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Sharri, Sky News, 24 October 2023

Sharri Markson: Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson joins me now. Sarah, thank you for your time. You were among those grilling the ABC boss, I think the most egregious that I’ve seen at least was his refusal to apologise to Heston Russell, even though we now know just how sloppy the journalism was. And in fact, he even attacked his character further, saying he wasn’t a credible witness. What did you make of that?

Senator Henderson: Well, Sharri, good afternoon, great to join you. Well, the ABC promotes itself as Australia’s most trusted news source. But again, in Senate estimates today we saw that seriously under question. I thought the managing director’s response to the need to apologise to Heston Russell was disgraceful. The ABC falsely accused this former SAS soldier of committing a war crime. The ABC got this journalism seriously wrong. They caused untold damage to Mr. Russell and of course there’s now an estimated $3.2 million in legal costs as a result of the ABC’s botched defamation trial. And of course, the judge found clearly in favour of Heston Russell. It’s a shocking example of really sloppy journalism and the ABC should have apologised.

Sharri Markson: What else did you think was particularly noteworthy today? You know, we know he defended his decision, David Anderson defended the ABC’s decision to have a Hamas leader on air. What did you think of that?

Senator Henderson: Sharri, I thought that was shocking. I watched the interview on 7.30 when it was broadcast. I was absolutely flabbergasted that the ABC made that decision to do an interview with a prescribed terrorist organisation leader. And today in Senate Estimates Mr. Anderson was unrepentant. He says he reserves the right for the ABC to do further interviews with terrorist organisations and when I pointed out to him that they were publishing grossly wrong information in relation to that interview on their YouTube channel and other social media platforms, he said he would review it. This is a completely disgraceful decision, Sharri, really shocking. And I really think again, once again, we’ve seen the ABC completely lose its way on what is proper and impartial journalism.

Sharri Markson: Now just before you go, Sarah, you’ve been championing the problem of anti-Israel bias at the University of Sydney. You’ve sent them a letter. What are you calling for?

Senator Henderson: Well, Sharri, I’m really concerned about the student safety of all Jewish students at schools and at universities. But I was particularly concerned and wrote to Mark Scott, the Vice-Chancellor, because the university had not acted in relation to some antisemitic signs when Jewish students complained about that. And they also lent their resources and facilities to a group, the BDS group, which clearly has an anti-Israeli and arguably antisemitic agenda. And I’ve also asked the Vice-Chancellor to confirm if any of their staff were at the Sydney Opera House protest where those terrible chants of ‘gas the Jews’ were yelled out, because if that’s the case, those academics should be sacked from the university.

Sharri Markson: Completely agree. Sarah Henderson, thank you so much for your time tonight.

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