I’ve interviewed many Prime Ministers over the past 30 years, but as “has beens” – Whitlam, Fraser and Keating, and as “wannabes”– Hawke, Howard and Rudd. Plus a bunch of “would-be-if-they-could-bes” in Peacock, Hewson, Beasley and Latham. But I’m still to break my duck interviewing someone who is actually in The Lodge.

It’s frightening just how quickly things now happen in the Canberra Bubble.

I wrote this piece in Feb 2014 confessing to my failure of interviewing a serving Prime Minister despite a more than three decades career in news and talk radio.

This sad article does end with a (sort of) prediction that Mr Harbour-side mansion would downsize to Adelaide Ave Canberra but highlights the fact that Mal came and went very quickly. Just how long before it’s Scott Morrison time to GO.

I HAVE a confession: I’ve never done it. Apparently, everyone around me has and continues to, but I just can’t seem to crack it.

I’m something of a virgin. Despite decades in the news business, I’m yet to pop my “interview a serving PM” cherry.

A short, sharp “g’day” from Julia Gillard recently when our walking paths crossed beside Lake Burley Griffin is as close as I’ve come, but not close enough.

I’ve interviewed many Prime Ministers over the past 30 years, but as “has beens” – Whitlam, Fraser and Keating, and as “wannabes”– Hawke, Howard and Rudd. Plus a bunch of “would-be-if-they-could-bes” in Peacock, Hewson, Beasley and Latham. But I’m still to break my duck interviewing someone who is actually in The Lodge.

At Melbourne’s Southern Cross Hotel, early evening, on that “one day in September”, 1977, after a long and emotional day at the MCG watching North Melbourne and Collingwood draw the VFL Grand Final, I loitered into a lift heading for an “enforced” early night.

The lift contained a tall and broad-shouldered man who, in my “emotional” state, looked vaguely familiar. I told him as much, too.

He held out a huge hand and, with a booming but cultured voice, subtly suggested I’d obviously “had a good day at the football, comrade”.

He alighted at the next floor, no doubt smirking at the drunken bogan who failed to fully recognise the great E.G. Whitlam.

A trench-coated, cigar-puffing, Silver Bodgie came on my show for a chat during the 1980s campaign in support of a local candidate. But R.J.Hawke had to wait a little longer for the keys to The Lodge. The encounter didn’t count.

During the campaign of ’84, I interviewed John Howard and Andrew Peacock.

On Melbourne Cup day 1984, an agitated Peacock came in for an on-air chat with a dozen or so members of the press gallery in tow. I asked callers to be brief with the questions as Peacock had to fly back to Melbourne to the Flemington racecourse. The media pack had fun with that the next day. A quote in “The Australian” said: “Mr Welsh didn’t need to issue the brevity warning to callers… there were none.”

Malcolm Fraser has also been on my program many times since leaving The Lodge.

Despite all this, I remain a “maiden performer” when it comes to interviewing “serving” PMs. With time running out for Gillard to “do the deed” for me, it looks as though I’ll have to settle for Tony Abbott – and just lie back and think of Malcolm Turnbull!


