Coalition MP George Brandis.The executive producer of ABC’s Q&A program has denied there are issues with the show’s audience vetting process after federal senator George Brandis was repeatedly jeered by a Brisbane crowd supposedly dominated by Coalition voters.
Broadcast live from New Farm’s Brisbane Powerhouse last night, the current affairs question-and-answer panel show included federal Trade Minister Craig Emerson (ALP), Senator George Brandis (LNP), and Katter’s Australian Party leader Bob Katter, the member for Kennedy, as well as singer-songwriter Katie Noonan.
The program’s live studio audience was, as always, selected by producers on the basis of federal political voting intentions, with last night’s audience supposedly comprising 43 per cent Coalition voters, 28 per cent ALP and 15 per cent Green voters.
However, repeated booing and jeering from the at times unruly crowd was largely reserved for Senator Brandis.
When Senator Brandis jumped to the defence of Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, after he was questioned about the necessity of the state’s public sector job cuts, the audience responded with loud jeering.
Today, the show’s executive producer, Peter McEvoy, attributed the audience response to the current political passion in Queensland.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with the proportions [of voters]. The bit of noise was a reflection of the passion that people are feeling about politics in Queensland at the moment,” he said.
“We saw a similar reaction towards [federal Labor MP] Craig Emerson in Queensland during the 2010 election, when people were very passionate and angry about the federal Labor government.”
Mr McEvoy said audience members were “generally very truthful” about their voting preference.
“We question people about their federal voting preference and they are generally very truthful about that,” he said.
“I think it’s a good thing that people in Queensland are passionate about their politics.”
Last night was the third time the live program has been filmed in Brisbane, but not the first time it has been taped in Queensland this year.
Last month, the program was broadcast from Toowoomba’s Empire Theatre, with a record crowd of 1300 in the audience.
Q&A relies heavily on audience interaction, with viewers able to submit questions for the panel online. Comments discussing the show on Twitter are displayed across the bottom of the broadcast.
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