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Extreme Vetting podcast – Episode 15 – Veronica Milsom

Welcome back to another season of Extreme Vetting with The Chaser – the only podcast to torture its guests. Below is a transcript of our interrogation of Veronica Milsom, who was wanted for questioning as part of a youth network ASIO had been tipped off about called “Triple J”.

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Stream online at PodcastOne


Interrogation Notes

Subject: VERONICA MILSOM
Under Investigation For: DESTROYING THE MINDS OF AUSTRALIA’S YOUTH

Charles Firth: Veronica Milsom, thank you for agreeing to this involuntary interrogation.

Veronica Milsom: I couldn’t be more excited.

Introduction: The level of sedition, anti-authority behavior and advertiser- unfriendly thought crime has reached record levels, especially amongst Australian’s elites. Luckily, the men and men of The Chaser have been commissioned by Border Force to conduct interrogations and sort out the subversives from the patriots. In conjunction with ASIO and the Five Eyes intelligence sharing protocols, this is Extreme Vetting with the Chaser.

Charles Firth: I don’t understand kids these days with their climate protests and their environmental consciousness and their sympathy for refugees. I mean, why don’t they just want to become heartless government thugs when they grow up, like we did?

Dom Knight: I know it’s confusing, isn’t it? But that’s why we’ve brought in Veronica Milsom today. She starred in the hit youth TV show, Hungry Beast and now presents the drive show on triple j, the youth station of the ABC.

Charles Firth: Those traitors who hate Australia Day. I’m going to enjoy this one.

Dom Knight: Are you comfortable?

Veronica Milsom: Am I allowed to mention that I’m in a commercial radio studio and that makes me sweaty?

Dom Knight: Well that’s part of the interrogation techniques. We’ve brought you to an environment, not that’s like a prison cell, that’s very old school. We’ve brought you to a commercial competitor to your own station in the hope of either signing you or really throwing you off your game.

Veronica Milsom: Oh hell.

Dom Knight: See how this goes.

Veronica Milsom: I used to work in commercial radio and I’ve had some pretty traumatizing experiences.

Dom Knight: Well then let’s start there.

Veronica Milsom: Well I was a producer on one show where they did talk back about whether I was a pushover and the audience got to decide. And I was, because I was a 21 year old who just said yes to everything. And so they would send me out to run errands, which were like, “Oh go and pick us up lollies.” And then they would make me sort the lollies into colors and stuff.

Dom Knight: That sounds awful.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah. Sometimes I would cry on the way home, but it was a good entry. What else was traumatizing? Oh, one time I made friends with a guy who was teaching me how to do radio and we put on a really long song, this was at Smooth FM in Perth.

Dom Knight: Amazing.

Veronica Milsom: I’ve worked in a million different radio stations. And he was a really cool guy and I was pretending to be cool and we went out for a cigarette, even though I don’t smoke and never have. And we got locked out.

Dom Knight: Oh wow.

Veronica Milsom: It was disastrous. Yeah the door locked behind us.

Dom Knight: And you were on the air.

Veronica Milsom: And the station went off air. Yeah, yeah.

Dom Knight: Ooh. What was the song?

Veronica Milsom: American Pie I think. Because it was long, yeah.

Dom Knight: Yeah Baker Street, another good one.

Veronica Milsom: Okay. So you’ve had experience?

Dom Knight: Well I don’t smoke, but sometimes you just want to take a little break and not have to talk.

Veronica Milsom: Do a poop. Oh my gosh, this is another big, really awful experience I had in commercial radio. When I went to get interviewed for a job, the guy who was supposed to be interviewing me left me in the reception for a really long time and I was wondering where this guy is. I had an appointment and he came out and he goes, “Oh, sorry Veronica, I’ve just got to go drop the kids at the pool.”

Dom Knight: Oh.

Veronica Milsom: In my mind I was like, oh my gosh.

Dom Knight: What a good dad.

Veronica Milsom: Where is the pool? This is going to be… What, if it’s 20 minutes there, 20 minutes back, 40 minute round trip. I was like, that’s crazy. Anyway he… I didn’t know, but that means you’re going to do a shit.

Dom Knight: Commercial radio is classy.