Dear Kevin
Thank you for the recent application for the prime and much coveted position of Secretary General at the United Nations.
While we weren’t swamped with applications for this plumb role, (you , a butch chick from NZ and a couple of other randoms) , we still had to follow the mandatory and extensive process which thankfully , in your case, was a quick show of hands from the boys over beers and pizzas at a Kingston pub last Tuesday night. Topped up with the bi- partisan proxies of True Believers  venting long held grudges, it would appear you have completely missed the cut, dude.
While we appreciate the massive amount of arse licking, energy and preparation you applied to this project  (actually we didn’t even bother to open your email?), and without wishing to put too fine a point on it, my heartfelt and sincere hope is you will eventually come to fully appreciate the near impossible (piece of piss actually) task we were charged with.
In order to be seen to afford you the famous Aussie “fair suck of the sauce bottle” we reached out  to at least two of your selected referees. Remarkably both Ms Gillard and Mrs Keneally were  forthright, candid and pithy in their estimations of your appropriateness for this prestige position. You will be no doubt be heartened to know Ms Gillard is now nursing a broken ankle after falling from a marble table on which she’d been dancing since learning of your UN failure.  And you’d be impressed that Mrs Kenealy was prepared to go the… full nine yards, offering her beloved Labrador puppy in the event of you being unable to fulfil your taxing UN duties. A delicious moot point now, Kevvy but if I may be blunt, their relentless references to a “backstabbing pissant” and a “psychopathic narcissist” may have taken most of the gloss off your once glowing and stratospheric approval rating. History will now record the solid endorsements of the “blonde bombshell” and the “ginger dreamboat” failed miserably to raise your problematic credibility rating to the prescribed base level of the UN’s Selection Criteria. The marker, which some say is petty and small minded, is a relatively unknown and rarely used but convenient caveat inserted in the process to eliminate self-seeking, short tempered dictators from Queensland.
I will come clean Kevin, largely due to your penchant for leaking to Laurie Oakes, that yes I did indeed give you some reason for hope by hinting, several times, that you had my full support for your candidature.  But given my somewhat awkward lack of a silly old mandate, the hair-splitters in my party (a homophobic bunch of Catholic Boarding School Abbott acolyte rednecks) have deemed my giving you the nod completely and utterly out of the question. Broad church my fat arse.
It is my sincerest wish that you won’t remain crushed and numb for too long (no hurry) but that you keep your chins up, Digger, as there’s always another door about to slam in your phoney face.  Take heart my friend, as I’ve said many times since I excommunicated the monk “ there is no better time in our history to be a member of the knifed Australian PMs club and to be looking for a job”.
The reality is that the Australian people have spoken and they yelled loudly that it was …..“way past time the Milky Bar Kid was dragged down from his High Horse”.
I have asked Erica Betts,  our new HR chick, to keep your deets on file should a similar position become available, at which point we could drag your file and enjoy another round of the fab drinking game we call “not getting mad but getting even”.
To show there are no hard feelings, the next time you (deign) to visit Canberra, how about you and I and Albo swing by Dirty Davina’s Kiss My Whip pole dancing club in Braddon?.
In the end, as you are/were wont to say, “let me say this”….. we just simply couldn’t have an earwax munching, pigeon-toed, nerd haughtily strutting the world stage, again. And while you were not nominated for this once in a lifetime and career defining role I strongly encourage you to apply for other less important but more suitable opportunities we have available by visiting us at http://www.suckedinkev.com.au.
Malcolm Turnbull

That Tony Abbott Song

By Mike Welsh

Given I’d knocked out scores of corny ditties for radio shows, including for Prime Ministers Howard (little Johnny H) and Gillard (Julia G the Ginger Dreamboat), and not to forget the Rudd Rapp, in the spirit of partisan political piss-taking I felt obligated to work on one for the (almost) latest Lodge occupant.

But thankfully (They Don’t Get) ‘Me’ has grown out of all proportion in comparison to my puny attempts to parody PMs. Instead of a couple of gratuitous spins on radio and a hundred hits on YouTube and Soundcloud, thanks to the talented Sydney Heavy/Pop trio Velveteen, the song has become a critically -acclaimed commentary and an exceedingly more polished musical project illustrated by TBS collaborators Friday Mash.

I’d always liked the manner in which Tony Abbott turned up and got on with the job. I don’t think it’s ever bothered him what people think of him. He was just happy to be able to kick the heads John Howard directed him to kick. He’s a roll- up-your-sleeves type of guy.

It’s “what you get is what you see” in its purest form. But even after years clothed in the disciplined hairshirt of Catholicism I suspect there’s a faint voice Modestly whispering, “after all I do, why don’t they get ?”

