A year after Hamish Macdonald left and was replaced by rotating hosts, ABC has permanently recruited Stan Grant as the full-time host of the weekly flagship discussion show Q+A. During the Garma festival in north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory on August 1, Grant will begin his duties as a solo host with a special Monday episode of Q+A.
“Garma is a talking place where the nation asks itself hard questions about who we are. It is an honor to take the helm of Q+A from there,” Grant said. “Hosting Q+A is a huge responsibility. I feel the weight of the audience’s trust in me and the program. I will approach my role with integrity, decency, and humility.”
In July of last year, Macdonald announced his resignation from Q+A after succeeding Tony Jones, the show’s inaugural presenter, in 2020. He described it as a harrowing ordeal due to the harassment he received on social media. The harassment has come from people on both sides of the political spectrum who don’t appreciate you raising hard questions of Dan Andrews and the federal government, he said in a statement last year.
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When he was fired, the ABC replaced him with a rotating cast of Grant, ABC Melbourne Radio personality Virginia Trioli, and Insiders host David Speers, depending on where city the program was broadcasting from. Trioli and Speers received a “huge contribution” from the ABC news department, whose head, Justin Stevens, thought Grant was a natural choice for the job of permanent host.
“As well as being a hugely experienced journalist and presenter, Stan Grant plays a respected role in Australia’s key national conversations,” Stevens said. “Leading Q+A is a role that suits the breadth of his knowledge and talents.” This rare opportunity for citizens to participate in a live, on-air discussion with Australia’s greatest thinkers, policymakers, and elected officials, helps to hold power to account and enable constructive dialogue about our nation’s future.
“With Stan at the helm, we’ll continue to explore ways to further develop Q+A, including how to get audiences even more involved.” The news puts an end to rumors that Q+A might be canceled or rescheduled. ABC viewers used to a news and current affairs line-up that included Australian Story, Four Corners, Media Watch, and Q+A on Monday nights for the previous 12 years, expressed their displeasure with the transfer to Thursday nights beginning in 2020.
As with free-to-air television in general, viewers have shrunk since the show’s peak, but ABC maintains ratings aren’t the goal because its primary mission is to create public participation.
Coming up this week on #qanda Stan Grant interviews Stan Grant, Stan Grant, Stan Grant and Stan Grant.
— Wazza from Melbourne (@Melbourne_says) July 25, 2022
On Q+A’s behalf, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott previously claimed that the show was “out of control” and that it served as a “lefty mob,” although the show has also been criticized for giving a platform to divisive and misinformed guests, accusations that the left has echoed. For the time being, Grant will keep hosting China Tonight, writing a weekly column for ABC News Digital, and working on other ABC News initiatives. Stay tuned with us only on Lee Daily