FROM THE ADELAIDE ADVERTISER Nov 13  by Miles Kemp, Matt Gilbertson and Tim Williams…

BOB Francis, the most divisive and colourful South Australian to ever sit behind a radio microphone, had one simple final request.

The man who raged over the airwaves for almost six decades sought a calming cup of tea from his fifth wife Anna yesterday at his North Adelaide home, after complaining of feeling unwell.

A friend who contacted the Sunday Mail to advise of his death said his wife returned to find the radio legend had died suddenly at age 77.

In a statement, Francis’s wife of 12 years said her marriage to Bob had been “a fabulous ride”.

“Sometimes like being on a bucking bronco, at others like riding an old nag,” she said.

It was a quiet end for the politically conservative, professionally revolutionary and deliberately offensive “Big Bad Bob”, whose trademark was harassing, insulting and even abusing rivals and callers he disagreed with.

He revelled in his notoriety and the national media attention his antics drew, and his descriptions of listeners as “dickbrains” and “stupid old ladies”.

“Well, why don’t you turn the radio off if you don’t like it, you stupid bloody wanker?” he once said to caller “John” on air.

After suggesting a magistrate’s face should be punched in, he was fined $20,000.

Once, he said he hoped boat people would drown on their voyage to Australia, despite having himself been born in Egypt.

He was occasionally chided and frequently lauded by FIVEaa, which traded on his persona to boost ratings, describing him as: “Aggressive, loud, rude, arrogant … and those are his good points”.

Andrew Reimer, the producer for his final three years on FIVEaa, where he had hosted his own show since 1985, said Francis was the first pioneer of talkback radio in Adelaide, and the rough handling of callers was accepted and sought after in the early days.

He said Francis never understood that the pantomime of banter between host and caller had become too serious for many people.

“It was entertainment but there was a significant shift away from that in the later years and listeners demanded more respect,’’ Mr Reimer said.

While he was best known as a radio shock jock, Bob Francis was far more.

He was inducted into the Australian Radio Hall of Fame in 2005, and worked as an actor, event host, war correspondent, advertising frontman, promoter, and TV presenter.

His biggest claim to fame was, as a 25-year-old, bringing The Beatles to Adelaide in 1964 on the back of 80,000 signatures on a petition.

While Francis was the public face of the campaign, the legwork and negotiations were done by music promoter Ron Tremaine.

Mr Tremaine said Francis was the same “very, very genuine” personality on and off-air.“It will be a long while before someone else bobs up who can put those big shoes on,” he said.

NOVA Entertainment Adelaide general manager Neil O’Reilly said the company was “deeply saddened to hear of the news of Bob Francis’s passing”.

ABC radio host and Sunday Mail columnist Peter Goers, Francis’s on-air rival for more than a decade, said: “He was a complex, difficult, son of a bitch and we agreed on almost nothing, but he was indisputably one of this nation’s greatest radio talents and I admired his gift enormously.”

TV personality Anne Wills won a Logie with Francis in 1975 for their Saturday night variety  show

“Adelaide royalty is the only way to describe him,” she said.

“He was a pioneer in so many ways, on the radio and on the TV. And he could act as well.”

Consultant and former newsreader Kelly Nestor, a friend of Francis, shared a minute’s silence with him for Remembrance Day on Friday when they bumped into each other in a North Adelaide business.

“We were laughing about the fact he had to be wearing a (Donald) Trump hat.

“He was pumping the air and saying ‘go president Trump!’” she said


PEDAL Power’s John Armstrong says the ACT government’s response to the sharp spike in cycling injury rates was shameful.

Pedal Power has called on the government to immediately implement a trial of lower speed limits in all school zones, town centres and residential areas which have high levels of pedestrian and cycling activity in close proximity to shared paths.



Mike vows to take on the Lycra louts

IT’S 7.30 on a chilly autumn morning, Lake Burley Griffin is showing the first ethereal signs of its foggy winter blanket, and 2CC radio’s afternoon presenter Mike Welsh is standing on Commonwealth Avenue Bridge.

Welsh wants to tell “CityNews” readers about a problem he has with the path over the bridge: a small minority of cyclists, he says, do not share well with others in such limited areas, and are giving the rest a bad name.

According to Welsh, and several others, the typical offender is almost always the serious type, dressed in road cycling gear and furiously pedaling a late-model road bike. They don’t use bells, they go too fast and they hurl abuse at people not keeping to the left, he says.

Welsh vowed in April that he “won’t stop ranting until something is done”, during a broadcast interview with the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury. In the same program, he implied the Government is reluctant to address the issue, because “the pedal lobby in this town’s just too bloody strong”.

To some, this is a trivial issue being hyped up by a commercial radio host, but his concern is genuine and what’s more, it appears he has a point. It only took a cursory half-hour on the bridge one Friday morning to see a couple of close shaves caused by reckless riding, and to find one walker who strongly agreed there was a problem.

As well as every Canberran’s right to feel comfortable using public facilities, there is a safety issue, particularly on the western side of the bridge, where a recent accident between a pedestrian and a cyclist left at least one person lying on the road, luckily, without a car speeding towards them.

Both Minister Rattenbury (himself a bike rider) and Pedal Power ACT spokesman Matt Larkin agree that shared areas such as the bridge – especially in peak hour – are not the best places to go hard on a bike.

“It’s just as if someone’s going to go for a training run, you’d probably advise them not to run through Garema Place at one o’clock,” says Larkin, adding that most cyclists use quieter roads for training and serious exercise.

He also rejects the idea that there is an attitude problem exclusive to cyclists.

“Most of the cyclists also walk on the paths, and drive cars on the road,” he points out. “Probably, the people who are inconsiderate are inconsiderate in any mode of transport, so I think we have to be very careful saying the problem is bike riders; the problem is inconsiderate people.”

Along with Rattenbury and the disgruntled walker we spoke to, Larkin disagrees with Mike Welsh’s rather radical suggestions, which all involve new regulations. His favourite is a speed limit, but he’s also floated ideas like making cyclists get off and walk through such bottlenecks, or even making one side of the bridge for walkers, the other for bikers.

Instead, education is the more popular solution.

“I think its beholden on bike riders to behave responsibly and pull each other up on it sometimes,” says Larkin. “If you see one of your fellow riders behaving in a way that isn’t considerate, I think it is worth saying: ‘You feel vulnerable on the road; think about how the pedestrian feels.’ I think that is a reasonable conversation to have.”

With the ACT Government working towards increasing the three per cent of people who ride to work to six per cent by 2016, and the new Civic Cycle Loop’s unbuilt Bunda Street section to cut straight through the heart of the city, Larkin says this is an issue that will only come into sharper focus in years to come.


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”.