Love letters
Thursday, August 5, 2004
Justinian in Deja Vu

Schmaltzy "love" letters ... David Flint and Alan Jones oozing admiration from every pore ... Cringeworthy correspondence that Flint failed to reveal when he was chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, later to inquire into Jones' role in the Cash for Comment scandal ... From Justinian's archive August 2004 

Flint: adored the Jones boyProf. David (Fruity) Flint, as chairman of the broadcasting regulator, had been conducting a fawning correspondence with one of the people he was supposed to the regulating - shock-jock provocateur Alan (Dunny) Jones.

Indeed, when Jones was subject in 1999 and 2000 to the Australian Broadcasting Authority's inquiry into the trousering of undisclosued plugola by shysters of the airwaves, the ABA chairman never disclosed his admiration for the Parrot or his craven correspondence with him. 

Media Watch broke the Cash for Comment story in May 1999. 

On November 28, 1997 Fruity sent to Dunny a copy of  speech he had given to the Media Law Association in which he supported the great broadcaster against attacks by Media Watch and it's presenter at that time, Stuart Littlemore. Flint told Jones: "You might be amused by the reference to you [in the speech]."

Jones' replied: 

3 December 1997

Professor David Flint
Chairman
Australian Broadcasting Authority 
PO Box Q500
Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230

Dear David,

Thank you for your note and for sending me the copy of your speech. I'm just acknowledging it prior to reading. However, your reference to that ogre on the ABC most probably gives him a notoriety to which he certainly isn't entitled.

David, his career is best summed up by saying that he is a failed broadcaster. The ABC, at taxpayers' expense has room for such people. In the world of spending your own money, the bloke wouldn't be able to find a job.

And thank you for demonstrating a rare understanding of the democracy of talkback radio.

Keep at it David. I think they are on the run, otherwise they wouldn’t be so defensive in their behaviour.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely,

 Alan Jones 

In May 1999 after the first of Media Watch's Cash for Comment broadcasts went to air, Flint again send a copy of another fawning speech about Jones that he had delivered to a spellbound audience at the right-wing "think tank" The Sydney Institute. 

Jones: playing FDR in a musical version of Annie

Jones replied: 

2 June 1999

Professor David Flint
Chairman
Australian Broadcasting Authority
PO Box Q500
Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230

Dear David,

Thank you for your note, and thank you for sending me the presentation to the Sydney Institute. I can't pretend that I've read everything that you wrote, but I shall. That's the only way one can learn! However, I was surprised at your reference to me.

I'm interested in your observation that 'in some circles you will be greeted with at least polite silence and, more likely outraged disapproval'. David, you must be moving in the circles of the media! They just hate people who've had success or who can attract an audience far greater than their own. I just say things as I see them and work very hard at putting my ideas together. The fact that we seem to have some success is most probably the biggest problem I have!

However, we keep at it. Sometimes I wonder why. Thank you for writing to me.

With best wishes,

 Alan Jones 

There was another shocking gusher that Flint sent to Jones in June 1999, again on Australian Broadcasting Authority letterhead:

Alan you have an extraordinary ability to of capturing and enunciating the opinions of the majority on so many issues. 

This of course annoys those who have a different agenda. I suspect it is extremely irritating to them that you do it so well. 

Hence in parts of the media and our academic institutions reference to your programme is greeted in the way I suggested. Which, I am sure, does not concern you greatly. 

Keep up your considerable contribution to the widening of our national debates.

Sincerely,

David. 

Jones replied soon after:

22 June 1999

Professor David Flint
Chairman
Australian Broadcasting Authority
PO Box Q500
Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230

Dear David,

Thank for your kind and generous note. I do understand what you're saying. Mind you, much of all of this is informed by jealousy. Some of these people thought that they were going to 'call the shots' for years to come. They've had the rug pulled out from under them. It's absolutely essential that we don't give them any more breathing space. I don't frighten easily!

I really appreciated the fact that you'd take the trouble to write.

With best wishes,

 Alan Jones

Flint has failed to deny that he was also corresponding with Jones during the ABA's Telstra-Jones inquiry in 2003. 

Such was the enthisiasn of Flint for Jones and Jones for Flint that the great broadcaster lobbied Prime Minister Howard for Fruity's reappointment as chairman of the Broadcasting Authority. 

The integrity of the ABA's inquiry into Cash for Comment was further compromised when Jones appeared on the John Laws' program while the ABA's public hearings were underway to extol the virtues of the monarchy. 

Flint didn't understand that he was critically compromised, but the outcry was so great that he was forced to stand aside from the inquiry. 

By June 2004 Flint had gone from the ABA. The furore over the mutually basting Flint-Jones missives was so intense that his job as chairman was untenable. 

Article originally appeared on Justinian: Australian legal magazine. News on lawyers and the law (http://justinian.com.au/).
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