Q&A review leader Ray Martin describes Zaky Mallah outcry as a ‘political issue’

Journalist Ray Martin, who has been charged with leading an inquiry into ABC show Q&A, has described the furore surrounding the appearance of Zaky Mallah as a “political issue” and described the decision to ban ministers from appearing on the show as “silly”.

Former terror suspect Mallah’s appearance to ask a question on the show triggered a wave of outcry in the media led by Government ministers, leading the ABC to ask Martin and former SBS managing director Shaun Brown to review the last 22 episodes of the show for political bias.

Appearing as a guest host on Channel Seven’s Sunrise this morning Martin said of his decision to accept the role: “I thought it was about time for a little balance. I thought the rants and raves were a bit crazy about that thing so I think it’s at least time to have a look.

“I can’t imagine Australia without the ABC, that doesn’t mean it can’t be better. It’s clearly a political issue at the moment in terms of terror and I think we’ve already started looking towards the next election.”

Asked about his opinions on Mallah’s appearance on the show Martin agreed it was a “mistake” to have him asking a live question.

He added: “We’re looking back at the last 22 programs and I’d like to see what happened the year before when there was a Labor Government.I  suspect that [host] Tony Jones was as tough on the Labor Government as he is on the Coalition right now.

“I think a Bex and a good lie down would help at the moment.”

He also described the decision by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to ban his frontbenchers from appearing on the popular show as “silly”, describing the show as a “great forum for people to talk”.

On Friday the government issued the results of its “urgent” report into Mallah’s appearance which made no recommendations.

Alex Hayes 


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