The ABC has removed an entire article by its economics correspondent (and former Lateline host) Emma Alberici, without explanation after it was heavily criticised by the government and businesses.
The piece was tied in to a news story also by Alberici, that relied on analysis of company tax paid, leading with the fact that Qantas hadn’t paid company tax in almost 10 years. She reported that one in five of Australia’s biggest countries, including Qantas, had paid no tax for at least the last three years. In the now-deleted analysis piece, Alberici argued that there was no case to cut corporate taxes because many of Australia’s biggest companies weren’t paying tax anyway.
An ABC spokesperson declined to comment on why the piece was taken down and, unusually for the ABC, there has not been a post about the removal on the corrections and clarifications page on its website.
Over the past couple of days the piece has been criticised by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in question time, and by business leaders including Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.
Former Fairfax business reporter, and now independent journalist Michael West said on Twitter it appeared that the ABC had bowed to pressure over the piece.
UPDATE: The ABC has now issued a statement saying the piece has been removed as it “did not meet ABC editorial standards”. The clarification states the accompanying news report has been “updated to add further information and context” and the analysis piece “has been removed for further review”.
Emma Alberici has also weighed in on Twitter: