The ABC has defended its decision to recruit Fairfax Media columnist and do-rag wearer Peter FitzSimons as a guest presenter on Foreign Correspondent.
FitzSimons will feature as a guest presenter on next week’s show, where he will report on the recent deportation of Kiwis with criminal records from Australia as part of the changes to the Migration Act.
The appointment of FitzSimons was brought into question by The Australian, which noted that the ABC hired the “highly paid” columnist shortly after axing 22 newsroom journalists.
An ABC spokesperson told B&T that FitzSimons was commissioned for a “one-off program for a standard fee within the program’s normal budget”, but donated his fee to charity.
“Peter FitzSimons is one of many guest presenters on Foreign Correspondent over many years,” the spokesperson said.
Futhermore, FitzSimons said in a statement that the ABC paid him “bugger all” for the gig.
“And for what it’s worth, I donated every cent to charity anyway – The Footpath Library, which gives second-hand books to homeless people,” he said.