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The Chaser Report – Episode 7 – The Sixty Billion Dollar Man

With the Prime Minister’s announcement that JobMaker will usher in an era of cooperation between workers and bosses, the team brainstorms ways employers can force their workers to cooperate. Andrew looks at how cringeful celebrities are getting their faces out there during the pandemic. Dom makes you feel better about not being able to travel overseas by looking at a tourist destination that’s even worse than the Gold Coast. And Charles reviews a revolutionary new bluetooth device. Plus the latest news from the world’s most trusted newsreader, Rebecca De Unamuno.







 

Announcer: In times like these, it’s important to know who you can trust. At last, a new source that’s reliably reliable, informatively informational and never wrong. Unfortunately, you’re not listening to it. Instead, you’re listening to The Chaser Report.

Charles Firth: Hello and welcome to the show, I’m Charles Firth and with me today are Andrew Hansen and Dom Knight. Big story of the week, of course, the Work Choices scheme introduced by Scott Morris… Sorry, I mean the Job Makers scheme introduced by Scott Morrison and totally different to Work Choices, of course. We’ll talk more about that later but before that, Josh Frydenberg has been in hot water this week after he made a $60 billion calculation error, on the Job Keepers scheme. That’s $60 billion left over that he miscalculated. Andrew, what are you going to spend your $60 billion on? Because we’ve got this extr $60 billion.

Andrew Hansen: I’m excited about it. It’s great that we’re all getting an extra $60 billion in the account, isn’t it Charles? Look, I mean, I was thinking of really maybe splashing out and going for the Mainland tasty cheese instead of the-

Charles Firth: Yeah, fascinating.

Andrew Hansen: Instead of the Bega. That might be one that I pop into my trolley this week.

Charles Firth: That’s very impressive. I’m going to use mine on an economy class, flight to Melbourne. That’s actually what it costs now on the Qantas website, $60 billion.

Dom Knight: Yes.

Charles Firth: Check it out.

Dom Knight: Look, I think I might even go… I’m going to be very much in Andrew’s section of the Carl’s, which is Lurpak. I’m going to Lurpak.

Andrew Hansen: Oh, Charles.

Charles Firth: Danish.

Andrew Hansen: I think he might need $70 or $80 billion if you’re going to go up to the Lurpak, aren’t you? I mean you don’t deserve Lurpak.

Dom Knight: No, I probably can afford it, I’ve only got $60 billion.

Andrew Hansen: No, you don’t spend it all at once. You could probably go for two packets of the Devondale, then you go twice as long.

Dom Knight: Yeah, that’s good. And they’re 500 grams as well so.

Charles Firth: I do feel bad for Josh though because, I mean, recently on a tax return my total was out my $60, right? So he’s error is only one billion times worse than that.

Dom Knight: Yeah. It’s nothing at all, it’s just a rounding error. Yeah.

Andrew Hansen: Just a billion times.

Charles Firth: Coming up, with COVID putting international travel on hold. Dom is going to make you feel better, by looking at a whole lot of tourist destinations that you wouldn’t want to go do anyway. And Andrew has a look at how cringey celebrities are getting themselves out there during the pandemic. But first, let’s head over to Rebecca De Unamuno for the latest Chaser news headlines.

Rebecca De Unamuno: A homeless man has joined the BRW rich list after Josh Frydenberg spared him some change. Mr. Frydenberg said he had been trying to buy the homeless man a sandwich by giving the man $60 billion, but was later informed by colleagues that he had massively overestimated the cost of a sandwich. The lab in Wuhan that has been accused of concocting the Coronavirus, has asked The Daily Telegraph for tips on how to concoct something so viral, that it spreads despite being completely manmade. It comes after the Sydney newspaper claimed a dossier proved that the Wuhan lab created a manmade version of the Coronavirus, even though it didn’t. A spokesperson for the lab said that, “If you want to find an institution that cancocts, and then spreads harmful manmade things virally across the globe, News Corp are the ones to talk to.”

