Senator the Hon Sarah Henderson
Shadow Minister for Communications
Kenny Report, Sky News
18 October 2022
Chris Kenny: Just on those activities of Peter Dutton and Jacinta Nampijinpa Price last night. That’s what an Indigenous Voice would do. Would look, doesn’t that underpin how important an Indigenous voice could be for this country?
Senator Henderson: Well, Chris, it certainly underpins the incredible work that Senator Price is doing on behalf of the Coalition, bringing these issues to national attention. This is an absolute scourge and it was really wonderful to see Peter Dutton visiting with Jacinta Price and really shining a light on this terrible, terrible situation. There are deeply concerning incidents of family violence happening in the Northern Territory every single day. I’m not sure that the Voice would necessarily do what it says it’s going to do. I think one of the issues with the Voice, Chris, is that there are many more questions than there are answers. But we are listening very closely. I just want to congratulate Jacinta and of course, Peter, for getting out there and really highlighting this extremely serious issue.
Chris Kenny: When it comes to the Voice, it’s a live question, of course, in the community. It’s a live question in the Coalition as well in the Liberal Party. Have you come to a position yourself on whether you favour an Indigenous Voice or not?
Senator Henderson: Look, I have got some concerns but like us all, we’re out listening and understanding what the Albanese Government is proposing. As I say, I’m personally concerned that we haven’t seen enough detail, but as Peter Dutton has made very clear, we will keep an open mind and make a decision in due course.
Chris Kenny: Okay, let’s go to a question in your portfolio, shadow communications minister, one that you’ve highlighted time and time again where ABC journalists who are supposed to be objective in their coverage of the news get into all sorts of strife on social media. And this is a tweet by an ABC journalist by the name of I haven’t got his name here.
Chris Kenny: I think his name is Russell.
Senator Henderson: Russell Jackson.
Chris Kenny: Yeah, that’s the one. Russell Jackson. He broke this story about the claims of Indigenous players at Hawthorn Footy Club and then he’s had a go at the North Melbourne President and he said that the trauma of Hawthorn’s first nations former players and their families is noise to North Melbourne’s self-pitying president Sonya Hood. Her professional CV boasts that Sonia is passionate about enabling women through building community connection. He’s had a go at her because he used the word ‘noise’ but she was talking about various controversies around the footy world and her club the other week, and now he’s had to apologise.
Russell Jackson has tweeted an apology, saying “…my interpretation of an ambiguous sentence in Dr. Hood’s letter, unintentionally led to allegations about her that were false and defamatory. In other words, people piled in on her on the back of his tweet. I retract those allegations and unreservedly apologise to Dr. Hood.” Well, there you go, Senator Henderson. The apology is there, but it highlights again this problem not only of the ABC journos revealing their own biases, but of doing enormous damage to the ABC through their social media accounts.
Senator Henderson: Chris, absolutely, this is something that I’ve raised very serious concerns about time and time again, and the buck stops with the managing director of the ABC, David Anderson, who refuses to implement a proper social media policy. The bottom line is, Chris, if the ABC required journalists to comply with editorial standards before publishing anything, no matter what platform, then this would not have happened. This particular publication should have been approved through the normal channels in the ABC and then this probably wouldn’t have happened.
It’s a weak policy. It’s ineffective, it’s been poorly administered. And I’m in the process of writing to the Chair, Ita Buttrose, asking her to implement an urgent overhaul of this policy, which is frankly not only bringing the ABC into disrepute, but also potentially exposing the ABC to very high defamation costs, which of course, as we know are taxpayer funds.
Chris Kenny: Yeah, exactly. Look, this Russell Jackson, he’s put this stuff out, embarrassed the ABC in this way and led to defamatory claims against the president of the North Melbourne Football Club. He’s the one who put into the public arena these horrible claims of racism, unproven so far against those two leading footy coaches in Clarkson and Fagan without getting their responses, without having their responses on the record. So the ABC’s got a lot of work to do to clean up its journalism in this regard. I just want to get your thoughts while I’ve got you Sarah on the netballers and now Pat Cummins as well, the professional sports people seeming to want to vet sponsors for their sports on the basis of their own loopy political beliefs?
Senator Henderson: I think this is really regrettable. And in the case of Hancock Prospecting, which is backing Australian netball, as Cate Campbell has said, a great Australian swimmer, no one did more for Australian swimming than Gina Rinehart. She in fact saved Australian swimming. It’s incredible that the netballers think that they can play in these indoor stadiums and not understand how the lights are turned on. I mean, I think this is just ridiculous. They should be very grateful for this very substantial support, and I say congratulations to both companies for getting behind Australian sportswomen and men.
Chris Kenny: Just briefly, Senator, we’re nearly out of time, but if you want to give us your comments on the floods in Victoria and how the State Government’s handling them?
Senator Henderson: Look, we’re obviously very supportive of all the disaster relief that’s been announced. It’s a very traumatic situation for many communities, particularly in the north of Victoria. The advice, of course, is make sure that you don’t go into any flood waters, follow all of the emergency advice. The first responders are doing an incredible job. But as we have seen, Chris, the damage particularly on roads is absolutely monumental, and I do really want to see the federal government step up and provide immediate financial support to fix Victoria’s roads. We’ve seen the infrastructure announcement, of course we know that the Albanese Government is planning to smash regional Australia in the upcoming budget. Well, now is an opportunity to turn around and do the right thing and provide very substantial support to rebuild our roads.