When the studio lights were switched on, and the sound check completed, Kerri-Anne Kennerley knew what she was about to do.
She was going to make headlines.
As measured and strategic as any election campaign, Kennerley began, “If Bill Shorten gets in, it will be the end of life as we know it.”
The words were prepared, having turned themselves around in the head of a television presenter who has been in the industry for more than five decades.
“Honestly, without question,” she continued, before leaving a pause for a scoff or perhaps a dismissive chuckle, filled by her co-hosts just in time. Good! Kennerley had something to argue against.
Kerri-Anne Kennerley shares her thoughts on the upcoming election. Post continues below.
Looking down the barrel of the camera, she recycled the line: “Again, Labor government spend, spend, spend.”
After a monologue about franking credits, which she joked she had to Google, and something about how everyone’s rent is going to go up, she added: “Anybody who believes they’ll be better off if Shorten and the Greens get in, is under some whoopy-do cloud. It will never, ever happen. You will tank.”
She didn’t stop there.
“One thing I’m seriously outraged about, the millions and millions they’ll spend on a Gender Commission,” Kennerley said.
“That’ll be national.”
Now. Kennerley, a public commentator, has every right to her opinion. Go ahead. Tell us who you’re voting for.
But with that right comes a responsibility to get her facts right.
Tasmania did pass legislation earlier this year, making gender on birth certificates optional. But that was a decision made by the State Parliament, where the Liberal Party is currently in charge.
The Labor Party have made no suggestion whatsoever that they would roll out gender-free reform – a call which is in the state’s jurisdiction anyway.
We go behind the headlines, and explore the election campaigns of the two major parties on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
“And if your child is confused, the rights of your child will go to them, you will have no rights as a parent. That child will go, ‘I want to be either a boy or girl, please give me whatever I need’ and you as a parent will have no choice.”
There is no evidence to suggest a Labor government would do any such thing.
But on Wednesday, when Kennerley embarked on her impassioned ‘spontaneous’ rant, facts weren’t really the point.
Feelings were. And it is feelings, after all, that make headlines.
Her unsubstantiated claims about Australia’s imminent apocalypse under Shorten were words strong enough to stay with undecided voters. Words that might follow them into the cardboard booths.
It was a monologue Kennerley had likely saved, whipping it out when a sway was needed most.