Rebecca De Unamuno: With lockdown restrictions easing across Australia, Dettol has urgently repurposed it’s hand sanitizer factory to produce white label gin. A spokesperson said, “The new Dettol gin was as rough as assholes but would do the job.” Dettol also said it would be making vodka cruisers, which simply requires adding water and food coloring to the hand sanitizer. Twitter announced on Wednesday it was employing someone to fact check all of Donald Trump’s tweets, this morning the company said the fact checker had died of exhaustion. That’s the Chaser Report headlines, news you can’t trust.

Charles Firth: Thanks Beck. Hey Beck, from Monday you can have parties of up to 50 people, did you say that?

Rebecca De Unamuno: Yeah, I know. It’s great. I’m holding a big party with all my friends.

Charles Firth: Oh, am I invited?

Rebecca De Unamuno: Oh, no. Sorry, it’s just a small party.

Charles Firth: Oh, I mean, that’s fine.

Dom Knight: Hi Beck, see you there. Look, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Rebecca De Unamuno: Yeah, see you there. Can’t wait to see you again Dom.

Charles Firth: Oh.

Announcer: The Chaser Report, news a few days after it happened.

Charles Firth: So the big news of the week is, Scott Morrison came out and he announced a new scheme. Now we’ve had Job Seeker, we’ve had Job Keeper, but this week it was totally different, completely new thing, it’s the Job Maker scheme. Guys, what did you think?

Dom Knight: Well, being a maker’s very cool. Does that mean that they’re paying people to sit in labs and tinker with cardboard and stuff? And build little robots?

Charles Firth: Well, not quite. The idea is, it’s going to be about getting people back to work because everyone’s unemployed. And the way they’re going to do that, this is their pitch, is that they’re going to bring workers and employers together and everyone’s got to put down their weapons, right? And just have a measured discussion, stop the old combative approach was what Scott Morrison told everyone. And just in announcing that, he actually went on ABC radio, let’s just see how he sounded when he was explaining this to a journalist on the ABC, on Wednesday.

Scott Morrison: We’ve got to put down the weapons. And we got to get a better environment in which people can have these sensible discussions, we’ve got to give people the room-

Sabra: I hear that-

Scott Morrison: … To actually work through this. We haven’t made-

Sabra: I hear that Prime Minister but what-

Scott Morrison: … Progress in this area for 20 years.

Sabra: Sure but what did you personally learn from-

Scott Morrison: And the initial intentions of things like enterprise bargaining, this is what I’m telling you I’ve learned Sabra.

Sabra: Okay.

Scott Morrison: These are the things we’ve learned, that the combative approach, where everyone stays in their grooves and does the same thing they’ve always done around these issues. We’ve got to give this a go and that means we’ve got to do things differently.

Dom Knight: See, he’s totally different, he’s taking a non-combative. Did you hear how non-combative he sounded?

Andrew Hansen: It sounds like he’d be very open to a two way conversation, doesn’t he? I can imagine you’d really get a word in, edgeways there, would you?

Charles Firth: Well, the great news though is that, that journalist has now been made redundant because of the government’s budget cuts to the ABC. So it’s all fine.

Andrew Hansen: That’s all right, she can go on Job Maker or Job Keeper, or one of the other job things.

Charles Firth: Job Dreamer.

Dom Knight: Job Fucker. I mean, clearly job maker is just going to fuck workers, clearly, that’s the government’s agenda.

Andrew Hansen: Well, not all.

Dom Knight: I don’t think it’s any controversial… I think they would even agree with that. Because it happens every 15 years, doesn’t it? The labor side, they want to listen to the unions and workers and then they turn around and fuck them, right? But luckily the person in charge of the union movement this time, is a woman called Sally McManus. She’s the head of the unions and I’m sure she won’t fall for that old trick.

Sally McManus: We want to listen to what the employers have to say and what the government has to say, knowing that they’ll listen to us as well.

Dom Knight: Oh no. Oh no. She’s fallen for it.

Charles Firth: Knowing that.

Dom Knight: Yes.

Charles Firth: Oh my goodness.

Dom Knight: So anyway, so Job Maker is all about cooperation, that’s the idea. And so it’s where the employers have all the power to make employees cooperate with whatever they want, that’s the idea of cooperation, right? So everything’s on the table, we’re in this spirit of weapons down. Guys, what are some ways you’d like to see, where we can bring into the job makers scheme, to make workers cooperate more with the boss.

Charles Firth: Are thumbscrews allowed?

Dom Knight: Yes, definitely. Yes, I think they’re back on-

Charles Firth: They’re not weapons, they’re more fun devices.

Andrew Hansen: AIDS, tools, I’d see them as, Dommy, I reckon. Look, I think there’s something in the medieval approach isn’t there? Perhaps a sort of serfdom type of thing? And maybe employers should start living in castles and just have their workers live around them on a farm, type situation. They could just feed off the grass that grows around.

Charles Firth: Because I was thinking, we could even go back further in time and bring back crucifixion.

Andrew Hansen: Well, that’s an incentive, isn’t it? I mean, maybe if you don’t clock on, then you might be struck, nailed up to a cross.

Dom Knight: Wait a minute, you’re five minutes late. Right, under the crucifix.

Charles Firth: You guys are being very skeptical about the government’s efforts here. And look, some of the other people I work for, I’ve been cooperating with them recently. And what they’ve been doing is not giving me any work and not telling me when I’ll next have work. And I feel like we’re really working together to make me feel incredibly insecure and weak, and desperate. And I think it’s a great partnership, it’s like many relationships I’ve had actually.

Andrew Hansen: Yeah, that’s right. It does strike me as just your normal self Dommy. I mean, that’s keeping you as you are.

Charles Firth: Insecure and weak, that is Dom Knight, yeah.

Andrew Hansen: Yeah, that’s personality keeper, that is.

Charles Firth: That’s my personal brand. I mean, one thing I would say is, torture is actually outlawed under the Human Rights Convention.

Andrew Hansen: Oh.

Charles Firth: So some of these ideas-

Andrew Hansen: Well, we need to discuss this with our weapons down, don’t we?

Charles Firth: Yeah. But one of the things that the U.S. Government found officially, the Supreme Court actually say that waterboarding is not torture. So actually, that could be a way through, if you want to discipline your employees.

Dom Knight: Well, Wet’n’Wild is sitting there unused.

Charles Firth: That’s right.

Dom Knight: You can have a waterboard slide.

Charles Firth: I mean, cafes, that’s some way that they could use their Voss bottled water, put it to good use.

Dom Knight: Yes they could. Yes. Imported Norwegian waterboarding.

Charles Firth: Just make sure that the wait staff are there 24 hours a day.

Dom Knight: Yeah. Just 1.5 meters away, with one of the large bottles.

Andrew Hansen: I can see this working.

Charles Firth: One of the other things that employers have said that they want to get out of this, is flexibility, right?

Andrew Hansen: That’s a new one.

Charles Firth: Because the whole thing is, you turn up for work and suddenly there’s nothing on, but you still get paid for that whole hour. So what I’d like to see is, you turn up to work but only the moments where you’re actually working you get paid, right? So every time you take a breath, right? That’s not working, that’s on your own coin, right?

Andrew Hansen: That’s true, but walking across the room, if you’re a barista and you’re working at the coffee machine, if you have to walk across to make a sandwich, that walking time, that should go unpaid.

Dom Knight: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, blinking, if you think about it, that’s your need, that’s not the employer’s need. You can’t do that on company time.

Andrew Hansen: You should be rostered on for blink breaks, in fact. I think there should be a specified time of day during which you could do all your blinks, get them over and done with in five minutes, and then you don’t need spend the rest of the day blinking.

