ABC Chair Ita Buttrose Apologises to Monarchist Group Over Controversial Coronation Coverage 

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose Apologises to Monarchist Group Over Controversial Coronation Coverage 

In a ‘half-hearted’ apology, ABC chair Ita Buttrose has apologised to the Australian Monarchist League over the national broadcaster’s highly-criticised coverage of King Charles’ Coronation. 

In a letter seen by the Sydney Morning Herald, Buttrose said the coverage did not breach editorial guidelines, adding that the ABC Ombudsman had found covering Indigenous perspectives on the monarchy “legitimate and newsworthy topics of discussion”. 

The ABC ombudsman investigated the broadcast following more than 1,000 viewer complaints and an alleged breach of editorial standards.

The discussion was led by presenters Jeremy Fernandez and Julia Baird and included guests such as Stan Grant.

During the coronation, Stan Grant, a Wiradjuri, Gurrawin and Dharawal man, said the British Empire caused the indigenous people of Australia immense pain – he shared a personal story in which his grandfather was jailed for speaking his own Indigenous language as a young boy.

“This is the real Australia, before we get to the fantasy Australia, the Disneyland Australia, let’s deal with the real Australia,” he said.

“Let’s not imagine that we can just look at this ceremony tonight and see this as something that is distant, that is just ceremonial and doesn’t hold weight.

“It is scars, it is broken bones and it is too many damaged souls and we need to heal.

The Coronation Coverage

Opposition From The Australian Monarchist League

Following the coverage, which attracted around one million viewers, the Australian Monarchist League launched a petition against the ABC, asking them to apologise for their “biased” coverage of King Charles’s coronation. 

They are also asking for an independent inquiry into the broadcaster’s “hijacking” of the historic occasion.

Buttrose responded to the petition and acknowledged some of the concerns raised. 

“I do acknowledge that there are members of our audience who had sought to watch the ABC to view and focus on the live feed of the arrivals and were subsequently disappointed,” Buttrose wrote.

“That appears to be the view of your organisation and those who are signatories to your petition. I am sorry they were disappointed with our coverage.”

Australian Monarchist League national chair Philip Benwell told the Sydney Morning Herald that he was disappointed by the response. 

“It wasn’t really an apology,” he said. 

“The ABC had to say something because you don’t ignore 10,000 people who protest a program and there would be many, many more people out there that were disgusted that the ABC put that program not just pushing a Republic but denigrating the King, the monarchy and Britain in general whilst they were wanting to watch what was happening in London, in a historic event that most had never ever seen before, because it’s 70 years since the last coronation.”

Stan Grant’s Departure

Journalist and presenter Stan Grant stepped down from his role as Q+A host at the ABC after receiving “blatant racial abuse” following the coverage.  

“On Monday night I will present my Q+A program, then walk away. For how long? I don’t know,” wrote Grant in his final column for the ABC. Grant explained that since the king’s coronation, the media had distorted his words and accused him of “maligning Australia”.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. My ancestors would not allow me to be filled with hate,” said Grant.

“I was invited to contribute to the ABC’s coverage as part of a discussion about the legacy of the monarchy. I pointed out that the crown represents the invasion and theft of our land. In the name of the crown my people were segregated on missions and reserves. Police wearing the seal of the crown took children from their families. Under the crown our people were massacred”.

Grant spoke about the racial abuse he experienced following the coverage at this year’s B&T Cannes in Cairns. You can watch the coverage HERE.

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