Michael Connor

Sell the ABC

It was Tracey’s idea. She’s going to a Fabian seminar this weekend and has been asked to bring along a low fat vegan salad for sharing, and an idea for discussion. She thought of selling off the ABC to pay back the ALP stimulus debt. She thought of it all by herself, and she’s not even a member of the Labor Party and she never reads Steven Kates.

She had been in the local ABC Shop when she thought of it. After all, she said to me when I bumped into her near those aggressive smilers at the Amnesty stand, how many DVDs of “Dad’s Army” does Australia need?

Think of the environment, I said. Just turning it off would save all that electricity.

Y-e-s, she said. I could see she was still thinking of selling it.

But it would get rid of all those awful old women, she said.

Surely you mean SBS? I said.

And that old man who’s on after the news.

Maybe she did mean the ABC. Its audience wouldn’t like you selling it off, I said.

Old people have got to adapt to change, said Tracey.

The “Friends of the ABC” wouldn’t be happy, I said.

What’s that, she said.

Just Google, I said.

Tracey was in a bit of a hurry because she was picking up the kids. They’ve been off school this week and have had to be kept in quarantine. Because of the swine flu. It’s been a real change in their lifestyle as Bruce, that’s her partner, drops them off at the shopping centre each morning as he goes to work, and Tracey takes them home after her checkout shift at the supermarket is over.

On Tuesday she forgot to get them, and she and Bruce only realised when there was no one to ring up to get dinner delivered. Luckily Big W was open late and the kids had made themselves a cubby in the menswear, near underwear and socks, and they had had enough money to get some Wendy hot dogs and some Donut King donuts and some Muffin Break muffins and some drinks from a machine.

Why didn’t they walk home? I asked. They only live a couple of blocks from the centre.

Tracey gave me one of her looks. They don’t know the way, she said. They’ve never walked there before.

Oh, I said. Let me know how the Fabians like the idea of selling the ABC.

I will, she said.

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