Dom Knight: Yes. That’s the sort of flexibility that Australia needs, to get people back into work.

Charles Firth: I mean, thinking from the employer’s perspective and working together on this, what they need is to replace all of us with robots.

Dom Knight: Yes.

Andrew Hansen: Oh, hello, now you’re talking. Now you’re talking.

Dom Knight: I like that, yes.

Andrew Hansen: And not just any old robot, the really productive ones from the old TV shows. I’m talking K9 the robot dog from Doctor Who, I think.

Charles Firth: They were replacing Charles actually anchoring the podcast next week. We’re going to have Dexter from Perfect Match, who I think will probably do a better job.

Dom Knight: Well, I don’t think he earns in hours as much.

Announcer: The Chaser Report, powered with extra whispers.

Andrew Hansen: Dommy and Charles, it’s that time again where we’re going to dive into the wonderful, heartwarming world of celebrity isolation videos. Let’s find out what advice the famous people are doling up for us. They’re going to lift our spirits and this is the segment that we like to call.

Speaker 9:

Isolebrity.

Andrew Hansen: Now, the game works like this. I’m going to play you some celebrity iso videos and you’re going to guess who the famous person is, just by listening to the sound of their voice. Let’s kick off, shall we? With an actor. This guy is known for sci-fi shows, there’s a bit of a clue for you. Also known for a spot of iso Shakespeare. Take a listen.

Sir Patrick Stewart: Sonnet two. And this is one of my favorites. When 40 winters shall besiege thy brow, and dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field, thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now, will be a tattered weed, a small worth held.

Andrew Hansen: Isn’t it lovely to hear a poem about the inevitable approach of death at this particular time? Dom, you want to hazard a guess who the actor is?

Dom Knight: Oh, I think that’s Sir Ian McKellen, Gandalf himself. Is that true?

Andrew Hansen: No. No. I’m afraid not Dommy.

Dom Knight: Oh drat!

Andrew Hansen: You’re incorrect. It’s not Ian McKellen reading, Charles?

Charles Firth: I know who it is, I can’t remember his name but he’s-

Andrew Hansen: Well, then you don’t know who it is.

Charles Firth: The bald guy on Star Trek.

Andrew Hansen: Oh, that will do it. Look, I mean, that’s enough information.

Dom Knight: Patrick Stewart.

Andrew Hansen: Yeah, there you go. Dommy’s got it, I’ll give it to Dommy.

Dom Knight: McKellen’s best mate.

Andrew Hansen: Exactly.

Dom Knight: I was close.

Andrew Hansen: You were pretty close, you were in the friendship zone.

Dom Knight: Why did he do a Shakespeare? Did he find all the other celebrity videos too pretentious, and so he wanted to talk to the common man? I think Charles, he probably watched Miley Cyrus’ one the other day and thought, “This is too high-brow, we need to talk to the people.”

Charles Firth: I mean, imagine having that voice and being able to walk around town going, “I should like a flat white please, with some cookies on the side.”

Andrew Hansen: It’d be wonderful, wouldn’t it? It’d be great. Now, what he’s doing, Patrick Stewart, star of Star Trek, is he’s posting a sonnet every single day, I guess to try and cheer us up, of course. And perhaps because we all miss going to see Shakespeare plays so much. I mean don’t we? We just can’t wait.

Dom Knight: First thing after lockdown, it’s Shakespeare. We’re going to rush to a production of The Merchant of Venice.

Andrew Hansen: Oh, isn’t that going to be good? Actually, I checked in again, I mean that was only number two, that was the start of his series. I checked in again the other day hoping that the new one, sonnet number 60, would be a bit more cheerful, and not be about how we’re all dying. Well, this is how this one starts.

Sir Patrick Stewart: Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, so do our minutes hasten to their end.

