ABC’s Laura Tingle is facing backlash after failing to speak during former Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating’s “harassment” of journalists during an appearance at the National Press Club (NPC).
Tingle, the president of the Press Club and chief political correspondent for 7.30, moderated last week’s event in which Keating spoke about the AUKUS submarine deal, calling it the worst foreign policy decision by Labor in a century.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton likened the 79-year-old’s behavior to that of a “crazy uncle” after he hurled insults at Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, ministers Penny Wong and Richard Marles and journalists, notably Olivia Caisley. and Matthew Knott.
Journalist Joe Hildebrand said it was “disgraceful that the supposed hero of Australian Twitter journalism, Laura Tingle, NPC President and enabler of Keating’s abuse, let this tirade go free.”
While Sky News presenter Caleb Bond said Ms Tingle, who was famous for her criticism of Morrison’s Coalition government, seemed “spellbound at Keating’s feet”.
The president of the National Press Club, Laura Tingle, has been accused of allowing former Prime Minister Paul Keating to “bully” young journalists.
Asked why Keating was so sure China posed no military threat to Australia, Sky News political correspondent Olivia Caisley (pictured) replied “because I have brains”.
Ms Tingle was famously critical of the Morrison Coalition government tweeting that they supported ‘ideological bastardism’
In his appearance, Keating claimed the threat from China was exaggerated, despite economic and propaganda attacks on Australia and the communist superpower’s aggressive expansion into the South China Sea.
When questioned by reporters, instead of arguing his position, he got personal.
He told Sky News political correspondent Ms Caisley that her question about why he was sure China would not attack Australia was “silly”, “barely worth answering” and made disrespectful comments about working for Sky.
‘Because I have a brain. Mainly, she said.
‘I mean, why would China want to threaten… what would be the point? They get iron ore, coal, wheat.
For Matthew Knott of the Sydney Morning Herald, who co-wrote the Red Alert series warning of a threat from China, it was even more brutal.
You should hang your head in shame. I’m surprised you have the nerve to stand up in public and ask that question, frankly,” Keating said.
‘You should do the right thing and get yourself out of Australian journalism… if I were you mate I’d hide my face and never show up again.’
As moderator, Tingle didn’t say a word.
“He (Keating) treated a young journalist from this network with utter contempt,” Bond said.
“If I or anyone else acted like this in the workplace, I would rightly be accused of bullying,” he said.
“(Tingle) allowed a young woman to be branded stupid by a curmudgeonly old man.”
Keating’s appearance at the Press Club was compared to a ‘crazy uncle’ insulting family members.
Sky News presenter Caleb Bond said Keating treated his colleague with “utter contempt”
However, ABC’s political editor Andrew Probyn has spoken out, calling Keating’s behavior “poor”.
“I thought the dismissive way in which he treated younger journalists, especially women, who asked perfectly decent questions, was really very poor,” he told The Australian.
He also said that he disagreed with Keating’s view that a threat amounted only to whether or not China would invade.
Anthony Albanese expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the relationship between Australia and China was very different from when Keating was prime minister.
“My responsibility in 2023 is to give Australians the leadership they need now, not the one they might have needed in the 1990s,” he said.
I am determined to make sure we do just that.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia is in a different position than when Keating was the nation’s top job.
Australia is ready to get nuclear-powered submarines under the AUKUS deal (pictured: a BAE rendering of what the submarines would look like)
China has accused Australia of wanting to be the US Pacific ‘deputy sheriff’
As part of the AUKUS deal, Australia will command a fleet of eight nuclear-powered submarines over the next three decades.
Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin attacked the deal for its “high-sounding rhetoric to mislead the world” regarding nuclear non-proliferation.
However, the three nations are confident that they continue to meet the requirements, and the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency is happy with how the concerns have been handled.
Wang said China was very concerned about the latest comments by the IAEA director.
“The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and the IAEA secretariat do not have the right to reach an agreement among themselves on safeguards issues in relation to cooperation with AUKUS nuclear submarines,” he said.
“Safeguards issues related to nuclear submarine cooperation should be discussed and decided jointly by the international community.”
Albanese said that the relationship with China continued to improve.
And that’s a good thing. It’s about building and investing in our capacity and also investing in our relationship,” he said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted ABC and Laura Tingle for comment.