Charles Firth: It’s pretty special, yeah.

Dom Knight: I mean, you must be so sad, Veronica, that you didn’t get those jobs and ended up at this moldy old ABC instead.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah. No, I mean I honestly really do hope to return to commercial radio, because it’s fun. I love how competitive it is.

Dom Knight: All these things are on the table. You’re in the commercial radio studio.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah.

Dom Knight: I mean how does it feel to be from triple j and to be in a room that has televisions on the walls? Have you seen televisions before at the ABC?

Veronica Milsom: Never. Yeah, I actually was… I’ve been bamboozled by them quite a bit. The flashing lights and whatnot.

Charles Firth: Do you have lights at triple j?

Veronica Milsom: No, we work in the darkness by candlelight mostly. The amount of things that go wrong, is just… But it’s expected. At the ARIAs recently when Louis and I were given the wrong envelope, I don’t know if you guys heard about this. We were given the wrong envelope and we announced the wrong winner.

Dom Knight: Oh no.

Veronica Milsom: We were just like, “Oh, it’s no big deal.” Stuff goes wrong for us all the time and I think we’ve just been conditioned at triple j.

Dom Knight: That was actually us. We made that envelope wrong, as part of breaking you.

Veronica Milsom: I couldn’t believe it happened. That never happens, that shit.

Dom Knight: Except at the Oscars.

Veronica Milsom: Yes, exactly. Famously. But we announced Paul Kelly and it was Tones and I, and it was one of the big things from the night that everybody remembered.

Dom Knight: Was Paul Kelly in the running for it or?

Veronica Milsom: He was.

Dom Knight: He was, all right.

Veronica Milsom: So they switched two around by accident.

Dom Knight: I’d just assume Paul Kelly was the default for the ARIA, unless someone can beat him.

Veronica Milsom: That’s right. Well and I guess Tones and I was the default this year as well.

Dom Knight: That’s probably fair. Look, let’s just lay our cards on the table, Veronica.

Veronica Milsom: Okay.

Dom Knight: You and Louis and your colleagues at triple j have been causing problems for commercial radio and obviously we at Border Force work very closely with commercial radio. And the ratings on triple j have been quite good this year.

Charles Firth: Yes.

Dom Knight: We need to know why. What are you doing right? Because honestly, it’s a shock to all of us.

Veronica Milsom: I was handed a gift from the gods, the radio gods. It was so magical. So this guy turned up to my door, knocked on the door, and I was like, who is this? A mormon’s arrived. Sure I’ll take your paper. No, but he said, “I’m from the radio ratings people. I’m here to hand you a booklet, you’ve been randomly selected.” And I was like, oh my gosh. In my mind I was like, should I tell him? Should I tell him I have a radio show? And I thought, no, I definitely have to. I said, “Oh I have a radio show, I probably shouldn’t do it.” And he said, “No, no, no. That’s okay. That’s all fine. It’s above board.” So I managed to get this radio booklet and couldn’t believe it.

Veronica Milsom: And I was like, do I put it on the internet that I have it? I did, but apparently that was not a good idea. I had to take it off the internet.

Dom Knight: Oh really?

Veronica Milsom: Yeah. Because apparently it could influence other people’s ratings if they have a booklet.

Dom Knight: But less than the fact that-

Veronica Milsom: So then I felt silly.

Dom Knight: You have a national drive show. So they’re not worried about the fact that you broadcast to a huge audience every afternoon, but telling people you have a ratings book, that might sway people’s minds.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah, exactly. Isn’t that ridiculous?

Charles Firth: And so did you put our show down as what you listen to during drive?

Dom Knight: During 3:00 and 4:00?

Veronica Milsom: Yeah, during the times when you do your show. No, yeah I put obviously the triple j drive down and that was it.

Dom Knight: So you said you only listened to that?

Veronica Milsom: I wanted a spike. You know?

Dom Knight: It is true, isn’t it?

Veronica Milsom: It’s genuine.

Dom Knight: You do listen.

Veronica Milsom: I listen to myself.

Dom Knight: Every moment, I imagine.

Veronica Milsom: I couldn’t not.

