It’s the talk of the Canberra press gallery: an alleged cranky phone between a staffer in Scott Morrison’s office and ABC news and current affairs supremo Gaven Morris on March 19. The alleged subject? Dr Norman Swan.
But Morris is adamant that no hostility has been expressed by “any government source” to him “at any level” about the ABC’s COVID-19 coverage.
It has been claimed that the government was worried about inconsistency in the messaging of Swan, the face of the ABC’s coronavirus coverage, and that of Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy.
Whispers around Canberra suggest the PM’s office was concerned that Swan’s messaging was at odds with Murphy’s in some instances, particularly in the early escalation of the crisis.
Scott Morrison has always struck me as being made of sterner stuff than most politicians. If ordinary Australians are being asked to make extraordinary and, quite frankly, astonishing sacrifices can we really afford to keep the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on a business as usual basis?