Prime Minister Tony Abbott seems to have brokered some kind of peace deal with the ABC over his ban on frontbenchers appearing on Q&A. But there are at least six problems with this picture.
On Friday, it was reported that Abbott would: … drop the directive for his frontbenchers to boycott the ABC’s Q&A program if the ABC moves the program into its News and Current Affairs division.
These reports followed an exchange of letters between Abbott and ABC chairman James Spigelman.
The following morning in The Weekend Australian, Dennis Shanahan smoothly picked up the ball and wrote: Such a shift will impose much more rigorous demands on Q&A in regards to balance and editorial ethics than currently apply.
Abbott would have welcomed this line. It provides at least a fig leaf for the backing away from his boycott. But this is a fig leaf blown away by the gentlest of breezes. There is no difference between the editorial policies that apply to news and current affairs programs and those that apply to other television programs on the ABC.