of the continuing misogyny that exists in Australia. It reminds me that women are still not considered equal to men, even if they are the Prime Minister of the country. It makes me sigh. It makes me sad. It makes me wonder how we can change things.


18 thoughts on “Who does Alan Jones think he is to speak to the Prime Minister like that?

  1. Kate, here’s a counterpoint of sorts.

    Jones is an unpleasant individual, who will toady with the best if he thinks it will benefit him and equally go in hard if that’s his bent on the day. I don’t like him, his politics or his attitude at all.

    However, nobody – you, me, Alan Jones, Julia Gillard, Barack Obama or Elizabeth Windsor – needs to be kowtowed to just because some accident of birth or benefit of position has afforded them some form of notoriety.

    They certainly ought to be shown a basic level of respect, and manners, but only because they are people. Jones failed big time at that today, and his arrogance won out.

    As far as I’m concerned, I call nobody Sir, Mister, General, Ma’am, Prime Minister, Minister, Cardinal or anything else. They have names, and I use them.

    People in “positions” ought to get used to us using their first names. Honorifics and positions are an anachronism that should rightly have died out in the 19th Century. Apparently we didn’t try hard enough in the 20th to do it. Perhaps we’ll have better luck in the 21st.


    1. Stephen, my point was that she got different treatment to men who previously held same office. Agree re kowtowing to rank in general. But treating the office-holder differently based on their gender is not right. People, of any state in life, deserve to be treated with respect and courtesy.


  2. I am with you Kate –
    I think Australia still tolerates misogyny inter alia.
    Can understand Stephen’s point of view too that an old 19th century custom of addressing a person according to a title is unnecessary for this century as it is hoped we have a more egalitarian approach to life in general and our interactions with people.

    The greatest possible outcome of course would be for listeners of these programs to stop tuning in.
    Let us all hope this becomes a reality as this calibre of journalism should have become extinct as with the attitudes already.

    Crossing my fingers


  3. Just like Tony, perhaps this rancid little twerp is still recovering from the entitlement to government which they feel was robbed from them last year.

    What does he offer the world, other than petty smallmindedness?
    Or as I wrote this morning:

    How would I cheer myself up, if it wasn’t for the schoolyard behaviour of Australian “liberals” and their media cheersquad?

    Now, I’m not a fan of Gillard, so I’m disappointed his performance this morning made me feel positive about her. However, even If I don’t like here as a politician, I’d like to think I’d show respect for her as a person.

    In the end his behaviour just makes more disrespectful towards this self-centred, one dimensional, closeted nobody.

    That’s right nobody. Ignore him and he’ll go away. Or as I do if I get into a cab playing his ruminant ramblings…get it turned off – or get another cab.


  4. I couldn’t agree with you more, Kate, but I think our last two prime ministers have brought it on the office in a way. Kevin Rudd gave his first name as a campaign slogan — Kevin ’07 — and repeatedly appeared on morning television referring to the presenters by their infantile nicknames as if he were just another correspondent.

    Julia Gillard appeared on stage in Melbourne and introduced Oprah Winfrey. The prime minister shouldn’t be introducing a TV presenter, however large the audience. As the representative of the country, she disrespected us by allowing the office of our leader to be reduced to the opening act for a foreign entertainer.

    When I arrived in Australia I couldn’t believe the then PM, John Howard, travelled in the front of his chauffeur-driven car, as if riding in the passenger seat closed some sort of class divide. I didn’t want my prime minister to be “of the people”. First among equals is fine with me.

    The Australian obsession with not appearing up yourself, even when you should be a cut above, has led to this. If Julie Gillard wants to be treated with respect, if not for herself then for the office she’s embodying, she should demand the office be treated with respect.


  5. Alan Jones is a believer in free speech. His free speech, and to hell with anyone else.

    As Stephen wrote, Jones is extraordinarily arrogant. He tops it off with willful ignorance, in that even after being given the facts on any subject, he will ignore them if they are not in line with his view, and therefore unworthy.

    He will, and does, talk over and cut off anyone with the temerity to disagree with him. Any person doing a job, or acting in whatever capacity deserves the courtesy of their title being used. Even, if only ironically, if that title is pompous and overblown. Lord Grand Poohbah comes to mind as suitable for Jones.

