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Do We Really Need Twitter ?

Stan Grant has made it known that he is quitting ABC television Program Q&A. In a heartfelt piece published by the ABC he said that “On Monday night I will present my Q+A program, then walk away. For how long? I don’t know.”

His time hosting Q&A has not been without controversy as with the time he took the extraordinary step of expelling a member of the audience from the studio after the young man, named Sasha, expressed support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This decision was greeted by cheers from the studio audience and met largely with approval on Twitter, although some saw this as an attempt to restrict freedom of speech and communication on this serious global conflict – you be the judge.

Grant was also part of a panel discussion prior to the coronation of Charles III and some, again on Twitter, castigated him for trying to direct the conversation towards colonisation and the wrongs inflicted on the Aboriginal people at the instigation of the British monarchy.

Stan also has a problem with the ABC for not being more supportive of his situation even though they have registered a protest with Twitter about the amount of abuse directed towards Grant much of which is in the form of racial hatred. ABC Managing Director has also personally apologised to Grant.

But it’s not just Twitter, data obtained by the Guardian from media monitoring firm Streem has found that there were more than 150 mentions of the ABC’s coronation coverage by the Australian and Sky News in the two weeks since the broadcast.

That included 18 mentions in the Australian online, four on Chris Kenny’s program, three on Sky News’s media show, and two each on Bernadi, Outsiders and Paul Murray Live.

Stan Grant on Q&A.

Q+A host Stan Grant standing down from ABC show after racist abuse

That coverage included the Australian’s media writer Sophie Elsworth on Kenny’s show describing the ABC broadcast as a “pile-on” and “hate-fest”. Outsiders hosts Rita Panahi and James Morrow said the ABC’s broadcast was “over the top”, “race-obsessed” and a “woke bin fire of self-loathing”.

The ABC did not specifically call out Sky News or the Australian but we know that Murdoch outlets will never miss an opportunity to attack the public broadcaster. Indeed SKY has a media show weekly that seems to be fashioned around denigration of the ABC. A spokesperson for the ABC indicated that the ongoing coverage of the coronation broadcast could “clearly generate or contribute to fuelling abuse” that had led to racist attacks on social media.

Grant, has been the sole host of Q+A since August last year. Before that he had been one of three – alongside Virginia Trioli and David Speers – who shared hosting duties from August 2021, following the departure of Hamish MacDonald, who also cited social media vilification as a factor in his decision to quit.

It was only weeks ago that ABC morning television host Lisa Miller received a barrage of personal abuse on social media evidently related to what she had been wearing one morning. She is clearly a strong woman and took the opportunity to make an on-air statement which read, in part :

“I’d like to take a minute to talk about what went on during the last 48 hours. If you’re blessedly oblivious and you’ve just been getting on with your life – great! – I won’t dwell on it,” she said.

“The fact that what I wore on Monday attracted obnoxious commentary on Twitter – foul disgusting personal abuse that I couldn’t and wouldn’t repeat – was upsetting.”

She clearly found the episode personally confronting as Grant has found the racist comments hurtful but they are by no means the only public personalities in Australia or elsewhere to be personally attacked on social media. As far as this commentator can ascertain, the main delivery vehicle for this abuse is essentially Elon Musk’s Twitter. Whilst the Murdoch media takes every opportunity to attack the national broadcaster, clearly the problem is not just Sky and The Australian. The ABC is used to attacks from the Murdoch minions and is more than capable to fight back. Twitter (and it is mainly Twitter of the various social media players) on the other hand seems to have no effective moderation and since Musk took over it seems that it has taken a deep dive into the global sewer.

So, I pose the question : do we really need Twitter ?


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  1. John Hanna

    I follow a couple of people and make no contribution, that allows me to see enough garbage to conclude that its demise would be no loss.
    Not a fan of Grant because of his ASPI connection and some of his opinions but not motivated to be racist or hateful as some who follow the sky after murk bunch.

  2. James morrison

    Interesting, The Australian and Sky get a pass but not Twitter? All things considered, Rupert has done far more damage than Twitter ever will.

  3. Roswell

    James, take a stroll through this site. You’ll find that we’ve published hundreds of pieces on that very matter.

    No passes for The Australian or Sky here.