Dom Knight: No, be very hard.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah, even if I tried. So hopefully we’ll see what happens. Probably nothing.

Dom Knight: Did you mention other triple j shows or did you kind of go Allen Jones just to confuse them?

Veronica Milsom: No, I was just straight up and down. I was like, it feels like they will expect me to be just lying a bit. Well, I wasn’t lying. I was telling the truth.

Dom Knight: So you respected the process of the ratings.

Veronica Milsom: That’s exactly right. By just filling out that I listened to my show exclusively.

Dom Knight: How did you get the gig at triple j?

Veronica Milsom: I got the gig because, well I had a little bit of radio experience doing stuff in Perth and in Melbourne too. But I worked on a show called Hungry Beast, which was 19 people randomly selected to make a TV show when they’d never done anything before by Andrew Denton.

Dom Knight: Yeah much like The Chaser.

Veronica Milsom: You guys seem familiar with him. Yes, yes, yes. Yeah I think it was almost like a Chaser reboot, but with some girls as well, which was cool. And some diversity and stuff.

Dom Knight: Yeah, good idea really.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah.

Dom Knight: And 19 people?

Veronica Milsom: Yes. It was a hideous process, which we all look back fondly on now, but it was very difficult.

Dom Knight: Well, I think Andrew working with The Chaser, the two things he thought he needed to do was diversity and to be able to dump people. I mean that’s the thing is hard to do when you’re already part of The Chaser.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah, well we did, as seasons went by, the team got dwindled down to who could do the best job I guess. I didn’t make it to the third season. No I did, but part time.

Charles Firth: So it was more like the Hunger Games?

Veronica Milsom: Honestly, it could have been a reality TV show behind the scenes because it was so competitive about who’d get what onscreen.

Dom Knight: I’ve heard some of these stories, because I mean we work with Denton, who’s also in this series of the podcast, by the way. And a lovely man, we now say. But not always easy to work with. I mean my spirit’s still crushed.

Veronica Milsom: Oh, same. I mean I remember periods of time when he would bring in muffins to a meeting and you’d be like, oh shit, we’re going to absolutely cop it because we’ve just done a horrible job.

Dom Knight: Muffins are poisoned.

Charles Firth: We used to get nice gifts for all the crew and producers and things, but by the end of working with Andrew Denton, I remember the last gift we ever gave him was just a DVD of the movie Anger Management.

Veronica Milsom: Oh wow.

Charles Firth: Yeah.

Veronica Milsom: How did that go down?

Charles Firth: It didn’t go down well.

Dom Knight: Well he was very kind to us. The final gift he gave us was actually a video camera so that we can kind of keep working or whatever. But I think it was also kind of like, you’re on your own now. This is as good as it’s going to get, a little Handycam.

Veronica Milsom: Oh wow. Yeah he really makes you hold yourself up to a high standard though, ultimately when you leave from his bosom.

Dom Knight: Would you say that we’re tougher or less tough than Denton so far?

Veronica Milsom: Less tough. I’m sorry.

Dom Knight: Damn.

Charles Firth: Dom, could I see you outside?

Dom Knight: Yeah let’s have a word. What would Denton do?

Charles Firth: What would Denton do? That’s a great question.

Dom Knight: He would say best idea wins.

Charles Firth: Rule of three.

Dom Knight: And his idea.

Charles Firth: Tight is right.

Dom Knight: And cut you from the edit.

Charles Firth: Yes. Okay.

Dom Knight: We can’t really cut all of Veronica out of this podcast though.

Charles Firth: No we can’t.

Dom Knight: That wouldn’t work.

Charles Firth: That would be terrible.

Dom Knight: Big props?

Charles Firth: Okay, let’s bring in a big prop. I’ve got a novelty oversized taser here. Should we use that on her?

Dom Knight: Yeah I’ve got a giant comedy guillotine.

Charles Firth: Okay.

Dom Knight: Let’s bring that in.

Veronica Milsom: Okay.

Charles Firth: Now Veronica, just touch this for a second.

Veronica Milsom: Oh yes and. I will.

Charles Firth: It’s a taser.

Dom Knight: That’s the best answer we’ve had so far today.

Charles Firth: Here, just feel this.

