Queensland senator James McGrath has written to the ABC’s managing director Mark Scott, suggesting he has been “intellectually lazy” over the issue of free speech in light of this week’s controversial Q&A program.
“…the fact that it took the appearance of such a notorious individual with views that ordinary Australians would consider to be outrageous indicates that the concerns about balance are not at all being taken seriously by the ABC under your leadership,” Senator McGrath wrote in the letter.
He added: “I noted with interest your Annual Corporate Public Affairs Oration last night, where you characterised Mr Mallah’s appearance as a matter of free speech and used the ABC’s independence to deflect the broader criticisms of bias.
“With respect, your critique is flawed and intellectually lazy.
“It exhibits a lack of willingness to recognise or address the substantive criticisms about how the ABC operates.
“The duties of the ABC Board to maintain independence and impartiality do not absolve it from the need to satisfy the public’s expectation that their taxpayer-funded broadcaster will use its reach and influence to benefit Australia and uphold our freedoms and values.”
Senator McGrath has raised previously during senate estimates hearings, his concerns about bias within the ABC.
“The ill-will that Q&A generates is highly-damaging to the reputation of the ABC and undermines the broad array of good work that is done, particularly in rural and regional communities,” Senator McGrath said.