  4. Terence Mills


    I guess it comes down to the fact that the likes of The Australian and Sky (and Fox) are publishers and, as has recently occurred, can be sued for what they publish if it is defamatory or just outright lies. Thus they tend to moderate their comment.

    So far social network platforms like Twitter have not been considered at law to be publishers and thus take no responsibility for what appears on their platforms : in my view that needs to change.

    In the USA recent decisions of the Supreme Court have upheld that immunity for the social networks but things are changing. Originally the protection was granted to social networks so as not to inhibit free speech on the internet and generally it provides immunity for online computer services with respect to third-party content generated by its users. But a duty to moderate use is becoming more pressing.

  5. leefe

    Twitter is a place of extremes; there’s some excellent material but it is also a home for the dregs of the human commentariat. Since Elongated Muskrat took over, the dregs have increasingly predominated.

    I’m no fan of censorship, but moderation in regard to personal abuse has to exist, particularly in social media where anonymity is so easy.

  6. Jackie

    Leave Twitter alone. Its a powerful tool for the sharing of information that “traditional” or “friendly to LNP” media refuses to cover.
    Newscorp did NOT cover the Robodebt Royal Commission at all !!!! and ABC paid scant attention. It was only via Twitter that people could be informed. The toxin comes from the poisonous Newscorp stable which has 70% coverage in Australia.
    501,000 Australians signed Kevin Rudds parliamentary petition calling for a Murdoch Royal Commission. It got shunted off to a senate committee and received 5000 thoughtful submissions! Then abandoned because of Covid. Needs to be revived. The submissions were powerful. The problem remains

  7. Roswell

    “For years I’ve been a media target for racism and paid a heavy price. For now, I want no part of it – I’m walking away
    By Stan Grant

    There’s a photo of me, one of the few school photos I have. I am seven years old, the darkest face in the class in 1970s white Australia.

    I look scared. I’m not smiling. My hands are clasped tight. My uniform doesn’t match. Unlike the other boys I have no tie. There’s a stain on my second-hand jumper.

    I look for the world like I don’t belong.

    I don’t know that I have ever changed from that boy. These past weeks I have been taken right back there.

    Since the King’s coronation, I have seen people in the media lie and distort my words. They have tried to depict me as hate filled. They have accused me of maligning Australia.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. My ancestors would not allow me to be filled with hate.

    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.
    I speak truth with love, I offer Yindyamarra

    Australia is the only Commonwealth country not to have signed treaties with First Nations people. Under the crown we remain the most impoverished and imprisoned people in the country. We cannot live in the fantasy Australia that pretends we have transcended this history. We owe it to ourselves to be better.

    Truths. Hard truths. Truths not told with hate — truths offered with love. Yes, love. I repeatedly said that these truths are spoken with love for the Australia we have never been.

    Love that inspired my grandfather — a Wiradjuri man — to fight in World War II for a country that didn’t recognise his full humanity, let alone his citizenship. My grandfather who kept by his bed the Bible and the works of Shakespeare. A Wiradjuri man who knew that he had a place in the world.

    Through my Wiradjuri family I learned Yindyamarra. Yindyamarra is respect.

    During the coronation coverage I spoke of Yindyamarra for those who support the monarchy even as I confront the darkness of colonisation and empire. I speak truth with love because that is who I am. If I did not offer Yindyamarra, my ancestors would be ashamed of me. They would also be ashamed of me if I did not speak up for justice.

    I speak of truth, not grievance. Yet that is not how it has been reported.

    I can’t speak for what motivates those who hear only hate instead of love. But I know the impact they have.

    On social media my family and I are regularly racially mocked or abused. This is not new. Barely a week goes by when I am not racially targeted. My wife is targeted with abuse for being married to a Wiradjuri man.

    I don’t even read it, yet I can’t escape it. People stop me in the street to tell me how vile it is. They tell me how sorry they are. Although I try to shield myself from it, the fact it is out there poisons the air I breathe.
    The price of survival

    The ABC has this year lodged an official complaint with Twitter about the relentless racial filth I am subjected to.

    I am not beyond criticism. I occupy a privileged and prominent place in the media — I should be critiqued. And I am not thin skinned. Aboriginal people learn to tough it out. That’s the price of survival.

