Senator calls out ABC's partnership with 'biased' RMIT FactLab

Malcolm Roberts confronts the government over the ABC's continued collaboration with RMIT FactLab, alleging foreign influence and bias.

Senator calls out ABC's partnership with 'biased' RMIT FactLab
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One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts has slammed the ABC for continuing its partnership with discredited fact checkers RMIT FactLab.

Roberts used question time to pepper the government with questions about why the national broadcaster would maintain its relationship with RMIT when, in his view, the fact checker had been shown to be biased and influenced by foreign actors.

He alleged that RMIT FactLab had received multiple grants from foreign governments as well as from “shady organisations” that were seeking to influence Australian political debate.

“Why is the ABC receiving funds from potential agents of foreign influence for its fact checking partnership with RMIT?” Roberts asked.

“Why didn’t the ABC declare that it was receiving funding from private foreign organisations and governments for its RMIT fact checking partnership?”

Labor Senator Murray Watts treated the question as a joke, claiming: “I’m not actually aware of the suggestions that Senator Roberts is making.”

He then joked that it would take years to fact check claims made by One Nation.

Roberts further asked the Government to explain how they would implement bans on misinformation and disinformation when they had not clearly defined the terms.

The government’s combating misinformation and disinformation does not define those terms in specifics,” he said. “It would likely be left to biased and foreign influenced fact checkers.”

“Facebook has suspended RMIT fact checkers after accusations of bias in fact checking the Voice referendum and reports of lapsed accreditation.

“Will the govt abandon its Orwellian misinformation and disinformation bill, given that the fact checkers credibility has been destroyed?”

Watts told the Senate: “This government is a very strong supporter of the ABC. We recognise that it has a very important role as a national broadcaster.”

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  • By Avi Yemini

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