Andrew Hansen: He’s still at it. He’s telling us we’re all going to die, and he keeps-

Charles Firth: Maybe he’s just trying to do an informational bulletin. Maybe it’s just COVID update.

Andrew Hansen: The weather today will be stormy.

Charles Firth: But it’s funny too, because hearing his voice now more clearly, I’m just thinking of Professor X. I’m just hearing him going, “Magneto is very crafty, very crafty.”

Andrew Hansen: Well, at least that would cheer us up a bit, if it was Professor X. Look, Patrick Stewart, well done Dommy. Let’s turn to another Hollywood star, now this is a guy who has worked with everyone, here he is explaining the reasons why you need to stay at home. Have a listen to his voice, see if you can guess which Hollywood star this is, explaining why you should stay home.

Kevin Bacon: Because the contact that you make with someone, who makes contact with someone else, that may be what makes somebody’s mom or grandpa or wife sick. Every one of us has someone who is worth staying home for. And I am staying home-

Andrew Hansen: Charles, who do you think a Hollywood star would stay home for?

Charles Firth: Well, surely it’s himself. I am staying home for myself. To protect myself from you plebs.

Dom Knight: I was thinking more along the lines of, my agent, the academy, God, the American dream.

Charles Firth: Yeah, it’d be God. Always God.

Andrew Hansen: Great guesses. Well, let’s reveal who this star is staying home for.

Kevin Bacon: And I am staying home for Kyra Sedgwick.

Andrew Hansen: Guys, does Kyra Sedgwick give you any clue as to who this actor might be?

Dom Knight: I can’t remember who she is. I know she’s an actress but I can’t remember. Maybe she’s a high class drug dealer now in Hollywood, maybe she’s not getting acting roles.

Andrew Hansen: Well, you would stay home just waiting for her to come over and deliver a big slab.

Charles Firth: I know this voice, but I can’t remember his name again. His name’s James something. He does that movie with Seth Rogen, that the end of the world.

Dom Knight: It’s not James Franco is it?

Charles Firth: James Franco, that’s his name.

Andrew Hansen: Is that his name? Incorrect.

Charles Firth: Oh.

Andrew Hansen: It is incorrect but Charles, let’s listen to the introduction to this isolation video. And if you cannot guess who it is after this, then you should be isolated for stupidity.

Kevin Bacon: My folks, you know me, right? I’m technically only six degrees away from you.

Charles Firth: Oh God.

Dom Knight: Oh Kevin Bacon.

Andrew Hansen: Yeah. It was the Kevin Bacon.

Charles Firth: He’s really lead into that, hasn’t he?

Andrew Hansen: Yeah, that’s right. He’s made it his thing, in isolation. Kevin Bacon.

Dom Knight: He would be the worst person to have COVID, because he would give it to everyone in Hollywood.

Charles Firth: He’s a super spreader.

Dom Knight: Yeah, he’s a super spreader. Everyone’s within six degrees of him.

Announcer: The Chaser Report. Less news, less often.

Charles Firth: We’re lucky to have the government’s Job Keepers scheme onboard, as our sponsor this week.

Dom Knight: Oh, we certainly are. Turns out they had an extra $60 billion bucks to spend, so the government wisely decided to put all of that cash towards funding these podcasts.

Charles Firth: And that’s why we say Job Keeper is a great scheme just the way it is. No changes are necessary to it.

Andrew Hansen: No, no. Not at all. I mean look, okay a $60 billion stuff up may sound big, but it’s chicken feed compared to some of the other stuff ups that they haven’t told you about.

Charles Firth: Yeah, and look, they wanted me to mention, I’ll just check my notes, that Josh Frydenberg is a great treasurer and very good at counting.

Dom Knight: Oh yes. Yes.

Andrew Hansen: Oh yes. Definitely. Definitely.

Charles Firth: The Job Keepers scheme, it’s completely fine.

Andrew Hansen: Certainly worked out well for us.

Announcer: The Chaser Report, news a few days after it happens.