    This year the stakes are higher. There is a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and I am not alone in feeling judged. This is an Australian judgement on us. Such is politics.

    But racism is a crime. Racism is violence. And I have had enough.

    I am writing this not because I think it will make a difference. No doubt the haters will twist this, too, and trigger another round of racism.

    I am writing this because no one at the ABC — whose producers invited me onto their coronation coverage as a guest — has uttered one word of public support. Not one ABC executive has publicly refuted the lies written or spoken about me. I don’t hold any individual responsible; this is an institutional failure.

    I value the friendship of ABC Director of News, Justin Stevens. He has been a support and a comfort. He is trying to change an organisation that has its own legacy of racism. But he knows I am disappointed. I am dispirited.

    I was not the producer nor presenter of the coronation broadcast yet every newspaper article accusing the ABC of bias has carried my image. I am writing this because I will not have people depict me as a person of hate.
    The media sees battle lines, not bridges

    I am not perfect. But I try to live a good life. I try to be kind. I love my family. I love my people. I love the idea of what our country could be. I am a person of God and I know God is on the side of justice.

    Sadly, it seems there is no place in the media for love, kindness, goodness or God. There is no place in the media for respect.

    I am sorry that some monarchists were offended at our coverage. That was never my intent. I thought I used words of love. Clearly, I failed. I have to accept I am part of the problem. I am part of the media that fails the Australian people every day.

    This is the last column I will write for the ABC for a while.

    On Monday night I will present my Q+A program, then walk away. For how long? I don’t know.

    I don’t take time out because of racism — I won’t give racists the satisfaction. I don’t take time out because I believe the ABC was wrong to discuss the legacy of colonisation and empire on the day of the coronation. We did that, I believe, with maturity and respect.

    I take time out because we have shown again that our history — our hard truth — is too big, too fragile, too precious for the media. The media sees only battle lines, not bridges. It sees only politics.

    Not everything is politics. Some things are sacred. Our stories are sacred. Yet the media has turned public discussion into an amusement park. Social media, at its worst, is a sordid spectacle. A grotesque burlesque. Lives are reduced to mockery and ridicule.

    I want no part of it. I want to find a place of grace far from the stench of the media. I want to go where I am not reminded of the social media sewer.

    My parents have been proud of the career I have built. I owe anything I have done to them. I have tried to represent my people and do some good in the world.

    I don’t know now if it has amounted to anything. I thought I had come a long way from that scared, little Aboriginal boy in the school photo. Now I wonder if I have travelled very far at all.”

  8. RomeoCharlie

    Great column from Stan Grant and thanks Roswell for posting it. Freedom of speech should not mean freedom to vilify; the despicables of the Murdoch/Fox/Sky and yes, even the much diminished Fairfax, need to be reminded that having a public platform actually carries some responsibility not to tell outright lies, not to publish misinformation on any subject — but the Voice, Climate Crisis, the so-called crime epidemic — come to mind. Controlling the uncontrolled dissemination of outright bullshit should not be equated to censorship. Let’s have that inquiry.

    Of course, when you have Labor governments across the land criminalising protest, it’s going to look a lot like hypocrisy, sadly something the Albanese government isn’t short on.

  9. leefe

    Wonderful writing from Stan Grant. And shame on this country that it was neccessary for him to say that and that he has been made to feel the need to step away.

  10. Stephengb

    I have lived in Australia for 43 years, I have learnt that criticism of Australia (especially Australians who were born here, but who are not Aboriginal or Torres Straight Islander) will, more often than not, be met with a barrage of abuse. But don’t call it out, because they will always h8dectheir racism with the classic response “its a term of endearment”.

    Even those that I have considered a friend, have made it quite clear that they are not amused.

    It is true, you can’t make a joke, to your average dinky-dye, about Australia or about Australians, yet jokes about the UK and especially the English variety of the “POMEs” is apparently, fair game (but don’t you dare retaliate).

    After 43 years, I can count on one finger only one true friend that was born in Australia.

    It is interesting to see that Australian (white) history, Australia chooses to dilly and dally when chosing aliances with powerful foreign nations.

    Indeed an example of the dual standards were on display when I expressed opinion regarding the yes/no vote, here on AIMN.

