Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Federal Parliamentary Microphones

Let his be recorded in history, from my faliable memory. In the old Parliament House in our Federal capital Canberra, the microphones used to pick up interjections from various members of various parties when a politician was on the floor speaking. This made for very good entertainment at times. This was back in the days when Radio National was dry and dusty and there were gongs during the news and ABC local radio was compelled to carry Parliament (and cricket) on the airwaves. At times the interjections could be very cutting, or just really amusing.

I can't remember the exact timelines now but once the new parliament building opened, it had very directional microphones broadcasting what the politician was saying on the floor of the house, but not the interjections from other politicians. That is, the mikes would only broadcast what the pollie was saying because he or she was talking directly to the microphone. Good idea to keep the public ignorant of what was really happening in parliament........in theory.

But Houston, we have a problem, the problem being that politicians like to perform when they are speaking in the house, especially during question time. They like to look around. They like to turn their heads to address their speech to a particular member. All this was picked up by the old microphones, but not by the new microphones, so a politician speaking on the floor with head turning etc would keep going off mike and we radio listeners missed what they were saying in a direct speech from the floor to parliament.

I must say, it was a bit of a laugh. Perhaps best described as a feeble play with early technology. A laugh yes, but serious too.

Some 30 years later, it still sticks in my mind and why? It was shocking attempt at censorship of what was happening in Parliament. Unfortunately, even though it was after the ABC reign of the very conservative Sir Talbot Duckmanton, I believe our ABC was complicit in this censored broadcast of parliament.

16 comments:

  1. My cynical self is more likely to believe the things that our pollies say when they don't think they are being recorded.

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    1. Or perhaps trust is a better word. Trust that they are revealing their own beliefs.

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    2. EC, yes when they are thoughtful and honest. That doesn't happen too often, well not what we see or hear.

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  2. Watched Toddler Tantrum Time yesterday - it could have been even more painful listening to it than having bamboo shoved under fingernails.

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    1. Jayne, you have a masochistic streak in you.

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  3. I often watch question time on TV on my desktop computer and they sound alright but haven't listened to them on the radio for same. They are quite comical at times to watch, I do get a good old laugh out of them.

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    1. Margaret, I honestly haven't seen or parliament for ages, so I don't know how it comes across now.

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  4. In my opinion, the less we hear from politicians the better.

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    1. Cro, after some countries have elections, there is not a parliament resolved for months or even years. The countries carry on and function.

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  5. I don't know about anybody else, but I couldn't care less what they are saying in Parliament. It's probably all lies and childish "he said-she said" anyway.

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    1. River, while what happens in parliament is terribly important, I am with you about what is said in parliament.

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  6. I'd like ours to be monitored 24/7 on live TV, so you get up in the night, be bored, pull up channel Donald Trump or channel Nancy Pelosi or some of the really sleazy louts in Congress, and watch, with a bowl of popcorn.

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    1. Good idea, Strayer. And catch them taking a nap.

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  7. I quite enjoy watching Question Time now and again. Our politics are kind of boring compared to many places in the world.. thank goodness but it would be fun if every now and then someone would hurl themselves across the divide for a bit of a punch up 😀😀

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    1. Grace, yes, that would be great fun. I'd like to see Penny Wong and Mathias Cormann go a few rounds.

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