ABC political panel show Q&A plunges to disastrous ratings low

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ABC political panel show Q&A plunges to disastrous ratings low after THAT confrontation between Stan Grant and a pro-Russian university student

ABC’s Q&A scored its worst ratings ever on Thursday night with a metro audience of just 175,000 viewers.

The broadcast saw an all-female panel discuss gender, equality and justice with anchor Stan Grant.

The current affairs panel show was once a ratings winner for the national broadcaster, attracting major political leaders of all persuasions.

Decline: ABC's Q&A, hosted by Stan Grant (pictured), scored its worst ratings ever on Thursday night with a metro audience of just 175,000 viewers

Decline: ABC’s Q&A, hosted by Stan Grant (pictured), scored its worst ratings ever on Thursday night with a metro audience of just 175,000 viewers 

But for the last few years there has been a major decline in its audience, and the show has frequently been under scrutiny for its perceived political bias.

Often controversial, Q&A divided opinion once again last week when host Grant, 58, took exception to remarks made by a Melbourne university student. 

Sasha Gillies-Lekakis was removed from the studio during the broadcast after he made a claim on air that Russia was under threat from Ukrainian ‘Nazi’ killers.

Ejected: Melbourne university student Sasha Gillies-Lekakis was last week removed from the studio after he made a claim on air that Russia was under threat from Ukrainian'Nazi' killers

Ejected: Melbourne university student Sasha Gillies-Lekakis was last week removed from the studio after he made a claim on air that Russia was under threat from Ukrainian ‘Nazi’ killers 

‘As someone who comes from the Russian community in Australia, I’ve been pretty outraged by the narrative created by the media depicting Ukraine as ‘the good guy’ and Russia as the “bad guy”,’ he told the panel. 

‘Believe it or not, there are a lot of Russians here and around the world who support what Putin is doing in Ukraine, myself included.’

His controversial take on the invasion sparked fierce debate on the panel, and ultimately saw him booted from the show, prompting raucous applause. 

Gone: His controversial take on the invasion sparked fierce debate on the panel, and ultimately saw him booted from the show, prompting raucous applause

Gone: His controversial take on the invasion sparked fierce debate on the panel, and ultimately saw him booted from the show, prompting raucous applause 

Grant addressed Gillies-Lekakis later in the show and repeatedly asked him to leave, explaining the advocacy of violence would not be tolerated. 

According to the Australian Institute of International Affairs, Sasha Gillies-Lekakis is an Honours Student in Spanish and Latin American Studies. 

Its website states he is passionate about Cuban history and politics and recently graduated from the University of Melbourne. 

Grant, who hosts Q&A on a rotation with David Speers and Virginia Trioli, faced backlash on Twitter from media players who said his decision to boot Gillies-Lekakis was an affront to free speech. 

Not a winner: Hamish McDonald  left the Q&A hosting gig after 18 months  in July 2021 to return to Channel 10

Not a winner: Hamish McDonald  left the Q&A hosting gig after 18 months  in July 2021 to return to Channel 10

Toby Jones hosted Q&A from its inception in 2008. Some media commentators believe the show lost its edge when he stepped down from the role in 2015.

The Sunday Project’s Hamish Macdonald was host from 2020 to mid-2021, and during this period Q&A lost ground with audiences. 

A timeslot move from Monday nights to Thursdays only quickened the decline.

Losing audience: Q&A currently has a rotating roster of hosts, including Grant, David Speers (pictured) and Virginia Trioli

Losing audience: Q&A currently has a rotating roster of hosts, including Grant, David Speers (pictured) and Virginia Trioli

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