???ABC Radio won’t be reviewing its vetting procedures despite a number of controversial comments being made on air by callers in recent weeks.
On Monday a caller rang Jon Faine’s ABC Melbourne program to praise Hitler’s treatment of gay people.
The veteran broadcaster was interviewing Victorian Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton to discuss the upcoming same-sex marriage postal survey.
Faine then accepted a call from a listener who said his name was Don. The man said he thought it was “disgusting” the commissioner was encouraging people to vote yes, before asking if he could “say one more thing”.
“Hitler had put all those kind of people in their own concentration camps, it’s one of the two good things he did,” he said.
Faine, who didn’t hear Don say the word Hitler, then asked the caller to repeat what he said.
“Hitler had concentration camps for these gay people, one of the two good things he did,” Don said. “The other one was build the autobahn.”
The incident comes after Triple J’s Hack program was hoodwinked by a man pretending to be Jewish so he could get on air and claim that multiculturism is the “end of white people”.
‘s alt-right has been targeting the public broadcaster in recent weeks, with online forums encouraging Nazi sympathisers to call into radio programs under the guise of marginalised groups or people simply looking to have a respectful debate.
Despite the recent controversies, an ABC Radio spokesman said the broadcaster’s policies and procedures for vetting talkback callers were sound and did not need updating.
He said Monday’s interview lasted three minutes and was civil until the listener made a “highly offensive remark referencing Hitler” in the last few seconds of the phone call.
“Once Jon [Faine] had clarified what the caller had said, the call was immediately terminated,” he said. “All ABC broadcast is on short delay. By the time Jon had clarified what the caller ‘Don’ had said, the ‘dump’ option was no longer viable hence Jon’s actions to terminate the call when he did.”
Former ABC broadcaster turned Newcastle councillor Carol Duncan said it’s a tricky balance between collecting different views and not allowing offensive remarks to go to air.
“Your producer is your first line of defence,” she said. “Hopefully, any problems are stopped there. But people get through by lying about their identities, lying about the reason for the call and they’re going to take advantage of those seven seconds before you can dump them.”