Tony Jones (news journalist)

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Tony Jones
Born Anthony William Jones
13 November 1955
Nationality Australian
Education Newington College
St Paul's College, University of Sydney
Occupation Television presenter and journalist
Employer Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Known for Lateline, Dateline, Q&A
Spouse(s) Sarah Ferguson (1993–present)

Anthony William "Tony" Jones is an Australian television news and political journalist, and television presenter.

Early life[edit]

Jones attended Newington College from 1970 to 1974[1] and the University of Sydney as a resident of St Paul's College, where he studied English and later anthropology from 1975 to 1977.[2]


Jones joined the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as a radio current affairs cadet working on the AM, PM and The World Today programs. In 1985, he joined the Four Corners program as a reporter. In 1986, he went to the Dateline program on SBS. He returned to the ABC in 1987, reporting for Four Corners.[3]

In 1990, Jones went to London as the ABC's current affairs correspondent. He covered the collapse of the USSR in Eastern Europe, the Gulf War, the war in the former Yugoslavia, the fall of Kabul to the Mujahadin and the collapse of apartheid. Jones returned to Australia in 1993 as Executive Producer of the Foreign Correspondent program. From 1994 to 1996, he was the ABC's correspondent in Washington, D.C., before returning to Foreign Correspondent in 1997. He also covered the war crimes in Bosnia. In mid-1998 he returned to Four Corners.[3]

Jones has hosted ABC TV's Lateline news and current affairs program since 1999. In 2011, he hosts the show on Wednesday and Thursday nights. He also hosts the ABC's Q&A political panel discussion show.[3]

Jones is one of Australia's most well known journalists, winning four awards including four of Australia's leading journalism awards, the Walkleys. Crikey awarded him "Outstanding Media Practitioner of the Year" in 2005 for "ferocious intelligence, polite calmness, [being a] dogged interrogator, deep political instincts, juggling the running agenda, [and having] a great sense of context." Crikey also put much of the success of Lateline to Jones, stating, "Lateline without Jones is a perfectly adequate late night news review; with Jones it is a world-class piece of television."[4]

In 2006, Jones and Lateline embarked on a series of stories that provided the catalyst for the Northern Territory Intervention. Tony Jones highlights these stories as being the ones he is most proud of.[citation needed]

On the high rating Q&A program, Jones regularly hosts national figures from politics, culture and the arts to discuss issues on the national agenda and face questions from a selected audience. Jones hosted the major party leaders during the 2010 Australian federal election. In 2010 on the Q&A program with Jones as host, former Taliban supporter David Hicks submitted an antagonistic question to former Prime Minister John Howard. In the same program, Jones apologised to Howard after a man threw his shoes at him in protest against the Iraq War.

Political views[edit]

Q&A review

After conservative Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott described Jones' Q&A program as a "leftie lynch mob" and asked his MPs not to appear on the show, a 2015 editorial review of the program was commissioned by the ABC board, and journalist Ray Martin and former SBS managing director Shaun Brown concluded that Jones' interjections were usually "appropriate and effective" but found he should be careful not to "overreach" his moderator role by making opinionated interjections in debates.[5]


In March 2011 on Q&A, the ABC sought out a question for Prime Minister Julia Gillard from political activist Julian Assange in which Assange queried if Gillard should be tried for "treason". Jones asked Gillard if she had got "carried away" in making an emotional address to the US Congress in which she praised the United States. Jones said "Briefly, when I was a small boy my first impression of America was of the Vietnam War and the fact that young Australians were being conscripted to go and fight in this war and there were demonstrations in streets and the notion of all the way with LBJ and at that time Labor figures were leading the demonstrations. There's no sort of reflection of any of that Labor tradition in your speech—a sort of cynicism about American power."[6]

Climate Change

According to the Herald Sun, Jones was MC at the 2012 CarbonExpo for “emissions intensive business and low-carbon economy product & service providers” and was moderator at the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 CarbonExpo conferences, as well as for the climate change consultancy called ABC Carbon.[7]

Cory Bernardi

In October 2015, the ABC apologised to conservative Liberal senator Cory Bernardi after Jones, as host of Q&A, likened Bernardi's politics to that of the Golden Dawn party.[8] Jones said on Q&A the following week: "Senator Bernardi was concerned that this linked him to the right wing Greek political party Golden Dawn, which has been accused of neo Nazi tendencies. That was not my intention and I do want to make it clear that I do not suggest that Cory Bernardi supports fascism" - which elicited laughter from the studio audience.[9]

Religion and philosophy

On Lateline, Jones told atheist advocate Christopher Hitchens' that he plans to give the book Letters to a Young Contrarian to his own sons as "something I really hope that they then pass [on] to their children".[10]


As moderator of a Q&A discussion on the question of an Australian republic in 2011, Jones said that the "vast majority of people" wanted a directly elected president in the failed 1999 republic referendum.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Jones is married to fellow ABC journalist Sarah Ferguson. They met in Paris when Jones engaged Ferguson as a researcher while he was the ABC's UK correspondent. They married in 1993 and have two children. Jones has another child from a previous relationship.[12][13]


Media offices
Preceded by
Maxine McKew
Presenter (Wednesday & Thursday)

1999 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by

22 May 2008 – present
Succeeded by


  1. ^ Newington College Register of Past Students 1863–1998 (Syd, 1999) pp102
  2. ^ "Great Achievements: Media and the Arts". St Paul's College, University of Sydney. St Paul's College. Retrieved 12 April 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Lateline: The Team;
  4. ^ Eric Beecher, Stephen Mayne, Christian Kerr, Hugo Kelly and Sophie Black. "Outstanding Media Practitioner of the Year". Crikey. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  5. ^ Q&A host Tony Jones should be careful not to 'overreach' in comments: review;, 18 Dec 2015
  6. ^ Q&A - Julia Gillard Meets The People; ABC TV; Monday 14 March 2011
  7. ^ Why does the ABC not declare Tony Jones’ earnings from Big Warming? Herald Sun; 19 March 2015
  8. ^ ABC Corrections & Clarifications: Cory Bernardi;; 16 Oc 2015
  9. ^ Q&A - Monday 5 October, 2015; ABC TV
  10. ^ Atheist Hitchens stares death in the eye; Lateline; ABC TV; 17 Nov 2010
  11. ^ Q&A: Royal Wedding Special; ABC TV; 28 April 2011
  12. ^ Wilmouth, Peter (19 April 2013). "Top of her game". The Weekly Review. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Knott, Matthew (13 December 2011). "Power Couples: Sarah Ferguson and Tony Jones". The Power Index. Retrieved 25 August 2013. 

External links[edit]