After having an article withdrawn from the The Australian newspaper, Glenn Milne has not been invited back on the panel of the Insiders, the ABC political panel show.
Now that would seem odd enough – why would you get sacked from a television program for something you wrote in a column in a newspaper for another organisation?
In the article, now removed from the web, Milne questions whether Prime Minister Julia Gillard lived in the house of an allegedly corrupt union leader. At no stage has he, or anyone else, suggested that Gillard was responsible for the union official’s conduct, but I would have thought that clarifying her relationship with this union leader would be worthy of scrutiny.
She now claims to have full confidence in Craig Thomson, the MP who is implicated in a union scandal, so is it not worthy of public interest to look at another relationship with a union leader? Does the prime minister have a chronic judgment problem when it comes to union officials?
Regardless of whether you buy this argument or not, the question must now be raised about the ethics of the ABC effectively silencing Milne from the Insiders program.
Today on Insiders, the ABC used panellist Annabel Crabb – someone who has previously glossed over attempts by Gillard to mislead parliament and the broader public. Naturally, they also had David Marr, someone who wrote a book to try and implicate former PM John Howard in the drownings of hundreds of asylum seekers – despite the fact that as best we can tell, the boat sank about 70 kilometres from Indonesia and 1500 kilometres from Australia.
Marr, it seems, is not working on any books about drownings as a result of the disastrous policies of the Gillard government, even when the bodies wash up on our shores.
The effective sacking of Milne raises other questions about double standards.
Only this week, Insiders favourite, Misha Schubert reported in The Age that opposition leader Tony Abbott had said “the only thing I would not sell to become Prime Minister is my arse”. Abbott has since denied he ever said this. Just like Milne, it appears Schubert never checked to confirm the story with the person she was writing about.
Is Schubert also sacked from the Insiders? If not, why not?
Another case in point would be Catherine Deveny. Deveny was sacked from The Age newspaper in 2010 for some sick tweets about Bindi Irwin.
Rather than shunning Deveny, the ABC immediately picked her up as a columnist at The Drum.
The ABC needs to explain this double standard. In the light of these examples, exactly how can they justify the silencing of Glenn Milne?