ABC star Laura Tingle sparks outrage after labelling Australia racist in extraordinary spray

A high-profile ABC presenter has come under fire for labelling Australia ‘racist’ and been accused of bias after pinning the blame on the Opposition.

The national broadcaster’s chief political correspondent Laura Tingle made the comment during a discussion panel for the Sydney Writers’ Festival on Sunday.

‘We are a racist country, let’s face it. We always have been and it’s very depressing,’ she told her audience at Carriageworks.

Tingle repeatedly accused Liberal leader Peter Dutton of fanning the flames after he called for a reduction in immigration to ease the strain on the housing market.

Her comment has sparked criticism with Tingle accused of breaking her responsibility of remaining impartial as a political reporter.

Tingle was appointed to the ABC board as the staff-elected director in 2023 and is obliged to ‘act in good faith at all times and in the best interests of the ABC’. 

In March, ABC chair Kim Williams shared a blunt message saying staff should leave if they broke the national broadcaster’s code to be balanced.

Laura Tingle (pictured), the ABC’s chief political correspondent and staff-elected board member, called Australia a ‘racist country’

Tingle said she couldn’t remember the last time a major party leader was seen ‘to be saying … everything that is going wrong in this country is because of migrants’.

‘[I] had this sudden flash of people turning up to try and rent a property or at an auction and they look a bit different – whatever you define different as – (and) that basically he (Dutton) has given them licence to be abused, and in any circumstance where people feel like they’re missing out,’ she said.

Tingle accused Mr Dutton of ‘dog whistling’ and said his call to cut immigration didn’t make ‘rational sense’. 

Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Jacinta Nampijinpa Price told 2GB Ben Fordham Live on Monday that Tingle’s comments ‘create division’.

‘I’m really disappointed in this continued narrative that is being pushed within our country that does not provide any sense of pride for our children,’ she said.

‘It absolutely creates division and we had enough of it during the referendum.

‘Leading journalists, well supposedly leading journalists, like Laura Tingle should know better than to use that sort of rhetoric.’

Senator Price also accused Tingle of political bias, despite her duty to be impartial as a political reporter. 

‘She says “we’re a racist country, let’s face it, we’ve always been, it’s very depressing”,’ she said.

‘That is not a reflection of the country, that is her opinion.

‘Laura has demonstrated her bias and I think Kim Williams (chairperson of the ABC) needs to explain why having someone so blatantly partisan sitting in the top political commentator position is acceptable.’

Fordham went on to read a list of comments sent in by listeners who unanimously disagreed with Tingle.

Tingle took aim at Peter Dutton's comments about high migration worsening the housing crisis, saying he 'has given them licence to be abused' (pictured, queue to view an apartment in Sydney)

Tingle took aim at Peter Dutton’s comments about high migration worsening the housing crisis, saying he ‘has given them licence to be abused’ (pictured, queue to view an apartment in Sydney)

‘I live in a block of units with neighbors of Indian Filipino, Chinese and African backgrounds, not an issue, just sensational people. Laura is wrong,’ one of the comments read.

Another added: ‘Laura tingle’s warped and miserable view of this country ignores the fact that people come here in drones because it’s the opposite of the picture painted by her’.

Environment and Water minister Tanya Plibersek told Channel Seven’s Sunrise program she did not believe Australia was racist.

‘I think it’s a fantastic multicultural country but we have to protect against incidents of racism which occur in our community as they do in every community,’ she said.

‘My parents came to Australia after the Second World War from Europe and I am so grateful every day that Australia took them in and that we were born here and able to grow up in this fantastic country.

‘Of course, there are Australians who have experienced racism. Of course that is absolutely true.’

Tingle also attacked shadow treasurer Angus Taylor’s address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, which she moderated.

‘I said to him (Taylor), “so you are saying we’re relying on migration for growth … what does that imply about growth if you are going to cut migration?”,’ she said.

‘He (Taylor) said something about Labor and the unions buying up all the houses, which I really didn’t follow.’

Tingle also appeared at the Melbourne Writers Festival this month during which she accused Australian journalists of asking ‘questions that are simply unanswerable, in the name of political or media sport’.

Listeners of Sydney 2GB radio slammed Tingle (pictured) for making the 'divisive' comments

Listeners of Sydney 2GB radio slammed Tingle (pictured) for making the ‘divisive’ comments

She appeared less critical of Labor: ‘It’s not just about whether they got rid of Scott Morrison, they are actually trying to govern, they are trying to run a government, they are actually trying to do policy. 

‘Whether you think the policy is s**t or not, that’s another issue.

‘We are not running the sort of stupid ideas that we are seeing out of the Coalition now from the platform of government. 

‘All of this absolute crap that used to run from government on a day-to-day basis, don’t underestimate the value of not having to put up with that.’

Daily Mail Australia has contacted the ABC for comment.

ABC issues impartiality warning

ABC Chair Kim Williams told staff in March to remain impartial or leave the organisation as he declares activism is not welcome at the national broadcaster.

Mr Williams, who replaced Ita Buttrose as ABC chair, said he would have little tolerance for journalists who fail to remain objective in their reporting.

‘If you don’t want to reflect a view that aspires to impartiality, don’t work at the ABC,’ he told host Monica Attard in an episode of the podcast The Fourth Estate.

‘I really think this is a very serious issue.

‘This is a publicly funded organisation, it is a publicly accountable organisation, it is a respondent to legislation to the national parliament, and it must always aspire to be as fair-minded in its work as it possibly can be.’