ABC questioned over political bias

The ABC has been questioned about perceived bias in a wide ranging question session at Senate Estimates in Canberra.

Queensland LNP senator James McGrath queried ABC Managing Director Mark Scott why guest panels on the Monday night program Q&A were consistently dominated by supporters of Labor.

“I’m interested in how that consistently comes about and why there are not steps made to ensure there are more balanced panels,” Senator McGrath asked.

“We have a clear flagship program here that I think consistently shows bias against those who are on the right or centre-right of politics in Australia.”

However, Mr Scott disagreed.

“…I think the test is, were there a range of issues raised? Were all voices and perspectives heard? Was there an opportunity for the viewpoints to be expressed? I think that’s the test,” Mr Scott said.

“Was a range of views in evidence? And I think that’s always the case on Q&A, that the debate is held, that a range of viewpoints and perspectives are held and the audience is smart enough to make up its own mind.”

Senator McGrath responded: “The one or two centre-right people on the panel just need to be that little bit smarter and wittier to get their responses out because they’re clearly outnumbered on every panel.”

He asked Mr Scott to investigate the matter.

Meantime, Senator McGrath also raised the alleged re-editing and broadcasting of a Sunrise video clip that seemed to suggest presented Samantha Armytage was a racist.

“Do you think it’s funny that an ABC comedy show purportedly takes someone’s words out of context and make them look racist?” Senator McGrath asked.

“You don’t think it’s appropriate that we apologise at the moment to Ms Armytage?”

Mr Scott replied: “There is a claim there. I need to check on the claim and the response. I have not seen the response that was made to Ms Armytage. I would need to do that before providing detail.”