04.05.21. Who would dare to dispute that the ABC’s Q+A was anything but seriously bent to the Left. It has over the years continued to face down repeated claims from the Coalition side of politics about that but it has of routine fallen on deaf ears. But in the last few days, we hear it’s the Labor side of the political fence that’s cranky with Aunty’s flagship panel show. Diary is told that Labor’s Chris Bowen, the man who could have been treasurer in a Shorten government, expressed his displeasure with Q+A after he was snubbed by the show. But what magnified the snub from Bowen’s perspective is that he was passed over in his capacity as Labor’s climate change spokesman for a Q+A episode titled “Climate, Politics and Fossil Fools”. However, this column has since established that the main reason Bowen was excluded from the panel was for “gender diversity” reasons.
Source: Nick Tabakoff, News Corp
Chris Bowen ‘boned’ for Q+A diversity quota
In a year where every Q+A episode has featured at least two female panellists and most have featured three or more, we hear Bowen was the wrong gender for that night’s episode.
Q+A host Hamish Macdonald claimed on last Thursday week’s edition of the show: “I should … point out that we invited four Labor frontbenchers on to the program tonight, and none of them agreed to come on.”
But Diary is told Bowen felt this statement implied that he was one of the frontbenchers invited, when he had received no such invitation.
We’re told that both Bowen himself and representatives from his office called the show after it screened, for a “please explain”.
Last Wednesday, the show issued a clarification with a cryptic tweet that made it clear that Bowen wasn’t one of the four Labor “frontbenchers” invited.
“On April 22, Q+A invited multiple Labor spokespeople to appear on its panel which discussed Australia’s climate policy,” the tweet read.
“Because of the range of voices needed to discuss various issues, Shadow Minister for Climate Change Chris Bowen was not among those approached to take part.”
Diary has confirmed that the main reason Bowen didn’t score an invitation was because the panel was already too stacked with male “voices”. That night’s main drawcard for Q+A was ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull, and also featured Andrew Liveris (the ex-Dow Chemical CEO) and Resources Minister Keith Pitt. We’re told that the Labor shadow cabinet ministers that Q+A tried for were female, including Penny Wong and Tanya Plibersek, but the show was unsuccessful in luring them. So Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young was apparently drafted in late to join Ten News First presenter Narelda Jacobs to both balance the male quotient and provide a left-of-centre voice on the panel, in lieu of a Labor presence.
An ABC spokesman told Diary on Sunday: “Every week, Q+A strives to ensure diversity across all areas.”