Dom Knight: That worked.

Charles Firth: Yeah that worked.

Dom Knight: We won’t need the comedy guillotine, but we may.

Charles Firth: Should we do… Let’s put your head through that.

Veronica Milsom: Why?

Charles Firth: Here we go. And…

Veronica Milsom: Oh. Ow, that kind of hurt.

Dom Knight: Yeah. No, ABC props made that for us. I’m really sorry.

Charles Firth: It conforms to our engineer standards. So it wasn’t very sharp.

Veronica Milsom: Sure, sure.

Dom Knight: So that really was a brutal process, because it looked a bit like it, given the kind of we knowing over time and so on and just because we knew Andrew.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah it was pretty brutal just because the show didn’t really know what it was. And Andrew didn’t know what it was. So we were supposed to be working it out on the fly.

Dom Knight: It was sort of everything, wasn’t it?

Veronica Milsom: It was a total muddle. But then you see shows like The Feed now have done something very similar.

Dom Knight: With a way more obscure station on SBS Two it was.

Veronica Milsom: Well maybe that helps. But I mean being on ABC One in prime time on a Wednesday night, I think didn’t really work in its favor. A lot of people were really harsh about what we could do, because we were shit.

Dom Knight: But there was sort of news and there was comedy and there was characters. And just a hodgepodge, wasn’t it.

Veronica Milsom: Well because I auditioned with a character totally out of the blue. I don’t even know why I did it, but Andrew was kind of into it, which was this Victoria Dynamite satirical, almost ACA spoof. I mean I guess I know why he would’ve liked it. That’s pretty much what you guys did on The Chaser.

Dom Knight: But not well.

Veronica Milsom: Well and I had a lot of fun with it. And particularly he loved my audition video, which was where I was trying to tackle obestiality, which was people who like to have sex with fat animals.

Dom Knight: That’s very funny.

Veronica Milsom: And he was really into that. And then I don’t think it ever really lived up to his expectations of what it could be. But I did it for the entire first season and Chris Taylor was amazing at helping me write the scripts. And it didn’t come back for the second because I think it was just too weird to have a story about locked in syndrome or something that goes for seven minutes and then it quickly was cut to me being a fake news reporter about a fake issue. There was too much that was asking the audience to take a big leap.

Dom Knight: Because there was some very earnest, serious journo types on that show, weren’t there?

Veronica Milsom: That’s right, yeah. Most people are still working at the ABC and the whole idea of the show was to launch people’s careers so that they could keep doing work at the ABC and in the Australian media industry generally. And it really did succeed. Most people are and have done kind of interesting things. We had a reunion recently which felt very indulgent, but it was fun. And there was a lot of die hard Hungry Beast fans there, which I was like, what, these exist? But it was really interesting to look around at what people were doing now. And even Kirk Docker, who did the Vox Pops, which turned into You Can’t Ask That, which has done however many seasons and has been incredibly successful and could be a format that is sellable for the ABC.

Dom Knight: If only we could have done Hungry Beast, Charles.

Charles Firth: Yeah, what a missed opportunity.

Veronica Milsom: Oh jeez.

Charles Firth: Before we go any further, I just want to go back to the very beginning.

Veronica Milsom: Yes.

Charles Firth: What is the worst thing you ever did as a kid?

Veronica Milsom: Well the first thing that came to my mind was that I kidnapped my neighbor’s dogs.

Dom Knight: Dogs plural?

Veronica Milsom: Yeah two dogs. And dressed them up in dolly’s clothes and didn’t give them back for two days.

Dom Knight: At what age?

Veronica Milsom: I assume I fed them on something. I reckon five or something.

Charles Firth: What did your parents say?

Veronica Milsom: I don’t think they knew. I think I hid them in my room.

Dom Knight: Would you say you had a broad interest in imprisoning living creatures and giving them a hard time?

Veronica Milsom: I guess so.

Charles Firth: Because we could work that.

Veronica Milsom: Sure.

Charles Firth: Dom, can I see you for a second?

Dom Knight: Yeah, sure. Charles.

Charles Firth: Should we just get her to run Nauru or something? Manus Island.

Dom Knight: Well I mean it’s got better facilities than triple j. I think she’d be great.

