ABC grilled over ‘smug’ PM tweet

 

The ABC's award-winning chief political correspondent Laura Tingle has been criticised at Senate estimates for referring to the Prime Minister as "smug" and complaining about "government ideological bastardry."

The national broadcaster's managing director, David Anderson, was grilled on Wednesday night over a controversial social media post complaining about ABC budget cuts that the veteran journalist has now deleted and described as "a mistake."

Confirming it "doesn't necessarily align" with the strict code of conduct that governs ABC journalists, he revealed Ms Tingle had been contacted by her executive producer and agreed to take it down.

"Had she not taken that down certainly we would have looked into the matter further,'' Mr Anderson said.

 

Laura Tingle with actor partner Sam Neill in Canberra in 2018. Picture: Gary Ramage
Laura Tingle with actor partner Sam Neill in Canberra in 2018. Picture: Gary Ramage

 

The now-deleted tweet from Laura Tingle.
The now-deleted tweet from Laura Tingle.

In the offending tweet, Ms Tingle - ABC 7.30's chief political correspondent - farewelled another 30-year veteran and "legend" Philippa McDonald.

"What a legend … watch this. It is what mere journalistic mortals aspire to,'' she wrote.

"And we grieve the loss of so many of our colleagues to government ideological bastardry. Hope you are feeling smug @ScottMorrisonMP."

The tweet was subsequently deleted but not before it attracted around 3000 Twitter "likes" from viewers and subsequent complaints over its removal.

"Thumb screws applied overnight?,'' one Twitter user asked the next day.

 

The tweet described Prime Minister Scott Morrison as ‘smug’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
The tweet described Prime Minister Scott Morrison as ‘smug’. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage

At Senate estimates, former Liberal Party director Andrew Bragg demanded to know if any further action would be taken over the "smug" reference to the Prime Minister and his political "bastardry."

"Was she reprimanded for that tweet? Senator Bragg demanded.

In response, Mr Anderson said it "doesn't necessarily align" with the ABC's code of conduct.

"Certainly, Laura, I think was contacted by her EP. I am satisfied that no more action needs to be taken,'' he said.

"I think there's a proportionality that needs to be applied.

"Laura Tingle is a veteran of over 30 years of outstanding journalism. Certainly has been for us. With regard to that tweet, I think, well I know, that Laura deems that to be a mistake.

"I think it was an error of judgment as I think clearly does Laura as she took that tweet down."

 

Laura Tingle is the chief political correspondent for the ABC's 7.30 program.
Laura Tingle is the chief political correspondent for the ABC's 7.30 program.

 

Ms Tingle is known for her strong opinions. In 2011, she won a Walkley Award for a scathing criticism of the Coalition's election costings, headlined "Liars and Clunkheads Fail Budget Test".

But it's not all bad news on the Twitter front. Ms Tingle, 59, also reportedly found love on Twitter with Hollywood actor Sam Neill, 73.

The pair met after the Jurassic Park actor jokingly complained to Ms Tingle on the social media platform that he wasn't allowed into Malcolm Turnbull's election victory party.

After ABC host Julia Zemiro joked about setting the pair up in a remake of Thunderbirds, where Tingle would play Lady Penelope while Neill would play the chauffeur, Ms Tingle replied "Works for me. As do chauffeur's uniforms".

Originally published as ABC grilled over 'smug' PM tweet



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