Airdate: People’s Forum with Julia Gillard

2013-04-19_1006SKY News is set to hold its second People’s Forum this year, this time with Julia Gillard.

Next Monday’s event will take place at the Burvale Hotel in Nunawading, in the seat of Deakin.

That’s a pub that used to be opposite the old Channel TEN and was regularly featured as a drab bar in scenes from Prisoner or Neighbours (I’m sure it’s since been upgraded). Vera Bennett used to have a quiet drink or two there while waiting for some man to walk into her life…

I don’t understand why SKY keeps staging these events in RSLs and pubs. Are we supposed to be aligning politics with beer and pokies or something? Should we all get pissed before we hurl a question at our leaders? Q & A travels the country to theatres, town halls or community centres and I don’t think they’ve had to step inside a pub yet.

Very strange subtext…

SKY News in conjunction with the Herald Sun will host the second People’s Forum of this election year with Prime Minister Julia Gillard next Monday (April 22).

The forum will be held at the Burvale Hotel, in Nunawading, in the federal seat of Deakin.

Ms Gillard will take questions on education from 100 undecided voters recruited by Galaxy Research.

SKY NEWS Political Editor David Speers will moderate the one-hour event to be broadcast live on SKY NEWS National, channel 601.

David said: “The school funding reforms are the Prime Minister’s last chance to turn things around for the Government. It will be fascinating to see if Julia Gillard can convince voters to keep her in office to see these reforms put in place.”

News Limited’s Victorian managing director – editorial, Peter Blunden, welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to front Victorian voters, following the forum with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott held this evening in Geelong.

“Education is a critical issue for all Victorian families and with the spotlight firmly on education funding, this is a timely opportunity for undecided voters to question the Prime Minister directly,” he said.

Coverage on SKY NEWS will begin at 4pm on Monday with a special edition of PM Agenda LIVE from the venue. David will be joined by the Herald Sun’s National Political Editor, Phil Hudson, Columnist Susie O’Brien, and News Limited’s Economics Editor, Jessica Irvine, to discuss key local and education issues ahead of the forum.

The Forum itself will begin at 5.30pm.

Comprehensive coverage of the event will be published across all platforms of the Herald Sun and

This forum is the second in a series of events to come during the 2013 Election campaign.

5.30pm Monday April 22 SKY News


  1. Shiraz, you’re backtracking from your earlier point now. Also, I’d be surprised if ABC is the only media outlet in the country to have some of its former employees get into politics. If people are arguing about whether ABC News is left or right, it seems to me they’re doing a pretty good job at the centre.

  2. @unclepete, that’s a very interesting stat, that 19 people left the ABC in that period to enter politics, but when you think about it proves my point about bias. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone who feels so strongly about the issues and needs to enter politics, can truly be neutral in regards to story choices and how they present it.

    @ secret squirrel, I’m not disputing the quality or content of abc stories, in general I believe they do a first class job. Four Corners sets a very high standard and is a not miss show for me. The bias in the ABC in my opinion is not in the stories they do, it’s the stories they don’t do. The far left of politics is and has been very influential in many Bills presented to parliament over the past few years and I believe they need greater scrutiny which the ABC should be providing.

  3. I don’t know why SKY stage these events either. I would be interested to hear both leaders answer probing questions about their policies but this is not the forum.
    I understand that there were only 35,500 viewers to the Abbott forum which makes it a miniscule event so why bother ?
    Hopefully they will both agree to fronting on Q&A this is what our national broadcaster is there for.

  4. Secret Squirrel

    @Shiraz – nice dig at PJC who was simply responding to what laurie wrote.

    And unclepete has already pointed out that you were a tad misinformed regarding former ABC staff who have entered politics.

    Several people trot out this old saw about the ABC being left-leaning (or hyperbolically, extreme left or commies). That was prob an accurate characterisation 20 years ago.

    In the intervening time, John Howard stacked the Board with his cronies, along with many senior appointments. If you had watched the ABC news in the middle of last decade you should have noticed that it was somewhat biased toward the conservative side of politics.

    The latest study of the ABC’s news and current affairs that I’m aware of showed that it still was biased toward the right, but that was a couple of years ago. From what I’ve observed over the last 12 months, I would say that ABC News and Current Affairs is pretty much right in the middle.

  5. @Shiraz – just to help you out, some former members of the ABC who have since joined the Liberals; Pru Goward, Rob Messenger and several others. According to Senate Standing Committee in 2007, of the 19 former employees of the ABC who had moved into political positions, 10 had joined Labor and 9 had joined the Liberal party. Seems pretty even to me.

    But people will still see what they want to see **shrugs**

  6. Jason:

    I guess the number of people that will fit into the Nunawading pub will equal the number of Sky viewers…… which probably exceeds the number of ALP voters come September!

  7. Armchair Analyst

    They do this because the only ones watching SKY news are one dimensional bogans which couldnt be bothered find out the reall info for themselves.

  8. @ PJC, this is not a forum to get political, but since you’ve brought it up let me ask you to name one ex ABC presenter who’s joined the Liberal party, since you believe the ABC is so unbiased? On the other side of the coin, a number of ABC people have joined the Labor party, the most well known being Maxine McKew. I regularly watch 4 Corners, Lateline and other factual ABC programs, but when it comes to politics you’re drawing a very long bow to say they’re politically unbiased. And no I don’t watch Sky or read any of the Murdoch press.
    The reality is that all press is biased one way or the other, after all the people who tell the political stories tend to be opinionated people and as such have strong political views of their own.

  9. seriouslysquare

    maybe it is because sky news doesn’t have the budget to hire a hall for the night. or maybe it is seen as the pollies being on the voters turf and not being held in council chambers, etc.

  10. I love it how the ABC still gets beaten up for apparently being left leaning. It seems if you’re unbiased and take the middle ground instead of spouting hard right views, you must be a ‘commie’.

    @Unclepete.. I’d say you’re 100% correct. ‘Real’ people play pokies and drink beer, not visit community halls or theatres.. that’s just pretentious.

  11. The audiences of Q&A are largely filled with rusted on voters of both persuasions. It may not be glamorous, but the RSL’s and clubs are where the swing voters are – they will decide the outcome on September 14.

  12. And I can say its the same when the ABC is involved they select union members,pro Labour supporters, and of course pro-labour commentators so maybe it evens out in the end

  13. I suspect that is in pubs David, so that Sky can pretend the pollies are talking to ‘real’ people – note the single inverted commas 😉

    Rather than a hand picked bunch Sky have selected in order to push their (read: Murdoch’s) view across. Personally I think it is very brave of Julia to front what will probably be a turkey shoot… or stupid. Take your pick.

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