ABC heavies name and shame Abbott. As an election approaches, the ABC’s current affairs big guns are becoming mightily peeved that Tony Abbott refuses to sit down with them for a long-form interview. So, in a bid to ramp up the pressure on the Opposition Leader, they’re letting their viewers know about it.

Q&A host Tony Jones kicked it off on Monday by asking Coalition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella: “Can you explain why we don’t see him doing long-format interviews? Why he won’t do this program or Lateline or the Insiders?” Abbott hasn’t appeared on the Monday night talkfest since August 16, 2010. That’s 1054 days. And 7.30 presenter Leigh Sales — who won a Walkley for last year’s Abbott grilling — followed suit on Wednesday night. After an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Sales told viewers: “[W]e’ve invited the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, to join the program tomorrow night to talk us through his policies and plans. Hopefully he’ll be available.” He wasn’t. Abbott last fronted 7.30 on April 24: 72 days ago.

Lateline‘s Emma Alberici got in on the act last night, telling viewers: “In case you were wondering why Tony Abbott hasn’t been on our program for some time, we’ve had an open invitation for the Opposition Leader to join us since the start of last year, but he’s so far refused.” Abbott last fronted Lateline on November 30, 2011: 583 days ago. As for Fran Kelly’s agenda-setting Breakfast program on Radio National, Abbott hasn’t appeared since July 2, 2012: 368 days. He last appeared on Insiders on July 8, 2012: 362 days ago.

Abbott has been more willing to front up for AM — where he was interviewed after the May budget — and ABC local radio. It’ll be fascinating to see if the name ‘n’ shame tactics flush Abbott out. — Matthew Knott

The Palmer times. Aspiring politician Clive Palmer has lodged a trademark application for The Australian Times, fanning speculation that he will launch his own newspaper. If he does, Q&A host Tony Jones — regularly hailed by Palmer as the best journalist in the country — would be a shoo-in as editor if he wants a change of scene from the ABC. But Hedley Thomas and his colleagues at The Australian, who have been probing Palmer’s business track record, probably need not apply.

Video of the day. Was Julia Gillard subjected to unprecedented bullying and abuse because of her gender during her time as prime minister? This video makes a compelling case for yes.

Peter Fray

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