A loyal and passionate friend of the ABC argues for less balance and more impartiality on and from the ABC

As I listened to Raf Epstein on ABC 774 the other day, and he discussed various topics with a number of invited guests, including a journalist from Murdoch’s Herald Sun newspaper, I again asked myself, as many others have been also asking, why on earth is the ABC inviting such people onto its platforms?

This particular journo asked, seriously, why can’t we (Australians I presume) just utilise all the available forms of energy available to us in this country, blessed as we are with an abundance of natural resources: sun, wind, uranium, gas, oil, coal?

I mean where has he been for the past fifty years? Has he not heard of the nuclear debate that raged for decades, culminating in bipartisan legislation to outlaw nuclear power stations in this country? Has he not encountered any of the decades of science research and international movements to exit fossil fuels due to their effect on the earth’s climate?

The argument often put forward, particularly by the conservative side of our nation, is that the ABC needs to be “balanced”, to include both sides of the argument on any issue; and to be “balanced”, the ABC needs to include these representatives from the other side of an argument in its programs.


There is no requirement whatsoever to be balanced. That is a fiction developed and repeated endlessly by the enemies of the ABC until we all start to think it is true, but it is not true. To discuss the longevity of the earth, it is not necessary in order to be “balanced” to interview various cults who might believe that ‘judgement day’ is coming tomorrow or next month.

The requirement in the ABC’s Charter, the document that legally dictates what the ABC is there for, and how it must behave, is for the ABC to be impartial and accurate. There is no requirement for the ABC to include any advocates for various unsupportable opinions, lies and mis/dis-information onto its platforms. It just needs to be impartial, and to be accurate and truthful.

I have watched with dismay over the past ten years, the ABC including “Cash for Comment” Alan Jones, anti-ABC IPA chief executive John Roskam, a multitude of Murdoch media journalists and many other unqualified presenters onto Q&A, The Drum, Insiders and other ABC programs, apparently to provide “balance”, enough to satisfy these same ABC denigrators. Alan Jones is going to in any way provide balance! You have got to be kidding!

If there is a topic to be discussed, and there are opposing views from experts, community leaders, or in the written educated papers on the subject, then certainly those opposing views should be included. That is exactly what the ABC did in decades gone past. But for heaven’s sake, some journalist following the editorial line of his self-interested media owner has no expertise to contribute and is not a legitimate part of the debate.

Neither is an uneducated politician such as senator Malcolm Roberts, who appeared on Q&A to decry the fact of global warming. When co-panellist Physics Professor Brian Cox simply held up a graph of NASA data showing the steadily increasing world temperature, Roberts inanely responded that NASA was falsifying the data. That is not impartiality, accuracy or “balance”.

ABC, please, please stop including these undeserving, ill-educated ABC enemies onto your programs. Get back your confidence in your own ability to present impartial and accurate content, and have a board and senior management that will back you fully against the vexatious attack dogs.