Here I was yesterday, listening to ABC Radio National's evening Drive program, specifically its News Quiz segment with Rebecca Huntley.
Her guests were Emma Alberici (Lateline), Grahame Morris (political commentator), and Eric Jensen (editor of The Saturday Paper). They were discussing politicians' study tours. My ears, of course, pricked up.
Morris claimed that most politicians ended up in Rome, Sweden and France. Were they justified? asked Huntley. I've seen politicians go to the Boeing plant and you come back seriously educated, replied Morris.
Emma? asked Huntley. Sure, when you study education or health systems, replied Emma.
Eric? asked Huntley. Any journalist who hasn't been on a junket must be a first year cadet, piped Eric knowingly.
Or they work for the ABC*, chortled Huntley, adding, I would love to go on a junket.
The discussion went on to tick such destinations as the Tour de France, the Nordic Model, a certain big fat Indian wedding, and Ireland's Guinness Brewery, but needless to say, at no point was our politicians' (and our journalists') all-time favorite port of call mentioned. (To see what I mean, scan my regularly updated 30/3/09 post I've been to Israel too.)
Ignorance or self-censorship? Either way is inexcusable. (For a detailed discussion of self-censorship and the ME conflict, see my 28/4/08 post Anticipatory Compliance.)
[*Not strictly true. Chris Uhlmann was rambammed in 2010.]