Charles Firth: Yeah.

Dom Knight: All right, well let’s keep that amongst the options.

Charles Firth: Okay.

Dom Knight: But we need to try and work out how to get to the youth, because I think the youth are not fans of Border Force yet.

Charles Firth: Yes.

Dom Knight: And the AFP. So let’s just try and figure out how to turn their tiny minds with the triple j.

Charles Firth: Okay. The props went really well last time.

Dom Knight: They did, yes.

Charles Firth: We should take another one in. Here, Veronica, hold this very sharp knife.

Dom Knight: Did you enjoy that piece of improv?

Veronica Milsom: I did.

Charles Firth: No you’re holding it by the blade.

Veronica Milsom: Oh my God. I’ve just chopped myself by accident. It’s so slippery.

Dom Knight: So look, as I mentioned, triple j’s ratings have been high amongst the youth and we are starting to feel, and surveys bear this out, that in fact triple j is more popular with young people then Border Force and the AFP.

Veronica Milsom: That’s definitely true. I mean triple j broadly is very attractive to an 18 to 24 year old audience. I’m certainly swinging out of the demo, pretty hard and fast.

Dom Knight: As a parent.

Veronica Milsom: Pretty cool as a parent to be talking about schoolies this year, who people should make out with and whatnot. It’s why Old Ron’s on the way out from triple j I think.

Dom Knight: Oh really?

Veronica Milsom: And it is funny, when you talk to people outside of the triple j family, the whole community, they’re like, “What? No, you’re so young, you could stay there for ages.” And you’re like, “Oh dude, no, I definitely cannot.” I don’t even know the right words anymore.

Dom Knight: But Richard Kingsmill’s still there.

Veronica Milsom: Richard Kingsmill is still there and-

Dom Knight: He’s 80, isn’t he?

Veronica Milsom: I mean, a lot of people make jokes about it, but I’m not even quite sure how far you can go with Kingsmill and jokes about him being old.

Dom Knight: I remember him being on there when I was genuinely youth.

Charles Firth: Yeah.

Dom Knight: He definitely is.

Veronica Milsom: I mean he’s still youthful at heart, isn’t he? He stills wears T-shirts and long sleeve tops underneath and stuff like that.

Dom Knight: So what can we do? I know triple j is involved in a lot of music festivals, maybe a Border Force music festival. Would that work? With very good security in terms of drug testing.

Charles Firth: We’d have very good fencing.

Veronica Milsom: Okay.

Dom Knight: Very good fencing.

Veronica Milsom: Music or?

Charles Firth: No. No music.

Veronica Milsom: Okay. So what do people do?

Charles Firth: Stand around.

Dom Knight: And don’t take drugs.

Veronica Milsom: Okay.

Dom Knight: And think about what they’ve done.

Charles Firth: And more importantly, what they haven’t done.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah. Again, yeah this very much feels like a refugee camp.

Charles Firth: Oh, that’s a very good idea. Yes. It should be exactly like that.

Dom Knight: Or maybe if young people were to come into a Border Force run camp, they would understand more about what we’re trying to do.

Veronica Milsom: That’s true. And then an appreciation for the work that you do, et cetera.

Dom Knight: Yeah. That could work maybe. I mean, look, having been to a few splendas and things like that, it does become a bit intolerable after a few days. There’s not that different being in the middle of a field with your smell clothes for a few hours or for a few full on days and everything.

Veronica Milsom: And it does get disgusting.

Dom Knight: Pit toilets and everything.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah pit toilets, vomiting, people, over exhaustion and that kind of thing. Yeah I think that there’s a lot of similarities actually, now you mention it.

Dom Knight: Do you think kids would come to a festival say on Nauru if triple j was promoting it?

Charles Firth: It could be like Fyre Festival, like an island paradise without any water.

Veronica Milsom: That’s right. Oh my gosh, yes. If it’s marketed the right way and with Victoria’s Secret models, yes 100%. You guys should get onto that.

Charles Firth: What would we call it? Several nights stand.

Veronica Milsom: Well Christmas Island because it sounds so festive.

Charles Firth: Yes.

Veronica Milsom: It sounds like a bit of fun.

