May 7, 2007

Workers! United! Will Never Be Defeated!

Prepare yourself for another Clumsy Tale of misadventure!

I actually had a one-on-one interview with Kevin Rudd this morning, as part of the Labour Day march through Brisbane. That's right - me and Kev, arm-in-arm, fighting The Man.

Well, maybe not. Anna Bligh, Sharan Burrow, Grace Grace, Wayne Swan, Paul Lucas, Clem Jones (in a van) and several tens of thousands of others were along for the stroll. On a fairly muggy day too, I might add.

I figured - in the wake of my disastrous and nerve-wracked attempt to talk to the Prime Minister - that if I could talk to Rudd before he becomes the Prime Minister (when, if, whatever you like), then I won't be nervous to talk to him if/when he is the Prime Minister. That's my theory anyway - we'll have to wait and see if it actually works.

The march kicked off halfway down Wharf Street just after 10am, with Kev & Co. up front, following the band as they turned onto Turbot Street and headed off through the Valley towards the final destination - the RNA Showgrounds.

After watching several TV journos shove microphones and cameras in Kev's ruddy face, I did a test run by grabbing Anna Bligh for a quick chat about tomorrow night's federal budget: "What do you want for Queensland? Do you think Peter Costello will throw money at us, given we're a crucial federal election battleground?" etc etc. That went well, so around the turn into Brunswick Street I spotted a camera-free Rudd and switched my mic on to record.

"Hi, Mr Rudd, Natalie from 4BC..."

"Hi Natalie from 4BC."

"Just wondering if I could ask you about..." and so on.

Got a few questions in, and didn't sound too much like a complete nonce, which was really the object of the exercise. Kev mostly wheeled out "responses prepared earlier", so I was never going to get a big bombshell statement, but he was still very pleasant. After saying thank you and moving to one side, I got stopped myself by one of his media people, who was friendly enough, but seemed to be a bit nervous that she was unable to monitor every word Kev was uttering. Fair enough too, I suppose. Everything out of the big federal pollies' mouths these days is recorded; they can't burp without it being included in a transcript.

I lost track of Kev & Co. on the way into the RNA Showgrounds - I was busy doing a cross and trying to find some chanting for background effect. It seems the chanting was less enthusiastic this year; more sporadic. It was at this point a friend of mine named Steve popped out of the Rail, Tram & Bus Union group, and came over to see what I was up too. I may have misheard him due to the Highland bagpipers who passed by at that very moment, but I could have sworn he said they were here mostly for the free alcohol.


I headed into the showgrounds and parked my behind in one of the covered grandstands for a while, which unfortunately meant I was on the other side of the stadium to where Rudd got up to have a yak around 11:30am. Cue your humble Girl Clumsy running to the nearest speaker and standing on a concrete barrier in an effort to get the mic closer to the sound. Dangerous territory indeed. I couldn't help but notice that the bloke standing in front of the barrier, slightly below my elevated position, was indigenous activist Sam Watson (he has a very recognisible hat). I figured I'd better not fall, or I risked causing An Incident. There's just too much irony in a pasty white chick squashing a black man for me NOT to be completely embarrassed.

My computer predictably cacked itself as I was trying to file a story for midday, so after some re-jigging and a file by phone, I headed back out to the stage area to see if I could find ACTU President Sharan Burrow, whose speech I missed. I was lucky on that count for two reasons: one, I found her; and two, I found her quite suddenly, yet managed to avoid physically knocking into her. After that I headed into the maze of white tents to find the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance stall. I promptly relieved them of a sausage-in-a-bun and a Diet Coke, which was very welcome after spending an hour surrounded by the whiff of frying onions.

After a brief reunion with the aforementioned Steve (opened can of XXXX in one hand, yet-to-be-opened can of XXXX in the other), as well as a catch-up with a more long-lost friend (known to the ages simply as "Doof") - I headed back into the grandstand for a cross with programs. That short and sweet task done, I decided to head back along Wickham Terrace to the flat, so I could pick up my car and head out to the studio.

And so I find myself reminiscing over my day of action. Keep in mind - my overly large backside may have intruded into camera shots at several points along the marching route, so keep an eye on the TV news tonight. There's a chocolate bar in it for anyone who spots me!


  1. Thank goodness I saw this in time..I shall report back after 5 and 6pm News to see if can see you :)

  2. check u out!! i go away for one month, come back and ur doing ur lois lane thang interview PM's and PM gonna/wanna-be's!! congrats!

    (admitidly, i've barely caught up on homeland politics let alone things ur side). as for the whole nervous thing, just remember the old trick of picturing everyone in their underpants (just dont tell gregor that -what grade will he be teaching again?!)

    i'll be checking frequently whilst i'm on the road for ur paxman-esque probing of high-profile figures (so to speak)!!...


  3. Is Sharan Burrow as frightening and joyless as she seems on the tv box?

    I tell you what, next time you end up interviewing her, I will give you ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS if you can make her smile at something.

    (And it has to be a genuine smile, you can't just tell her "I get a hundred smackos if you flash me your pearly greys" - I want actual ACTU presidential mirth.)

  4. Hey Tophe,

    I'm pretty sure I got a faint smile when I interviewed her at the rally after the march...

    I happened to be talking to her right outside the main tent where a choir was singing satirical anti-government hymns, which were quite clever. I made a comment about the music being great or something, and I do believe she smiled in assent.

    Certainly not worth $100 though, maybe a Diet Coke next time you're in town? ;)

    Cheers, Nat.