Press Room

Andrew Bolt transcript

November 14, 2015

Listen to this remarkable on-air fight with Andrew Bolt when I was filling in for Jon Faine on Friday, June 10, 2005.

Stephen Mayne: Now joining us in the studio this morning is Mr Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun columnist. Andrew was on the phone this morning, not happy about some comments we made about him during the week. We took a decision that he called in during the week and spoke to us for a few minutes, and that one opportunity was enough. But management have intervened and said he must be given a right of reply, so Andrew Bolt, good morning.

Andrew Bolt:
As you know Stephen, I've had a problem with the ABC being, essentially, one voice - having a voice of the left.

Stephen Mayne: But no other panelist has been on Insiders more often than you?

Andrew Bolt: and it's been a concern, and a lot of people share the concern. You have a lot of listeners, not all of them vote Labor, and not all the Labor voters want one side of any argument presented - that's been a long standing criticism of mine.

Another criticism has been, that the ABC has allowed some presenters, particularly on Media Watch, to use their show, as a sort of personal platform - particularly personal and political grievances, but never has the ABC so breached its duties to its listeners, as you have.

Stephen Mayne: Do you ever use...

Andrew Bolt: I find it absolutely...

Stephen Mayne: Do you ever use your column to air grievances Andrew?

Andrew Bolt: I find it absolutely extraordinary that you can devote, in the space of 24 hours, 3 long pieces on segments devoted to discussing my weaknesses - you wouldn't do that to John Howard. You have a long standing personal animus against me. This is based on my, my, I don't want to get into a private thing, my private criticisms of some of your behavior, for you to use the ABC to prosecute your personal vendetta, an ideological vendetta like this. There has been in the space of this week, some 5 criticisms of me made by you, and 3 segments: one with Robert Manne, one with Joan Kirner and one with Liz Jackson.

Stephen Mayne: don't you think you are being a bit thin-skinned Andrew?

Andrew Bolt: Three highly personal ...

Stephen Mayne: The Age, The Age is furious about something that was on this program.

Andrew Bolt: Highly personal attacks - 3 in two days. Try to explain that.

Stephen Mayne: of course, Andrew, you've never expressed a strong opinion, you've never expressed a strong opinion.

Andrew Bolt: of course I do! look, I have no problem ....

Stephen Mayne: when was the last time you offered someone a right of reply on your page?

Andrew Bolt: there's a right of reply... we've done it! Jeff Kennett! You worked for Jeff Kennett, he took out a whole page. We had one just the other day from the Melbourne Museum - a right of reply.

We have a letter against me today, by Tim Costello, in the letters page.

Stephen Mayne: Now Andrew ...

Andrew Bolt: we do it as a matter of course, and for you ...

Stephen Mayne: I have been banned from the Herald Sun, effectively, for the past 5 and a half years, and then you come in here...

Andrew Bolt: Stephen....

Stephen Mayne: ... and talk about rights of reply.

Andrew Bolt: Stephen...

Stephen Mayne: that is an extraordinary piece of hypocrisy.

Andrew Bolt: Stephen, Stephen...this is not your soapbox - this is our ABC!

Stephen Mayne: and you appear on Insiders more often than anyone else!

Andrew Bolt: management have made a gross error of judgment in allowing someone with your record on here, and for it to allow you to prosecute personal and private vendettas, through the air space. Now the fact the ABC has not picked up what you have been doing for the past week is a failing that is explained, in part, by the fact that the Left stick together.

Your views chime in ....

Stephen Mayne: I am not a member of the Left!

Andrew Bolt: ... so well...

Stephen Mayne: I am a former Kennett staffer; I voted for Robert Doyle in the last election!

Andrew Bolt: ... it is a disgrace, and if the management don't take further actions on this, I will very surprised and very disappointed.

Stephen Mayne: so I can look forward to appearing in the letters pages and 5 1/2 year ban will be lifted? Do you believe in free speech? Allowing people to have rights of reply?

Andrew Bolt: I do believe in free speech. Anyone can look at my, my, new forum page on the Herald Sun internet forum page...

Stephen Mayne: but you're basically saying that I shouldn't be allowed to criticise you.

Andrew Bolt:
... you'll see that critics do get a fair run at me, but this is our ABC. This is our ABC! It has special responsibility...

Stephen Mayne: and criticism of Andrew Bolt is not allowed on our ABC, is that what you are saying?

Andrew Bolt: No, I get lots of criticism. Do you hear Harold Mitchell on Virginia Trioli's program? Did you hear?

Stephen Mayne: you are the most critical columnist in the News Ltd stable. You name and shame other commentators...

Andrew Bolt: yes I do.

Stephen Mayne: ... every day of the week.

Andrew Bolt: yes.

Stephen Mayne: someone then criticises you....

Andrew Bolt: I have no problem with criticism.

Stephen Mayne: ... and you are on your high horse, you're in here and you're saying this is an egregious abuse of power by the ABC.

Andrew Bolt:
I have no problem with criticism. I have no problem with criticism. I get criticised on the ABC more often than any other critic...

Stephen Mayne: why are you here then? Well why are you here then if you have no problem?

Andrew Bolt: because you have abused, abused your position. Three major attacks ...

Stephen Mayne: well what? What? What? What?

Andrew Bolt: ... studded with inaccuracies, over three days...

Stephen Mayne: what factual inaccuracy? You actually spout an amazing factual inaccuracy when you rang in. You said that in no way would Eric Beecher proceed and complete the $1 million sale of Crikey?

Andrew Bolt: I didn't say no way at all.

Stephen Mayne: you expressed the opinion that in no way it would happen.

Andrew Bolt:
play the tape!

Stephen Mayne: ... you, you...

Andrew Bolt: play the tape!

Stephen Mayne: you said...

Andrew Bolt: ... this is your record for inaccuracy.

Stephen Mayne: you said that I own Crikey...

Andrew Bolt: play the tape Stephen!

Stephen Mayne: you said that I own Crikey and that he wouldn't complete...

Andrew Bolt: no, owned! Owned!

Stephen Mayne: I will give you a tip. I will give you a tip, it will complete early. It will complete early.

Andrew Bolt: you are dragging red herrings by again your record of inaccuracy. That is not what I said! You can play the tape, and find out for yourself exactly what I said!

Stephen Mayne:alright Andrew, we are coming up to 11 o'clock...

Andrew Bolt:
Stephen, you have prosecuted a vendetta, you have no right to do that, and the ABC is disgraced by your presence.

Stephen Mayne: Andrew, I would be more than happy to be sacked and banned by the ABC for the rest of my life. I can tell you that filling in for Jon Faine is one of the most stressful things you can do - I will happily not do it again.

But thank you for coming in. It's always good to have a good punch on with Andrew. We've been doing it online, on Crikey and elsewhere for a long time, first time eyeball to eyeball in the studio, lots of fun, hope you enjoyed it.

Stay with us for the conversation hour next, Noelene Brown will be here and Tracy Parish will be my co-host.

Bye-bye Andrew, he's not even saying goodbye - he's just walked out!