    It seems to me that whomever coined the phrase “scared wierd little guys ” were spot on the money.

    Stan Grant made himself a target, and should rightfully be called out for it, but in Australia, calling out, anyone or anything connected to Australia, is usually accompanied by abuse, racism and bigotry,

    I do not like Stan Grants style, and I do think it has changed over the last few years. I ended up switching Stan off because I felt that he was showing bigotry and racism which I felt was out of place in the context of the subject being discussed.

    I do believe that anyone hurling abuse on the basis of race should be subject to some sanction in accord with our racial discrimination laws.

  11. Brad Black

    It’s the murdoch press, primarily, that gives a platform to hard right politicians, fruit loop broadcasters and, in turn, the misfits who spend too much time online in their bedrooms learning how to hate.
    murdoch got the ball rolling, twitter pushes it along.

  12. New England Cocky

    All you thoughtful posters to this fine website are very naughty ….. you all know, because it is common knowledge really, that only the merdick mainstream media-ocrity are allowed to play the racist card at any and every possible opportunity to keep Australians divided and so more easily confused by the lies & misinformation that News Ltd & Sky have perpetrated over the past 60 years.

    The LIARBRAL$ are allowed to play the race card after paying about $30 MILLION (last time) ”editorial fee” because too many of the NOtional$ have antecedents who since 1788 took part in genocidal activities against respective local Aboriginal communities with fatal effect.

  13. Andrew Smith

    Twitter has become a cesspit, but much of the nativist RW provocation, trolling etc. is neither random nor organic, but quite strategic in shutting down conversations or individuals, often using RW media content, commentators etc. by armies of the ‘committed’, trolls and bots, to attack anything centrist, diverse, minority or simply different.

    Like the UK and probably the US too, especially in recent months, more far right nativist talking points being encouraged and coming from nominally mainstream politicians to if not rev up some base, to intimidate others who dare to politely dissent or disagree.

    Resurgence in nativist reactionary authoritarianism in the arrogant Anglosphere (inc. antipathy towards EU/Europe & Asian nations) playing up on ageing electoral demographics, and agree with StephenGB. Australians informed and conditioned by legacy media and our political culture, can be very thin skinned and reactionary, IMO it’s more skips i.e. those of Anglo/Irish heritage i.e. Howard’s Australians? An example, have heard also some British immigrants, middle aged & older state similar, i.e. to be an ‘Australian’ you need to be white Anglo, Irish or European heritage…. yet we are fast becoming brown, great.

  14. leefe


    I’m a little nonplussed. Exactly how has Stan Grant been showing, in your opinion, “bigotry and racism”?

  15. Stephengb

    Then remain nonplussed.

    As a matter of fact your responses toward me has, in my opinion, been racist and bad mannered. Right from the start you were spoiling for a fight.

  16. leefe


    Now I”m being racist by asking a perfectly reasonable and polite question? How on earth do you read racism into that?

    I’m not spoiling for a fight with anyone. I’ve spent too much of my life having to fight just to survive and I don’t like that. But if someone else starts one, I won’t back away. If someone else makes questionable statements, I will question them to try to gain some understanding of their position and reasoning. And now I am even more nonplussed that doing so can be considered “bad manners”. There’s no attack, just a simple question.

  17. Stephengb


    I have an opinion, I have had enough of your nonsense.

    Live with it

  18. leefe

    I can assure you, it will not affect my lifespan in the slightest.

    Well, if you’re determined to pass up an opportunity to convince me of the rightness of that opinion, so be it …

  19. Clakka

    I too would like you (Stephengb) to be explicit and detailed in your allegation that Stan Grant ” was showing bigotry and racism” – please provide us something upon which we can be discursive.

    At least you (Stephengb) opened with “I don’t like Stan Grant’s style …. and ended up switching Stan off …”, which seems to me is your revelation of your own intolerance based on ‘style’ over substance.

    To me it matters not one iota that you (Stephengb) have been in Oz for 43 years, and yet, an irony that you say (in all that time) of those born here, you have only one true friend. Perhaps that speaks more of your attitude, perhaps of insularity and intolerance, or past injury, rather than the attitude of the 18.2 million folk of multi-cultural background born here?

    I was born in Oz 68 years ago, and Oz along with the rest of the world has significantly and increasingly changed in those years. The two world wars of 20th century killed 80 million people, principally due to the machinations, jealousies and at the whim of aristocratic white supremacists – a phenomenon not new to the world. Since then, of course such hatred and killing has become industrialised, again at the whim of the aristocratic white supremacists, and has given rise to 48 million further deaths in 68 conflicts since 1945. In all of that I do not expect to understand, countenance or enjoy everything. Yet having travelled extensively around the globe I have enjoyed the kindness and hospitality of innumerable people regardless of culture or country.

    With the global expansion of man, history has become saturated with the psychology of conflict, killing and hatred, always at the behest of aristocratic supremacists (despots), and their accompanying fear-mongering and didactic of ‘other’, ‘lesser’, ‘undeserving’ used to underpin the brutal abominations and theft involved in conquests under their imprimatur. Such is the way of the casting of laws. Those laws and all others that may give rise to armouring oneself in a life of obedience and possibly concealed resentment.

    The increasing change, leveraged by modern education, publication and the internet provides us with the opportunity to understand much more about everything, and much of that understanding may not be that pleasant. How we culturally identify, and our familial and personal experiences, have much to do with our understandings, and the manner and pace of inevitable and immutable change.

    To change, there may be those who look over their shoulder to add up the score, and balance the books by countermeasures or the attribution of blame. There may be those who armour themselves in a life of obedience and concealed resentment. There may be those who embed themselves in the industry of conquest, killing and hate, and there may be those who, regardless, just wish to monetise everything, and there may be those who just wish to remain silent and mind their own business. So on and so forth.

    Whether absolutists, the despots of history, or today’s despots like it or not, there is no such thing as a static monoculture, there is just a worldwide liquidity of diversity, difference and idiosyncrasy. As a fundamental, understanding history provides for a variety of perspectives, however, enriching the future surely requires respect, selflessness and the opening of one’s heart – that part of us designed to cope with everything. To me, it’s certainly a good basis for a conversation on change, and for me to check myself when I might stray into believing my own BS.

  20. Stephengb


    PS, look up ‘gish gallop’, because you’ are quite good at it, but I suspect you don’t know what it means to those who try to read your response (to me) which represents a perfect example.

  21. Terence Mills


    The EU has recently tightened legislation and regulation on social media sites which requires authentication of users and elimination, as far as possible, of anonymous postings plus moderation of comment by the platform.

    Failure to abide by the new regulations can attract substantial fines from the social media platforms including Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

    Once users have subscribed and had their identity authenticated they will be issued with a unique user ID and will be required to meet online posting standards – this will not, the EU says, inhibit freedom of speech but will help to eliminate trolling, abuse, hate attacks, misinformation and the type of abuse recently directed to media personalities like Stan Grant, Lisa Miller and Hamish McDonald plus many others.

    In my view, proper regulation is the only way that these platforms can survive and play a meaningful and positive role in modern society.

    What do you think ?

  22. leefe


    There’s one major potential problem with that. There are far too many people who cannot, for personal safety reasons, use their own name on social media As long as those people can retain their anonymity, it sounds perfectly reasonable.

  23. Terence Mills


    ‘shouldn’t be a problem : as I noted above “Once users have subscribed and had their identity authenticated they will be issued with a unique user ID and will be required to meet online posting standards”

    So, these subscribers still post anonymously but they can be brought to heel by the moderators.

  24. wam

    I am a sticks and stones man who lives without tweets.
    Where the F has stephengb lived since 1980 and with whom has he socialised?

  25. Terence Mills

    For those following the regulatory approach to social media in the EU, this from the SMH today :

    “Late last week Elon Musk withdrew Twitter from a European Union voluntary code of practice against disinformation. Twitter could soon face massive fines or a ban in Europe that would threaten its already shaky business.

    Twitter, along with most of the big global tech firms such as Meta (Facebook and Instagram’s parent), Google, Microsoft and TikTok, signed up to the code in 2018, before Musk acquired the company. Last Friday, without explanation, it opted out.

    That prompted an aggressive response from the EU internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, who used Twitter to announce the platform’s exit.

    “Twitter leaves EU voluntary Code of Practice against disinformation. But obligations remain. You can run but you can’t hide,” he tweeted.”


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