TONY Abbott has continued to apply pressure on the ABC this morning, as the furore over its decision to allow a former terrorism suspect on Q&A shows no signs of dying down.
During an interview on Today, the Prime Minister was unrelenting in his criticism of the ABC, which yesterday said it “made an error in judgement” for allowing Zaky Mallah to confront federal MPs on Q&A without any security checks.
That admission does not seem to have satisfied the ABC’s critics. According to The Australian, Mr Abbott has told the Liberal partyroom he will consider a government-wide boycott of Q&A.
“We all know that Q&A is a lefty lynch mob and we will be looking at this and we will bring something back when we return,” he reportedly told angry MPs.
The Australian Q&A is extremely biased, and good to see MPs calling it out.
Mallah was charged in 2003 of planning a suicide attack. He basically got off on a technicality but was convicted of threatening officials. He has been in Syria, and has published guides on how Australians can help the war in Syria. There has been a huge backlash to them having him in the audience for Q&A, in which he said because of the Liberal Govt, people should go and join ISIL.
When asked about the report on Today this morning, Mr Abbott repeated his concerns that the broadcaster had given a national platform, and even a global platform, to Mallah.
He said it was interesting that when Mallah was sentenced in 2005, the judge was critical of the platform the media had given to him.
“Now of course our supposed national broadcaster is giving a platform to someone who hates us, who hates our way of life, supports the terrorists that would do us harm,” he said.
“The issue for the ABC, our national broadcaster, is whose side are you on?
“Because all too often the ABC seems to be on everyone’s side but Australia’s.”
The fact taxpayers are forced to fund the ABC is galling for many Australians.
As a contrast read this account from Tim Blair:
Concerned she would face the usual anti-conservative hostility from the show’s live audience and fellow guests, Miranda called to ask if I might join the audience to offer some support.
Naturally, I agreed. As did another friend, Caroline Overington, then working for The Australian. So Miranda contacted Q & A‘s producers to tell them she had a couple of mates coming along, and asked if tickets could be provided.
That’s when the trouble began.
Q & A insisted Overington and I could only watch the show from the secure confines of the ABC’s backstage green room, where we would presumably be monitored for any signs of rebellion. Apparently the show was worried that if we were left unattended in the crowd, we might cause an insurgency.
It took several assurances from Miranda that we wouldn’t provoke an uprising before the ABC relented and allowed us to quietly view the program among other Q & A audience members.
Of course, as we now know, the entire issue could have been avoided if instead of being dangerous conservatives we had previously pleaded guilty to threatening to kill ASIO officials, supported an Islamic caliphate and believed in martyrdom for the Muslim cause.
Such double standards.