POLITICS

Turnbull Government Asks ABC Board To Reconsider Triple J Hottest 100 Date Change

But the national youth broadcaster just wants to play Australian music on Australia Day.

28/11/2017 10:27 AM AEDT | Updated 28/11/2017 3:16 PM AEDT
Triple J
Mitch Fifield: " I'll be asking the board of the ABC, who have the ultimate programming and editorial responsibility, to reconsider this."

CANBERRA -- Triple J is copping political heat for moving the Hottest 100 from Australia Day to January 27 to respect First Nations people, with the ABC's board now being asked by the Turnbull Government to reconsider it.

Triple J and the ABC have fired back insisting it will now be able to concentrate on Australia Day coverage and play Australian music throughout the day.

But Greens leader Richard Di Natale is dismissing the blow back as "hyperventilating" from pollies who probably don't know where to find the station on the radio dial.

"They would not have the faintest idea. For some of the blokes in this place Triple J is an Olympic event not a radio station," he told reporters in Parliament House.

"And just to hear the hyperventilating that is going on right now from MPs who are more at home listening to Frank Sinatra than they are listening to modern day Australian music is just bonkers."

Before we go any further, the Melbourne based Greens leader was immediately asked if he knew how to find Triple J and he did answer correctly.

"107.5! In my state,' Di Natale stated. "But it depends where you are! (laughs)."

And what does he listen to? "I have become boring. I listen to bloody Radio National now."

After pressure from Indigenous groups and musicians to move the popular and long running poll away from a day synonymous with the celebration of white settlement in Australia, the date change decision was based on two separate independent listener polls.

Regardless, Turnbull government types are fuming, with Resources Minister Matt Canavan calling the move "a disgraceful decision" which "undermines" Australia Day, while Communications Minister Mitch Fifield has written to the Chair of the ABC to urge reconsideration.

"I already have made my view clear to the ABC," the minister told ABC TV .

"And I'll be asking the board of the ABC, who have the ultimate programming and editorial responsibility, to reconsider this."

Fifield has accused the ABC and Triple J of politicising Australia Day, telling Sky News,"The ABC has a broader responsibility to the wider community not just to one particular market segment."

"There some are days in this gig, as minister, where I just slap my forehead and I say 'what were these guys thinking?'"

The ABC, in statement, said the new format allows Triple J to expand its Australia Day coverage and pay all Australian music on Australia Day.

It said extensive research was conducted showing that the Triple J audience wanted to "decouple the countdown from the politics, with a focus exclusively on the music".

The new format allows triple j to expand its coverage of Australia Day and the issues that are relevant to its audience. Its 2018 program includes an interview with the Young Australian of the Year, and crosses to other Australia Day activities, including Indigenous events like Yabun. triple j's news and Hack program will canvass the conversations that young Australians have about the National Day. Triple j will play all Australian music on Australia Day.

ABC statement

The ABC's Corporate Affairs director Michael Millett also expressed his support for Triple J's move.

"Let's stick to the facts," he tweeted on Tuesday. "The ABC is not delegitimising Australia Day. The national broadcaster will provide comprehensive coverage of the National Day."

Di Natale said the Hottest 100 was always about celebrating great music and this decision reflects that.

"Good on Triple J hey?" he said.

"It was never meant to be a celebration of Australia Day and out of respect for those many people who see this as a day that is very divisive, they have taken a bold move to change the date.

"So good on them. They have got my complete support and I think what we are seeing now is the start of a tidal wave where it won't be long that the date that we celebrate the coming together of Australians won't be the date that Australia was invaded."

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