Ex-Channel 10 presenter Joe Hildebrand has criticised his former employer after two senior executives urged staff to boycott Australia Day by working the public holiday.
Hildebrand, 46, who was a host on morning show Studio 10 from 2013 until he was laid off in 2020, accused the TV station of virtue signalling while addressing the controversy on Channel Seven’s Sunrise on Tuesday.
Instead of trashing Australia Day – a national day that is supported by the majority of Australians – he said the network should instead be donating to Indigenous charities.
Speaking with Sunrise host Monique Wright and News.com.au political editor Samantha Maiden, Hildebrand also couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Channel 10’s shrinking workforce and endless rounds of redundancies.
Ex-Channel 10 presenter Joe Hildebrand (left, with Monique Wright, centre, and Samantha Maiden, right) has criticised his former employer after two senior executives urged staff to boycott Australia Day by working the public holiday
‘I understand they’re going to allow republicans to work on the Queen’s Birthday, and they’re going to allow Liberal voters to work on Labour Day, so there’s some terrific initiatives coming through,’ he sneered.
‘I’d also like to see from all these companies that have sent out group emails to their employees recently – and the good thing about Channel 10 is that every year there are fewer and fewer employees to send group emails to – why don’t they instead donate half their profits to charities that actually help Indigenous people?’
He listed several non-profits doing great work for First Nations people, including the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation, adding that improving literacy is ‘probably the most important thing you can do to reduce intergenerational poverty’.
Dripping with sarcasm, Hildebrand continued: ‘I’m pretty sure you’ll see them jump at the chance to [donate to Indigenous charities], just as they’ve jumped at the chance to show how sensitive they are about Australia Day.
‘By January 26, they’ll be falling over themselves to hand out their money, all their profits – obviously profits don’t apply to Channel 10 – to these terrific charities that work so hard for so little money, all the time.’
Instead of trashing Australia Day – a national day that is supported by the majority of Australians – Hildebrand said the network should instead be donating to Indigenous charities
Hildebrand, 46, was a host on morning show Studio 10 from 2013 until he was laid off in 2020
Two top bosses at Channel 10 have told staff that the network will not be celebrating Australia Day saying that employees can come to work instead of taking the day off.
Parent company Paramount ANZ’s chief content officer Beverley McGarvey and co-lead Jarrod Villani referred to Australia Day as ‘January 26’ only in an email sent to all editorial and programming staff last week.
The pair told staff it was ‘not a day of celebration’ for Indigenous people and said employees could decide whether they wished to take the day off as a public holiday or work if they preferred.
‘At Paramount ANZ we aim to create a safe place to work where cultural differences are appreciated, understood and respected,’ the pair wrote in the email, The Australian’s Media Diary column reported.
Two top bosses at Channel 10 have told staff that the network will not be celebrating Australia Day saying that employees can come to work instead of taking the day off. (Pictured: The Project hosts Waleed Aly and Sarah Harris)
‘For our First Nations people, we as an organisation acknowledge that January 26 is not a day of celebration.
‘We recognise that there has been a turbulent history, particularly around that date and the recognition of that date being Australia Day.’
The pair said staff could choose to work through the national holiday if they didn’t feel comfortable celebrating it and could take another day of leave instead.
‘We recognise that January 26 evokes different emotions for our employees across the business, and we are receptive to employees who do not feel comfortable taking this day as a public holiday,’ the email read.
The network bosses were adamant that those who did wish to celebrate Australia Day ‘reflect and respect the different perspectives and viewpoints of all Australians’.
Channel 10 was previously applauded for its use of traditional Indigenous names for capital cities during a weather report amid NAIDOC week in July.
Staff at the network have been told they’re welcome to work over the Australia Day public holiday (pictured is newsreader Sandra Sully)
Instead of Sydney, the presenter read out the forecast for Gadigal, and for Melbourne, the city was referred to by its traditional name of Naarm.
The network first changed its weather map to include traditional names last year, and was immediately commended on the choice by many Aussies.
Controversy has surrounded the celebration of Australia Day in recent years, with many calling for the date to be changed in respect of Indigenous Australians.
Various councils around the country have boycotted the holiday, saying it doesn’t align with their views.
January 26, 1788 was the day the First Fleet landed at Sydney Cove, with Governor Arthur Phillip raising a Union Jack flag.
The date has become increasingly controversial, with many Indigenous people observing it as a day of mourning and instead labelling it ‘Invasion Day’.
Just last week, Labor scrapped a controversial rule enforced by former prime minister Scott Morrison that forced councils to run citizenship ceremonies on January 26.
Councils can now hold the citizenship ceremonies any time from January 23 to 29.
Controversy has surrounded the celebration of Australia Day in recent years, with many calling for the date to be changed in respect of Indigenous Australians. (Pictured: young women celebrating Australia Day on the Gold Coast this year)
Merri-bek Council in Melbourne’s north, recently announced it would cease hosting citizenship ceremonies on January 26, and will instead host a mourning ceremony to acknowledge the experiences of Indigenous Australians.
‘The very idea that we celebrate, hold parties and welcome new people to this country on this day is pretty shameful,’ Councillor James Conlan told a local council meeting earlier this month.
‘In a deeply twisted irony… the council asks First Nations elders to conduct their culturally significant Welcome to Country ceremony on a day that signifies their own disposition.’
Merri-bek Council is the third Melbourne council to discontinue Australia Day citizenship ceremonies, after the Yarra and Darebin councils did the same in 2017.
Those two councils are now not allowed to host citizenship ceremonies at any time of the year, following an order from the then-coalition federal government.
The Melbourne City Council in September also voted to advocate the federal government to change the date of Australia Day.
Citizenship ceremonies will still happen in the city on January 26 but council will also support efforts to acknowledge First Nations perspectives of the day.
The Inner West Council in Sydney and Moreland in Melbourne also scrapped their Australia Day events this year, while Byron Bay Council moved its citizenship ceremony to January 25.
Meanwhile, Channel 10 has been struggling in the ratings with questions now being raised about the station’s viability.
Things are so bad the network was forced to cancel its annual Christmas Party, as first revealed by Daily Mail Australia.
The struggling organisation is now officially Australia’s fourth free-to-air network after being placed behind the ABC in the ratings race.
Channel 10 has been struggling in the ratings with questions now being raised about the station’s viability. (Pictured: The Project host Hamish Macdonald)
10 has just recorded its lowest commercial share since OzTam ratings began with a network share of just 22.1 per cent, well behind its rivals at Nine and Seven.
While spin doctors sprout the network has a younger audience than its competitors, Nine and Seven both beat 10 in total people and their key under 50 demographic.
A string of failures has only added to its woes. Shows like The Real Love Boat, The Challenge Australia and The Traitors were all flops.
The Bachelor franchise has failed to fire over the past few years and the newest edition, The Bachelors, was considered so bad by programming bosses it has been bumped to January.
The Bachelor franchise has failed to fire over the past few years and the newest edition – The Bachelors – was considered so bad by programming bosses it has been bumped to January