This morning, Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan gave a lesson in how not to hold a completely different conversation to the one your interlocutor is having. The ABC’s Kim Landers attempted to ask Canavan about the Adani coal mine — something that is actually in his portfolio — to no avail:

KIM LANDERS: Were you aware of this investigation into the Adani Group?

MATT CANAVAN: Well before I get to that question Kim, can I just thank you for having me on your program because I have been very disappointed in the ABC’s coverage of this issue in the past week.

Your reports have been nothing but fake news.

KIM LANDERS: Let me put some of these specific points to you then. Were you aware of this investigation by the intelligence arm of the Indian Finance Ministry into the Adani group?

MATT CANAVAN: Well as I said before I get to that — in all of your reports this week, you’ve had no views from people in North Queensland, so it’s very good to be joining you as a Minister for Resources but it’s even better to be joining you as a proud resident of North Queensland.

I’m looking out at the Great Barrier Reef right now, I’m lucky enough to have a view from my house –

KIM LANDERS: – it sounds lovely. So if I can direct you to back to my question then –

MATT CANAVAN: – one of those days Kim, one of those days Kim it makes you thank God that you were born in Queensland. But up here people need jobs. Later today I’ll go to work and the biggest issue will be jobs. The biggest issue will be how do we get jobs and Adani and this project will create jobs. But none of your listeners or viewers, this week on the ABC would get that point of view.

Landers managed to get another few questions with vaguely on topic answers before Canavan said:

“It’s unfortunate that the ABC had an unhappy milestone recently with more than 50% of your staff are based in Sydney, maybe that does colour your reporting on issues like this? I’m currently trying to fight you taking another video journalist out of Rockhampton. In fact there will be no video journalists from Maroochydore to Townsville. It’ll be flyover country for the ABC.”

In answer to that, ABC journo at Toowomba Isobel Roe tweeted: “There’s actually at least 7. Me included.”



Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey