Q&A (Australian talk show)

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Q&A Logo.png
The Q&A Logo
Presented by Tony Jones
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 9
No. of episodes 288[a] (list of episodes)
Location(s) Ultimo, New South Wales, Australia
Running time Approximately 60 minutes
Original channel ABC
ABC News 24 (2010–2015),
Australia Network (2011–2014)
Picture format 576i (PAL)
16:9 DTV
Audio format Stereo
Original release 22 May 2008 – present
External links

Q&A is an Australian television program, broadcast on ABC hosted by news journalist Tony Jones first broadcast in 2008. It is similar to shows like Question Time on the BBC and Questions and Answers on RTÉ.


The program generally features a panel of five public figures, usually including politicians from each of the major federal parties (Labor and Liberal) as well as minor party politicians, media personalities and celebrities, answering questions provided by viewers and the studio audience. The program is broadcast live (in the eastern states) on ABC TV and online, in front of a studio audience. From October 2010, Q&A is also simulcast live on ABC News 24, allowing it to be viewed live across the country.[1] In March 2015 ABC News 24 ceased simulcast of Q&A. When Federal Parliament isn't sitting, the show can be heard on ABC NewsRadio.

The program is broadcast from the ABC's studios in the Sydney suburb of Ultimo. Anyone wishing to be in the audience can fill in a form on the program's website, which as well as asking for contact details, asks some questions relating to the applicant's political views to help "select a diverse and well-balanced audience".[2] Q&A is occasionally broadcast from other cities, with three shows being broadcast from other countries (Indonesia, India and China).


The program premiered on Thursday, 22 May 2008, at 9:30 pm on ABC TV. The program contains closed captions within its broadcast signal.

In 2010, Q&A moved to Monday nights and received a full season of 40 episodes.[3] From 26 April 2010, Q&A introduced a Twitter feed; selected tweets discussing Q&A live are displayed on screen.[4]

Virginia Trioli and Annabel Crabb have filled in for Tony Jones whilst he was on break.

Notable episodes[edit]


On 25 October 2010, former Prime Minister John Howard had a pair of shoes thrown at him from a member of the audience due to responses on his attitude to the Iraq War. The shoe-thrower was subsequently removed from the audience. Although Howard seemed indifferent to the incident, it was criticised by both former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, among other members of Parliament from both the Government and the Opposition. The shoe-thrower, environmental activist Peter Gray, died of cancer six months later; before he died, however, he asked for his shoes to be auctioned off and the money to be donated to the Red Cross.[5][6]

University student protest[edit]

The show was disrupted again on 5 May 2014, when a group of university students began protesting against proposed higher education cuts. The group unfurled a banner over the back of the set and began to chant at Minister for Education Christopher Pyne, before they were removed from the studio while the live broadcast was replaced with footage of a musical performance from an earlier episode. In the lead-up to the protest, Pyne was the subject of several questions regarding education cuts and was heckled by members of the Socialist Alternative.[7]

Zaky Mallah[edit]

On 22 June 2015, Zaky Mallah, the first person to be charged under Australia's anti-terrorism act, put a pre-approved question to the panel asking the possible outcome of his case if it had been heard by a government minister instead of the Supreme Court. Steven Ciobo defended the government's position, saying he would be personally pleased if it meant Mallah was out of the country. Mallah later responded saying, "The Liberals now have just justified to many Australian Muslims in the community tonight to leave and go to Syria and join ISIS because of ministers like him." Tony Jones ruled the comment out of order. The ABC was criticised by some commentators for giving Mallah a platform. Mark Scott, managing director of ABC, gave a speech defending the programme but conceded it was a mistake to allow Mallah to appear on live television.[8] Prime Minister Tony Abbott criticised the ABC for giving Mallah a platform and then re-broadcasting the episode. A government inquiry into the episode was announced.[9]


For a full list of the (approximately) 615 panellists that have appeared, see List of Q&A panelists.


The Q&A program has been criticised by some News Corp Australia papers in a long running and widespread campaign against ABC management and programming for being overtly left wing in the views expressed by its guest panellists, the nature of the questions asked by audience members and the failure to disclose identity and/or political affiliations that some audience members asking questions of the panellists may hold. Criticism has been made in particular that the program presents "a distorted view of Australia".[10] During an episode aired on 9 April 2014, guest panellist Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton claimed Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt had abused a fair skinned indigenous woman and that he was a "fool who believed in race theories".[11] The host Tony Jones made an apology at the end of the following week's episode of Q&A in which he relayed that "Professor Langton publicly said that she does not believe Mr Bolt is a racist, although she profoundly disagrees with and disapproves of his views and statements on Aboriginality. She apologised to him for her comments and, as a result, the ABC also apologises for broadcasting her remarks."[12]


The most frequently-appearing panellists on Q&A, as of 9 March 2015 (not including the digitally-streamed pilot show) are listed below:[13]

Name Role Appearances
Christopher Pyne Liberal 21
Malcolm Turnbull Liberal 21
Tanya Plibersek Labor 21
Barnaby Joyce National 16
Bill Shorten Labor 16
George Brandis Liberal 15
Joe Hockey Liberal 14
Penny Wong Labor 14
Janet Albrechtsen The Australian 12
Julie Bishop Liberal 12
Craig Emerson Labor 12
Graham Richardson Labor, Sky News Australia 12
Chris Bowen Labor 11
Greg Hunt Liberal 11
Sophie Mirabella Liberal 11
Greg Sheridan The Australian 11
Kelly O'Dwyer Liberal 10
Christine Milne Greens 10
Amanda Vanstone Liberal, ABC Radio National 10
Tony Burke Labor 9
Kate Ellis Labor 9
Germaine Greer Author 9
David Marr The Guardian Australia 9
Judith Sloan The Australian 9
Tony Abbott Liberal 8
Lindsay Tanner Labor 8
Clive Palmer Palmer United 8


  1. ^ As of 22 June 2015. Excludes a webcast-only pilot episode.


  1. ^ Q&A goes live across Australia on ABC News 24, ABC TV Blog, 22 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Join the Audience of Q&A". ABC. Retrieved 20 March 2009. 
  3. ^ "ABC: 2010 Highlights". Knox, David. Retrieved 10 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "Q&A Hot On Twitter". Knox, David. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "Cancer claims John Howard shoe thrower, Peter Gray", The Daily Telegraphy, 10 May 2011
  6. ^ "Man who threw shoes at John Howard dies of cancer", Herald Sun, 10 May 2011
  7. ^ "Q&A hijacked by protesters, Anna Burke praises Christopher Pyne". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Mark Scott (25 June 2015). "Annual Corporate Public Affairs Oration". abc.net.au. 
  9. ^ "Q&A: Tony Abbott says 'heads should roll' over Zaky Mallah episode, orders inquiry". Sydney Morning Herald. 25 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Henderson, Gerard (5 April 2014). "Taxpayers funding Left ABC agenda". The Australian. Retrieved 27 March 2015. 
  11. ^ "The ABC's Q&A apologises to Andrew Bolt for 'racist' slur", Herald Sun, 17 March 2014[full citation needed]
  12. ^ "Q&A Transcript, Monday 17 March, 2014". Q&A, ABC. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  13. ^ All programs, Q&A, ABC TV

External links[edit]