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Channel Nine boss slams Mark Latham’s ‘disgraceful’ Sarah Abo tweet and threatens the authorities

A Channel Nine executive has ripped into One Nation MP Mark Latham over ‘totally unacceptable’ tweets about 60 Minutes presenter Sarah Abo – with the network warning it will report his comments to ‘authorities’. 

In the wake of Sunday night’s election debate, Mr Latham tweeted ‘never trust an Abo with something as important as that’.

That tweet sparked uproar as it was immediately interpreted as a slur about Indigenous Australians, with the NSW state leader coming under fire on social media. 

Mr Latham told Daily Mail Australia he had been misinterpreted. ‘(The clash on Twitter was) an example of how the Outrage Industry fails to understand how words can have multiple meanings, and the true meaning lies with the speaker, not necessarily the listener’, he said.

Channel Nine boss Darren Wick has slammed One Nation MP Mark Latham’s divisive tweets about 60 Minutes host Sarah Abo (pictured) as ‘totally unacceptable’

One Nation MP Mark Latham (pictured) has been slammed for a 'tasteless' tweet attacking the leaders debate host Sarah Abo

One Nation MP Mark Latham (pictured) has been slammed for a ‘tasteless’ tweet attacking the leaders debate host Sarah Abo

The NSW state party leader also tweeted ‘Abo has lost control’ after Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese continued to ignore the hosts’ repeated pleas for them to move on to other questions. 

He continued: ‘I said ‘Albo has lost control’ and Twitter heads thought that was an attack on Albo and/or racism. Dopes. Sarah Abo was the moderator.’ 

Mr Latham said the controversy had highlighted how ‘the idiots on Twitter had no idea the moderator was Sarah Abo’. 

He said the Today Show’s Karl Stefanovic would have done a better job moderating the debate than Ms Abo. 

‘Karl would have done a much better job keeping the two shouters/interrupters under control, speaking one at a time,’ he continued. 

The controversy sparked a scathing backlash from Channel Nine. 

Nine News director Darren Wick said the One Nation MP’s tweets were a ‘disgrace’ and defended the journalist against criticisms she had lost control of the politicians. 

‘The tweet from Mark Latham last night is a disgrace, racist and totally unacceptable,’ Mr Wick said. 

‘Sarah Abo is an outstanding journalist and handled the robust nature of a debate of this scale with intelligence, calmness and professionalism.

‘That can’t be said for Mr Latham’s tweet, we will be reporting his comments to authorities.’ 

When pressed on which authorities would be contacted about the tweets, a spokeswoman said the network would be ‘exploring our options’. 

Mr Latham took to Twitter following the tumultuous debate to criticise Abo's performance with a tweet that quickly caught the attention of other users

Mr Latham took to Twitter following the tumultuous debate to criticise Abo’s performance with a tweet that quickly caught the attention of other users

One Nation MP Mark Latham said Today Show host Karl Stefanovic (pictured with co-host Allison Langdon) would have been a better host for the second leaders debate

One Nation MP Mark Latham said Today Show host Karl Stefanovic (pictured with co-host Allison Langdon) would have been a better host for the second leaders debate

His double-down comes after furious Twitter users reacted to the ‘tasteless’ tweet by claiming the politician had used a racial slur to critique the moderator. 

‘Not sure about this one Mark’, one user tweeted to the NSW upper house MP. 

‘Snickering like a schoolboy I bet. C’mon Mark, this is tasteless,’ another user said. 

‘Wow, I mean wow. I’m old enough to remember when even Mark Latham didn’t say this sort of stuff out loud,’ a third agreed. 

The controversy on social media led Mr Latham to describe Twitter as a ‘sewer’ on Monday morning. 

Mr Albanese (left) and Mr Morrison (centre) have been slammed for their 'terrible' treatment of 60 Minutes host Sarah Abo (right( after refusing her requests they move on

Mr Albanese (left) and Mr Morrison (centre) have been slammed for their ‘terrible’ treatment of 60 Minutes host Sarah Abo (right( after refusing her requests they move on

It comes as Mr Albanese and Mr Morrison have been slammed for their ‘terrible’ treatment of Ms Abo, a 60 Minutes reporter who previously cut her teeth at SBS. 

