The Inside Word

Basil’s “Fawlty Towers” start to state political career

It’s the oldest pitfall in modern politics – failing to remember the golden rule that “the microphone is always on”.

The latest victim is would-be West Australian Liberal MP Basil Zempilas who was caught on a hot mic seemingly referring to women’s tennis at the Australian Open as “reserve grade”. 

Basil, while a novice to the State Political arena, should most definitely have known better as both a veteran television reporter, and the long-serving Lord Mayor of Perth.

He subsequently claimed that he was referring to the fact that he would be reading the news on Channel Seven Perth that night, up against the women’s final, and that it was the news bulletin rather than the tennis that was “reserve grade”.

And if you believe that, you’re a very generous soul indeed.

He’s certainly not a standout in the competition for the biggest recorded gaffes by a political figure.  Perhaps the most notable was the joint effort by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and his NSW counterpart Morris Iemma at a 2006 Premiers’ Conference. At the same event, Iemma described a senior NSW transport figure as a “f—wit”, while Beattie bragged that he handed his Deputy Anna Bligh responsibility for “every other piece of sh-t I don’t want”.

And then of course, there was Kevin Rudd’s complaint about the complicated “f—ing language” in the video scripts provided to him by consular staff.

Happily, for Basil, Peter, Morris and Kevin, the SAS Group is currently offering a 50 per cent discount on our media training rates for high-profile political leaders who’ve been caught red faced on camera.

For everyone else, our rates are still pretty competitive. Contact us to brush up your media skills today.

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