ABC calls for new legislation ensuring it can host a debate during the federal election campaign

abc calls for new legislation on debate

The parliamentary inquiry is examining the conduct of the 2022 election

The ABC is calling for new legislation to ensure at least one of the debates for the federal election campaign is hosted by the public broadcaster.

The ABC put forward the notion of a mandated election debate hosted by the broadcast in its submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the 2022 election, as reported by The Guardian on Tuesday.

Public hearings for the inquiry continue in Canberra and are set to examine different aspects of the election, from political donation laws to voting rules.

This year’s federal election saw Sky News, Nine and Seven each host a debate between the then-PM Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese during campaign season, following Morrison’s refusal to appear on the public broadcaster.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that in the ABC’s submission, they have requested an Australian Debates Commission be established 12 months before the next election by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Through a public process, the department would appoint a panel of commissioners including former politicians and media company representatives. The commission’s task is to then organise three debates, decide on rules, format, chose broadcasters and the time and date of the debates, including one hosted by the ABC, according to the publication.

If the commission would not be created, the Sydney Morning Herald noted that ABC’s submission called for: “the requirement for at least one leaders’ debate to be hosted and broadcast by the ABC.”
The Guardian
reported that the ABC would welcome the creation of an Australian debates commission independent of both political and commercial interests.
The public broadcaster’s submission said: “The ABC notes that the Australian public invests in the ABC to have free access to an election coverage that adheres to the highest journalistic standards, is accurate and impartial, and offers a variety of perspectives.”
“The fact that the ABC was the number one channel in primetime on election night, the number one digital publisher over the election weekend and posted record audiences on ABC iview and across social media platforms, demonstrates broad community support for the ABC and its election coverage,” the submission added, as reported by The Guardian.

Top image: Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese

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