Tony Jones has confirmed he is cutting back to just 2 nights a week on Lateline from June, as he concentrates on his new programme ‘Q&A’. The programme, modelled on the BBC’s highly successful ‘Question Time’ (and hopefully as far removed from ‘Difference of Opinion’ as possible, is expected to have participation not just from a panel, including politicians, but from audiences both at home and in the studio. To avoid the embarrassing hijacking of the audience which occurred during the ‘Great Global Warming Swindle’ programme, where the studio audience was stacked with supporters of certified loon Lyndon LaRouche, audience members will have to apply, and checks will be made to ensure a diversity of views.
Replacing Jones on Lateline will be ABC National Security Correspondent Leigh Sales. This decision comes in some ways as a surprise, as Virginia Trioli is now more available than ever, following her decision to leave 702 ABC Sydney radio last November. Speaking on Lateline at the time of her departure from radio, Virginia said she wanted to ‘concentrate more on this chair’. Seems News bosses don’t agree. This is a pity, as Virginia is a very talented interviewer. However, should Leigh not be available, Virginia is still listed as back up. It just seems odd that a permanent presenter should be the backup for a fill in presenter!