ACMA were unable to rule on Tony Eastley's undeclared conflict of interest related to the interview stating:
"The complainant submitted that Mr EastIey's previous engagement, on a one-off basis as a master of ceremony, was not declared during the interview and led to a conflict of interest. This matter does not raise any issues of compliance with the Code and relates to the ABC's Editorial Policies, therefore the matter is outside the jurisdiction."
It is in error here as ABC's Editorial Policies are the source of its Code, and therefore ACMA should be able to scrutinise ABC's Editorial Policies. ABC states: The ABC Editorial Policies set out the ABC's self-regulatory standards and how the Corporation enforces them. They are also the source for the ABC Code of Practice, which the ABC notifies to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
It also did not uphold our complaint of bias and lack of partiality in the interview, stating:
"The ACMA notes the complainant's concerns that alternate questions could have been pursued, such as mosquito borne diseases. However, it is the ACMA‘s view that the matters covered in the interview were appropriate given the duration of the report and the nature and type of program AM purports to be (ED: a mouth piece for associates of the host). Furthermore, the ACMA considers that neither the direction of the interview nor any comments made by the interviewer represented a bias or prejudice against the interviewee, and that the presenter conducted the interview with due impartiality."
The full report should be available soon from the ACMA website (HERE).
It seems ABC's journalist are free to work for external organisations and then interview members of these organisations without bothering to inform its audience, in complete contravention of its rules regarding conflict of interest. ACMA the toothless media regulator finds this is okay!
One wonders what ACMA's response would be if Eastley had been engaged as an MC, lets say by the Heartland Institute to MC one of its climate change conferences, and he then gave a soft interview of its President? According to ACMA this would be okay as well.