Charles Firth: Do they know it’s Christmas Island?

Dom Knight: Yeah.

Veronica Milsom: Yes.

Dom Knight: Well Christmas because it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas Island maybe.

Charles Firth: That sounds like a music festival. I like that idea. The other message that we at the government want to get across to the… And this comes from the communications department, is we want the kids to get on board with the idea that internet should be slow. Because instead of fixing the internet, we were thinking maybe we just sort of make it hip to have really slow internet amongst the kids.

Dom Knight: Like vinyl records and stuff.

Charles Firth: Yeah, exactly.

Veronica Milsom: That could work.

Charles Firth: Sort of retro, sort of dial up feel to the 2020’s.

Veronica Milsom: Oh yes. I like that. But also you could multitask with multiple different devices open, like people do. Like multi-screen, but then just have things you’re constantly looking for.

Charles Firth: Yeah you have a whole lot of loading screens.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah, yeah.

Charles Firth: And then eventually one loads the page.

Veronica Milsom: I love that. I think it is retro and people could get behind that.

Charles Firth: Okay, good.

Veronica Milsom: Too fast, no one’s into that.

Charles Firth: Yes, exactly.

Veronica Milsom: I don’t think so.

Charles Firth: Slow down. It’s about living your best life.

Dom Knight: Yes it’s like slow food but it’s-

Charles Firth: It’s internet. Slow internet.

Dom Knight: Yeah.

Veronica Milsom: I feel like people could almost get behind that who are traveling here. It could be a novelty of traveling.

Dom Knight: Yes, like going and visiting a primitive community and just looking at their ways and how different they are.

Veronica Milsom: Yes. Perfect.

Charles Firth: That could be very, very good. So look, you mentioned you might be eventually leaving triple j, given the whole aging issue that happens to-

Veronica Milsom: Also pregnant. I’m pregnant.

Dom Knight: Oh right.

Charles Firth: And I wanted to mention that, which is, don’t you think that exposes you to issues of bias? Because you’re a working woman with a child, you’ve already got one child, you’re going to have two children. Clearly you will have opinions about work life balance that don’t actually line up with the 1950’s values of the Australian government.

Veronica Milsom: I guess, yeah. I’m family first. I mean I guess I didn’t use contraception, that’s something.

Charles Firth: Yeah, that’s good. That’s good.

Dom Knight: You’re not a quiet Australian, if I may say so.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah. I think that it does show some level of bias, but I guess I just couldn’t help it.

Charles Firth: Could you be more pro man, less pro women?

Veronica Milsom: Unfortunately I’m having a girl too. I found that out. Yeah. So I’m not even adding to more men. But I guess I’m pro man in that a man has come inside me.

Dom Knight: Look, I think the best way to resolve this actually, Veronica, and I know you’re expecting, but would you like to come to the roof of this commercial radio station and have a cigarette?

Veronica Milsom: And then we get locked out.

Dom Knight: More you.

Veronica Milsom: Okay sure. Actually, there’s cool rooftop parties here, isn’t there?

Dom Knight: Yeah. Cool rooftop… The world famous rooftop parties.

Charles Firth: Yeah.

Veronica Milsom: Is Pink up there? Is she just constantly up there?

Dom Knight: Pink’s up there. Pink?

Charles Firth: Well yeah, because we told her to go and have a cigarette up there.

Dom Knight: That’s where she’s been.

Charles Firth: Yeah.

Veronica Milsom: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll head up there now, shall I?

Dom Knight: Yeah just go this way.

Charles Firth: Okay. Just come this way.

Veronica Milsom: Mm-hmm (affirmative) this way?

Charles Firth: Yeah.

Veronica Milsom: Uh-huh (affirmative) thanks guys.

Dom Knight: We definitely won’t shut this door behind you.

Dom Knight: Extreme Vetting with the Chaser was written and presented by Dom Knight, Charles Firth and Andrew Hansen. Recorded in collaboration with PodcastOne Australia, produced by Alex Mitchell and audio production by Darcy Thompson. For all episodes, search Extreme Vetting Podcast. Listen for free @podcastoneaustralia.com.au or download the new PodcastOne Australia app.

 


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