Queensland Senator Matt Canavan has accused the ABC of “push polling” in its online election questionnaire, Vote Compass.
“The questionnaire indicates that the Queensland Government allows mining in the waters around the Great Barrier Reef,” Senator Canavan said today.
“It’s outrageous for the ABC to do that when mining is absolutely forbidden in the GBR. The ABC should take that question out of the poll immediately.”
Senator Canavan said the question represented a classic case of “push polling”, where a particular view was being pushed in the guise of a question.
“One question in the ABC’s Vote Compass poll asks: ‘How much mining activity should be permitted in the waters around the Great Barrier Reef?’ The options for a voter’s response are ‘Much less’, ‘Somewhat less’, ‘About the same as now’, ‘Somewhat more’, ‘Much more’ and ‘Don’t know’.
“Now, that question and answer set indicates to any reasonable person that the Queensland Government currently allows mining in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
“In fact, mining in GBR waters is completely prohibited under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.
“It’s a bit like asking a question on public urination. Should you do it somewhat less, somewhat more, much less, much more? The question is absurd. That behaviour is prohibited, the way mining in the GBR is prohibited. The problem is, from reading the ABC questionnaire, people could be left thinking that mining is permitted in GBR waters when it’s not.
“Seriously, the ABC’s Great Barrier Reef question is mischievous and should be removed from Vote Compass immediately. If it is not removed, I am sure many people will be left asking themselves the usual questions about the ABC’s standards of objectivity and neutrality when it comes to election matters.”