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Communications Minister says Tom Ballard's show went too far

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield says comedian Tom Ballard’s Tonightly show went too far when it labeled aspiring Australian Conservatives politician Kevin Bailey a ‘c***’

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Last week the show featured a segment where Ballard interviewed regular Tonightly contributor Greg Larsen, who was playing the part of a representative from the Australian Electoral Commission.

Discussing the by election in the seat of Batman, Larsen put forward the suggestion that the electoral seat of Batman should be renamed ‘Batman was a c***’, highlighting that John Batman, who the seat is named after, had a awful history relating to his treatment of Aboriginal people.

Larsen then showed a series of election posters for each of the significant parties with the electorate’s name changed to include the suggested new name. Larson showed posters for Labor’s candidate Ged Kearney, and The Greens’ Alex Bhathal.

When it came time to show a poster for the Australian Conservatives candidate Kevin Bailey, Larsen said that because the Australian Conservatives poster didn’t include the name of the electorate, he’d just changed it to read “Kevin Bailey is a c***’.

The segment has upset politicians across the political spectrum. Labor MP Amanda Rishworth said the choice of language used in the segment was inappropriate.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi has called for those at the ABC who approved the sketch to be fired.

“I think someone needs to lose their job over it, because it’s not like these things go to air without being pre-screened,” Senator Bernardi told ABC Radio Adelaide.

“I don’t think that sort of language is an appropriate thing on TV at any time.

“When you have a person of Kevin Bailey’s pedigree, I mean he’s a former soldier, a philanthropist, a former ambassador, I don’t think any candidate should be subject to that just because they step into the ring.”

The call for staff at the ABC to be sacked has been backed by Education Minister Simon Birmingham.

“Frankly, somebody should lose their job over it,” Senator Birmingham told the ABC.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has ordered the ABC to appologise for the skit and investigate how it was approved for broadcast.

“Candidates for elected office expect to be criticised and parodied. But this ABC segment clearly crossed a line, particularly given that it was directed towards an individual who has served his nation in uniform,” Fifield said in a statement.

“Vitriolic abuse of this kind has no place on the national broadcaster and I will be asking the ABC to investigate. The ABC should also immediately offer an unreserved apology to Mr Bailey.”

The segment also angered News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt who has described the pubic broadcaster as a “cesspit” run by “barbarians”. On his blog Bolt said Ballard’s show had been attacking Christianity and free speech since it’s first episode late last year.

A spokesperson for the ABC has said the organisation will respond to Senator Bernardi and Senator Fifield in due course.

OIP Staff


 

 

 

 

 

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