    Where I disagree with Stephen is that in my opinion, courtesy doesn’t imply kowtowing though. I don’t like effusive or fulsome use of titles, and anyone who insists on having one used at all times is lessened in my view.

    I can’t see any problem with recognising a person who has achieved a level of competence in their chosen field with an earned honorific. Doctor, Professor, Minister, Secretary. Knighthoods are one I don’t much like, hardly any are earned through much more than having lots of cash, and giving some of it to the ruling party of the time.

    As for Ms Gillard being called by her first name, in a friendly manner, most Aussies don’t stand too much on formality. In a friendly chat, I doubt if the PM would even notice the informality.

    But Jones was in no way friendly. He was aggressive and in a fit of pique went straight into attack mode. PM Gillard was late by 10 minutes as, as she explained, she was delayed by a prior interview. This happens all the time, and one of the worst offenders is Jones who will keep an interview going until he has had his fun, and deigns to let that person go. Again, his free speech, and just forget the next interviewer.

    If the PM had been, as he so nearly was, Tony Abbott, I’m pretty sure the 10 minute delay would have been sheeted home directly to the interviewer who took Jones’ oh, so valuable time. He would likely have introduced Mr Abbott as “Prime Minister Tony Abbott” (A scary thought) and then gone on to call him Tony throughout the interview, as is his wont.

    Jones’ audience in general can be relied upon to “ditto-head” every utterance he makes, and anyone who doesn’t is given short shrift on the talk-back.


  6. As I see it Steven, respect is earned, not demanded. No office demands any more respect than the incumbent can bring to it.

    Something I neglected to mention in my previous post, was a response to “Who does Alan Jones think he is?”

    Two problems. He doesn’t think, ever. And he Knows (capital K) who he is. If we don’t, then we can never enter unto his Kingdom Eternal.


  7. I see this is all an all-womans board for sure. Alan is talking no different than any other talkback personality. Julia is a liar and Alan is just making it a public fact. End of. Good on ya alan.


  8. Well done Alan, we need MORE of this to show the Australian people what Charlatans Gillard leads including her the biggest one. This redhead has her own agenda and has no respect or consideration for HONEST HARD WORKING AUSTRALIANS. Get rid of her and her incompetent cronies.


  9. Who does he think he is?
    How about the highest rating broadcaster is Australias history?

    Joolia Lied to the Australian public, and when he questioned her on this she didnt even have the guts to admit it.
    She is a fake, a fraud, and a LIAR.
    She deserves no respect, she is only PM because of a shifty deal with the Greens….”There will be no carbon tax under the government i lead” that was the day before the election.
    Whats happening now?
    At least John Howard had the balls to take his GST to an election and face the people.

    Kate you have no idea


  10. Listen up Sasha and Chris. Its one thing to ask tough interviews which seek the truth and its quite another for Liberal lover Jones to have a hissy fit because a Labor Prime Minister was late for an interview with him. Who does he think he is? The Queen? Even Labor haters such as you should admit that the PM just might have more important things to do. and oh yes…Jones should try asking questions instead of hurling abuse.


  11. I think that it’s about time our “leaders” ahah were held to book. Their stupid incompetant dec isions affect all of us and afterwards no one is interested in picking up the pieces. Too many minority organisations and too many unthinking pollies are the cause of Australia’s crumbling society and our once great lifestyle. People complaining about Alan Jones have very short memories!


  12. It was a totally appalling interview and both participants should be very happy with it.


    Jones improved his standing with his particular set of listeners (who would never vote Labor anyway).

    The Prime Minister came across as a strong and solid performer – swing voters felt sympathetic or even embarrassed for her and it strengthened her image and credibility. By going for the hardest interview on a carbon levy first, she established herself as serious on the topic and ready to confront all comers.

    So both interviewer and interviewee improved their standings with their respective audiences, a mutually positive outcome through a disturbing performance.

    Was it a ‘set-up’? We no, not really. Both participants were true to their views. Call it a a clever match-up instead.

    Jones is far more challenged when interviewing right-wing conservatives as they share a support base.


  13. Stephen
    Your statement on not recognising peoples titles to me is disrespectful to people who have gone the extra mile to make a difference.
    If it’s an honouree position it is given because they have done some thing others haven’t been driven to do.
    Maybe we should drop the title of Doctor & Professor.
    Sounds to me you may be one of those who aren’t driven to achieve a title and the green monster is showing.


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