A satirical segment by John Clarke and Brian Dawe on 7:30 is to be investigated by the media watchdog for allegedly vilifying Christians.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has confirmed to news.com.au that it will investigate a sketch which aired on October 27 last year.
In the sketch John Clarke poses as a mental health professional while Brian Dawe questions him about the treatment of asylum seekers, but Clarke is giving answers about the treatment of Canberra politicians.
Dawe: A lot of them must realise the damage they are doing?
Clarke: Oh, they do. A lot of them are Christians.
Dawe: So there would be a lot of guilt?
Clarke: A lot of guilt. A lot of denial.
Dawe: Look what they are doing to the asylum seekers.
Clarke: Perfect example. Perfect example.
Dawe: So they’d be blaming each other too, I’d imagine.
Clarke: Blaming everybody. I mean you can’t get anybody to admit to owning up to anything in the whole place.
You can see the clip here (offending moment at 1:35min)
A Perth school teacher complained to ABC and ACMA.
“You can clearly see that they are vilifying Christians as insensitive, callous and uncaring with clear inferences to the Opposition front bench and Tony Abbott, many who are Catholics,” he claimed.
“I just sat there for a minute and I thought, they’ve really overstepped the mark”.
An ABC spokesperson said ABC responded to the complaint and defended the program, but the complainant was “dissatisfied”.
“The ABC continues to stand by the program,” she said.
Maybe once ACMA makes its ruling Dawe could interview Clarke as an ACMA spokesperson and bring the thing full circle?
UPDATE: Thanks to ABC for advising, an outcome was actually already issued on Wednesday that found no breach.
Amongst its findings ACMA said, “The ACMA considers that an ordinary, reasonable viewer would have understood the segment to be about Federal Parliamentarians; and, that the comments about Christians to be limited to the ‘guilt’ and ‘denial’ Federal Parliamentarians of the Christian faith may experience in relation to some Federal Government policies, such as the policy to detain asylum seekers in mandatory detention.”
I think we have a new record for time taken to reach an outcome?