Alleged bias on the ABC has driven Treasurer Joe Hockey to phone the broadcaster’s managing director to personally complain.
Treasurer Joe Hockey has revealed he personally phoned the ABC’s managing director to express outrage about what he saw as bias by the public broadcaster.
But the cabinet minister insists he supports the editorial independence of the ABC.
The phone calls were made before and after the coalition came to power in September.
“There have been moments when I have changed channel because I have been frustrated at the ABC,” Mr Hockey told ABC Brisbane radio on Monday.
Ditto for the ABC’s website.
“There have been moments when I have rung Mark Scott to say ‘this is outrageous.”
But the treasurer acknowledged ABC editorial content was not controlled by parliament and “nor should it be”.
“The editorial independence of all the media including the ABC is something for those organisations.”
Mr Hockey’s comments follow prime ministerial criticism of the ABC last week.
Tony Abbott queried why the national broadcaster was not acting in the national interest and why it lacked “basic affection for the home team”.
Earlier on Monday, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison called for an apology from the ABC for outrageous slurs” against the navy after it reported asylum seeker claims of mistreatment.
The government has strenuously denied reports that asylum seekers burnt their hands when forced by navy personnel to hold onto hot engine parts on board a suspected people-smuggling vessel.
Mr Hockey denied an efficiency review of the ABC and SBS was designed to target any division of the broadcaster.
“It is not about running a jihad against any particular part of the organisation or any policies of the organisation,” he said.
It was about how could the government could get the best value for money while allowing the ABC to retain its editorial independence.