ABC News Content and Appearance

Statement from ABC, Director News Justin Stevens

Over many months, but particularly in recent days, Stan Grant has been subject to grotesque racist abuse, including threats to his safety. This has become particularly virulent since he appeared as part of the ABC’s Coronation coverage.

It is abhorrent and unacceptable.

Stan personally addresses this issue in a column published today.

Stan is one of Australia’s best and most respected journalists and broadcasters. The ABC stands by him and condemns the attacks directed towards him.

The ABC has and will continue to refer any threats to police. Already this year the ABC has lodged a detailed complaint with Twitter over the racist abuse of Stan being published on its platform.

Stan Grant was one of a range of panelists who appeared during the 6 May Coronation coverage at the invitation of the ABC. He was not the instigator of the program. He was asked to participate as a Wiradjuri man to discuss his own family’s experience and the role of the monarchy in Australia in the context of Indigenous history.

It is part of the ABC’s role to facilitate such important conversations, however confronting and uncomfortable, and to reflect the diversity of perspectives.

The panel discussion in which he participated aired early as one segment in around eight hours of live Coronation coverage. The timing of this important discussion in the lead-up to the event has resulted in a strong response from some viewers. This is regrettable. The ABC Ombudsman will investigate editorial complaints about the coverage, according to the customary process.

The responsibility for the coverage lies with ABC News management, not with Stan Grant. Yet it is he who has borne the brunt of a tirade of criticism, particularly in the usual sections of the media that target the ABC. Reporting on his contribution to the panel discussion has been unfair, inaccurate and irresponsible. It has contributed to fuelling horrendous personal and racial abuse.

Any complaints, criticism – or vitriol – regarding the coverage should be directed to me, not to him.

Yindyamalgirridyu mayinyguwal. In Wiradjuri that means I will respect other people.

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ABC’s Coronation coverage may have its flaws, but the panel discussion was the point of difference between it and the commercial networks.

I think some of the trolls who abused Stan Grant are just as tone deaf. If all they want to hear was arrivals of VIPs and royals, and relationship between Harry & Meghan and the rest of the Royal Family (which had been discussed and commented ad nauseam), they should have watched Seven, Nine or Sky News instead.

When Prince William or even Prince George is crowned one day, do ordinary viewers want the networks’ coronation coverage to be just the same as that for King Charles?

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That’s not the point though. There is a time and a place for particular discussion and that night was certainly not the right time. They didn’t have to start coverage at 5pm if they had nothing else to offer. What they did was inappropriate and that’s that.

In fact it’s almost offensive to the cause that it was shoehorned into another events coverage.


ABC has so many other programs that could have been used to carry a panel discussion about the monarchy or they could have made a whole series. But not at the start of the day’s ceremonies for the Coronation. It was ill conceived and poorly implemented. Though, of course, that isn’t the fault of those participating.


Seems like the actual perfect time to have it actually when they’re crowning a new monarch. You sound like the gun nuts.

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Are you capable of replying to a post you don’t agree with without calling it’s author names?

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I’d hardly call you an author.


This is just faux outrage.

No outrage here buddy. Just a calm and reflective opinion.

Clearly those who disagree would’ve preferred this panel discussion to pre-empt Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.


Maybe so but they were complexity tone deaf for letting Stan go on his rant.

Ombudsman’s full report

ABC statement on Russell Jackson’s reporting on the Hawthorn FC allegations

From the start there has been a concerted attempt to undermine ABC journalist Russell Jackson’s reporting on the Hawthorn FC allegations made by some First Nations former players and their family members.

This has been based on a suggestion that three former Hawthorn employees named in the story were not given an opportunity to respond before publication. That is incorrect. The ABC has addressed this twice before, here and here. It is disappointing that similar suggestions have been made again.

To repeat: Across two days before publication of the original story the three individuals were contacted multiple times by the ABC, via email, phone call and text message. Also contacted were the media teams at Hawthorn and the Brisbane Lions and the personal management of one of the individuals.

They were provided with all relevant information about the allegations. They were asked detailed and open-ended questions that gave them the opportunity to fully respond to all the allegations.

After initially receiving no response, the ABC contacted all the parties again and offered them more time in which to respond. We again received no response.

Statements provided by Hawthorn and the AFL were included in the story and the ABC reported the comments that were subsequently made. Everyone involved has always had the opportunity to address the allegations.

Further, the stories of the Hawthorn families were not “leaked” to the ABC. Nobody interviewed by Hawthorn for its cultural safety review was bound by confidentiality – they were free to speak to the ABC or anyone else. The ABC’s reporting was based on its own interviews with three Hawthorn families.

Justin Stevens, ABC Director, News:

“Russell Jackson’s reporting was thorough and fair. It was in the public’s interest to be informed about these issues and Russell went to great lengths to get the other side of the story so he could report on that as well.

“Russell Jackson is a highly experienced and ethical, Walkley Award-winning journalist. The ABC stands behind him and his work.”

Queensland closer tonight

With Jessica Van Vonderen and Jenny Woodward

Does anyone have footage of the robot camera meltdown on ABC News Victoria at the start of the weather earlier this month?

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