Stan Grant slams ABC’s Four Corners for not having an indigenous reporter in its 59-year history

Australia’s first indigenous TV host uses guest appearance on Four Corners’ Black Lives Matter special to SLAM the ABC for failing to employ an indigenous reporter for its longest-running show

  • Stan Grant in 1992 became Australia’s first indigenous television show presenter
  • The 56-year-old Wiradjuri man hosted Real Life, Today Tonight on Seven Network
  • Until 2020, the ABC’s Four Corners program had not had an indigenous reporter 

Australia’s first indigenous TV host has slammed the ABC for not having an Aboriginal reporter on its longest-running program.

Stan Grant made history in 1992 when he fronted the Seven Network’s current affairs program Real Life as the first indigenous presenter of a national prime-time television program.

Almost three decades later, the ABC’s flagship current affairs show Four Corners had still not had an indigenous reporter despite being on air since 1961 – making it the national broadcaster’s longest continually-running program.

Australia’s first indigenous TV host has slammed the ABC for not having an Aboriginal reporter on its longest-running program. Pictured is Stan Grant as a guest reporter on Four Corners

Grant, a Wiradjuri man born in 1963, made this point as he presented a Black Lives Matter special on the national broadcaster, examining high Aboriginal imprisonment rates and Australia’s racist legacy.

‘Turn on the television and the faces you’ll see – still mostly white,’ he said.

‘Four Corners has been on air more years than I have been alive and I am the first indigenous person ever to report for it. 

‘And when we do break through that colour line we are expected to be grateful and humble.’

Grant, who grew up in south-west New South Wales, saw a link between the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police and the brutal treatment of Aboriginal people in Australia’s criminal justice system.

‘We have heard George Floyd’s words here in Australian prisons,’ he said.

His mother Betty made an appearance, recalling through poetry the racism she experienced as an Aboriginal girl.

‘We lived outside of town in funny little shacks,’ she said.

‘We know we were talked about and called those dirty blacks.’

Unlike the ABC’s Four Corners program, the Seven Network and American news channel CNN appreciated Grant’s talent, hiring him as an international correspondent.

Stan Grant made history in 1992 when he fronted the Seven Network's current affairs program Real Life as the first indigenous presenter of a prime-time television program

Stan Grant made history in 1992 when he fronted the Seven Network’s current affairs program Real Life as the first indigenous presenter of a prime-time television program

During the 1990s, the Seven Network had two high-profile indigenous presenters with Grant hosting Real Life and later Today Tonight, as acclaimed actor Ernie Dingo fronted The Great Outdoors travel show. 

Grant resigned as a Seven presenter in 2000, weeks before the Sydney Olympics, after his affair with the commercial network’s sports commentator Tracey Holmes was revealed. They later married.

Grant’s ex-wife Karla Grant was herself a television pioneer, in 1994 hosting SBS’s first indigenous affairs program ICAM.

A decade later in 2007, SBS employed Stan Grant as a co-presenter of its World News Australia program, before he helped establish the multicultural broadcaster’s National Indigenous TV offshoot, also known as NITV.

Grant resigned as a Seven presenter in 2000, weeks before the Sydney Olympics, after his affair with the commercial network's sports commentator Tracey Holmes was revealed. They later married and are pictured at the GQ Men of the Year awards in 2016

Grant resigned as a Seven presenter in 2000, weeks before the Sydney Olympics, after his affair with the commercial network’s sports commentator Tracey Holmes was revealed. They later married and are pictured at the GQ Men of the Year awards in 2016

The ABC hasn’t had any indigenous presenters of its national flagship programs Four Corners, 7.30, Foreign Correspondent, Q&A or Insiders.

Miriam Corowa, who is Aboriginal, however co-hosted the ABC’s News Breakfast show between 2011 and 2017 and was also a presenter on the News 24 channel.

In Darwin, future Labor senator Malarndirri McCarthy fronted the evening ABC TV News between 1993 and 2005 when she was known as Barbara McCarthy.

Network 10 in Perth made history in 2008 when Narelda Jacobs became the first indigenous newsreader for a prime-time capital-city bulletin.

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