Listen up, y’all – WE’VE GOT ANOTHER:
Alan Tudge has become the second Liberal MP to boycott ABC’s Q&A program, in light of ABC’s decision to allow Zaky Mallah on the show and the Coalition to lose their fucking shit over it.
He was scheduled to appear tonight, alongside cosmologist and passionate advocate for science and reason Lawrence Krauss, Deputy Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, and counter-terrorism expert Dr Anne Aly.
In an op-ed for The Australian, Mr Tudge wrote:
“I have decided not to participate on Q&A tonight, having been invited to do so a couple of weeks ago. As a parliamentary secretary to Tony Abbott, I don’t think it is appropriate I attend while a formal government review of last week’s program is in progress.”
“It does not mean I will never attend, but I am concerned my participation could be construed as suggesting the Prime Minister and government are not taking the matters from last week incredibly seriously. We are.”
“The government does not have any power over editorial decisions, nor would we want to.”
“But it can make recommendations to the ABC board, as it did with its efficiency review.”
It’s a shame, really, because pitting him against a man who stands for common sense and a woman who is a counter terrorism expert might just be the first time a member of the Coalition has come into contact with either.
IN ALL SERIOUSNESS THOUGH, Tudge’s piece is disconcerting. He compares Mallah to Man Haron Monis, and mentions, without context, that “we have suffered two recent terrorist attacks and others have been stopped.” He writes that Mallah’s views on women are worrying and worthy of a media ban, when he himself was present at those infamous “ditch the witch” signs:
He also rejected ABC managing director Mark Scott’s point that while the broadcaster made the wrong call in allowing Zaky Mallah on the show, they are on the side of free speech and Australia, not a mouthpiece for the government.
“This is not a matter of free speech, as Scott pretends,” he wrote. “Free speech means a person is legally allowed to express views. It does not mean that those views must be magnified with taxpayer assistance.”
Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson told Fairfax that he considered a boycott, but ultimately decided against it, because – and this is just beautiful – he “felt an obligation to go on Q&A and explain what free speech actually means.”
This episode’s looking to be a doozy, folks. Meanwhile, Tudge has already been replaced by Paul Kelly, editor at large at The Australian.
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) June 29, 2015
We’ve reached out to the ABC for comment.
We’ve also tweeted Alan Tudge to clarify what he meant by us “suffering two recent terrorist attacks,” but let’s face it, we’re not expecting a reply.
Image via Alan Tudge’s website.