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Hamish Macdonald quits ABC

“I’m really excited to be moving on to a new opportunity," says Q+A host after 18 months at ABC.

Hamish Macdonald has quit ABC after 18 months with the broadcaster, to pursue a “new opportunity.”

Macdonald joined ABC as Q+A host with some fanfare at the top of 2020, and also hosted the Reef Live event, filed for Foreign Correspondent, reported from the 2020 bushfires and regularly presented RN Breakfast on radio.

However Q+A has struggled to retain its ratings following a switch to a Thursday timeslot.

“I am enormously grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to host Q+A and to work alongside wonderful, talented and passionate people,” said Macdonald. “I am really proud of what we’ve achieved together during these extraordinary times.

“I’d also like to thank the incredible Q+A audience for all they contribute to this program each week. It is, after all, their show. Their questions and stories from all corners of Australia are inspiring, revealing and clever – and it has been a privilege to receive and read them.

“I’m really excited to be moving on to a new opportunity, and working more with the ABC in the future.”

“Everyone at the ABC thanks Hamish for the incredible job he has done,” said the ABC’s Director, News Gaven Morris. “At one stage during the lockdown he was presenting a live panel discussion program that wasn’t allowed to have either an audience or panellists in the studio. His experience and versatility came to the fore.

“Hamish has long been a part of the ABC family and we look forward to continuing that relationship when opportunities arise.”

ABC says with lockdowns continuing, Q+A will continue to be hosted where it’s possible to have a studio audience, with a rotation of presenters.

38 Responses

    1. QandA is based on the British UK BBC show called Question Time , with Fiona Bruce . If the ABC had stuck ti its formula /style etc it would have been ok . But the ABC had to mess about with the questions & over produce the show.

  1. Good host but terrible at controlling people on Q&A and that was definitely not the right fit for him. Good luck to him. Be interesting to see who ABC will replace him with or the current host from last week (whom i forgot the name of) will continue.

  2. The problem with Q&A, much as the timeslot change obviously had an impact, is that the show itself is very tired. It used to be regular viewing in our household, for many years. But we are over watching the same old format: same disparate panel (just different faces) from the ‘to-be-expected’ opposing sides, talking and talking and talking and talking about the same issues that they want to change, or not change. And more of the same themes (even if the topics and questions are different) of left vs right, young vs old, man vs woman, blah blah blah vs blah blah blah, etc etc etc… Highlighted only by a spirited argument, now and then. But it’s still all division without unity. And all with no change or resolution that we can see from either politicians or public policy decision-makers that ensure positive changes in our day-to-day lives. So it’s become a echo chamber with no purpose. That’s why we stopped watching.

    1. “But it’s still all division without unity.” Excellent point.

      I catch the abridged version sometimes that’s on another day and it still can be a drag even with the heavy editing. I’ve noticed they are having more and more young entertainers (and some not so young) who don’t know anything about the topic but give bland ‘positivity’ comments. Just taking up time discussing opinion but not really getting to the meat of facts, especially on climate change.

  3. Now lets get a host that can control the debate and not let it spin into a free fall, which, unfortunately, Q&A became under Hamish. Speersy, Karvalis or even Leigh Sales to mention a few come to mind. Once we get the right host, lets get the show back where it belongs – Monday nights.

  4. Hamish is just following a developing trend in the news media to become a freelance journalist / TV personality. The ABC has apparently followed the BBC who to cut costs has allowed its more recognisable and popular media personalities to work freelance on commercial TV to make up the shortfall in their expected income, which for some was high anyway.

  5. Hamish is a quality current affairs TV talent. Its just a shame he has not been associated with a successful program. Q&A on a Thursday Night was the problem. I always forgot it was on. But in 2019 always remembered it was on the first day of the working week. And it needed to be more debate like as opposed to a discussion. It had become a bit boring if ever I watched it. I hope success is not far away for Hamish. He deserves it. Sadly I though the ABC was the best place for for him In Australia.

    1. Not related to the topic; but TEN standing behind PVO is the reason Hamish should not return to The Project. The same reason why The Bolt Report started on TEN another example of why TEN needs to reassess their life choices.

    2. I assume you mean (PVO) Peter van Onselen, there’s nothing wrong with him, but he does really need his own news show which will be hard to sell in a competitive market, The Project’s schlock humour is not really his thing.

      1. When you say there is “nothing wrong with him” – genuine question: do you mean there’s nothing wrong with his disgustingly obvious Liberal-loving reporting or his factually inaccurate reporting? I’m honestly baffled by this statement.

        1. But Lisa Wilkinson is not “disgustingly obvious” Labor-loving? Have a look at her Twitter – she makes a lot of sweeping pro labor statements, some which are very untrue. You have to have a balance don’t you?

    3. What’s wrong with PVO?
      Watched him last night with Lisa Wilkinson, and I thought his comments were well-considered as usual, and I like his relatively down the middle approach. Still, I well understand that not everyone will have the same tastes in TV hosts/interviewers. And one person’s favourite can be horrible to watch for someone else!

    1. Ditto – I agree. Very professional. Aust needs more hosts like Hamish. Why on earth did ABC switch to a Thursday – they saw the ratings. Easily could have moved the time slot back? Well, when one door closes another opens and often it’s a better opportunity in any case. Wish you well, Hamish

    1. You’re not wrong about both leaders being dull. Though, unless I fell asleep and missed it, Scomo has never fronted Q&A as PM, certainly not while Hamish has been there. The problem is more that in recent years our politicians have decided it’s best not to front up for Q&A, or 7.30 or any other ABC new/current affairs show. No doubt they tell themselves that this is a media strategy. But I suspect they all know the truth: they’re gutless wonders, without either there wit or the charisma to present well, and with not enough of a conscience to feel publicly accountable for the things they say and do.

  6. Sad it hasn’t worked out – look forward to seeing where he pops up next.
    I think the night, rather than the host is the issue with Q&A
    Nobody is looking for heavy political talk that late in the week as they’re preparing for Friday and the weekend.

    1. Good points. I really like Hamish and Speersy too – on reflection, and his couple of spins as fill in host, David Speers is an excellent idea for host. He was one of only a couple of reasons for me to watch Sky News until he jumped across to ABC. For me, David Speers and Leigh Sales are the two best political interviewers in the country. I hope Hamish goes on to bigger and better stuff – he is a talented fellow too.

    1. I think he was doing the 6/6:30pm news show on Friday’s that George Negus ran a long time ago and didn’t last long. There were a also a couple of Hamish news/doco specials and while they were good, didn’t rate well with the 10’s audience and he seemed out of place as a hard core news journo with foreign correspondent experience.
      But times have changed in the world we live in and there’s now significant time in each of the network’s schedule dedicated to news. Popping up agile on The Project or sbs world news might work for him.

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