Prime Minister gets his way on Q&A 383



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Following weeks of uncertainty after the Zaky Mallah scandal, the ABC Board met yesterday and conceded to the Prime Minister’s demands that the program be brought under the fold of news and current affairs.

So what does this mean for the show – and its guests?

It means the show is now bound under the “right of reply” protocol of news, a kind of “gentlemen’s agreement” that means journalists and newspaper editors of old approached the subjects of the next day’s news and gave them the heads up. And the chance to prepare their defence.

It’s the tip-off that the mistress will be giving an exclusive interview, or that the minister’s digressions will be on the front page of tomorrow’s paper.

Until now, Q&A has operated as an opinion show – after all, it doesn’t break news, it simply comments on it.

Producers will also be required to “upwardly refer” controversial topics rather than just barrelling ahead with them, meaning the ABC bosses, who may be privy to sensitive information, will have a say over whether a topic can be aired – or a controversial guest allowed on the show.

There was resistance at board level to making the change due to the political pressure exerted on the broadcaster by Mr Abbott who called the show a “lefty lynch mob” and demanded “heads should roll” after Zaky Mallah’s appearance.

However, the ABC said yesterday: “Based on the information provided, the board considers both the program and the wider ABC would benefit by an orderly shift of Q&A into the ABC news division. Q&A is a significant feature in Australia’s news and current affairs cycle.”

“Such relocation should provide the program with greater operational and cultural alignment.”

For the government, the repositioning of Q&A means no more surprises.

It’s not known yet whether Mr Abbott will lift the ban he imposed on frontbenchers going on the show immediately or wait until the changes are made. Yesterday, News Limited reported a leak that ministers could return as soon as Monday.

What do you think of the change to Q&A, is it a logical move or has Tony Abbott used his influence to silence it?

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. If the format of the show is destroyed viewers will turn off and not only Abbott will lose but the ABC will lose, I have not missed the Liberals one little bit and I am sure many others have not either. I will see what it is like and if the format has changed I will watch something else. Shame on Abbott and his Government for tampering with our TV viewing

  2. What a bullying Government this is !! Not content to lie to the Australian public and say ” NO cuts to the ABC ” before the election, they have now started to dictate the programs. We are losing all freedom in this country under this destructive Abbott Government

    23 REPLY
    • who I or anyone else votes for is none of your business Rudzyn. And Yep I love Q&A, I have not missed a week since it started and it has only got better without arrogant loud mouthed Liberals

      1 REPLY
      • I couldn’t agree more with you Rozzy, and I believe they have always given both sides the right of reply. It seems there are getting more and more things that the Abbott Government don’t want us to know. What happened to freedom of speech?

    • You miss the point Joe! Just like most tunnelled vision LNP supporters. I am a swinging voter and this government is one of the worst in Australia’s short history.

    • So, Brian Clarke, it’s okay for the ABC to consume a billion dollars of taxpayers money every year while refusing to conform to its charter?

      1 REPLY
      • the pollies spent a half a million on flying there family around the country in the last 6 months. I would rather give it to the ABC, at least I get something out of that!

    • WTF Ken? Correct me if I am wrong but does the charter say they are to follow the guildelines laid down by a political party so if it does not conform to their view it cannot be presented? Is this not the same as a dictator so Brian’s comment is quite valid?

    • It was within its charter but Abott is not within his, we elected a PM ..NOT dictator

      1 REPLY
      • people forget the Westminster Parliamentary system – we elect members for electorates / seats. From those caucuses are held to select the various ministers including the PM .. we do NOT directly elect the PM, which is more in line with the US system of congress.

    • The government OWNS the ABC , pays for for all their wages etc. so They can do what they like. I sure if you owned a business and paid wages you would run how you seem fit so stop whinging!

    • excuse me Jeanette Earle, the Government does Not own the ABC !! Australian Taxpayers do, the Government owns nothing..we pay their wages.. but only till the next election, then we are giving them the old heave ho

    • Surely you cannot have been born in this country Jeanette Earle !! how could you be over 60 and be so ignorant? Australian taxpayers own the ABC..we pay for it

    • Kay Eller, the charter says they are to present both sides of any issue without bias. Supporting Labor & The Left at every turn and attacking anyone who holds a Right Wing view is not within their charter. They are NOT to support any ideology over any other. They’ve not held to their charter for many years and should have been pulled up ages ago.

    • Not even Hitler could be a bigger dictator than the disgraceful Idiot we have to have as PM he should be put behind bars for life

    • I have been in this beautiful country since 1966 and I have to say this is the worst government I have known since all the years I have experienced. Tony Abbot worries me because of his attitude to his people. This is another example of his dictating nature.

    • Ken McLennan, your argument does not hold water! Abbott and his cronies seem to always try and pull rank when things are said or seen that do not go his/their way. Like I said I am a swinging voter and I would be saying the same if it was the Labour party or any other party I did not support. The LNP are in “power” and are abusing that power in many different ways shapes and form. What is worse though is the continual slaps in the faces he and his mob keep delivering to the population. He/they are control freaks. They do not know how to govern, they do not have one ounce of feeling for the population and people who are doing it hard and tough. Ruling with and iron fist is a sure way to get the back up of the voters. We have that fat mongrel Cigar Jo, the thieving Bronwyn Bishop and the list goes on. No morals at all, out of touch on how a modern government should handle things. I have to stop. gggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    • Just shows how tunnel visioned some people are Rozzy. Another great fulfilling argument from the right. One line! pfft

    • Well said Brian Clarke, Libbi Elliot, Jacqui Aplin, David James and so many others. I think Abbott and his band of Merry Money Finders/Keepers are a disgrace to what real democracy is and what leadership is!! I guess this takes the heat off the rising unemployment, asylum seekers, the mining gouging moguls he is so fond of lending a hand too and dealing with, the closeted trade agreements and selling off OUR Australia, The Indigenous who are not allowed freedom of choice pertaining to where they wish to live or their inclusion in the Constitution. A no brainer Abbott. Gee it would appear that since Bronnies storming money spend has come to light AND yes she is not the only one we know BUT….. seems like Crony’s (oops meant with due respect PM Tony’s) Terrorism Shield has taken a back seat and all the other bullderdash he ascribes too!!! Oh well you have some public back up Tony the Crony in Jeanette Earle , Joe Rudzyn and Ken McLennan. Funny though I didnt think who a person votes for was the issue here, it is as those with a modecum of commonsense have stated to do with a PM and his party dictating what can and cannot be aired on TV and when and how it should be broadcast. A democratic way of controlling the media and the populous. Another Captains call – mmmm could be just another trip before the fall!!!

    • Agree, it is just common sense as well that they lack, but they treat us with disdain and disrespect. He is like the sheriff of Nottingham. If its not going his way get rid of it or punish the people.

  3. . if they need 24 hours to get their spin doctors to prepare their answers we’d be better of without them on the show #qanda

  4. Disastrous intervention by a despot. Given Abbott’s duplicity of mindset it is a wonder he knows where true north lays

  5. it”””””””””””””””s guests? I thought we were supposed to be the educated mob?

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