Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says his government wouldn’t have sought changes to a joke made at his expense in a new play.
The Queensland premier says a joke made at his expense shouldn’t have been removed from a new play.
Campbell Newman’s name was the punchline for a joke about the Liberal National Party in a satirical production, Australia Day, for the Queensland Theatre Company (QTC).
The line was changed after a complaint, but the QTC’s board says it didn’t order the move.
Mr Newman says he had no problem with the line.
“I was well and truly aware, and I thought it was quite funny,” he told Fairfax Media.
“If they (the QTC) told their company to change their play, I think that’s an error of judgment on behalf of the chairman of the board actually, because we certainly wouldn’t have asked for it.”
The original line had one character asking: “Why don’t you just merge the (conservative) parties like they did in Queensland?”, to which another character replies: “… two words. Campbell Newman”.
QTC chairman Richard Fotheringham told Fairfax the board did not meet to discuss the complaint, nor did it issue a directive demanding a change to the script.
Prof Fotheringham said he’d discussed a number of complaints with two other board members and had then taken them up with Artistic Director Wesley Enoch and Executive Director Sue Donnelly.
“I went back to (Donnelly and Enoch) and said well, this is our policy, we’re not going to censor the play in any way – if you want to raise the matter with the writer and director by all means do so, but the board will back you in whatever decision you make.”
Prof Fotheringham said his interest in the matter could have been misconstrued.
“I imagine that any interest from any board member, and certainly the chairman of the board, might be construed as an attempt to influence,” he said.
“I certainly would regret that if that’s the case.”