Disappointment in suspension of ABC inquiry

November 25, 2021 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Both The Executive Council of Australian Jewry and The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council have expressed disappointment following the suspension of a Senate Inquiry on the complaints procedure implemented by ABC and SBS.

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose called the inquiry as “political interference”.

The Senate held a vote on continuing the inquiry.

Submissions to the inquiry had been made by the ECAJ, AIJAC and the Australian Jewish Association.

The submission from ECAJ highlighted seven instances in recent times the most notable being as an episode of Q&A in which anti-Israel views were not balanced within the panel. The co-CEO of the ECAJ Alex Ryvchin was invited to the broadcast as only as a member of the audience as was the acting Israeli ambassador.

Co-CEO of the ECAJ Peter Wertheim released the following statement: “The Senate’s decision to suspend a Committee Inquiry into the adequacy of the current complaints handling systems of the ABC and SBS is most unfortunate.   The decision was only made possible because one recalcitrant government Senator declined to vote, and stated that he was withholding his vote for reasons which had nothing whatsoever to do with the ABC or SBS or the merits of the issue.  That is an appalling degradation of the parliamentary process.  No publicly funded entity should be above the scrutiny of the Australian people and parliament.”

Dr Colin Rubensteinm executive director of AIAC stated:

“AIJAC is disappointed by the decision of the Senate to suspend the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications Inquiry into ABC and SBS Complaints Handling. AIJAC viewed that inquiry as a useful way to explore best-practice models for complaints handling at our public broadcasters – as a supplement to the separate but also welcome inquiry organised by the ABC board.

AIJAC supports a strong, vibrant and independent ABC – but this requires a truly independent and external complaints handling body, and the current internal system is not genuinely independent and is unable to provide procedural fairness to complainants. Moreover, the Senate, as the house of review for Australian democracy, is a more than appropriate place to explore all the issues relating to such a complaints procedure and hear from all interested parties under parliamentary privilege. The Senate inquiry also provided an opportunity to extend the discussion to encompass SBS.

AIJAC continues to look forward to offering our input to the ABC’s inquiry – and hopefully to a best practice complaints handling mechanism being established  for both our public broadcasters as the end result of the process.”

The ABC is continuing its own in-house inquiry into its complaints procedure.




2 Responses to “Disappointment in suspension of ABC inquiry”
  1. carol young says:

    ABC lack of external accountability will allow their media bias against Israel to linger on, unabated. For shame

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      Carol you are talking nonsense, The ABC is a great service of Australia and our region.

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