April 25, 2017
THE ABC is refusing to sack or condemn a star broadcaster who claimed Anzac Day should be spent thinking about Manus Island detainees, not Diggers.
Presenter Yassmin Abdel-Magied, who labels herself “first and foremost … Muslim”, caused outrage after hijacking the sacred “Lest We Forget” tribute in an insult to the nation’s war dead.
As soldiers marched across the nation, the Sudan-born Australia Wide presenter posted on Facebook: “Lest. We. Forget. (Manus, Nauru, Syria, Palestine …)”
Yassmin Abdel-Magied, pictured on ABC’s Q&A, posted that Anzac Day should be spent remembering detainees on Manus Island. Picture: ABC
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton slammed the comments as “a disgrace” while federal MP George Christensen demanded the ABC sack her.
“It is a disgrace that on our most significant national day … this advocate seeks to make political mileage,” Mr Dutton said.
However, the ABC has stood behind Ms Abdel-Magied, who has previously caused controversy after declaring Islam was the “most feminist religion”.
A spokeswoman would say only: “(She introduces) stories done by ABC reporters from around the country … when presenting for the ABC she works in accordance with ABC editorial and other policies.”
Ms Abdel-Magied later deleted the post, and apologised after “it was brought to my attention that my last post was disrespectful”.
The 26-year-old has previously been a member of the federal Anzac Centenary Commemoration Youth Working Group.
A furious Mr Christensen said she “should no longer be on the public broadcaster’s tax-funded payroll”.
Assistant Cities Minister Angus Taylor said the post “showed a profound lack of judgment”. Communication Minister Mitch Fifield said Anzac Day was reserved as an occasion “to honour the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform”.
Ms Abdel-Magied caused a furore in February after a heated exchange on ABC’s Q&A program with Senator Jacqui Lambie, during which she said Islam was “the most feminist religion”.
SBS sacked sports reporter Scott McIntyre in 2015 after he lashed out on Anzac Day and said the commemoration was “remembering the summary execution, widespread rape and theft committed by these ‘brave’ Anzacs”.
Mr McIntyre later sued SBS for wrongful dismissal, reaching an out-of-court settlement last year.
Tasmanian senator Eric Abetz said Ms Abdel-Magied’s post was “disrespectful” and “deeply reprehensible”.
Ms Abdel-Magied did not respond to requests for comment.
WHO SAID WHAT
“Yassmin Abdel-Magid’s unfortunate and disrespectful Facebook post today, of all days, is deeply reprehensible.
“Tens of thousands of Australians, from all walks of life, have gone to war and paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“Today we pay tribute to them, not seek to use their sacrifice for cheap political point scoring as Ms Abdel Magied has done.
“The freedom she enjoys to make such disrespectful comments is what the people who we commemorate today fought and died for.
“But that is where self-discipline, respect and decency need to be added into the equation, something Ms Abdel-Magied has displayed she lacks.”
NSW MP ROBERT BORSAK (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers NSW):
“Ms Abdel-Magied’s denigrating comments are absolutely disgusting and show no love of Australia whatsoever.
“She wouldn’t even be able to live in this country if it wasn’t for the sacrifice of those we remember and honour every Anzac Day.
“Anzac Day is to honour those who have given their all in the service of our country, not for furthering Ms Abdel-Magied’s own political agenda.”
COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER MITCH FIFIELD:
“Anzac Day is reserved as an occasion to honour the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.
“Lest We Forget are solemn and precious words to be used with reverence and respect. “Australians would be appalled by someone attempting to hijack and debase this national time of reflection through crude politicisation.”