Both continued to bicker and shout over the top of one another despite her pleas for them to stop.

In one uncomfortable moment the host noticeably struggled to get a word in during a drawn-out discussion about China and the Solomon Islands. 

‘I think we are getting more questions … Excuse me. I think we’re getting more questions between the two of you than from our panel,’ Ms Abo said. 

As the pair continued to bicker she tried again to moderate but was waved off by Mr Morrison who told her he was in the middle of making ‘a very important point’. 

‘Mr Morrison and Mr Albanese, this is enough, we do need to move on,’ she said. 

After her pleas fell on deaf ears for the second time, she was forced to remind the leaders they had both agreed to play by the debate rules.

‘You all agreed to the rules this evening. Chris Uhlmann has a question, and we will move on to his question,’ she said. 

Viewers were quick to criticise the leaders (pictured) for their blatant disrespect for Abo and said the constant interruptions made for a poor leaders debate

Viewers were quick to criticise the leaders (pictured) for their blatant disrespect for Abo and said the constant interruptions made for a poor leaders debate 

Just moments later, the host was ignored once again by the fired-up Labor leader. 

‘Something that Mr Albanese — we have a question. Mr Albanese, we have given you more than enough time,’ she told him. 

‘The pair of you have had more than enough time. You agreed… You agreed to these rules before coming on the program tonight.’

Viewers criticised both leaders for their blatant disrespect for Ms Abo. 

‘The flippant dismissal and wave of his hand to Sarah Abo just now is not going to do much for Morrison’s ‘woman problem’,’ one woman wrote. 

‘This is truly terrible. Where is the moderator,’ one commentator asked on Twitter. 

‘Letting them talk over each other makes for a pretty poor #leadersdebate,’ another agreed. 

The network initially declared Mr Albanese as the preferred Prime Minister between the pair despite the glitch leaving thousands unable to vote online

The network initially declared Mr Albanese as the preferred Prime Minister between the pair despite the glitch leaving thousands unable to vote online

Mr Albanese (pictured) said the Solomon Islands' new secret security deal with China amounted to a 'massive foreign policy failure' by the Government

Mr Albanese (pictured) said the Solomon Islands’ new secret security deal with China amounted to a ‘massive foreign policy failure’ by the Government

Frustrated viewers also complained of a faulty online voting poll which at one point listed the Coalition twice, forcing Channel Nine to address the technical glitch. 

‘We are experiencing high volumes of traffic at the moment. Please bear with us and you will have the chance to have your say,’ the network tweeted.  

‘Was pressing Labor for over a minute, decided to record and tap a few more times – nothing. Clicked Coalition for a gag, and as I went to click it again it worked immediately. Uh, rigged? #LeadersDebate,’ one woman tweeted. 

The network initially declared Mr Albanese as the preferred Prime Minister between the pair despite the glitch leaving thousands unable to vote online. 

It later announced Mr Morrison as the winner before votes shifted back towards Mr Albanese and was later locked at 50-50. 

Viewers at home found themselves unable to vote on their preferred leader with a technical glitch also listing the Coalition twice as frustrated voters took to Twitter to complain

Viewers at home found themselves unable to vote on their preferred leader with a technical glitch also listing the Coalition twice as frustrated voters took to Twitter to complain

The second debate between the two leaders left many viewers unimpressed by the coverage

The second debate between the two leaders left many viewers unimpressed by the coverage

On national security, the Labor leader said the Solomon Islands’ new secret security deal with China amounted to a ‘massive foreign policy failure’ by the Government.

He also blasted Mr Morrison over the Northern Territory government leasing Darwin Port to a Chinese company in 2015 – which Mr Morrison defended by saying the Commonwealth Government had no say in the deal.

Mr Morrison savagely blasted his opponent in a high-tempered brawl over their policies on a federal anti-corruption commission the PM has failed to deliver.

