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The ABC has surveyed staff on their race and sexuality — now what?

Neil Mitchell
Article image for The ABC has surveyed staff on their race and sexuality — now what?

The ABC has come under fire for surveying staff on their sexuality.

The national broadcaster has conducted an optional online survey of on-air presenters, asking them to detail their ethnic background, sexuality and gender identity, The Australian newspaper has reported.

A senior government figure says he’s suspicious how the results will be used and Neil Mitchell suggested “if this happened in the real world there would be fury”.

And a group advocating for media diversity said they supported the fact-finding mission, but doesn’t want to see it used to make hiring decisions.

Former Human Rights Commissioner and current Liberal MP Tim Wilson said it’s “bizarre”.

“You can survey staff and ask these sort of questions … but it shouldn’t be the basis on which the ABC then goes on and makes decisions about who gets to do what in the organisation,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“That’s the point. What’s the point (of the survey) apart from either you’re going to report the data publicly and start to use it a metric to decided who you’ve got on-air.

“And that’s what makes it so bizarre and, I think, so extraordinary for most Australians.”

Click PLAY to hear the full Tim Wilson interview

Media Diversity Australia director, Antoinette Lattouf, told Neil Mitchell her group would only have an issue with the survey if it was mandatory.

But the former ABC journalist added that the public broadcaster should be more focused on ethnicity than gender and sexual diversity.

“In my experience at the ABC and many broadcasters, there is a lot of sexual orientation diversity,” she told Neil Mitchell.

“The ABC absolutely have a diversity problem when it comes to cultural diversity because other than the cleaning staff or the barista serving your coffee, almost no one on those newsrooms is anything other than Anglo.

“Very, very few editorial staff are anything other than Anglo, pretty woke, inner-city, who all kind of seem to look the same.”

Click PLAY to hear the full interview with Antoinette Lattouf

Neil Mitchell contacted ABC chair Ita Buttrose, who said wasn’t aware of the survey.

(Photo: SAEED KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Neil Mitchell