21 February 2023

PODCAST: The Hoot on everything from Home Affairs to Basil Fawlty and cancel culture

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Fawlty Towers

Don’t mention the war! Will Fawlty Towers fall prey to cancel culture? Photo: File.

The Hoot is here as the year gets back into its swing with some serious and slightly less serious chat about the big Canberra questions.

This week Ross and Genevieve start with the problems at Home Affairs, where sometimes controversial department secretary Mike Pezzullo has faced tough questioning about the culture at the mega-department.

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It appears staff morale is particularly low – at least by comparison with other departments and agencies that scored significantly higher recommendations in last year’s APS census. This was borne out by some particularly frank comments from readers, who variously described the department’s culture as “robotic”, “toxic” and “macho”. Don’t hold back, folks!

READ ALSO Pezzullo blames wider APS for Home Affairs culture problems

Mr Pezullo says the fragmentation of public service pay rates is a major factor – but is leadership a bigger problem than pay rates? Or perhaps the role the department played in advancing the previous government’s political agenda?

One of the week’s biggest questions has been whether you’d buy an apartment in Canberra without guaranteed car parking. Minister Mick Gentleman says it’s in our future as light rail continues to roll out across the city. Readers are less impressed, and we’re asking who stands to benefit most: could this be a boon for developers as well as public transport enthusiasts?

READ ALSO More pain than gain from apartment blocks without parking

And speaking of things that make no sense, why would anyone want to prevent the return of Basil Fawlty?

The news that one of the most beloved sitcoms of all time was due to return in some form echoed around the world. Whether a Fawlty Towers reboot will be any good or not is anyone’s guess – but surely, surely, Basil, Sybil and the crew are immune from “cancel culture”?

Ross argues that while there are certainly some comedies that haven’t stood the test of time, this most beloved and hilarious of shows should not be dismissed on the grounds that social standards have changed.

What do you think? Are Manuel, Mr O’Reilly the hapless builder, the Major and the rest of the crew all doomed to disappear on the grounds of political correctness?

The Hoot appears every week on Riotact and wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple and Spotify. Have a listen, tell us what you think and rate us.

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