Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


ABC ‘on the side of Australia’, managing director Mark Scott says, amid firestorm over Q&A

ABC managing director Mark Scott has defended the national broadcaster as being “on the side of Australia”, after Prime Minister Tony Abbott said “heads should roll” over Monday night’s Q&A program.

The Federal Government has launched an investigation into the broadcaster’s decision to allow Sydney man Zaky Mallah into the show’s live studio audience to ask a question of Liberal MP Steve Ciobo.

Mr Mallah was found not guilty of preparing a suicide attack on a Commonwealth building after being held for two years in Goulburn jail, but in a plea bargain he pleaded guilty to threatening to kill ASIO officials.

He had also travelled to the war zone in Syria.

Mr Abbott has described Mr Mallah’s appearance on Q&A as a betrayal and questioned “whose side” the ABC was on.

The ABC had already conceded it was an error of judgment and in a speech on Thursday night Mr Scott said the “risks and uncertainties of having [Mr Mallah] in a live programming environment weren’t adequately considered”.

But Mr Scott declared the ABC was on Australia’s side.

“In any team, you can be playing on the same side, but often you will be playing in a different position, with a different role and responsibility,” he said.

“You’re on the same side, but with a different job to do.

“The ABC is clearly Australian, it’s on the side of Australia.”

Speaking at the event for the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, Mr Scott described the media “firestorm” since Monday’s Q&A as “ferocious”.

“But even for the ABC, things seemed to have been taken to a new level when on Wednesday we scored four covers in one day in the News Limited tabloids, complete with photoshopped ABC flags being waved by jihadi protestors,” he said.

“Not all parties to the conversation have seemed vested in pursuing rational discourse.”

He also pointed out that some of these media outlets had themselves spoken to Mr Mallah in recent years.

“If giving him space or time to express his views is an act of sedition, then the round up of the seditious will take some time and include, I should add, The Australian newspaper which ran an extensive article on him in 2012, charting his journey from when terrorism charges were first laid against him,” he said.

“He also graced the pages of The Courier-Mail.”

Read the full article, ABC here, where there are full hyperlinks …

• peter adams in Comments: Ciobo said Julia Gillard, when she was PM of Australia, should have her throat slit; his little mate Graham Morris said she should be kicked to death and Alan Jones said she should be tied in a chaff bag, taken to sea and dumped. All should have been charged with treason and making threats against the Prime Minister. Does the media report this no, no, no, no . . .

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Bob Kendra

    June 29, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Attacking the people’s ABC is perhaps Abbott’s most cowardly strategy of all. Scared of the truth: bully and trash the ABC.

    Don’t chance it with a Public broadcaster. Stay in power with State broadcasting.

    Better give the ABC its orders before calling a khaki election!

    Well, there are State precedents – but they have been fascist haven’t they….

  2. Luigi Brown

    June 29, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Oh dear! I’ve just watched the first Four Corners episode on the connection between the ‘Ndrangheta and the Liberal Party’s Millennium Foundation. No wonder the ABC is up shit creek.

  3. Leonard Colquhoun

    June 27, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    With the ABC and its Q&A so vocal and even ‘brave’) about free speech, can we look forward to the following getting their ‘free speech’ time on a soon-to-air Q&A^:

    ~ ‘extreme’ right-wing (aren’t they all?) commentator Andrew Bolt, letting him exercise ‘free’ speech’ in repeating his skin colour-based observations^?

    ~ ‘extreme’ climate change sceptic Bjorn Lomborg, letting him exercise ‘free speech’ in presenting his interpretations^? (Plus a Q&A vote of ‘no confidence’ in that WA university which denied him his right to ‘free speech’.)

    ~ any bailed and/or convicted rapist, wife-basher or abuser of women, to hear them ‘freely’ give us their points of view^?

    ~ an eloquent white supremacist supporter (yes, they are not all bogan redneck illiterates – inner urbanites need to get out more) ‘free’ to speak about his ‘philosophy’^?

    ~ that Sydney sheikh who equated western women (meaning our women, for the dull of brain) with rotten meat^?

    ^ but all with this proviso: that the same selection methods be used to provide these speakers with equally sympatico audiences.

    Should be a nationwide viewer-stats burster. If only for the novelty – to paraphrase that Oz soccer slogan: “It’s Q&A, but not as you know it!”.

  4. Dr Buck Emberg and Joan

    June 26, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    What’s happened to the freedom of the press?…Abott, keep your sticky fingers off the ABC!!!!

  5. Simon Warriner

    June 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    re 13, Phil Parson.

    Failure to monitor Mallah would be evidence pointing very clearly to the “war on terror” meme being run here as being more a ruse to create and drive a frightened populous “to the leaders bidding”. It can be seen as a clear admission to either a very stupid belief that radicalisation stops with a successful prosecution, or the knowledge that the prosecution was on the basis of extortion. (ie, admit to this lesser charge and we won’t do you for this greater charge for which we can present evidence we can either not disclose or fabricate, or both)

    I guess I should be careful what I say, as a dual national(for now). I might just get refused reentry when I go to NZ for my mums 80th birthday in December.

    Such is the fragile nature of our freedom of speech.

    Then again, why should I bow down to petty tyrants pushing their masters barrow?. It is a fee country, isn’t it?

  6. phill Parsons

    June 26, 2015 at 11:25 am

    The government is either admitting it was not monitoring Mallah but all of a sudden finds him as a terrorist threat, [Gerard Henderson erroneously claimed this on Lateline, claiming he was informed by the Press.] or it is admitting Mallah is a Person of Interest who they monitor, but the security services did not think to call the ABC or PMAC [or not].

    After all Mallah had to submit his question and as far as i know application to appear and ask a question is an electronic process.

