The ABC has defended its youth radio station Triple J’s decision to move its annual Hottest 100 countdown from Australia Day saying it was time to “decouple” one from the other.
However, the decision has infuriated some members of the government who’ve called the decision “disgraceful”, “dumb” and “undermining our national day”.
Yesterday, communications minister Mitch Fifield said he would petition ABC bosses to have the decision reversed. Triple J now plan to air the poll the day after January the 26th.
The consensus on social media appears to be mixed with most generally supportive of the move, however, others arguing it’s not the ABC’s job to be political and it should be promoting Australia’s national day.
Answering the criticisms, an ABC spokesperson said the move enabled the broadcaster to “decouple” from the heated debate surrounding January 26 which many deem as offensive to indigenous people.
The spokesperson, who’s comments were reported on Fairfax Media websites, said, “The network conducted extensive research showing the Triple J audience wanted to decouple the countdown from the politics, with a focus exclusively on the music.”
The spokesman added that shifting the poll will allow Triple J to air more coverage of Australia Day events. “We will provide more coverage of the day than any other media outlet,” he said adding the broadcaster had always been committed to covering Australia Day events such as the Australian of the Year Awards.
However, a quick glance of some of the social media comments suggest that although the move appeared to have widespread approval, not every Triple J listener was happy and reflects the 40 per cent who voted “no” to the move on its online poll.
“Its a piss poor example of a government-funded entity becoming political and forcing the agenda on others. I support understanding and recognition of the plight of Indigenous peoples, but there is a right way and a wrong way. This will further add to division rather than inclusiveness which should be the ultimate goal,” wrote one to social media.
While another added: “I honestly think it’s incredibly stupid. I’m entirely accepting of different cultures, belief systems and nationalities, but there was absolutely nothing offensive about holding Hottest 100 on Australia Day.”
“Won’t be the same after so many years. If the public holiday was officially changed fair enough but it has not been. How many people voted for change?” asked another.