Defence Minister Becomes First To Boycott ABC’s Q&A Following Bias Controversy

The simmering controversy over the ABC’s stalwart Monday night program Q&A has escalated to boiling point overnight, as the Coalition has seen its first minister officially boycott and the show, as Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has refused to appear on the Q&A panel, following a rising spat between the public broadcaster and the Abbott Government.

According to The Australian, next Monday’s empty fifth spot—now filled by counter-terrorism expert Anne-Azza Aly—was officially rejected by Kevin Andrews, who claimed he would not appear on the Q&A panel “until it becomes more balanced.

The Australian claims Andrews has encouraged his Coalition colleagues to similarly boycott Q&A, following Monday’s controversy over audience member Zaky Mallah‘s comments on the show, claiming Australian Muslims could be “justified” in joining Islamic State. 

Kevin Andrew’s decision follows a swelling movement by the Abbott Government to question the bias and motives of the ABC, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott imploring the broadcaster to have a “good look at itself“. Abbott also criticised the ABC’s move, saying, “The ABC has once again given a platform to someone who hates us, who hates our way of life, who supports terrorists, and again, I ask of the national broadcaster: whose side are you on?”

Adding fuel to the fire yesterday was NewsCorp publications the Courier Mail, Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, with front pages like this adorning newsstands across the country.

However, not all of the Coalition’s front-bench have raised their pitchforks to join the angry mob currently stampeding the ABC. Oddly enough, it’s Education Minister Christopher Pyne who has held back on crucifying Q&A, saying on ABC Radio yesterday, “We could choose not to go on it, but I think that’s madness ­because I want the public to hear the Coalition’s message because I think it’s the right message.”

Next Monday’s Q&A panel includes Tanya Plibersek, Alan Tudge, Lawrence Krauss, Tim Wilson and Anne-Azza Aly.

You can watch all of Monday night’s now-infamous Q&A episode below.

Via The Australian.