    Its like the maps of radicals and the stated numbers of PoI, amateur hour.

  7. Mike Adams

    June 25, 2015 at 11:52 pm

    The only daily opposition to the Abbott government is the ABC. It constantly looks hard at the latest government initiatives and without actually pointing the finger, makes it clear to the minority of the viewing population that bother to watch ABC that it cares for minorities, the disadvantaged and those many who fall between the cracks of the many finance driven govt.policies.

    No wonder that Abbott and Co want the ABC – and to a lesser extent the SBS – muzzled. The sooner this bunch of proto fascists are kicked out, the better.

  8. Carol Rea

    June 25, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    John Howard when asked a question by David Hicks on Q&A said ” isn’t it a great country that allows this kind of exchange to occur and this is not the sort of exchange that would occur in other countries and dictatorships.”
    David Hicks was on video so couldn’t answer back.
    Is that the issue now ? Having a real, live, responsive, acquitted person in the studio who could answer back?
    Even Senator Ricky Muir of the Motoring Enthusiasts Party has called the recent actions of the coalition ‘politics of fear’. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/25/its-a-slippery-slope-if-we-enact-laws-based-on-fear-rather-than-rationale

  9. Chris B

    June 25, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Will some one explain what Mr Mallah’s plea bargain consisted of was it as good as David Hicks, sign here we have an election coming and while you are at it dry your hair.

  10. bob hawkins

    June 25, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    #3 They’re exactly my impressions. Ciobo’s behaviour should be noted. No one of his ilk should ever be allowed to win elected office.

    #7. Just when I thought TA was doing his damnedest to ensure the Coalition wouldn’t get re-elected, along comes BS doing his best to make sure Labor is defeated. Sadly, Shorten, though by far the lesser of two evils, looks as if he’s going to outdo Abbott. God have mercy on us all!

  11. TV Resident

    June 25, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I watched Q&A on Monday night and Zaky Mallah said NOTHING wrong, he was dead against anyone going and joining ISIS. But that doesn’t suit the agenda of a dictatorial, scaremongering gov’t, does it?? If anyone should be deported it should be our PM and his cohorts, that are from other countries. Obviously they don’t like the Australian way of ‘free speech’. The week before, on June 15th, Bronwyn Bishop would have made the PM proud as she told the ‘human rights’ lady that she should resign because she was too political. Bishop’s performance was shameful to say the least. I can’t remember the name of the ‘human rights’ lady, but she was very dignified while Bishop continued her attack.

  12. Karl Stevens

    June 25, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I agree with Simon Warriner. Why have so many of our freedoms been lost forever supposedly to protect us from a religion that operates tax-free in Australia?
    It just doesn’t make sense to me because the ‘extremists’ believe in exactly the same delusions that the ‘moderates’ believe in.
    EG. That a ‘prophet’ heard voices in his head whilst living in a cave outside Mecca 1400 years ago.
    We as a civilisation have moved well beyond the gutter of the Middle Ages, yet we see both major parties pandering for the votes of people with no historical connection to Australia and with what I call ‘stone age beliefs’.
    Shame on Abbott and Shorten I say.

  13. Simon Warriner

    June 25, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    The old saying, “never let the truth get in the road of a good story”, certainly applies here. You are allowed to use militants if the slant of your story demonizes them, but if you attempt to be even handed, god help you.

    There is a very good article by Scott Burchill, Senior lecturer at Deakin Uni over at informationclearinghouse on the origins of ISIS/IS/Daesh that highlights the story being propogated and its relationship with the factual reality.


    At the risk of being labelled yet again as a paranoid nutter by those who refuse to believe our government could ever engage in well documented actions taken by other governments ,I strongly suggest we need to ask why we are repeatedly directed away from the truth with such vigor by our elected representatives.

  14. john Hayward

    June 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    The sensational story here is not the appearance of an obvious crackpot in a public affairs/ reality entertainment program, but the spectacle of a radically right-wing government screeching that crackpot views, which it is elsewhere furiously exploiting to its own political advantage, are a grave attack on the nation.

    The transparent dishonesty of the Gummint’s gambit bespeaks a political faction of astonishing stupidity as well as moral bankruptcy.

    John Hayward

  15. peter adams

    June 25, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Following up on my first comment, Ciobo said Julia Gillard, when she was PM of Australia, should have her throat slit; his little mate Graham Morris said she should be kicked to death and Alan Jones said she should be tied in a chaff bag, taken to sea and dumped. All should have been charged with treason and making threats against the Prime Minister. Does the media report this no, no, no, no . . .

  16. peter adams

    June 25, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    The original question by Mallah was appropriate. The response by Ciobo is what caused the angry outburst. Being a seasoned politician of the adversarial system, my gut feeling is that Ciobo knew his remarks would lead to this sort of “front page” headline.

    Ciobo is the person who should be taking the heat. Not Mallah, and certainly not the ABC.

  17. Pete Godfrey

    June 25, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Surely in a democratic country it is Ok to allow the difficult questions to be asked.
    If the man who was found innocent after 2 years in Gaol wants to ask a question then he should be allowed to ask it. If it is an obnoxious question then there may be two reasons.
    1. He may be a little pissed off at having spent 2 years in gaol as an innocent person who was then coerced into saying he wanted to kill ASIO agents in order to be released. I am guessing that this was so he could not claim compensation.
    2, He may just be obnoxious.
    The presenter could then just say, “sorry that question is out of order, next question please”
    I am sure that there are people in the studio who will eject folks who are off the wall.

    To me it sounds like Mr Abbott wants the name of the ABC changed to mean Abbott Broadcasting Commission.

  18. Dr.John R.Wilson

    June 25, 2015 at 10:51 am

    So glad the A in ABC still stands for Australian, Mark.
    Cheers …

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