Q&A head formally warned



TV veteran Ray Martin will audit Q&A after the show enraged the government by allowing terror suspect Zaky Mallah to ask a question about citizenship laws.

The affair, which has stretched on since June 22, has already earned Q&A executive producer Peter McEvoy a formal warning, which arose from a separate inquiry into the program.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that “heads should roll” at the ABC.

• Q&A: ‘Tony, you ought to be ashamed of yourself’
• Zaky Mallah repeats threats
• Conservatives pull out of Q&A show


Much ado about Mallah. Photo: ABC

But ABC Managing Director Mark Scott fired back at the government criticisms, reminding them the ABC is not a state broadcaster.

The ABC board announced the independent Martin audit on Wednesday, and former SBS managing director Shaun Brown will also work on the report.

The audit will examine the program’s audience, panellists and topic selection over 22 episodes of Q&A and its social media strategy, the board said in a statement.

The board had planned to commission the audit before the episode aired.

According to a fresh statement from the ABC board regarding Mr Mallah’s appearance on Q&A, members said they agreed with the ABC’s statements apologising for Mr Mallah’s appearance.

“Given his criminal background and past public statements, the live broadcast meant that the ABC was not in a position to manage unpredictable or inappropriate actions or responses,” the board said in a statement.

“There was inadequate consideration given to important issues around his presence in the studio, considering his previous actions, his desire for the media spotlight and some of his public comments.

“He should not have been allowed to participate in the program from the studio audience.”

The Australian Federal Police has also given its assessment on the Q&A audience, which the board said it found “very valuable”.

The Martin-Brown audit is due to be published later in 2015.

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