Despite being scheduled to front National Indigenous Television’s flagship new daily current affairs show in a fortnight, Sky News anchor Stan Grant hasn’t confirmed to his managers whether or not he’ll be running for a seat in this year’s federal election instead.
Grant, who is indigenous, told Fairfax‘s Adam Gartrell at the start of this month he was considering entering politics. “Yes, I would consider something. Is it in my thoughts? Yes, it is in my thoughts,” he said, referring to a political career. He said there was “no flesh on the bone”, though, and said he didn’t mind what party he joined. “I’m a very pragmatic guy, I’m not ideologically driven,” he said. “I do think that the indigenous issue is a national project, and I think it is beyond partisan politics.”
A career television journalist who has worked for CNN, Sky News, Channel Seven and the ABC, Grant has been most known for his straight reporting. But in recent months, his thoughtful, personal writing on being Aboriginal in Australia has lifted his profile. He a Walkley award last year for his commentary on indigenous issues at The Guardian, where he is indigenous editor. And in October, he gave a speech in Sydney for an IQ2 debate at the Ethics Centre, in which he passionately argued the Australian dream was rooted in racism. The video of the speech was put online in January and quickly went viral.
Grant’s comments to Fairfax soon after seem to indicate an openness to a political career rather than a definitive plan, but Crikey understands some at NITV have asked Grant about whether he’ll be running in 2016. His responses have been evasive. “Asked directly, he won’t tell which way he’s leaning,” an NITV source said. Crikey contacted Grant yesterday afternoon to ask whether he was running for a seat this election, but we didn’t get a response before deadline.
There is a lot riding on Grant’s decision for NITV, as last year the station axed its daily news show in favour of a daily current affairs program. Grant signed onto the project six months ago, and The Point with Stan Grant was announced last year, billed as “an original news and current affairs series that combines unique journalism, agenda-setting interviews, considered analysis and a distinctive Indigenous approach to storytelling”.
Set to air four nights a week at 9pm, the program is to be a lynchpin of NITV’s schedule this year. If Grant chooses to run for Parliament instead of hosting it, that will be a considerable blow to the network.
Next Monday, five days before the show is set to launch, Grant will give a speech to the National Press Club about his new book, Talking to My Country. The book is described as “a powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity”. But will he be discussing his political future as well?
SBS, which owns NITV, declined to comment.