The ABC cancels Tom Ballard

Once again, comedian Tom Ballard has proved himself too hot for the ABC to handle.

Ballard featured at the opening night gala of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival with a blistering set aimed at one of his favourite targets: the Liberal Party and its voters. In an approach that will surprise nobody, he turned his diatribe up to 11.

“I’m not saying Liberal voters are bad people. I’m saying they’re not people. They’re cold-blooded lizards ruining the country who should go back to the hellmouth from where they came,” he said.

Ballard also referenced COVID-19, which “killed a lot of people in nursing homes – but I checked and they were all Liberal voters”. Not sure if Comedy Festival board member John Ridley, a former Victorian director of the Liberal Party and adviser to Andrew Peacock, saw the funny side.

Ballard climaxed with: “I hope you die, I hope you choke on your own franking credits, you evil greedy fascist soulless pig dogs.”

Tom Ballard.Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

All of which presented a huge headache for the ABC, which this Wednesday will broadcast the opening night gala with a second episode the following week. But after some agony and consultation of its voluminous editorial standards, Aunty has cancelled Ballard.

“The ABC checks all content prior to broadcast to ensure it meets editorial standards. In this case, it was determined that the risk of causing offence to viewers was not editorially justified,” a spokesman said.

What a pickle for Aunty. Broadcast Ballard and ABC managing director David Anderson faces a rabid Senator Eric Abetz yammering away at Senate estimates for the next five years. Or cut the comedian and woke Guardianistas will be firing up on Twitter about ABC censorship for, oh, the next 36 hours.

Readers might remember Ballard’s Tonightly program was axed three years ago after a skit labelling an Australian Conservatives candidate a c–t enraged the Liberal government. Ballard signed off with a tearful please for the national broadcaster to keep making “risky” content. Dare to dream, Tom!

Hanson on Hamilton

Pauline Hanson is keeping shtum on the details of a weekend jaunt to the Whitsundays last spring paid for by her parliamentary expense account.

Federal travel disclosures released last week revealed the Queensland senator spent – sorry, the Australian taxpayer spent – almost $1500 on flights jetting to Hamilton Island from Brisbane on Friday, October 2. She then flew out of the Oatley family-owned hotspot three days later to Canberra (via Brisbane). That two-stop trip cost just over $1020. The same expense report shows Hanson accrued parking fees of $151 between October 1 and October 8.

Hanson’s representatives did not respond to repeated questions about the purpose of the trip. Odds are there could have been a bit of business and pleasure on the island where golf carts are the primary form of transport and the six-star luxury Qualia Resort is considered to be one of the country’s finest. It’s worth noting the Queensland state election took place on October 31, about 25 days after Hanson left the island. One Nation fielded business development executive Deb Lawson for the seat of Whitsunday. Lawson also ran for the party a year earlier in the federal election representing the seat of Dawson.

Whether Hanson helped her state chances is another question. Liberal National Amanda Camm secured the seat against the ALP’s Angie Kelly in a nail-biting race which came down to preferences. Camm secured 32.88 per cent of the primary vote while Kelly secured 32.51 per cent. Lawson came in fourth place with 9.4 per cent of the primary vote behind North Queensland First’s Jason Costigan.

Perhaps Hanson should have stayed longer.

Hot job

One of the best jobs in the state is once again up for grabs.

Michael Kapel’s time as the state’s trade and export tsar has ended and recruiters are searching for a replacement, which suggests that his successor will not be a case of history repeating.

Officially, Kapel’s title was commissioner to the Americas for the government of Victoria (Australia) and his San Francisco-based post oversaw a network of 23 trade and investment offices located in New York, Washington, DC, Chicago and San Francisco which “facilitate investment for the state and maximise opportunities for exporters”.

Nice work if you can get it, which everyone thought after Kapel won the job in 2012 when he was chief of staff to premier Ted Baillieu, who was immediately attacked.

“So it turns out Ted Baillieu does have a plan for jobs – unfortunately it’s only one job and it’s for one of his best mates,” opposition frontbencher Martin Pakula said.

But that zinger didn’t survive Labor’s ascent to government and Pakula changed his tune, reappointing Kapel twice, while a spokesman told CBD Kapel “delivered strong results for Victoria in an important role”.

SHK Asia Pacific is now recruiting for a replacement, while Nathan Elia in its Boston office and Natalia Gorrono in Santiago hold the fort until the post is filled.

With Nick Miller

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