Protest disrupts live Q & A

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.06.35 pm.jpgABC’s Q & A programme tonight was disrupted by a protest by members of the audience whilst discussing education issues with its guests including Education Minister Christopher Pyne.

They unrolled a banner while former Speaker Anna Burke was answering a question, chanting “No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities!

“Chris Pyne get out, we know what you’re all about!”

“You’re doing yourself no favours,” said Tony Jones.

But the protestors would not relent, leaving the show unable to get back on track.

“Does this mean you won’t have me again?” Pyne joked to Jones.

While the noise levels increased Jones was unable to hear directives from Producers.

“I can’t hear you,” he said before adding, “I think we’re going to have to but that’s really Peter’s (McEvoy producer) decision. I can’t hear you.”

Eventually the ABC had to scramble a previous episode with a musical performance while the protestors were removed.

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 10.06.23 pm.jpgAfter 2-3 minutes the broadcast resumed, without the disruption.

“We had a little musical interlude there while we get democracy back on track,” said an apologetic Jones.

“Apologies to the minister, apologies to everyone on the panel, apologies to the wider audience.

“That is not what we want to happen on this programme. That is not what democracy is all about and those students should understand that.

“However we do understand the passions raised by this issue…” he said before continuing with questions.”


  1. I know I’m not the only one who found last night’s protest strangely thrilling. I’d begun to fear that Australians in general and Uni students in particular had become hopelessly apathetic. If this odious government actually motivates people to action then it will be no bad thing. Anyone who actually listened to any of Christopher Pyne’s (non)answers last night would surely feel the same.

  2. Ha! Well that was just plain for everyone concerned.
    Said “protesters” should have been removed by security with a lot sooner than that.

    The utter look of exasperation on Tony Jones’s face said it all really.

    Nothing wrong with a brief protest to get their very valid point across but that went on for far too long and along with their obnoxious, disrespectful screaming out from the audience, just made them look like childish, ignorant brats.

  3. @Ann – Could hardly be a “ratings ploy” if no one knew about it in advance. Unlikely anyone will watch Q&A next week just to see the same thing again.
    These are the bogans at Uni on HECS/HELP loans which will never be repaid, and Youth Allowance. This is our future? God help us. No, not really, just a bogan noisy minority.

  4. If they had chanted their slogans a couple of times and left it at that, it would be fine, but they were not going to stop until they were thrown out. Well they got the exposure they were looking for, as it’s all over the internet, and news. Channel Nine used to scan audience members for all live shows with a metal detector. I’m just glad there was still time for Bob Down to sing his song.

  5. First time in the audience, was already a bit weird seeing the show in person, letalone seeing this happen. Was quite awkward, especially since other members of their group were escorted later from other parts of the audience, but in a more discrete way. Sad to say their rudeness also was extended to members of the audience who disagree with them. Also was a bit sad to see people supporting them on Twitter. Obviously the show should be about sharing ideas, rather than who can shout the loudest.

    The email I got prior to the show said they’d check bags, though I didn’t have a bag so don’t know if they got through, or whether no checking went down. My friend apparently saw the poster prior to the taping, so I guess they just weren’t checked thoroughly enough, or at all.

    Only strange thing was that they allowed a group of that size to be part of the audience, and in the same area…

  6. Hi David, actually Q&A do check bags prior to the audience’s entry to the studio. This has taken place since the shoe throwing incident with John Howard back in 2010.

    As far as I’ve seen all bags have been inspected or at least glanced inside of since that time.

  7. Thank you @William! You know what, even if Uni was free they would still be complaining and carrying on about something else.

    I attend Uni knowing it cost, and so what…that’s life. I can’t wait to get out of the hell hole Uni this year, so I no longer have to listen or see these protestors that invade campuses everyday. Their behaviour have been disgusting during tutorial time. In my 2nd year a male student verbally abused a young lady because her opinions didn’t match his, and was quite aggressive that the teacher had to send him home.

    I wonder how they got that banner in the Q&A room? I thought they would do some sort of security check before they enter on a program like this .

  8. They are idiots those protestors. Good on Chris Pyne for not listening but I would laugh at them hard. Honestly why would uni be free, as they are simply stupid. Do they honestly know what is going on? To me they don’t. As there is no cuts to education.

  9. As a uni student, I feel ashamed what these protestors did on National TV. They just made themselves look worse, and are probably bored students who don’t attend classes and spend all day, everyday being political activist. They also make every uni student look like that as well.

    Yes, we can have a fair debate about this issue, but protesting like that on Q&A was not the way to do it.

    Sadly in my experience at Uni, I feel it has become too political and not enough learning about my degree. This is actually to do with the so called ‘Academics’.

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