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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Attack on ABC Radio Illawarra Staff

As reported in the Illawarra Mercury today, ABC Illawarra radio presenter and producer Peter Hand returns to work this morning after more than a month's absence from daily morning programs.

Peter Hand has been on suspension following a complaint about an interview on August 29, with South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris about a union rally which was to be held later that day outside the Wollongong office of Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti­Wells.

The Senator, who has taken over Senator Santo Santoro's ABC attack role, took exception to this and another interview with Federal Minister for Vocational and Technical Education and Training Gary Hardgrave after the announcement the Government would provide $19.8 million for an Australian Technical College in Wollongong.

Apparently, Managing Director Mark Scott ordered a broad review of the ABC Illawarra morning program and found that there were a number of stories "covered from a union angle which have not achieved the required balance".

During the investigation "ABC Illawarra program maker Peter Hand was rostered but not required for work while the ABC investigated allegations of serious breaches of ABC editorial policies. This action is in line with standard ABC procedure".

It was further reported "The independent assessment found that Mr Hand's interview of August 4, 2006 with Federal Minister for Vocational and Technical Education Mr Gary Hardgrave and of August 29, 2006 with Mr Arthur Rorris breached the ABC's editorial policies".

Chris. Cartledge

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