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Abbott: ABC should stick to straight news

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Tony Abbott has launched a scathing attack on the ABC, questioning whether it’s working in Australia’s interests and saying it should stick to straight news gathering.

“It dismays Australians when the national broadcaster appears to take everyone’s side but our own and I think it is a problem,” the prime minister told Macquarie Radio on Wednesday.

“You would like the national broadcaster to have a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for the home team, so to speak.”

Abbott has been critical of the ABC for broadcasting the claims of asylum seekers who claim Australian sailors forced them to hold hot engine parts, burning their hands. He was also critical of its role in breaking the story about Australian spying on Indonesia, which caused a major diplomatic crisis.

The spying allegations came from US security agency documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

“The ABC seemed to delight in broadcasting allegations by a traitor, this gentleman Snowden,” he said.

“The ABC didn’t just report what he said, they took the lead in advertising what he said. That was a deep concern.”

He wants the ABC to be a straight news gathering and reporting organisation.

They are entitled, like all news organisations, to report “credible evidence”, he said.

“But you shouldn’t leap to be critical of your own country.”

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