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.
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.
The front page of tomorrow’s Courier-Mail. pic.twitter.com/2kRB0YcRlT
— The Courier-Mail (@couriermail) June 23, 2015
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.