Dom Knight: Now, Charles and Andrew, because of COVID-19, of course we cannot travel at the moment. If you look at Smartraveler, every single country, it says, “Do not visit.” It’s very, very sad because I love traveling but I wanted to make us feel a bit better, about being stuck at home here in Australia, by showcasing some of the worst places in the world that will make us feel happy to be stuck here.

Speaker 9:

Bottom of the bucket list.

Dom Knight: Today, we are heading to Tajikistan, in Central Asia. Let’s have some Tajik folk music to set the scene, shall we? Of course, this is a landlocked country, part of the traditional silk road. Lots of fascinating history from that era and a much less interesting present. And we’re going to start in the capital, whose name I’m sure you recall, Charles and Andrew.

Andrew Hansen: Well, of course it’s one of my favorite haunts, I can’t wait to get back there Dom. No, I’ve never even heard of Tajikistan, let alone the capital city.

Dom Knight: Look, this answer is too obscure even for pub trivia, I’ve never heard of this city before in my life.

Andrew Hansen: Is it something like Tajik City, or something? Is it-

Dom Knight: Good guess. I used to actually host a trivia quiz on the radio and this one was way too hard to put in, it’s Dushanbe.

Charles Firth: Oh, yeah.

Dom Knight: So before we head to Dushanbe guys, I just want a bit of a safety briefing of what you’ll get in Tajikistan. Now the capital has very little street lighting and lots of uncovered manholes. So break a leg does not mean good luck in Tajikistan, it’s just something that happens all the time. There are frequent random terrorist attacks throughout much of the country. Don’t worry, it doesn’t happen every day, but when it does it always targets tourist areas, so that’s a thing. There are also lots of unexploded mines at every border region. Now, pick-pocketing is common in Dushanbe and when you arrive at the airport and depart from the airport, immigration staff often shake you down for thousands of dollars before letting you enter or exit. So one more thing, don’t drink the water, it contains both rust and typhoid. Are you excited guys?

Andrew Hansen: Rust and typhoid? Why has it got rust? Is that because all the man holes are uncovered?

Dom Knight: I think so.

Andrew Hansen: It’s a bit rusty there.

Dom Knight: But look, it’s all worth it for the sites of Dushanbe. For instance, the famous Victory Park, which has an iconic tea room that seems to only sell beer. And when you visit Victory Park you can contemplate how nice it must have been, if the cable car worked, it’s been broken since Soviet times. I know you guys are both writers, you’re literary fellows. There’s the Wall of Great Tajik Writers, there’s 11 of them on the wall, statues. And I’ve only heard of one of them.

Andrew Hansen: But they’re more than Australia Dom. They’re better than our arts department here.

Charles Firth: You’re shitting on Tajikistan, we don’t ever believe in writers.

Andrew Hansen: No.

Dom Knight: I don’t think you would have heard of any of them, I hadn’t. But the only one I’ve heard of is Omar Khayyam, who wrote the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in 1100. [crosstalk 00:21:28]. Things have been quiet for the past 1,000 odd years in Tajikistan.

Charles Firth: Well, it could be they’re too busy in the tea room drinking all the beer. They don’t have time to write.

Dom Knight: You might also like to head to the world’s second tallest flag pole. It’s 165 meters high, which is of course far too high to actually see the flag. And are really sad when Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia, hit 170 a couple of years ago. They’ve also got the largest Lennon statue in the whole of Central Asia, 24 meters high, but they’ve dumped it in a cow paddock because they don’t like him anymore. So, that’s the capital.

Andrew Hansen: Wow. So, he’s in the paddock now, Lennon?

Dom Knight: Yep. Yeah, he’s been retired there. But you can still go and visit him, people do, they go to the paddock and take photos of Lennon with the cows around him.

Andrew Hansen: Fantastic.

Charles Firth: So you would say that the best tourist attraction for Tajikistan, is a cow paddock?

