A story in the The Australian on Monday seemed to suggest so — arguing that the multicultural broadcaster was favouring “attractive” white journalists under head of news and current affairs Jim Carroll.

The story caused a stir and prompted one of SBS’ white journalists to shoot back.

“I won’t take … a suggestion that because I’m ‘attractive’, white and a woman it somehow detracts from the credibility and substance of the news service I work for,” wrote SBS TV journalist Ellie Laing in Mumbrella.

The article managed to sail spectacularly right past the point. This is not about Laing — or whether she works hard or deserves her job — it’s about the fact that SBS is an institution with a legislative mandate to represent Australia’s ethnic diversity where the commercial networks are failing.

Yes, there are several well-known non-white faces on commercial TV now that weren’t there a few years ago, but the diversity of the Australian population today is not represented on TV, and this has repercussions — not least of which is the further normalisation of the white Anglo-Saxon face as the only true representation of Australia.

Thankfully, SBS does have plenty of non-white staff. Its managing director was born in Egypt, its chairman has an Indian background. Its highest -profile stars, including Lee Lin Chin, Anton Enus and Janice Petersen, do represent the many faces of Australia.

But whether such faces are getting rarer as SBS chases commercial revenues is absolutely fair game for public discussion. It’s a pity the issue has been drowned in the shallow waters of Laing’s response.