ABC reviewing security procedures for Q & A

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.06.23 pm.jpgABC is reviewing security procedures to reduce the risk to its broadcast and guests, after a live protest on Q & A last night.

The live show was disrupted for several minutes after protesters unfurled a banner about university cuts and began chanting at Education Minister, Christopher Pyne.

Host Tony Jones, who could not hear directives in his earpiece, apologised after the show had to cut to an earlier episode with Katie Noonan singing.

While the show has previously endured a shoe-throwing incident, thankfully it is yet to face anything too serious.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.06.35 pm.jpgToday ABC has issued a statement:

“Over the last 6 years Q&A has become an important platform for Australians to discuss issues of national importance and a valuable opportunity for Australian citizens to question the politicians and others whose decisions affect their lives.

“It does that by bringing Australian citizens and our political leaders together and creating a forum for intelligent discussion and debate.

“Inevitably that creates the risk that someone will try and hijack Q&A to make a point. This happened on Monday’s program, despite a clear conversation with the audience prior to broadcast insisting on courteous and polite debate, respectful of others views.

“When the program was disrupted, host Tony Jones condemned the protestor’s actions before the decision was made to suspend the live telecast.

“We are now reviewing our procedures to make sure we reduce that risk and the program does what it should do – provide an opportunity for citizens to ask tough questions and get answers from our politicians. Illegible banners and chants aren’t a substitute for intelligent debate.

“Q&A already identifies all audience members and puts together a representative audience based on voting intention but as we saw it only takes a small group to disrupt the discussion.

“We have already apologised on-air and after last night’s program to the panellists and we will be making a further apology to education minister Christopher Pyne today.”


  1. @jezza who said anything about this group being “mad left” or having “insane extremist views”?
    I don’t think interrupting a live TV program (hijacking? seriously) is the correct way about expressing the views of many to the Education Minister but these people have chosen this route.
    “No place in a democratic society for a rabble like this.” That statement in itself isn’t a very democratic one. Our society should, and does, exist of all different types and views.

  2. jezza the first original one

    So folk are ok with the mad left hijacking a tv show to shout down everyone else and force their insane extremist views on the population. How would folk feel about holocaust deniers, islamic extremists, climate change deniers, homophobic supporters of Putin getting the same platform. Its so easy to say ‘democracy in action’ when you enjoy seeing the govt of the day getting attacked. The program has rules about respecting others rights to a point of view. There is no place in a democratic society for a rabble like this….

  3. It’s just a symbol of how far removed real people are from the debates. It’s a sign of frustration and the way the political system is going, people are going to be trying a lot more of this in an attempt to have their voices heard.

  4. What are they going to do? Introduce strip searches? A protest banner is easily concealed in the layers of clothes. And there are any number of other ways of staging a visual protest. And, in any case, it was the chanting that disrupted the show, not the banner. So audience members will always have that power.

    Frankly, most Q&As could use an injection of drama. And last night’s protest did as much to focus the discussion and illustrate the mood of the public as any question that was asked.

  5. ” to make sure … the program does what it should do … … and get answers from our politicians”

    Well, #qanda hardly ever does that.

  6. Can’t believe Q & A wouldn’t have already had satisfactory security measures in place long ago.
    The amount of time it took them to do something about the “protesters” was plain embarrassing.
    Ideally a show such as this which encourages robust interaction between a live audience and the panel members, ( who are often much maligned politicians), is a fantastic example of free speech in action.
    However, the very nature of this show will always attract a minority of ratbags and perhaps fanatics that will take it that one step too far or worse.
    With the lax security so far, I’m surpried that no one on the panel has been physically attacked by such people in the past.

  7. I really don’t think the protest was that big a deal, but it was handled badly by an ABC production team that wasn’t ready for that kind of event. It’s near impossible to silence people when they have something very important to say (whether you agree with them or not) – the very thing that Q&A is supposed to be all about.

  8. No apology from the ABC necessary. The protest was in fact, “democracy in action”. Whilst it isn’t the way I’d ever choose to exercise my democratic rights, I respect the students for doing it. It was a short, peaceful, violence-free event that caused only a minor disruption, but has had the necessary impact (getting people talking about Pyne’s education cuts). It’s hard not to be reminded of Big Brother when Merlin protested with the “Free Th Refugees” sign at his eviction. Difference is Gretel & Ten did a superb job of at least trying to give him a platform to explain his concerns. Q&A did no such thing.

  9. Couple of things – its unhelpful to be “reactive” rather than proactive, the shoe thrower was a few years ago, why wasn’t security increased and continued to be?

    With all due respect Tony’s pre show speech about respect etc isn’t any deterrent what so ever.

    I fear that the adversarial nature of this program lately means we will see more of this kind of thing, and it won’t be long until a more violent escalation in things – definitely don’t want that

  10. Whilst reviewing security, they may want to look out how they work out the voting intention stats which have always been dubious and last night (47% LIB, 38% ALP, 9% GRN) were laughable.

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