His comments followed a recent ABC report containing video footage of asylum seekers claiming they had suffered burns due to mistreatment by the Australian Navy. The Navy has denied the claims.
“A lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone’s side but Australia’s,” he said in an interview with Ray Hadley on Sydney radio station 2GB.
“I think it dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but its own and I think it is a problem.”
“You can’t leap to be critical of your own country and you certainly ought to be prepared to give the Australian Navy and its hard-working personnel the benefit of the doubt.”
Last year the ABC and Guardian Australia broke a story, based on leaks from the US National Security Agency, about Australia tapping Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s phone.
At the time, the Prime Minister criticised ABC Managing Director, Mark Scott for ”very, very poor judgment”. Liberal senator Cory Bernardi also called for ABC funding to be cut.
In November, Mark Scott defended the ABC’s decision to publish the phone tapping story, arguing it was in the public interest.
Tony Abbott also questioned the ABC’s newly established Fact Check unit, saying he wanted the corporation to focus on straight news gathering and reporting.