In a way (They Don’t Get) ‘Me’ is part praise of Tony Abbott. In the same manner I eulogised his mentor in “Little Johnny H”,

…He can’t walk on water, he can’t raise the dead. How can he be so damn good when he can’t lie straight in bed?

The Rudd Rap takes a bolder and more boastful narrative,

there’s a whole bunch of stuff a lot of folks don’t see…I’m back in the Lodge cos I kept a spare key I’m Kevin Bloody Rudd and it’s all about me

Tony Abbott deserves to have at least a corny ode written about him. I’m modestly satisfied I’ve been able to contribute to Velveteen’s masterpiece

They Don’t Have Rob Oakeshott To Kick Around Anymore

“I think he’s worldly and he’s well educated. He’s articulate. He’s decent and he can talk to people………he’s at home in any environment. That’s why I’ve come here to support him. We need, desperately need people like this in public life”. (Alan Jones 1996)

Oakie # 2


Robert James Murray “Rob” Oakeshott has departed public life but left an indelible mark on Australian politics. Not surprisingly though it would seem there’s a dearth of candidates to replace Robert as the target of cheap shots by Shock  Jocks and know-all nothing nongs the country over. Can’t be seen to put the boot into George (Senator Brandis). Can’t  mercilessly flog Morrison (Immigration Minister). Can’t cowardly sledge Bishop (speaker Bronnie). No free-kick for shock jocks  anymore.



“Oakeshott will be remembered for two things – a mindless, rambling 17 minute speech and deserting a conservative electorate that has been left posted by a bloke with an intellect less than that of Larry, Curly and Moe”. (Ray Hadley 2013)



If there was one topic I rob and JGwas 100% confident about, and always keen to debate in my decade on Talk radio it was Robert Oakeshott. I wholeheartedly agree with Alan Jones’ comments of late 1996. Rob Oakeshott is all those things and much more. The electorate was just as astute. As a National party candidate Rob grabbed almost 47% of the primary vote in the seat of Port Macquarie at the November 1996 NSW election.  At the 1999 poll he was further endorsed with a 58% share of the vote. The “decent, well-educated and articulate young man” has blended, albeit slightly, into the background of the electorates (Port Macquarie and Lyne) he comprehensively and brilliantly served for almost 18 years. Although there was recent speculation (quickly doused) around the village that Rob would seek the Hastings Council (Port Macquarie council) Mayoral robes. But back to beginning of the best years.  As News Editor of Radio 2MCFM/STARFM based in Port Macquarie, I received a call at home late one Saturday afternoon. It was Rob offering me the exclusive story of his plans to jump ship from the Nats and stand as an Independent at the next state election.  Tricky move for most pollies (Port Macquarie was safe National party territory) but no sweat for Oakie. That’s when the “#%^ hit the fan” deluxe. How dare he the “white-shoe brigade” which dominated the local political scene, huffed and puffed. Ungrateful young pup. In the NSW poll of November 2002 the Independent candidate Rob Oakeshott “romped” it in with almost 70% of the primary vote. But the massive mandate (the Nat’s polled just 14%) failed to stop a filthy and personal campaign against him. There wasn’t a week go by when I didn’t receive an “anonymous” tip in the newsroom from some local political parasite (of whom there were many) trying to convince me Rob “was about to pull the pin” or others prepared to share damaging personal details.

oakie family It will never cease to amaze me that if Robert Oakeshott had turned his head Right instead of Left on that fateful day in 2010 his “decision” would in2014 still be hailed as one of the greatest individual contributions in  recent Australian political life. And equally difficult to fathom is the man Oakeshott replaced in his move to federal  politics, his old boss Mark Vaile, didn’t cop anywhere near the local backlash when he “opted out”, creating  a by-election just months after being re-elected but in opposition after the Howard rout of September 2007.


rob and windsor



While he may have gone Robert Oakeshott will never be forgotten. In fact I predict rational students of the politics of hung parliaments may in the future uphold the contribution of the”OAKESHOTT that was heard around the world”.