Dom Knight: Ah, Charles. It’s good but it gets a lot better than that.

Charles Firth: Oh yeah?

Dom Knight: There’s the famous Sarez Lake. Did you know that Tajikistan has the world’s largest Lake?

Charles Firth: Does it?

Andrew Hansen: It’s not a thing I knew because I had not heard of Tajikistan.

Dom Knight: Look, it is extraordinary, very beautiful, and remember the name Sarez lake, it was created by an earthquake flooding a Valley in 1911. The volume is 16 cubic kilometers and it looks absolutely stunning. The only thing is, it’s located in one of the world’s most earthquake prone regions. If the damn wall were to be destroyed in an earthquake, the entire country would be flooded, as well as the neighboring countries of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. So, high stakes when you visit that Lake I think.

Andrew Hansen: Well, it’s an exciting… It’s a bit of a white knuckle. Who doesn’t like a bit of risk on a holiday though, Dommy?

Dom Knight: But look, if you guys are after a bit of risk in your travel, I’ve got just the attraction for you, finally. It’s known as the Anzob Tunnel, and it is an absolute marvel. It cost $4 billion to build, it is five kilometers long, it goes under a mountain and it links the north and the south of the country. Look, it’s had a few image problems, it’s known as the tunnel of death at the moment.

Andrew Hansen: Well, they probably should have thought of a better name for a start.

Charles Firth: Yeah.

Andrew Hansen: I mean, if you want commuters to use the tunnel.

Dom Knight: That’s the thing, it is the only way you can get between the two largest cities in Tajikistan, which are of course Dushanbe and Khujand, without going into Uzbekistan. There was one dirt road that had avalanches year round, or you could go through Uzbekistan who would tend to attack you, if you went on the road. So they built the tunnel.

Charles Firth: Right, and they built a tunnel in a high earthquake zone, right?

Dom Knight: That’s true, but there are a few issues. Now, it was finished in 2006, for the first decade of operation there were no lights whatsoever in the tunnel, for five kilometers. Now there are tiny lights, I’ve seen videos, every 50 meters or so. And look, that doesn’t matter, you can use your car headlights except that, there are lots of massive potholes all the way through the tunnel, several of them big enough to snap your axle. So that’s like the manhole cover approach but in a tunnel. Another thing, there’s also water that floods through the walls of the tunnel. Which turns the potholes into what one might describe as invisible death traps. So, it’s like driving through lakes and-

Charles Firth: Invisible? Are they invisible as well so you just have to literally risk driving?

Dom Knight: Yeah, because there’s no light, you can’t see them coming up.

Charles Firth: And is this for your morning commute? Is this literally every day?

Dom Knight: It’s the main… If you think of the Woolies of Tajikistan, semi-trailers go through this thing regularly. There are just a few more issues, ventilation for instance. It’s five kilometers long, they’ve put one fan in, so there’s incredibly thick clouds of smog and people die of carbon monoxide poisoning regularly, inside. That’s why-

Andrew Hansen: I’m in the tunnel here, well-

Dom Knight: … It’s called the tunnel of death, it’s not an exaggeration.

Andrew Hansen: So you may literally not make it through? Well, you’ve got to close the vents in your car, don’t you? I mean, that’s the thing, and you’ve got to remember.

Dom Knight: You got to use recirculate.

Andrew Hansen: Yeah, exactly.

Dom Knight: That’s right.

Andrew Hansen: And then you’ll be fine.

Dom Knight: And there are also falling rocks inside the tunnel.

Charles Firth: Hell, it’s a tunnel. Where do they fall from?

Andrew Hansen: Sounds like it was designed-

Dom Knight: It’s earthquake prone, it’s because of all the avalanches, they come inside the tunnel as well. But the great thing is, the Tajik authorities have found a really good way around this, which is that if you want to use the tunnel, you have to sign a waiver.

