Q&A: This week’s sneak peek

For those with a streak of masochism, and it would have to be a broad one, their ABC’s weekly round-up suspect clichés takes to the air once again tonight at 9.30, when Q&A brings a few more of the bookers’ perpetual favourites, plus some garden-variety odd-bods and strange sorts.

First, the good news: this week’s episode appears to have skipped whiteboy rappers and comediennes of the approved and unfunny variety. But that is not to say there won’t be a solid body of left-leaning opinion appearing on livingroom screens across the country. As a guide to tonight’s show, and as reminder of what makes ABC editor-in-chief Mark Scott so very proud, Quadrant Online presents a guide to tonight’s talking heads. Some of the information may not be found in the show’s official thumbnails.

We can’t promise this will be a weekly feature, but we will do our best to make it so until, finally, the glorious day arrives when the national broadcaster is reminded that it was established to serve all Australians, not just those who are always welcome at fair-trade dinner parties and Earth Hour candle-lightings.

Here are tonight’s guests:

Tanya Plibersek: Known quantity. Spotter of sexism, but only when perceived on the Opposition benches. The Member for Sydney was re-elected in 2010 with a 40% margin, two-party preferred, and will likely survive the coming Labor bloodbath.

When her party sets out to re-build, expect Plibersek to be one of the loudest voices amongst the survivors. Tony Abbott and his government will appreciate her input.

Greg Hunt: Shadow minister for climate action, environment and heritage, and tonight’s token Liberal. Just for fun, count how many times compere Tony Jones interrupts him.

Professor Lawrence Krauss: It wouldn’t be Q&A without at least one junketeering expert with a book to sell, and this week it is a wayfarer from Arizona State University, who is introduced as a cosmologist and “an internationally known theoretical physicist”?

Worth noting is that he is also an ardent warmist, who believes coral reefs are on their last legs, and a keen-eyed Catholic spotter to boot. And while the ABC won’t tell you, not all his reviews have been, er, favourable, although Richard Dawkins remains a fan.

Dr John Dickson: As a man of the cloth, it might be assumed that he represents the more conservative manifestations of spirituality – you know, the guide to sin and avoiding it that figures prominently in scripture. Dickson moves with the times, hence his recent observation that “until the gay community really hears Christians apologise, it’s almost as if we don’t have the right to say anything on[gay marriage].”

Oh, and he is also a warmist.

Finally, there is celebrity medico and author Dr Cindy Pan, one of whose specialties is advice to bed-wetters – wisdom fellow panellist Plibersek might want to tap and pass along to her parliamentary colleagues. Given the latest poll numbers, nocturnal anxieties of a most unpleasant nature may well be ruining their rest.

The score:

Known conservatives: 1
The rest: 4

Thank heavens the famously impartial and absolutely unbiased Tony Jones will be keeping a close watch on things.

Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online.

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