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CQ: Cultural Intelligence

On Thursday 22 December at 8.30pm SBS-TWO will broadcast their new conversation series CQ: Cultural Intelligence, bringing together experts and commentators to discuss topics of national importance. Hosted by World News Australia’s Anton Enus, the first SBS CQ forum explores who influences the debate on asylum seekers and cultural diversity;  does the media drive public opinion or does public opinion drive the media?

This show appears to be a rehash of the many panel and discussion programs that have come before it and at first you wonder what CQ can bring to the Australian public that hasn’t been done before. However, SBS have struck upon a novel idea. Rather than pad out the studio with members of the public, slowing the pace of discussion and limiting the range of argument, they have crammed the studio with academics, experts, journalists, politicians, documentary makers and just about anyone with an a sliver of insight into the issue.

To call it a lively debate would undersell this program. The exchanges crackles with tension, with Anton Enus jumping in to pull the contributors apart from one another. The show opens with a journalist accusing the Daily Telegraph of reportage in line with war time propaganda. This isn’t members of the public using the opportunity to attack politicians they dislike; these are journalists and academics making aggressive accusations about each others’ conduct. There are times this is less a discussion than a verbal boxing match.

Participants include former Immigration Minister in John Howard’s government Amanda Vanstone, Pino Migliorino from the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia, the Daily Telegraph’s Joe Hilderbrand, from SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From – Bahati Masudi, Liberal Party candidate Dai Le, and a host of others.  University academics and social researchers have something to say too. The arguments, counterarguments and accusations are fired out fast and frequent and the range of topics covered is diverse to say the least.

CQ deals with the issue of the media’s relationship to asylum seekers in an expansive light bringing several new perspectives and arguments, as well as being thoroughly entertaining with one of the most informative, energetic and entertaining discussions in years. CQ: Cultural Intelligence is definitely worth a look.

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