He said Mr Albanese had not even tried to come up with his own version of a corruption commission after rejecting the Coalition’s model.

‘Do you have draft legislation for the commission,’ Mr Morrison asked his opponent.

‘You have put forward a private members bill. So you can but you have not done one for this proposal you are excited about. You don’t have any plan.’

Mr Morrison (pictured) savagely blasted his opponent in a high-tempered brawl over their policies on a federal anti-corruption commission the PM has failed to deliver

Mr Morrison (pictured) savagely blasted his opponent in a high-tempered brawl over their policies on a federal anti-corruption commission the PM has failed to deliver

In the early stages of the showdown Mr Albanese slammed the Prime Minister’s plan to ease pressure on households with one-off additional tax relief for low and middle income earners and the temporary halving of fuel duty until September.

The first fiery moment of the night came after Mr Morrison spruiked his Budget measures to ease cost of living pressures.

Mr Albanese replied: ‘The problem with what Scott just said [is that] the cost of living measures that he spoke about are all temporary.

‘They have all the sincerity of a fake tan – they disappear once people have cast their vote and people are back on their own again.’

KEY POINTS FROM THE SECOND LEADERS DEBATE ON SUNDAY:

PANDEMIC

* Prime Minister Scott Morrison admitted it was ‘wrong’ to say that it wasn’t a race when it came to the Australian government securing vaccine supply.

* Mr Morrison defended his handling of the borders during the pandemic, including barring citizens from returning to Australia at particular times to avoid overwhelming the hotel quarantine system.

*Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the Morrison government should have acted with more urgency to establish for-purpose quarantine centres and secure vaccines.

COST OF LIVING

* Both leaders would not commit to extending the cut to the fuel excise past September.

* Mr Morrison said while the government could not control international influences on the economy, it could put downward pressure on inflation by managing money.

* Mr Albanese said Labor had practical plans to make a difference to the cost of living, including powering Australia through renewable energy, cheaper child care and not putting pressure on inflation.

INTEGRITY

* The prime minister said he had never seen corruption on his side of politics.

* Labor has committed to introducing legislation to establish a federal anti-corruption commission by the end of the year if elected.

ENERGY

* Both leaders clashed over energy policy, claiming the other’s policies would increase prices.

* Mr Albanese reiterated Labor’s commitment to renewables while Mr Morrison said the coalition would not commit to ‘irresponsible targets’ to reduce emissions.

CHARACTER

* The prime minister said the election was not a popularity contest but pointed to his ability to unite his party after the 2019 election as testament to his character.

* Mr Albanese said Australians knew what he stood for because he had the same values his whole life, including supporting a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and supporting essential universal services.

INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES

* Both leaders ruled out negotiating with independent candidates on their policies.

HOUSING

* Mr Morrison claimed Labor’s Help to Buy scheme – where Australians would be eligible for a government equity contribution – is a ‘forced to sell’ scheme.

NATIONAL SECURITY

* The leaders fought over the Darwin port, blaming each other for the sale of the lease to the Chinese government.

* Mr Morrison claimed the ‘loudest voices on being pro-Beijing come from (the Labor Party)’ which Mr Albanese labelled an ‘outrageous slur’.

AGED CARE

* Mr Morrison said the problems in aged care were not a result of the coalition’s nine years in government but rather the past 30 years. He credited himself with ‘blowing the whistle’ on aged care by calling a royal commission into the sector.

* Mr Albanese said Labor would work with the sector to ensure it could implement all the recommendations from the royal commission.

WOMEN

* Both leaders agreed more needed to be done to resolve parliamentary workplace issues.

* Asked if he thought he had a problem appealing to women, Mr Morrison said he did not. He said his government had invested to address family violence and had announced election commitments fund endometriosis and IVF support.

* Mr Albanese would not commit to launching a investigation into the treatment of the late senator Kimberley Kitching but described her death as a tragedy. He said Labor would implement all 55 recommendations of the Respect at Work report.

* Asked how they defined the word ‘woman’ both leaders agreed the definition was an adult female.

Source: Australian Associated Press

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