Andrew Hansen: Is it at the entrance? Do you just pull over at the entrance to the tunnel and then sign your life away, and then?

Dom Knight: I think you pull over when you see the sign saying, “Tunnel of death ahead.” Look, I’m being a bit unfair, they have spent a lot of time repairing it in recent years. That means that one half of the tunnel is usually closed, so both directions go through the one lane at very, very high speeds. So it is apparently getting better.

Andrew Hansen: Oh, well.

Dom Knight: It’s getting better as we go on. But the major problems still remains, if you survive the tunnel of death and get out, you’re still in Tajikistan.

Announcer: Striving for mediocrity in a world of excellence, this is The Chaser Report.

Charles Firth: This show is sponsored by the Job Keepers scheme, one of the great things about the Job Keepers scheme is that it’s based on the promise that no Australian should lose their job.

Dom Knight: That is right, Charles. Josh Frydenberg said it himself, “No Australian should lose their job.”

Andrew Hansen: That’s right Dommy, even if they’ve made a $60 billion mistake at work, they should get to keep their job.

Charles Firth: Under the Job Keepers scheme, now you can be as incompetent as Josh Frydenberg and you still get to keep your job, just like he did.

Announcer: None of the medical advice contained in the Chaser Report should legally be considered medical advice. The Chaser Report.

Charles Firth: That’s the end of the show. Although, actually we’ve got breaking news from Rebecca De Unamuno.

Rebecca De Unamuno: The Labor Party has bolstered its election hopes by recruiting Steven Bradbury as its new leader. Deposed opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, said that he had planned to oppose the move but when it came time to do so, he realized that he had no idea how to oppose anything at all, back to you.

Charles Firth: Thanks Beck. Now, check us out online at Chaser.com.au. You find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and even TikTok, where we’re @Chaser.com.au. Search for The Chaser Report and remember to hit subscribe, we’re doing a couple of midweek update episodes each week, on Mondays and Wednesdays now. Thanks to our producer, Mike Liberali. And anyway, we’re going to leave you with an ad for a great new service. I don’t know whether you saw guys, but Dominic Cummings, during the week, got into a bit of straw. He’s the second most powerful man in Britain, he’s Boris Johnson’s-

Dom Knight: He’s the one with the ideas.

Charles Firth: … Chief of staff, yeah. He got into trouble because Britain’s under a really serious lock down. But he decided to get in the car and drive 800 kilometers, while he had COVID, to find somebody to do some babysitting for him, which was pretty bad.

Andrew Hansen: Risky. I didn’t even think you could drive 800 kilometers in the UK, I thought you’d be… It’s tiny, you’d be in the water.

Charles Firth: I think he drove 400 kilometers there and then 400 kilometers back.

Andrew Hansen: Ah.

Charles Firth: But then he was caught out, actually he also had taken another 60 kilometer drive to a castle. And he said, “Oh no, no, I didn’t go to the castle just for tourism, to see it, I was just testing my eyesight, that’s the reason I went for the drive.” Which has led to a really great new service.

Salesman: Are you worried about your eyesight?

Englishman: Well, yes. Yes I am, as a matter of fact.

Salesman: But you can’t be bothered going to an optometrist?

Englishman: Yes. Yes, that’s me.

Salesman: You need the Dominic Cummings eyesight test.

Englishman: Oh, what’s that?

Salesman: The Dominic Cummings eyesight test is an easy, do it yourself, diagnostic test, to work out whether you can see properly without having to seek professional advice.

Englishman: Well, that sounds splendid.

Salesman: Simply hop in your car, drive 60 miles, and you’ll soon find out whether you can see properly.

Englishman: Right. Well, I’m going to do the test now. What does that roadside say? Perhaps it’s an eye chart. S-T-O, I can’t quite read the last letter. Oh, it must’ve been P.

Salesman: The Dominic Cummings eyesight test, it truly is a viral sensation.

Englishman: Did I pass?

 






 

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