ABC fails balancing act
THE pandemonium on the streets of Proserpine for the Maroons’ fan day yesterday was a great example of what State of Origin – and rugby league – means to North Queenslanders.
With so many of our Origin heroes having hailed from the regions, and specifically the North, it’s no wonder the annual interstate battle has become such an important ritual.
The Maroons were supposed to start at one end of Proserpine’s main street and walk 500m down the road to the town’s entertainment centre.
But more than 7000 North Queensland Origin fans were there to greet them, and the 12 stars in attendance could barely move as they were swamped for more than two hours.
It’s worth noting Proserpine has a population of around 3300, meaning thousands of fans from surrounding towns flocked to see their idols.
The Queensland Rugby League is to be commended for its continued tradition of taking the Maroons to regional towns during the Origin series.
It is certainly not something the QRL needs to do to promote the series, such is the obsession with Origin across the state, but something designed purely to treat the fans and acknowledge that most people don’t have a chance to see a game live in the southern capitals.
The scenes in Proserpine yesterday, which made national news, were a clear demonstration of North Queenslanders’ passion for the game.
With plans well advanced for the creation of a CBD stadium and entertainment precinct in Townsville, league fans can dare to dream that one day the administrators may consider bringing an Origin game to the North.
Such a spectacle would be a great gesture for the passionate rugby league fans of the North, a huge boon for Townsville and no doubt a great success. AUSTRALIAN taxpayers deserve more for the $ 1.1 billion we pay for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation every year.
Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is absolutely right to take the ABC’s Q& A program to task for its irresponsible error of judgment on Monday night of last week.
There is no doubt the decisionmaking processes that allowed a convicted criminal, with known extremist views, a platform to spread his dangerous and offensive beliefs on national television must be discontinued.
Many Australians were grateful to Queensland federal MP Steven Ciobo, who was on the show as a panellist, for demonstrating the strength of character required to push back in the face of such an utterly objectionable individual.
As the national public broadcaster, the ABC has a serious professional responsibility to use our taxpayer dollars to deliver fair and balanced coverage.
On Q& A, it’s clear the ABC has been abusing this responsibility for too long and on Monday of last week the program pushed the envelope too far.
It confirms for many people the belief our national broadcaster has been captured by a clique of Sydney/ Melbourne- centric socialists with no connection to the values of mainstream Australia.
The reluctant apology from managing director Mark Scott was disingenuous at best and a nail in the coffin of trust that everyday Australians had for the ABC.
I encourage Mr Turnbull to seek some redress for the more properly functioning arms of the ABC.
I speak, of course, of the ABC rural network and ABC local radio.
Farmers and rural communities generally owe much to the dedication of the ABC rural network of journalists.
From Landline to the Country Hour, grassroots stories ensure the ABC is trusted in the bush and also gives our city cousins an idea of life in regional Australia.
ABC local radio across regional Australia is the lifeline for communities during natural disasters and emergencies. Local news and local stories are what Australian taxpayers expect from the ABC.
It seems the corporate leadership of the ABC has been stripping away resources from regional newsrooms and instead our taxpayer dollars have been funnelled into pet projects to pursue ideological agendas – with the Leftwing talkfest that is Q& A the most obvious example of this failed, self- indulgent experiment in social engineering.
As someone who works alongside ABC journalists in regional Queensland, it’s clear that severely understaffed ABC networks in regional areas are battling to deliver news bulletins and in- depth stories that meet their own standards and ours. They deserve a fair go from Mark Scott.
The ABC has always been regarded with affection in the homes of most Australians.
The antics of the ABC’s elite are testing this relationship.
I, for one, don’t want the good work of the ABC’s rural network or ABC local radio thrown out with Q& A’s dirty bathwater.
HOT SEAT: Q& A host Tony Jones.