Image for Sky News ‘Leaders Debate’ Shunned by Tasmanian TV

SKY NEWS AUSTRALIA has enticed three of Tasmania’s leading journalists and media personalities —Sue Neales from The Mercury, Tim Cox from ABC Radio and Matthew Denholm from The Australian—to participate in its pre-election ‘leaders debate’ between David Bartlett and Will Hodgman. The three will comprise the panel of journalists to ask questions of the two leaders.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation revealed that the debate was proposed by David Bartlett’s chief media adviser, Matt Rogers, as a way of blocking the ABC hosting the election debate. The ABC, to the alarm of Rogers, was insisting on the inclusion of the leader of the Greens, Nick McKim

In the media release announcing the debate the CEO of Sky News,  Angelos Frangopoulos, stated that the debate would be “be offered to all media, including the ABC.” However, television program schedules indicate that no Tasmanian network will broadcast the Sky News ‘leaders debate’, ensuring that it will be watched by a minuscule Tasmanian audience. (The debate will be streamed line on A-PAC - Australia’s Public Affairs Channel - at 7.30 p.m. and replayed at 10.30.p.m.)

The moderator of the ‘leaders debate’, Sky News Canberra correspondent, David Speers, told Tasmanian Times (TT) that the format of the event is for opening statements from Hodgman and Bartlett followed by their closing statements. Then there will be questions from Speers and the panel of journalists. The audience, Speers wrote in an email, will be made up of “guests of the two leaders” with their role limited to “just watching.”

See earlier post on TT:
* Bartlett Launches Ploy to Shunt Greens off Debating Stage, February 9, 2010.