For, like that of the BBC, the ABC’s ethos has been hijacked by leftist liberals, as such heavy-hitting Australian commentators as Tim Blair, Andrew Bolt, and Gerard Henderson have repeatedly shown in their admirable columns. Its news bulletins reveal a marked tendency to highlight, ad nauseam, issues dear to the heart of leftists – these bulletins almost daily give a platform (without balance) to left-wing politicians and lobbyists opposed to the Abbott government’s crackdown on illegal immigration via people traffickers – an issue encapsulated by the terms “stop the boats” and “detention” and by the leftist ABC’s invariable use of the loaded term “asylum seekers” for those attempting to contravene immigration regulations and jump the queue of would-be settlers applying for entry into Australia through proper channels. It reports the situation in Israel and the Disputed Territories less often than does the BBC, but when it does the same Israel-bashing mindset is usually evident, a mindset the ABC shares with the minority ethnic communities’ partially publicly-funded broadcaster SBS.
The catalyst for the current tension between Abbott and the ABC concerns the 22 June appearance of Sydney Islamist Zaky Mallah – who in 2005 was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for threatening to kill Australian Security Intelligence (ASIO) officers – as a questioner in the studio live audience of the ABC’s flagship program Q&A, a panel discussion current affairs program which is similar to the BBC’s Question Time, and just as stacked with leftists. Mallah also made threatening misogynistic tweets such as calling two of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp female journalists “whores” who “needed to be gang-banged” and, referring to Julia Gillard, “Australian Citizenship test: Question: Do you support the throat slash of Australia’s first female prime minister? Please tick YES or NO?” He also tweeted a Hitler quotation: “I destroyed 90 per cent of the #Jews, leaving 10 per cent of them for the world to understand why I killed them (Adolf#Hitler). #Israel.”
By appearing on the programme (http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s4242255.htm) Mallah was enabled to spew propaganda regarding the government’s anti-terrorism measures and bait Liberal frontbench MP and panellist Steven Ciobo. Mallah declared: “As the first man in Australia to be charged with terrorism under the harsh Liberal Howard government in 2003, I was subject to solitary confinement, a 22 hour lockdown, dressed most times in an orange overall and treated like a convicted terrorist while under the presumption of innocence. I had done and said some stupid things including threatening to kidnap and kill but in 2005 I was acquitted of the terrorism charges. What would have happened if my case had been decided by the Minister and not the courts?” He proceeded to ask Ciobo whether he (Ciobo) would like to see his (Mallah’s) citizenship revoked and upon receiving an answer implying the affirmative stated: “The Liberals now have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join ISIS because of ministers like him.”
There has been widespread condemnation of the ABC’s decision to allow Mallah onto Q&A, compered by the spectacularly overpaid Tony Jones (something again reminiscent of how the BBC wastes the public’s money), who has defended the appearance on the grounds that “The ABC’s editorial standards require us to present a diversity of perspectives so that over time no significant strand of thought or belief within the community is knowingly excluded, nor disproportionately represented”. The ABC admitted it had made “an error of judgment” in inviting Mallah to join the panel. It transpired that he had been invited on before, but had declined the invitation, the eminence grise reportedly being the program’s executive producer Peter McEvoy. (http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/meet-peter-mcevoy-the-faceless-man-behind-the-qa-scandal-20150702-gi3ovu.html)
To compound their egregious blunder, the program-makers arrogantly devoted the following week’s panel discussion to an appraisal of whether prime minister Abbott’s anger with them for allowing Mallah on is justified, with the usual hypocritical claptrap from the leftists on the panel (and nauseating giggles of appreciation from female audience members), but common sense condemnation from veteran journalist Paul Kelly and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, the latter justifiably asserting that Jones and the producers should be “ashamed” of themselves for providing Mallah with a platform.
Many may well believe that Abbott went too far in ordering his Liberal parliamentary colleagues to boycott Q&A by refusing to appear as panellists. It can be argued that such a ban is counterproductive, silencing right and right-of-centre voices that dearly deserve to be heard. But the ABC, no less than the BBC, has to be brought to account by some means.
From the point of few of Jews and Israel, probably the most salient article on this shabby affair comes from the keyboard of the Jewish, staunchly pro-Israel federal MP Michael Danby, a prominent member of the ALP’s right-wing faction. In the current edition of the Australian Jewish News Danby writes of Q&A: ‘How often do we see Jews with anti-Israel views paraded on the program? Usually these unrepresentative types use their ethnicity to bag Israel during flare-ups in the Middle East. They have little or no expertise in Middle East affairs … It seems that every time there is a Jewish holiday, our “multicultural”, “sensitive” and “progressive” Q&A baits the local Jews by putting on some hateful extremist… Australia’s 120,000 Jews have been baited by this awful program for far too long… What happens to us first is then inflicted on the rest. Q&A’s long anti-Israel bias is coming home to roost… Giving Mallah a leg-up is not the main problem. The problem is allowing TV producers with hard-line political agendas, operating in the shadows, to distort the public debate, shifting it in a direction that only the “enlightened vanguard” like them, appreciate.’
Quoting the old Polish proverb “the fish stinks from the head,” Danby maintains that “During these times of serious national security issues, the Middle East agenda of Q&A has become of national concern.”